Call of Juarez -The Cartel- Original Game Soundtrack

Call of Juarez -The Cartel- Original Game Soundtrack Album Title:
Call of Juarez -The Cartel- Original Game Soundtrack
Record Label:
Ubisoft Music
Catalog No.:
Release Date:
July 19, 2011
Download at iTunes


The setting for Call of Juarez has changed yet again in the third game in this series, entitled The Cartel. This instalment is about Ben McCall, descendent of the McCall family from the previous games, and takes place in the modern world rather than the classic western one. Since Pawel Blaszczak now works for developer Techland, he returned to the scoring duties for the franchise. The music for the last two games was outstanding but does the same apply to this game?


This time around, the game is definitely not a western, nor is it about the McCall brother but rather about their descendent. It is really intriguing to see how Pawel has adapted the switch of setting to his work. The western sounding acoustics and epic melodies are definitely back, but the themes definitely sound more modern now with the heavy addition of samplers heard in most soundtracks today. For example, the main theme uses grandiose Zimmer-styled brass and rustic Morricone-influenced percussion to keep a balance between the series’ historic nature and the modern settings. With its memorable melody and beautiful orchestration, it still retains the aura of its predecessors, if not quite matching its predecessors. It also leaves plenty of suspense during the more ambient sections to let the storyline unfold.

In contrast to other soundtracks in the series, there is only one character theme this time round, dedicated to “Jess’ Theme”. The melody perfectly captures her innocence and reflects that she is an average person in an extraordinary situation. The focus on violin and piano is spot on, while the occasional vocal and harmonica evokes memories of spaghetti westerns. It’s a pity that the orchestration is a little too thin in places and the production values are on the lower-end side. Indeed, the soundtrack definitely lacks thematic and expressive tracks on with “Back Home” and “Welcome to Arkansas” featured in previous games, and some like “Move Out” and “Silent Killers” could come out of any Hollywood action movie. The only slow theme that I can actually call unique is “Stones Funeral”, where the bagpipe melody captures the military tradition of burying servicemen proudly.

In addition to the more scenic tracks, Pawel has done a wonderful job adapting to the modern setting in his action themes. Many of the action themes are really exciting in this title and have a modern Hollywood influence. For example, “Highway Chase” shows that Pawel has what it takes to stand alongside composers like Steve Jablonsky with its head-turning melody. While stereotypical, it’s just as epic as themes from the Transformers trilogy and demonstrates what a composer can accomplish if given the right resources. Unfortunately, a few others are too repetitive for my tastes. Tracks like “Action” are totally effective in context and have moments of great creativity, but simply lack the harmonic variety to stand among the best.

To redeem this, tracks like “Chasing Juan” are the link to the music from the previous games, as they use the same motifs heard from the previous games — which is all the more memorable in the context of the game. There are also still themes like “Final Shootout” that use both western and electric instruments to reflect the hybridised setting.


Since the setting is completely new in The Cartel, I tried my best to judge the soundtrack as if it were from a new series. However, the fact still remains that I was hoping for something more worthwhile from Pawel after his amazing and memorable themes in the previous two games. Too many slow tracks are too simple to be unique and the action themes are often repetitious. However, there are still a few action tracks and strong themes here and there that reignite the series’ allure. The soundtrack is definitely worthwhile to listen to, but it will be nothing special for the old fans.

Call of Juarez -The Cartel- Original Game Soundtrack Harris Iqbal

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


Posted on August 1, 2012 by Harris Iqbal. Last modified on August 1, 2012.

About the Author

Lover of games and humble listener of music, not to mention A HUGE FAN. I love anything that has memorable melodies in it, or a good story to tell. Also... huge horror fan... HUGE! So, Silent Hill is the best Survival Horror game ever... NO DEBATE! Anyways, the previous version of this site was where I first got my writing start in 2009, with the help of Chris Greening. Now, with around 5 years of experience writing for various websites, I plan to give you some really kickass articles!

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