The Alien franchise has brought along memorable music along with its Xenomorphs (aka aliens). The late Jerry Goldsmith, the late James Horner, Elliot Goldenthal, and Marc Streitenfeld, among others, all left their musical marks on the Alien universe. Alien: Covenant marks newcomer Jed Kurzel’s debut to the franchise. Having come off of a poor score to Assassin’s Creed Kurzel had major shoes to fill. He also had to adhere to the “Alien sound” cemented by Goldsmith while creating something fresh and original. While it may not be everyone’s favorite score, Jed Kurzel keeps the “Alien sound” intact while adding new cues and tricks.
Kurzel’s central themes (“Planet 4”, “Alien: Covenant Theme”, “The Covenant”) make heavy use of Jerry Goldsmith’s iconic themes from the 1979 original. It’s refreshing to hear them again after almost forty years of hardly any mentions in the other films. Kurzel combines those unsettling cues with a gritty yet ethereal sound. His main theme is a quicker, more relaxed companion to Goldsmith’s original, but not without its unsettling moments.
Tracks such as “Chest Burster”, “Sails”, and “Launcher Landing” continue the sound with Goldsmith’s influence and style all over them. “Chest Burster” in particular is a gorgeous little cue. Kurzel starts developing his own things a bit after the main themes awash with romantic novelty. We hear hints of his strange creations in “Incubation” and “Neutrino Burst” but it isn’t really developed until such tracks as “Spores”, “The Medbay” and “Facehugger”.
In these tracks the music becomes creepy and disturbing, a complete 180 from tracks heard just minutes before. A little Goldsmith influence is used in “Spores” but mostly as a backing cue. Much of it is distorted, experimental noise with harsh backing electronics. I can’t help but feel my nerves tense while listening. Throughout “Medbay” the alien is hunting you while “Facehugger”, much like its namesake, contains an effective musical jump scare. This style continues with such tracks as “Lonely Perfection” and “Bring It To My Turf”.
If Goldsmith wanted us to feel wary, Jed Kurzel wants to straight up creep you out. And he does. This is one score I don’t recommend listening to at night or with earbuds in. In fact I don’t recommend even buying it unless you’re a Alien fan. That being said, Kurzel delivers a soundtrack that more than deserves to be in the Alien universe. It’s not Goldsmith but it doesn’t need to be. This stands on its own as a creepy, wild little experiment with just enough classic moments.
FINAL RATING: 3.8/5