Recording information: Air Studios, London, England.
Ensemble: Alice in Chains.
Danny Elfman, the prolific former leader of the cult new wave band Oingo Boingo, started earning Hollywood acclaim for his work scoring movies by director Tim Burton. Elfman has also composed the exciting music for 2009's Terminator Salvation, the fourth film in the blockbuster science fiction franchise. Brad Fiedel originally composed the hauntingly memorable synthesizer-based music for 1984's The Terminator and 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Marco Beltrami took the reins for 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, which featured a more conventional orchestral score and a new take on Fiedel's original theme. Elfman's Terminator Salvation work is also orchestral and contains subtle nods to Fiedel's theme while maintaining a consistent vision. The strings, brass, and percussion superbly reflect the moods of the scenes: relentless action, dramatic tension, and emotional vulnerability. It's the deft little touches Elfman briefly adds here and there that give this music depth, most notably ethereal classical guitar lines, soft piano chords, and sputtering percussion.