Battlefield Hardline Original Videogame Soundtrack

Hardline Album Title:
Battlefield Hardline Original Videogame Soundtrack
Record Label:
Catalog No.:
Release Date:
March 17, 2015
Download at iTunes


Battlefield Hardline, the thirteenth installment of the EA’s popular first person shooter franchise, was met with generally positive reviews upon its release in March of this year. The soundtrack, composed by game music newcomer Paul Leonard-Morgan, takes into the account the urban setting of the game to create a retro, gritty score, incorporating a variety of instrumental and electronic techniques as well as guest artists to build up the musical atmosphere of Hardline.


The album opens with “Deal Gone Bad,” a pulsing piece combining, like many of the tracks in Hardline, a kind of electronic  driving ambience, setting the mood for the album. The pitches rise, and the instrumentation builds, and the piece finally erupts into a raw, pounding piece, crackling with an electric drive. The album continues in this manner; unlike most soundtracks – to game or film – the tracks on this album are not in chronological order of the game, but in an order that works for a musical entity separate from the game.

We don’t see the titular main theme in its full form until the final track of the album.”Battlefield Hardline Main Theme” is a percussive theme rather than a melodic one. The theme starts fragmentally but quickly evolves into its full realization through use of heavy electric guitar and drumset. While this is the first time the theme is officially labeled in the score, Leonard-Morgan playfully embeds pieces of the theme throughout the album. Because the theme is so unusually rhythmic, it lends itself well to subtle nods in other pieces. The second piece on the album, “Chop Shop,” teases the theme with gentle riffs on a guitar. As the piece develops in intensity, the skeletal structure of the piece remains constant while the theme enters and leaves through mildly diverse variations.

Film.Music.Media reviewer Kaya Savas describes the album as an “unapologetic electronic jam session,” a phrase I can’t improve on in perfectly encapsulating what Leonard-Morgan created. Upon listening to the score, there is no doubt in my mind that it was exceedingly fun to put together. Drummers Josh Freese and Gregg Bissonette both contributed to the score, and the subsequent rhythms and percussive elements of the score are appropriately varied. “Khai Bleeds Out” has a loud, brazen rhythm, amid the electronica sliding up and down the chromatic scale. “Fireworks Raid,” on the other hand, sports a more subtle tssing hi-hat cymbal, giving the piece a more heated spark.

“Getting Trippy” has a more straightforward, somewhat swung rhythm, but the rest of the piece – which is one of my favorite tracks on the album, expertly straddling the line between ambience and lyric, constantly evolving without traditionally musically developing. The guitar plays a gritty motif just barely enough times to make it a motif without letting it slip into any kind of traditional refrain. The drums are relatively constant, occasionally diverting from a straightforward rhythm to emphasize some undeveloped riff, and occasionally fading away so the guitar can solo a few static notes before crescendoing back into existence. The piece is weird, unsettling, appropriately hallucinogenic, and downright fun.

The two Everglades tracks, “Everglades Stadium” and “Everglades Sawmill” shift the tone of the soundtrack slightly to a more southern vibe.  The former is a two-minute soundscape, utilizing twisted ambient synth sounds and pulsing percussion that flows for the first minute and ebbs for the second. The second takes similar sounds but adds a more brash percussive element and a drawling electric guitar that eventually begins to twang out a melody which sticks with you long after the piece is over. Like the other tracks on the album, there is an element of fluid crescendos and decrescendos that saturate the piece.


Overall, Hardline is an invigorating score with raw and whimsical electric tones, carefully arranged onto an album that works just as well out-of-context as it does in-game. Each piece is carefully constructed to be a stand-alone track, and while the album works better as a whole soundscape than as a collection of individual tracks, the diverse percussive elements and varied instrumentation gives the album a far stronger flavor than that of ambiance. Instead, the retro electronica-rock score is a vibrant and playful score that goes beyond and above its job of simply building a setting for Hardline.

Battlefield Hardline Original Videogame Soundtrack Emily McMillan

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


Posted on April 17, 2015 by Emily McMillan. Last modified on January 22, 2016.

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About the Author

A native and lifelong Texan, I currently work in software education while contributing news, reviews, and interviews to VGMO on the side. I love the feeling that comes with the discovery of a brand new soundtrack, and always look forward to the next rekindling of that excitement. Outside of VGMO, I enjoy playing piano, listening to classical music and film scores, and trying to go unnoticed in any stealth RPG I can find.

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