Killzone -Mercenary- Original Soundtrack
Killzone -Mercenary- Original Soundtrack
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
September 04, 2013
Buy at PSN
Creating and releasing a first person shooter for the Playstation Vita that is Playstation 3 quality is a huge claim, even coming from Sony. I certainly bought in come release day. I couldn’t wait to experience a ‘triple-A’ FPS on my tiny little Vita screen that is constantly covered in finger prints. You play as Danner, a mercenary who collects money to break through Helghan and Vekta forces. All the while, Danner is obliged to save a child named Justus. In the midst of keeping Justus out of harms way and ultimately stopping the world from being completely destroyed, Danner will learn if money is truly what he is fighting for. This quality gaming experience would not be as impressive if it were not for Walter Mair’s explosive soundtrack.
The Killzone Mercenary Original Soundtrack will pull your ear in many different directions all the while prepping you for a free-for-all type combat zone. Mair uses years of award winning compositional experience to create an intense electro-orchestral soundtrack that is a must-own for music fans and video game fans alike. From ambient electronic pulses to epic, full sounding percussion riffs to dissonant string build-ups, this soundtrack is 45 minutes of pure Killzone action. In tracks reminiscent of the vibe of Joris de Man’s previously released Killzone trilogy, Mair cranks out music providing a truly memorable listening experience.
Mair takes influences from Man’s work on previous titles. “The Exoskeleton” from the Killzone 2 Original Soundtrack comes to mind when I listen to Mair’s work on Mercenary. The electro-orchestral ensemble creates continuity within the series as both Man and Mair use aggressive string riffs and deep brass tones mixed with synthetic and electronic percussion sounds. However, Mair brings a certain gritty intensity to the series that differs from Man’s traditional orchestra sound as heard in “Nuked” and “Bridge Down”, for example.
I enjoy how Mair uses found electronic sounds to create rhythm and melody in “The Package”. Bombastic string and wind parts jump out right in the beginning but are soon swept away by electronic sounds. The sounds take the music over and become the driving melody layered on top of the energetic percussion and orchestra riff. When the music comes to a halt, the layered textures grind against each other, which creates a tense atmosphere filled with anticipation. The march-like vibe and crunchy electronic sounds symbolize the war that is raging. Some of the percussive instruments played rhythms that to me sounded like boots on the ground. You can absolutely get yourself ready for Mercenary carnage while listening to this track for sure.
“Lights Out” bought me back to reality after being immersed in the dark sounds of “The Package”. The electronic sounds are blended very well with natural sounding percussion and string instruments. The instruments are mixed so they sound surreal during the middle of the song. My heart sank a bit the first time I listened as a standalone track. It sounded wet and malleable and was drenched in effects that seem to be controlled every second with automation techniques. The music takes an orchestral turn accented with heavy percussion hits. The synth sounds are truly remarkable and distorted just enough to give the music some heaviness.
“Lightning Strike” is a piece that I often turn back to while listening through this soundtrack. The music crescendos in a way that reminds me of Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero”. Of course, Mair’s take on the ‘starting from nothing and gradually getting louder’ format includes electronic instruments to continue the warped, distorted atmosphere the rest of the soundtrack possesses.
I enjoy how the glitches in “Blood Money” create rhythms. The percussion is mixed well with the processed glitches and scrapes to create a tight electro-orchestral sound. The layered synth sounds mixed with the epic sounding choir provide a grand yet dark sound in the introduction. Tempo changes happen suddenly in this piece and changes moods frequently from making you feel like a hero, to the feeling of being dropped in a black hole. The distorted drums in the background during the more subdued sections add syncopation to the minimalist melodies and soundscapes. This track speaks to the turmoil and cut-throat war tactics I experienced during gameplay. The money you collect in the game has the same feel as “Blood Money”, a little dirty but really fun!
“Exit Wounds” grooves in a sinister way. The percussion is effected in such a way that produces a nearly hollow sound. The delay adds to the rhythm and fills the space perfectly, adding a smooth layer for the horn cues during the quieter section of the intro. The music takes a turn after the intro to a cinematic type of scene and makes you feel more powerful while playing the game.
I savored the silence after the final track, “War Is Our Business”. I sat up in my seat wanting more heart pounding music. I just assumed there was a really long pause, or maybe YouTube skipped or something. But no, the final track left me feeling like I was about to fall off a cliff when the music came to a halt. The final climax has a distorted layer of synthetic instruments that gradually gets quiet to the point of silence. Once the silence got uncomfortable, I put the soundtrack on again from the top.
There is a lot of music to digest, and most tracks are about 2 to 4 minutes in length. Listeners should pay close attention as each piece switches gears frequently. Mair takes many hints from previous Killzone titles and adds a strong characteristic to the music. The minor melodies in “Diplomatic Incident” will pull on your heartstrings ever so slightly, all while being shrouded in mysterious minor chords and edgy brass tones. I enjoyed the music as a standalone experience just as much as I enjoyed the music during gameplay.
The gameplay and music work in tandem to help create one of the best ‘cinematic’ gaming experiences I have come across. The music brought the intense story to life and kept me on the edge of my seat. I felt empowered while listening and even heroic at times, especially during the more up-tempo tracks. Walter Mair brings an incredibly aggressive sound to the Killzone series. This music is mixed like you are really in an industrial warzone kind of setting. However, residents outside of the United Kingdom will not get a chance to download the music on their Playstation 3 consoles. Not even iTunes contains this epic game soundtrack. I was disappointed that I was not able to take the music with me or purchase it, but was happy enough to listen on YouTube. I highly recommend the Killzone Mercenary Soundtrack for music lovers, as there is action, suspense and an incredible connection to the gameplay.
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Posted on February 28, 2015 by Marc Chait. Last modified on January 19, 2016.