Daniel Pemberton: KIng Arthur, The Legend of The Sword

Label: WaterTower Music/Sony Classics, 88985440902

Recorded at: Abbey Road Studios, London, 2017

Mastering: Christian Wright, Abbey Road

DR: 10


I didn’t imagine I would be up at 2am with my face red and stinging having spent the last hour slapping it as hard as I could to get the best unusual percussive sounds for a particularly fiddly assassination scene that we needed the next day. Nor phoning my neighbours to not worry if they heard any screaming from my flat.

Daniel Pemberton King Arthur


Daniel Pemberton makes the following remark about the King Arthur score in one of his interviews: I think one of the great successes of King Arthur is you often need to ask, "What genre is this?”. I don't know how to answer that because it was a world we made specifically for that film.

From the listener’s point of view, it is a joyful ride, from the audio enthusiast’s point of view it is… well, it is a joyful ride as well. The score is very well balanced, with perfect clarity of all instrumental layers, and exquisitely dynamic all the way through. In the CD booklet, Daniel Pemberton provides some insights in how the music was sculpted:

We wanted the music to feel physically visceral. There is so much rich imagery in the world of film – the dirt, the grime, the metal, the leather, the wood, the stones – I wanted to bring as much of this into the score as I could. I started by researching the intriguing world of early music enthusiasts. Fascinating people obsessed with making, collecting and playing instruments from hundreds of years ago. I met a wonderful player – Clare Salaman, who introduced me to a wonderfully horrible instrument, the tromba marina – a huge stringed beast from the 15th century that pretty much makes only one very nasty and upleasant noise. Fantastic. We’ll use that. I was lent a pretty hokey hurdy-gurdy. It was impossible to tune. It also sounded horrible. Let’s use that too. Go round and visit this guy called Nicholas Perry […] He has this crazy metal trumpet that is so big that the only way we can play it in his flat is if we put half of it in the toilet. We re-record it in Abbey Road but use the test done in his bathroom on my phone in a few places because it sounds so awesome. I send one of our percussionists on a mission to find the best-sounding rocks he can get – he ends up finding them in a garden center. […] Even the chopsticks from our Chinese take away one night made it onto score.

The material on the album is very tight and cohesive, like a soundtrack to a movie with a great story should be. So, it is not a collection of tunes, rather a one long piece of narrative, split into smaller fragments (tracks) for ease of navigation. There are several outstanding numbers, especially those with strong dynamic rhythms, like Growing Up Londinium, Jackseye’s Tale, Assassins Breathe, or Knights of The Round Table. And on top of those outstanding pieces there are even more outstanding pieces that really make my system sound fabulous and have the power to crumble my studio walls. I am talking about The Politics & The Life with its mega-powerful bass lines, and the quartet of the tracks that starts with The Darklands and ends with The Power of Excalibur, and that builds expansive and immersive experience, a true ‘wall of sound’.


1. From Nothing Comes a King
2. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
3. Growing Up Londinium
4. Jackseye’s Tale
5. The Story of Mordred
6. Vortigen and the Syrens
7. The Legend of Excalibur
8. Seasoned Oak
9. The Vikings & The Barons
10. The Politics & The Life
11. Tower & Power
12. The Born King
13. Assassins Breathe
14. Run Londinium
15. Fireball
16. Journey to the Caves
17. The Wolf & The Hanged Men
18. Camelot in Flames
19. The Lady in the Lake
20. The Darklands
21. Revelation
22. King Arthur: Destiny of the Sword
23. The Power of Excalibur
24. Knights of the Round Table
25. King Arthur: The Coronation
26. The Devil & The Huntsman

(extra 5 tracks available in digital download)

27. The Ballad of Londinium (Bonus Track)
28. Riot & Flames (Bonus Track)
29. Anger (Bonus Track)
30. Cave Fight (Bonus Track)
31. Confrontation with the Common Man (Bonus Track)
32. The Devil & The Daughter (Bonus Track)