Thomas Bergersen – Humanity: Chapter V

At some point, is Thomas Bergersen going to put out a bad chapter of Humanity?  The man is currently on his fifth chapter, and they have all ranged from great to masterpiece.  He is back with Humanity: Chapter V, which released on April 24th, and it might be my second favorite thus far.

You know who Thomas Bergersen is by now.  He’s a modern classical composer who is part owner of the cinematic score company Two Steps from Hell.  He has released plenty of his own music through the years, though.  This album also features vocalists Merethe Soltvedt and Úyanga Bold, as well as guitarist Claudio Pietronik.

Thus far, we have seen four chapters.  The first one was about life and death, the second was about humanity’s love for stories, the third was about love, and the fourth was about humans reaching the stars.  Chapter V is also quite specific in its theme; it is about the adventure of life.  I would add that it is about the drama of life: the ups and downs, the ins and outs, and the here and there.  It is about the high and low moments, the times you may feel lost, but also the times you may feel confident and full of passion.

The music reflects this.  Chapter V plays something like a rock opera to my ears.  There is more delicate piano, but also more rocking guitar segments.  With the vocal performances, both with lyrics and without, the album does feel like this epic rock opera.  I also can’t shake the feeling that some of these musical themes are based on 90’s film scores.  Time and again, I was reminded of many of the adventure films of that decade.  Additionally, there are moments that sound like Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean scores, which makes sense since this is all about adventure.

I’m not going to cover each track, but I will say that each half of the 12-track album is equally as strong as the other.  There is also a bonus track that is an instrumental version of one of the main songs.  In the first half, my favorites are “Iron Will”, feeling like something from an early 90s family adventure; “Memoria”, a great tune with excellent vocals from Merethe; “Reflections of You”, a pensive piano piece with only a few moments of swelling cinematic magic; and “Heroica”, a celebratory track with Bulgarian women and girl voices that help it feel like a praise of courage and strength—Úyanga Bold appears on this track and the results are spellbinding.  I will say that Chapter V has my favorite Merethe tracks in the series.  Also, “Reflections of You” is mesmerizing for a piano player like myself, not because of technicality, but because of careful expression and musical phrasing.

In the second half, my favorites are “Xunia”, a song based on an Indian wedding song, and which gets seriously ambitious and rock opera-esque; “Kingmaker”, a towering and adventurous track with rollicking feelings; the driving and harmonious folk tune “Away with your Fairies”; and my favorite Merethe track on this album, “One Last Day”, a pining and wistful song with excellent vocals and guitar.  I really like the instrumental version, as well.

The closer for Chapter V is the eleven-minute “Aventura Suite”.  This piece includes various musical themes from throughout the album, so it feels familiar instantly.  However, it is itself a special journey as it transitions over and over again in immense, cinematic fashion.  It will keep you on your toes, yes, but there are plenty of hidden and subtle touches that come to light the more you hear it.

Thomas Bergersen is a masterclass for modern classical and epic music.  I keep expecting the next chapter of Humanity to lack ideas, but that just hasn’t happened.  He obviously is influenced by many other composers, but his sound is still his own, and those who attempt to copy it just cannot.  Chapter V is probably my second favorite after Chapter IV, which I still consider a 10/10 masterpiece.  We’ll see how this one continues to grow on me.


Find Thomas Bergersen online:



Two Steps from Hell Website


Support The Prog Mind


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.