Killer Instinct -Season Two- Original Soundtrack

 killerinstinctremake2 Album Title:
Killer Instinct -Season Two- Original Soundtrack
Record Label:
Microsoft Studios
Catalog No.:
N/A
Release Date:
August 4, 2015
Purchase:
Download at Amazon MP3

Overview

Mick Gordon’s return to the Killer Instinct series for Season 2 came with another round of unique character themes that give each player his or her own musical identity in the game. The new characters in Killer Instinct: Season 2, some new to the game, others new to the season, each bring with them a background and story that is their own. Gordon works to musically represent those backgrounds through the energetic and flashy themes in each of the nine tracks in the Season 2 album.

Body

The change of season is noticeable from the opening  track, “I’m Back (to Rise),” which is a catchy rap and the theme of Combo, a heavyweight boxer who is returning in this season to fight his way to glory and revenge.  With lavish production values, strong vocal performances, and an eight minute playtime, it is clear that a lot of effort went into making this opener as mesmerizing as possible. Complete with plenty of references to the original Killer Instinct theme, it tops even the songs from the Season 1 soundtrack.

Moving to the instrumental tracks, “Village of Whispers” is an unusual  piece with a half-spoken, half-chanted vocal line alongside an haunting melody of female vocals. The musical setting is fitting, representing a spectral character coming from a murdered family, and the vocals add an ethereal element to otherwise pounding and rhythmic track. “Inferno” was an incredibly solid track on album; compared to the original “Trailblazer” from the original Killer Instinct soundtrack, it feels much fuller and more weighty, with rich electric guitars ripping through the furious melody.  It’s raw and satisfying, and as the piece continues the rhythm breaks down into different sections, it leads up to a surprisingly soft and mellow section, still packed with energy but more contained.

The thematic emphasis of each of the tracks is what gives them their uniqueness; “Temperance and Vengeance” features earthy females vocals and an unlikely combo of tribal melodies and techno.  Unlike a lot of the other tracks, it relies less on electric guitar and more on synth sounds for its overall affect of 90’s fusion pop. Even further down the electronic/synth spectrum is “.execute,” which brings a strong percussive/bass element that underlies a raw electronic genre of sounds. Lacing the entire track is the Killer Instinct main theme, which is a fascinating addition to the track.

Another highlight was “Polemos,” which has a Mediterranean vibe (reflecting the Babylonian golem represented in this theme), through a thematic key and twangy mandolin, infused with the dark electric guitars that lace the entire album. The percussion in “Polemos” is particularly heavy, and when combined with the vocals, feels in some way like a more fleshed-out version of “Warlord,” with the added instrumental layers and Middle Eastern scalar motifs.

One notable element in the series of character themes on the album is the idle theme of the character, which prevents each track from being a single looped element. For example, “Polemos” adds a more alto-ranged guitar to the melody for about a minute before returning to the loop, for example, and “Inferno” suddenly drops to a piano dynamic. “Village of Whispers” pauses for an eerily childlike melody. The section is unquestionably what makes some of the pieces;  Gordon stays in the East with the following track, “Sandstorm,” which features a bassline motif dotted throughout the piece through the piece, as the piece alternates between featuring its percussion, its repetitive bassline, and patterns of electronics.

Summary

Season 2 is a worthy successor of Season 1, both bringin new character themes to the game and rewriting the returning characters themes for a complete revamp of the score.  The album is packed with energy and nonstop movement: even the idle themes, while calmer, can hardly be described as “calm.” Fans of the original Killer Instinct music or the new game’s score should certainly check these new themes out. Note that the Season 2 tracks were packaged with a reprint of the separately-reviewed Killer Instinct Gold soundtrack for the digital release, providing a mixture of new and old to enjoy.

Killer Instinct -Season Two- Original Soundtrack Emily McMillan

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Posted on September 8, 2015 by Emily McMillan. Last modified on September 9, 2015.

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About the Author

Emily McMillan

A native and lifelong Texan, I currently work in software education while contributing news, reviews, and interviews to VGMO on the side. I love the feeling that comes with the discovery of a brand new soundtrack, and always look forward to the next rekindling of that excitement. Outside of VGMO, I enjoy playing piano, listening to classical music and film scores, and trying to go unnoticed in any stealth RPG I can find.



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