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"The music [in the game] is right out of the movie! I don't know which movie, because this level sounds like I'm being attacked by Danny Elfman and Tim Burton."
Noah "The Spoony One" Antwiler, on Demolition Man for the 3DO.

Nothing quite beats an orchestra for a battle, especially an aerial one.

Bonus points for Ominous Latin Chanting, and even more for Autobots Rock Out.

Compare Music to Invade Poland To, Fanfare.

Examples of Orchestral Bombing include:


Anime and Manga

Film

Literature

  • This shows up a few times in the Honorverse
    • In Honor of the Queen, Honor has Hammerwell's 7th symphony is played shipwide during the first battle of Yeltsin.
    • One of the Havenite commanders uses Ride of the Valkyries as their general quarters signal.
  • Hendricks and Gard (who happens to be an honest to god Valkyrie), performing a Big Damn Heroes with an attack helicopter to The Ride of The Valkyries, with Hendricks riding shotgun... with a Mini Gun.

Live-Action TV

  • Farscape: The destruction of Scorpius' command carrier featured orchestral music and Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • Whenever there was any kind of fight sequence, whether it was between people or spaceships, on Star Trek: The Original Series, it would be accompanied by the most over-the-top, bombastic music imaginable. In fact, they often did this even when there was no fighting happening, like say when an ambassador boards the ship. This was a critical element of the series' Narm Charm and really complemented the acting style. It was sadly missing from most of the later series - compare the scoring to the very same fight scene in "The Trouble With Tribbles" and DS9's "Trials and Tribble-ations" for a perfect example of this.
    • Ron Jones was probably the best among the composers for the sequel series at using this in his scores (see "The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2" in particular the track "Intervention", for a perfect example). Too bad he left TNG during the fourth season.
  • Myth Busters recently had some fun with this trope in their Top 25 Special showing off their various explosions to the 1812 Overture. If you download the episode, I can guarantee you'll want to watch the sequence more than once.

Music

 "Gee, and I thought classical music was boring!"

    • Two words: Cannons firing. That's not a glib comment; that's actually part of the musical instruction. Yes, the piece, when properly performed, actually uses cannons as part of the orchestra. Ya know, since the 1812 Overture was originally written to mark Russia valiantly defending Moscow against Napoleon's seemingly unstoppable horde. Which makes it even more Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • Gustav Holst wrote the Mars, Bringer of War segment of The Planets suite before World War I had started, but it depicts the brutality and scale of its mechanized warfare brilliantly. John Williams certainly had it in mind - see the ship chase at the opening of Star Wars Episode IV.


Video Games

  • Company of Heroes does this on a regular basis, one minute the music can barely be heard as your troops move around the village or pass a few bushes and blaring you with Trumpets and a wide assortment of instruments the next as your tanks get blown to pieces by rockets or shells raining down from heaven as if the sky was crashing down.. In short as the action heats up the orchestra start doing their thing, and it is Awesome.
  • Ace Combat fits this trope perfectly.
    • Ace Combat 4 uses Agnus Dei (preceeded by a brief verse of Rex Tremendae) for its final mission. The result? Pure awesome.
    • Ace Combat 5 also creates a uniquely fresh trope from this; the Ominous Latin Chanting from the game's Razgriz theme "The Unsung War" are in fact a Vulgate Latin translation of the Razgriz prophecy, quoted earlier in the game.
    • Zero (the final mission music of the game of the same name) combines that with Spanish flamenco. Seriously.
    • Ace Combat 6 departs from this, to a degree, through the use of a Rather Depressing Boy's Choir.
    • Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere uses Ominous Latin Chanting whenever you fight an XR-900 Geopelia or an X-49 Night Raven. Yes, these planes are just that superpowered.
    • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon gives us Release.
  • Every Final Fantasy game ever
  • Halo. Especially with songs such as "Brothers In Arms/Follow Our Brothers", "On/Behold A Pale Horse", "Drumrun"(during the escape from The Maw), "Earth City"(its rollicking and irregular rhythm fits with the movements of the Scarab walker), "Delta Halo Suite: Leonidas"(heard in Halo 2 during the gondola rides on Regret, and again in Halo 3 during the air battle on The Covenant), "Blow Me Away"(during the climactic battle on the Gravemind mission), "This Is Our Land", "This is the Hour" and "Finish The Fight" (the music in the original Halo 3 advertisement).
    • The Halo Theme, naturally. It becomes even more bombastic in Halo 3 as "Greatest Journey" (the final escape theme), when Martin O'Donnell swapped out the first game's synthesizers with a live orchestra.
  • Homeworld: The razing of Kharak is set to a choral version of Adagio for Strings, with the lyrics to Agnus Dei. A double-whammy.
    • If you can play through that part of the game without crying you aren't human.
    • Then it comes back during the truly epic battle of the final mission. Rebel reinforcements arrive to take the pressure off your fleet and start driving a hole through the Emperor's defenses, sacrificing themselves while giving you the chance to strike back For Great Justice. Hell yes.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the final boss fight takes place in a field of white flowers and has a 10 minute time limit. If you have not defeated your opponent by that point, you both get killed in an air strike. The fight starts with no music at all, but after 5 limit an instrumental version of the games main theme, which you have heard several times at that point, starts playing and you know that if you don't have won by the final note, you'll be dead.
  • An orchestral version of Beyond The Bounds plays during an epic air siege in Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner.
  • Given the huge number of remixes and styles incorporated in the Super Smash Bros series, pure statistics alone dictate that a ludicrously epic orchestral piece will be playing in the background at some point.
  • Super Mario Galaxy's soundtrack is 90% orchestrated (same for the sequel), and has this all over the place in varying degrees, but the best examples would have to be every single Bowser battle theme.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has this trope in spades, fittingly enough coming from the same music team behind the Galaxy games. While the overworld themes are surprisingly low-key(with the exception of the Sky theme), the boss themes in particular are particularly bombastic.
    • The overall theme, Ballad of the Goddess, starts with a solo Harp of Femininity (appropriately enough), and after about 45 seconds launches into epicness.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl has Final Destination, which is both this and Ominous Latin Chanting.
  • Bioshock. When you place the third (out of four) picture in the art collab, the already unstable Sander Cohen freaks out and, in a fit of instability, orders his henchmen to kill you. Cue the Crowning Moment of Awesome as you beat the living crap out of splicers who seem to come out of Hammerspace. You'll be symponizing a bloody massacre while Waltz of the Flowers blares throughout the studio for minutes, though odds are that you'll be done by 2:44.
  • The action themes in the later Syphon Filter games.
  • The Tales (series) is full of them.
  • Resident Evil 5 has a full orchestra for Excella as Uroboros Aheri's boss fight, Jill's boss fight, and Wesker's boss fights.
  • This is the music during the Exterminatus scene in Dawn Of War 2.
  • Serious Sam: The Second Encounter has you traversing the game to various music score ranging from atmospheric ethnics to rock remixes of Jingle Bells. However, the final level is a massive showdown set to this.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave does this with the porridge shooting run, as an homage to films like The Dam Busters.
  • The intro theme music for Batman: The Animated Series does this perfectly, with the booms and flourishes matching up perfectly with the action on-screen.
  • The old Disney cartoon Music Land has this in a literal sense, when two music-themed islands of animate musical instruments assault each other... using giant organ pipes and horns as cannons.
  • In the canyon chase sequence of Rango, Ride of the Valkyries is played. On banjos.

Real Life

  • During the first BLACK BUCK mission during the Falklands War, one of the crew of the Vulcan wondered where the orchestra was. They did play the theme from Chariots of Fire on the way home.
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