Bound By Flame Original Videogame Soundtrack
Bound By Flame Original Video Game Soundtrack
May 7, 2014
Download at Amazon MP3
Olivier Deriviere has proven to be an ‘outside the box’ composer when it comes to music composition and direction. Scores from both Obscure games, as well as Freedom Cry, Of Orcs and Men, and Remember Me not only delve into very deep territory, but also provide refreshing modern sounds. For example, Freedom Cry utilized many authentic Haitian traditional vocalists along with a small orchestra to create a unique worldly score. Deriviere seems to employ the human voice frequently giving his music a lyricism that is evocative. When I first got word that he was to score the music to a dark fantasy game, Bound By Flame, I was thinking he would employ some interesting lyrical sounds that would redefine the genre. Was I correct in my assessment? Let’s look at Deriviere’s self-published soundtrack to find out.
Many of you will have noticed from a quick inspection of the track list that the “soundtrack” is just three tracks. This in itself is a bit of a disappointment as the title can be misleading. Calling it an “EP” would have been more accurate. With that point aside, the music that is there is very satisfying and refreshing. I was very surprised to not hear a full orchestra anywhere, in contrast to the epic orchestral fare of World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls. Deriviere instead used a smaller group of musicians, combining percussion, guitar, strings, synth effects, and, of course, vocals. The vocals provide most of the meat of each piece as they are meant to provide not only the melody but to give each piece their own style and tone. A new language was created to not only make the music relevant to the game’s setting, but to also give that demonic sound. To do this, Deriviere had found a group called Iré to do the vocal parts.
Exemplifying this approach, “Souls” starts with a male voice that chants the initial melody along with some percussion. Then when you think things will get tense, a female vocalist takes the spotlight and gives the composition a more relaxing sound. However, this relaxed feeling will be short lived as the female vocalist changes to a more sinister melody which sounds like our inner demon is mocking our resolve, hoping that we embrace the darker side. Which is exactly what the game is about, you play a hero who is possessed by the soul of a fire demon. You can choose to embrace it or disregard its call. “Souls” is a perfect representation of that inner conflict. It has hypnotic timbres that are only amplified by beautiful vocal work and well utilized percussion.
“Life” is more vibrant in its musical colors providing a wide array of sounds. The female vocalist produces a quite seductive melody to start beckoning us to get lost in the music. The synth effects and percussion provide a nice relaxing touch. At no point does the percussion become overbearing and the female and male exchanges are great. The melody from “Souls” makes another appearance to provide continuity and the strings make the composition sound full and complete. I really enjoyed the operatic vocals, giving us an eerie and surreal touch. I really enjoy the tribal and primal sound that Deriviere creates for Bound by Flame. “Miio” sounds very relaxing with soft female vocals that sound like a beautiful bard singing in a tavern somewhere. The guitar offers a very homely effect and the harmonies created in the vocal part are a nice touch. The percussion is very subdued here and that is perfect for this as it keeps the song moving, but doesn’t allow it to sound too busy. The atmosphere that Deriviere creates is very organic and ethereal.
Despite only being three tracks, this “soundtrack” is still worth a listen given its 2 USD pricetag. Featuring compelling melodies performed by some talented vocalists, diverse percussion, and other forces provide an interesting soundscape that definitely defies what most people identify as fantasy music. Although on the same token this could be a turn off for those would rather hear bombastic and sweeping orchestrations. Deriviere certainly put a lot of thought into the music and the particular group of instruments used, even right down to using a made-up language. Although I could have done with a more complete release, this serves as an appropriate teaser to something that could be one of the more experimental scores in the fantasy game genre. Hopefully, Mr. Deriviere will release a complete score someday.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 5, 2014 by Josh Barron. Last modified on August 3, 2014.