Fallout 4 Original Game Soundtrack
Fallout 4 Original Game Soundtrack
November 6, 2015
Download at iTunes
Seven years after the universally acclaimed Fallout 3, Bethesda finally released the follow-up (not counting Fallout: New Vegas from 2010) to the hugely successful title, Fallout 4. Inon Zur, who also composed Fallout 3, once again helmed the music for the series. And this time, Zur composed a whopping 65 original tracks, totaling about three and a half hours of music, to capture the soundscape of the desolate wastelands in the Fallout universe.
The soundtrack begins with the “Fallout 4 Main Theme”, which will sound familiar to those who have heard the Main Theme of Fallout 3 as these two tracks share the same melody. The familiar theme is sounding more epic than ever in this new iteration fully fledged out by the live orchestra and the piano. The track starts out serenely with piano and strings, but as the percussion joins in, the piano shifts to a much lower register to play the brooding melody. The brass section comes in later, giving the track a fuller sound as it slowly builds towards a grand climax. The “Fallout 4 Main Theme” is probably the most melodious track in the entire soundtrack as the rest focus more on creating an ambiance.
“The Commonwealth” is a minimalist piece that begins with muffled bells to evoke the image of a bleak landscape, joined by strings and woodwinds later. The same set of instruments is used in “Of Green and Grey”, as well as bagpipes, to create a sustained grim soundscape of airy drone. In these two tracks, the melody is sparse and the track focuses more on the timbre of the instruments and they would set the tone for much of the remainder of the soundtrack.
“Combat Ready” is a rhythmic track composed entirely of different percussive parts which fit in nicely with each other to form a palpitating atmosphere. “War in the Wastes” is another rhythmic piece that put together multiple percussion with different timbres as well as some brass instruments to create a varied and colorful soundscape.
“Brightness Calling” utilizes ringing chimes, harp, flute, and violin to create an ethereal vibe. The violin gives the airy track more gravity when it comes in with a sustained piercing tone. “Of the people, for the People” shares a similar set of instruments and atmosphere with the previous track, but also throws bagpipes into the mix for a more sonorous sound supported by a recurring pattern by plucked string.
There are multiple “Wandering” tracks in the soundtrack composed for various different locales in the game divided into two or three parts. “Wandering – The Blasted Forest” Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 are both very plain tracks with only strings and bells/woodwinds spread thinly over the track to evoke a barren image. “Wandering – the City” has three parts. Pt. 1 has low strings and booming percussive sounds to paint an ominous picture of a huge reverberating space. Pt. 2 has the strings repeat a two-note motif with low tremolos between the repetitions before adding in more melody into the track. Pt.3 is a tranquil track of primarily harp and some resounding low drones.
“Rebuild, Renew” is a track with a serene and hopeful atmosphere. The track is very well developed with plenty of nuanced changes throughout its lengthy runtime. The bells and muffled piano expresses a barren feel while the strings carry a positive vibe with its piercing tone. “Quarter” is an intense track that makes use a colorful palette of percussive and brass sounds to build up the tension. “The Vigilant”, a rare melodious track, has the trumpet carry the optimistic melody with its bright timbre supported by a marching beat by the drums.
The next set of “Wandering” tracks are “Wandering – The Foothills”, separated into 3 parts. Pt. 1 starts with reverberating bells and plucked strings to evoke a mystical feeling before the flute leads into a tranquil section with a lot of mellow sustaining tones. Albeit beginning with some unsettling tremulous woodwind parts, Pt. 2 eventually settles into stillness drawn out by a booming drone. Pt. 3 is best defined by the tribal horn sound scattered throughout the tracks, contrasted sharply by the occasional brief harp sections.
“A Critical Chance” is an urgent track with a rapid repeating pattern by the strings while the brass section propels the motif forward with its deep resonant timbre. Despite being a primarily brass piece and feature marching drum beats, “Honor and Steel” is a rather serene track driven by a hopeful melody which constantly modulates. In contrast, “Dominant Species” is an all-out piece with bombastic percussion and a grandiose melody that makes it stand out among the dominantly ambient soundtrack.
“Wandering – The Glowing Sea” Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 are perhaps two of the most ambient tracks in the entire soundtracks. Both tracks are made up of airy sustained drones at dissonance when juxtaposed to create an ominous atmosphere. The last set “Wandering – The Coast” is again divided in to 3 parts. Pt. 1 features woodwind and chimes, which gives it a solitary vibe. Pt. 2 begins with some minor arpeggio figures by plucked strings before transitioning to sustained airy drones that gives the track a sense of stillness. Pt. 3 starts with an accordion to give the track more textures but it still relies heavily on drones to set the atmosphere.
In “Lone Wondering”, the gentle timbre of the harp is starkly contrasted with rough sounds of tribal horns. The contrast can be seen as an analogy of which the harp represents the lone wondering soul while the tribal horns symbolize the harsh environment. “Enough is Enough” is a compelling track with relentless momentum driven by percussion and brass. The motif of the main theme was seamlessly inserted towards the end of the track.
“Covert Action” features a stealthy trumpet motif supported by a repeating fading one-note pattern and piano arpeggio figures. “In This Together” is a track that gradually builds up from just sparse bells to the full tones of strings and the piercing timbre of bagpipes, adding on to the colors of the track while still maintaining its tranquillity. At the end of the soundtrack, we return once again to the “Fallout 4 Main Theme” in the form of “Spinner Mix”. While the remix of the main theme sound rather similar to the original with only some changes in instrumentation, it is a nice touch to close the massive soundtrack with the memorable and familiar motif.
Fallout 4 Original Game Soundtrack is an ambient soundtrack that excels at setting a mood or creating an atmosphere with different timbres and tone colors, credited to the mastery of Inon Zur as a composer. However, most of these tracks do not function as well without its accompanying visual, especially to those who have not played the game before, because of the subtlety of the compositions and their heavy reliance on timbre. I find it rather difficult to listen to the entire soundtrack in one sitting and it is not recommended to those looking for a more melodious experience. However, for those who enjoy ambient game music, Fallout 4 Original Game Soundtrack will be well worth your time.
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Posted on December 11, 2015 by KT Wong. Last modified on December 11, 2015.