Guild Wars 2 Soundtrack / Best of
Guild Wars 2 Soundtrack / Best of
August 28, 2012
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Jeremy Soule has returned to the spotlight this year with his scores to two major sequels: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and, of course, Guild Wars 2. With Guild Wars and its expansions, Soule created plenty of music that not only reflected the world of Ascalon, but resonated and made a home in my heart with its powerful themes. It only seemed natural that he would return for Guild Wars 2, to the delight of his many fans. To get people ready for the four disc mammoth of a soundtrack, a fifteen minute promotional album was included with the collector’s edition to the game. Does the music hold up to expectations?
The opening track is a first for Jeremy Soule and Guild Wars, and a wonderful one at that! Entitled “Fear Not This Night”, it is a vocal piece featuring full orchestral accompaniment. It starts off serenely with the piano, as heard in the trailers, as the orchestra comes in slowly and somberly. The orchestral writing resonates deep in my heart and fills me with despair, yet the entrance of the beautiful vocalist Asja restores my hope. The lyrics are surprisingly emotional and well done — pertinent to the game’s story, in which heroes face the evils of Ascalon. I love the bridge of this piece with the strings driving the orchestra toward the gorgeous climax. I am simply blown away by the expert writing of this composition and I only hope that Jeremy Soule writes more music like this in the future.
The familiar Guild Wars theme makes it welcome return in “Tyrian Overture”. It maintains the reverb-heavy spiritual sound of the original, but sounds more richly orchestrated and convincingly implemented. This time, the music is more of a darker tone than its original incarnation, with the contrabasses filling out the lower register to create a sense of foreboding throughout. The horn melody soars and all the elements that make a great title theme are there. There is a reserved power here in this composition, which is very appropriate. “Asura at Work” further demonstrates Soule’s versatility as an orchestral composer. It reminds me so much of the music from Fable to start, with the pizzicato strings being used in a way that is bouncy and playful. The music that follows is strongly rooted in classical music and melodies presented are just wonderfully crafted. They’re so memorable that I found myself humming them earlier today!
“Heritage of Humanity” is the theme of the Humans. It starts with a beautiful string introduction that leads to a regal horn melody that makes one imagine massive cities and castles. It has a sense of strength and hope that seems to be an underlying current through the score. Next is the theme for the Charr, titled “The Charr Triumphant”. This is certainly a different style than the previous offerings — more visceral with driving drums, aggressive string work, and powerful brass melodies that indicate that the Charr are a race to be feared. Another reprise, “The Saga of the Norn features an updated and more fleshed out version of the Norn Theme from Eye of the North (originally featured in the track “Song of the Shiverpeaks”). This version features more brass and drum parts, making it so much more appealing than its previous incarnation. It evokes a sense of triumph and pride to represent the Norn perfectly.
Overall, while on the short side, the Best of Guild Wars 2 compilation is a good introduction to Soule’s work on Guild Wars 2. The themes present are some of Soule’s most engaging and emotive works yet, benefiting especially from Soule’s updated instrument samples. “Fear Not This Night” is now my favorite piece by Jeremy and I hope that he considers more work like this for future projects, as I think he has struck gold on this experiment! This makes me excited for the full release, but will it meet my already high expectations? Soon, Jeremy Soule will release the four disc commercial score for the game through his record label DirectSong.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Josh Barron. Last modified on August 1, 2012.