‘Dark Knight Rises’ Score: A Track-By-Track Analysis

In the countdown to the film's July 20 release, MTV News breaks down Hans Zimmer's score song by eerie song.

In case you missed the news, Empire Online, as part of its lead-up to “The Dark Knight Rises,” is currently streaming Hans Zimmer’s score in its entirety. No more previews or 60-second snippets, this is the whole thing.

We’ve gone through the score track by track to give you the breakdown you need to make it through until July 20.

1. A Storm Is Coming (0:37)
Any soundtrack to a Christopher Nolan Batman film must start with the swooshing. Here, Zimmer delivers with the swooshing plus the icy beginnings of the new score that we heard playing over the logo from the prologue. The first track on the “Dark Knight Rises” soundtrack, like the rest of the album, is a mix of the old and new themes.

2. On Thin Ice (2:55)
For the second track, Zimmer takes an unexpected turn. If the track listing follows the same order of the movie, “On Thin Ice” may be telling about the structure of the film. This music was not included in the prologue, which could mean that there is a scene before the action-filled Bane sequence. The track begins with solemn notes on a piano, mixed with echoes of Zimmer’s two-note Batman theme.

3. Gotham’s Reckoning (4:08)
With the finished soundtrack, we finally hear the results of Zimmer’s call-out to fans to lay down a chanting track for the score. We’ve heard it countless times in trailers and TV spots, but the effect of the haunting chant has not lessened. The track name, of course, refers to Bane’s self-appointed title, and his entrance music alone is convincing enough.

4. Mind If I Cut In? (3:27)
After such a rousing introduction to Bane, the score takes a quieter turn, once again moving to mysterious, staccato notes from the piano. This is complete conjecture, but the title could refer to the scene where Selina Kyle dances with Bruce Wayne at the masquerade. That’s what people say before dancing in movies, right?

5. Underground Army (3:12)
Strangely enough, this track has electronic beats reminiscent of both the scores from “Drive” and “Tron: Legacy.” The tones mix with the more traditional renditions of the Batman theme. Halfway through, the rolling strings from Bane’s theme mix in, leading us to believe that the title may refer to the army he’s amassing.

6. Born in Darkness (1:57)
Certainly reminiscent of Zimmer’s previous scores, this darker track begins with the more triumphant aspects of Batman’s theme, before moving into areas that sound more Eastern-inspired than the rest of the album. Perhaps, we are hearing the sounds from the Indian location shoot.

7. The Fire Rises (5:33)
This track bursts right into a continuation of the movements from Bane’s first track with more rolling strings and inspiration taken from the chanting. We know that Bane and his army have taken on “The Fire Rises” as their own motto for the destruction of Gotham, so this bombastic piece of the score has us thinking they will be very successful in some respects.

8. Nothing Out There (2:51)
After a certain number of somber tracks, we’re beginning to think that not a lot of good stuff is going to happen in this movie. Here, we start with more of Batman’s theme, but then we shift to more of Zimmer’s gloomier notes. Did Rachel Dawes blow up again or something?

9. Despair (3:14)
Before you look at the track title and think we’re in for more of the same, “Despair” more than any other so far really kicks it up with some of the more familiar aspects of Zimmer’s Batman scores. Two minutes in, a big punch of Batman hits you and you immediately remember why you’re excited for this movie.

10. Fear Will Find You (3:08)
After Batman seemingly rose during the previous track, we’re hit with some tension. With the score alone, the mood ratchets up to 11, and we can feel suspense even if we don’t have any idea of what’s going on.

11. Why Do We Fall? (2:03)
The building momentum of the track combined with the thematic title should leave little doubt about what kind of scene is taking place.

12. Death by Exile (0:23)
This short snippet plays off a story detail that leaked onto the web a few months ago. We’ll just say that once Bane has taken Gotham by force, his new regime has a very unique rule of law where death by exile is a possible punishment.

13. Imagine the Fire (7:25)
Everything from the length of this track to the nature of the music hints that this will be part of a massive third act — if we had to guess, the war in the streets of Gotham. “Imagine the Fire” runs the gamut of themes from the rest of the score and leads to one epic conclusion.

14. Necessary Evil (3:16)
As you listen to this penultimate track, all you’re probably thinking about is how much you want to know what images will play over this sad, eerie music.

15. Rise (7:16)
Listening to the conclusion of the soundtrack, you can almost hear the ominous words that Christian Bale speaks in the trailer. “Not everything, not yet.” Make sure you listen closely to this track now, because when you hear it again in two weeks, you’ll likely be too busy with whatever insanity is going on on-screen to pay attention.

Check out everything we’ve got on “The Dark Knight Rises.”

For breaking news and previews of the latest comic book movies — updated around the clock — visit SplashPage.MTV.com.


Writer/editor for MTV. If it involves cowboys, spies, or hitmen, I'm there. All three would be ideal.
@KPSull