An orchestral group known for composing music specifically for movie trailers. Headed by Thomas Bergersen and Nick Phoenix.
Although they began as solely catering to movie producers, starting in 2010 they began also releasing commercial albums, most of them compilations of earlier work but, as time progresses, with more and more original material thrown into the mix.
Excepting their first two forays in commercial music, Invincible (2010) and Archangel (2011), which are both solely compiled of tracks pulled from their already-produced demonstration albums (with the exceptions of Invincible's "Am I Not Human" and "To Glory", both of which then to be released on their industry album Nero), each album they release to the public is a mix of pre-existing (demonstration) work and brand-new, album-specific (studio) tracks. Halloween (2012), Classics: Volume One (2013), Miracles (2014), and Classics: Vol 2 (2015) are (so far) their chiefly demonstration tracks, while their only three(once again so far) mainly-original public albums are Skyworld (2012), Battlecry (2015) and Vanquish. (The only tracks pulled from a demonstration album are "Dark Ages", from Nemesis (2007) and "Amaria" from Amaria (2014) (originally as "Welcome to Amaria")).
Both founders have also made solo projects, such as Bergersen's Illusions (2011) and Sun (2014), and Phoenix's Speed of Sound (2013). Recent years have also seen collaborations with, or even full albums from, composers other than the founders, though all come under the TSFH label. Open Conspiracy (2014), composed with Hitesh Ceon and Nick Pittsinger, fall under the first category, while Alex Pfeffer's Solaris (2013) and Michał Cielecki's Orion (2013) are the second.
The music of the group as well as Bergersen's and Phoenix's solo pieces can be found in their official YouTube channel.
This group provides examples of
- African Chant: "Future Guardian" invokes this. The choir sounds more like a tribal chant in this song as opposed to Ominous Latin Chanting.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: While most of their tracks are instrumental, a few contain lyrics such as ''Star Sky.'' Stay of Miracles is basically a pop song on Two Steps From Hell.
- "Dangerous" and "Titan Dream" also qualify, as the vocalists featured are lower in tone compared to what TSFH usually features.
- Autobots, Rock Out!: "Jump", "Stallion" and "Star Sky" all have an electric guitar solo contained within them.
- Avian Flute: "Flight of the Silverbird" begins with a soaring flute solo that evokes thoughts of the titular bird.
- Awesome McCoolname: Nick Phoenix. With a name like that, no wonder he went into the business of making epic music.
- Badass Creed: Their official motto, "Music makes you braver".
- Battle Theme Music: Many of their dramatic pieces (namely "United We Stand - Divided We Fall") fall in line with this trope.
- Bilingual Bonus: "Compass" has lyrics written and sung in Norwegian by Merethe Soltvedt.
- Christmas Songs: Christmas Medley contains many of these.
- Descent into Darkness Song: Their "Halloween" album was the one mainly filled with songs of this trope, but "Am I Not Human?" and "Inferni" also work.
- Genre-Busting: The group's general process is to make Epic Music from the base elements of whatever genre (New Age, Industrial, Electronic, Synth...Dubstep...) strikes their fancy. Typically each album centers around a specific type or set of sounds - and from those sounds, they eke as full a range of emotions as is humanly possible. Bergensen really takes the cake with ''Into Darkness'', which possesses that singular Classical Epic Trance Rock Opera vibe...within a single song. One Million Voices is made from a variety of cultural influences.
- Halloweentown: To Die on Halloween invokes this.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: "Victory" has English lyrics in it. You might not have been aware of that until we told you, or assumed that the lyrics were in another language because the instruments and resounding of the singing makes them very hard to be understood.
- Meaningful Name: Depends on your interpretation of the name
- Music for Courage: Invoked, almost verbatim, by their official motto, "Music makes you braver".
- Please Subscribe to Our Channel: Near the end of most of their YouTube videos, the composers provide a link to the song on iTunes and ask in the description for their fans to support their music by purchasing their albums.
- Ominous Latin Chanting. All. The. Time.
- One-Woman Wail: Very fond of it, either in mournfulness as in "Mercy in Darkness" or elation as in "After the Fall". Expect it if Merethe Soltvedt or Felicia Farerre provided the vocals.
- Occasionally inverted, as there are instances where multiple vocalists will be featured on one song ("Outpost" and "Fall of the Fountain World" are some of the more popular).
- Orchestral Bombing: Goes hand in hand with Ominous Latin Chanting.
- Sad Battle Music: A not-uncommon element in their epic/dramatic themed albums. Exodus, for one. It's sorrowful yet intense. Then we have Black Blade, which practically oozes doomed-but-valiant.
- Stop and Go: "Salvation" has a brief pause before the climax - and it makes it that much better.
- Sound Off: The lyrics to Victory sound very similar to this.
- Super Duo: Inverted; Thomas Bergersen and Nick Phoenix started the group together but since then both founders have also started to release successful music independently from one another.
- Theme and Variations: Many of their pieces are repetitive versions of the same medley, only with small differences that eventually lead to a large climax. Red Tower is a good example of this.
- The Not-Remix: Two Steps From Hell releases multiple versions of most of their tracks with very minor differences, for example no drums or no choir.
- Uncommon Time: United We stand Divided we Fall is in 7/4 time as well as several others.
- Villain Song: He Who Brings The Night could count.
- Zeppelins from Another World: The entire Skyworld album gives off this vibe but the Title Track is probably the most prominent
Their music has been used in trailers for
- Beowulf (2007)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
- Spider-Man 3
- Star Trek (2009) (specifically "Freedom Fighters")
- The Twilight Saga
- Doctor Who Series 5, 6 and 7
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- WWE Night of Champions 2010 (the same song was later recycled as the theme song for Daniel Bryan)
- Game of Thrones ("Dark Harbor" in the "Iron Throne" trailer)
- Merlin (2008) trailer for The Sword in the Stone Part
- Mass Effect 2 ("Heart of Courage")
- Mass Effect 3 ("After the Fall" and "Black Blade" for the "Take Earth Back" trailer, "Tristan" for the Wii U trailer,"Strength of A Thousand Men" for the Omega DLC trailer, "Am I Not Human?" for the "Rebellion" DLC trailer, and, rather appropriately, "Protectors of the Earth" for the launch trailer)
- The 2012 version of Anna Karenina ("Nero")
- The matches in Euro 2012 ("Heart of Courage")
- Once Upon a Time in Wonderland ("Heart of Courage," "Love & Loss" and "Archangel")
- The Pacific DVD and Blu-ray trailer ("Heart of Courage")
- Interstellar ("Final Frontier")
- Nathan for You uses "Heart of Courage" in its intro.