Epic Music and Sci-Fi Horror: Ex Tenebris

Ex Tenebris is a unique experience and an acquired taste. Strap yourself in and prepare yourself for an epic music/storytelling production unlike anything you’ve heard before.

From the start, the music sets the stage and is the dominant form of audio in the album. The actual story and drama is something to be desired as the script takes a back seat to the epic chanting a la the Halo video game franchise. In fact, Halo: Combat Evolved is the most appropriate comparison someone could make on both the story and music. Ex Tenebris feels like it could’ve started as Halo fan fiction. They share a lot of the same elements and beats.

At this point, it should be explained what is meant by music and story. This isn’t your typical audio drama. Rather than have background music, Ex Tenebris goes the route of the avant-garde and has entire songs of nothing but orchestral strings, sweeping synths, and generic Hans Zimmer drums. By the fifth or sixth musical track, it got a bit tedious.

The story portion of this production is generic, cliched science fiction horror at worst and an Alien franchise ripoff at best. The dialogue here is bad. There’s no getting around it. While the performances aren’t nearly as bad, they don’t enhance anything. A good actor can make bad dialogue at least sound somewhat better. In this case, it comes across as more standard military jargon inserted clumsily into B-movie horror film. Saying “fubar” every few seconds draws attention to itself in all the wrong ways.

If you buy this on iTunes, you’ll be disappointed with your purchase. Assuming you’re looking for an audio drama. Purchase it on Bandcamp and at least you receive bonus material and at a cheaper price. Apparently, there are more than one of these audio drama/music hybrids by the same creator. With the attention focused so heavily on the music rather than a well-crafted story, taking a chance on others in the series is going to be a risk. And we received a free review copy. Still, the production quality and sound design were well done. Just not good enough to save the drama and story portions of the album.

3.5/5 Stars





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