Battle Battalions Original Soundtrack

battlebattalions Album Title:
Battle Battalions Original Soundtrack
Record Label:
Sumthing Else Music Works
Catalog No.:
SE-3163-2
Release Date:
January 6, 2016
Purchase:
Download at Amazon MP3

Overview

Battle Battalions is a low-budget military real-time strategy title developed by Petroglyph Games. As with all of their projects, Command & Conquer’s Frank Klepacki served as the audio director and composer for this title, this time opting for a serious orchestral score. The game’s soundtrack was released by Sumthing Digital at the start of 2016 for 9 USD.

Body

The main theme of Battle Battalions gets the soundtrack off to a shaky start. Klepacki gives the game a surprisingly dark feel by blending a militaristic palette with dissonant tonalities and grim textures. While the tones reflect the grim reality of warfare, they seem excessive for such a narratively light game and Klepacki’s more light-hearted scoring approaches might have been a better fit. The production quality is also lacking compared to that of Klepacki’s other recent scores; the orchestration is quite thin, the instruments are all synthetic, and, worst of all, there is an extremely repetitive two-note cello motif that runs throughout the track. Above all else, the track is pretty boring… a word I never thought could be associated with Klepacki’s work.

Much of the Battle Battalions soundtrack develops on this approach to similarly unappealing results. With “In the Depot”, Klepacki manipulates the synthetic orchestra to create a much more narratively rich and musically detailed track than the main theme. Yet while an effective backdrop to battle and a palatable stand-alone listen, it lacks the melodic charisma and stylistic originality to stand up with the composer’s best. “Point Gain” attempts to create a jagged edge with its accentuated cello part, but goes flat due to the thin writing and synthesis, while the majority of “Stakeout” falls flat from its reliance on very stereotypical crisis motifs. Adding to the wealth of problems, four of the 16 tracks comprising the soundtrack are 25-second event themes that are as predictable as they are short. 

Easily the standout tracks on Battle Battalions are though that expand the palette. “Now in the Lead”, “Increasing Advantage”, and “Pick Up Speed” adhere to the serious orchestral approach of the rest of the soundtrack, but benefit from a broader timbral and dynamic range. “Command the Battle” and “Taking Control”, on the other hand, fuse the orchestral approach with Klepacki’s famous electric guitars. These tracks have so much more personality and exuberance than the rest of the soundtrack, even if their recording quality isn’t quite on par with End of Nations. Less effective in this regard is the repetitious “Inconceivable”. The final surprise on this soundtrack is the electro-based credits theme which, while out-of-place in tone and style to the rest of the soundtrack, proves quite enjoyable in its own right.

Summary

Battle Battalions just about serves its purpose as a moody backdrop to a military RTS. However, it’s mostly unappealing on a stand-alone basis between its generic compositions and weak synthesis. There are a handful of good tracks, but even these aren’t quite on par with Klepacki’s best works. Those looking for an orchestral Klepacki experience are much better off with End of NationsRise of Immortals, or Grey Goo instead.

Battle Battalions Original Soundtrack Chris Greening

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

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Posted on April 28, 2016 by Chris Greening. Last modified on April 29, 2016.

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About the Author

I've contributed to websites related to game audio since 2002. In this time, I've reviewed over a thousand albums and interviewed hundreds of musicians across the world. As the founder and webmaster of VGMO -Video Game Music Online-, I hope to create a cutting-edge, journalistic resource for all those soundtrack enthusiasts out there. In the process, I would love to further cultivate my passion for music, writing, and generally building things. Please enjoy the site and don't hesitate to say hello!



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