Homefront Original Soundtrack
Homefront Original Soundtrack
Sumthing Else Music Works
March 8, 2011
Buy at Amazon | Download at Sumthing Digital
Homefront is Kaos Studios’ second game, following Frontlines: Fuel of War, and it once again features a ‘what if’ scenario and first-person shooter gameplay. Matthew Harwood returned to score the game, but took a rather different approach: focusing more on orchestra than electronics. Despite stepping considerably outside his comfort zone, the composed succeeded in producing a solid soundtrack. Coinciding with the release of the game, the soundtrack was commemorated with a physical and digital release by Sumthing Else Music Works.
The symphonic main theme for Homefront is a solid one to define the game. The main brass melody is clearly inspired by military tradition, but still captures the courageous nature of the hero. During the development sections, Harwood captures the frantic and dramatic nature of the action through numerous twists and turns. The string runs and dissonant orchestration at the conclusion emphasises that this is just the beginning of the experience. Harwood manages to integrate the main theme into a number of other tracks on the score to engaging effect, for instance during the centre of the more soothing preparation theme “Lobby” or in certain phrases during the blistering action cue “Back Yard Battle”. Though the theme is occasionally laboured, the various reprises ensure that the score comes together as a fulfilling whole.
Following in the tradition of other first-person shooters, Harwood ensures the action themes on Homefront are both dominant and exciting. The most impressive example for stand-alone listening is “Golden Bridge”. Harwood initially hooks listeners using a combination of ascending string ostinati and rock riffs. With various dramatic shifts and thematic references, Harwood keeps their attention through every second of the four minute score. It’s a great way to plunge them into the action. Among other superb action tracks, “Goliath” appropriately displays the might and brutality of New York’s brass players. “Parking Lot Fight” meanwhile displays the artist’s talents for hybridising Hollywood orchestrations with contemporary rock riffs and electronic beats. Intense in both pace and texture, such themes are an absolutely enthralling part of Homefront.
Thankfully, Harwood introduces some depth to the soundtrack with a number of more introspective themes. His approach to orchestrating “Oasis” and “This Is Our Home” is much more intimate, with slow string build-ups and pensive woodwind solos. One of the reasons these tracks are remarkable is because they transform the main theme with a much more painful tones. These scores might be too shallow to listen to alone, but are powerful while playing the game. More ambient tracks such as “Abandon Streets” also provide a refreshing break from the action. Such tracks manage capture the sense of a lifeless place with their hybridised soundscapes and pin-drop silence, yet encompass a surprising scope nonetheless as gamers go on to explore the environment’s facets.
Completists will be pleased to learn that Sumthing Else Music Works have presented much of the score for the game on their soundtrack release. However, it is worth noting that a large number of the 34 tracks here are used for specific cinematic sequences in the game and are therefore, more often than not, necessarily short. Harwood doesn’t lower the standard of the score when creating these themes — as reflected by the excellence of the fully orchestrated “The Escape” and “Temperance” in particular — ensuring that the game’s cinematics are genuinely enthralling. However, it can be frustrating that these tracks are often end abruptly for contextual reasons, giving the stand-alone soundtrack a less incohesive sound.
Like the previous game, this soundtrack also features a lyrical song co-created by Matthew Harwood and Scott Cresswell. This rock anthem certainly contrasts with the mostly orchestral content of the soundtrack. However, it works quite well in the game with its motivating and patriotic lyrics like “Stand Your Ground, Don’t Back Down”. The main chorus is pretty catchy, the male vocalists are quite enjoyable, and the band accompaniment is robust and enpowering. It’s impressive that the artists managed to produce something of this quality through an in-house approach. Overall, a nice bonus for the soundtrack on par with its predecessor.
With its action-packed orchestrations, the soundtrack for Homefront is a major shift in direction from Frontlines: Fuel of War. While somewhat less individualised, it is more memorable and dramatic soundtrack overall. As well as being a solid if sometimes jarring stand-alone experience, the score is, above all, a narrative that drives the game’s story and its character’s actions. As such, it’s very rare that a soundtrack makes you want to play a game as much as this one.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Harris Iqbal. Last modified on August 1, 2012.