Shank Official Soundtrack
Shank Official Soundtrack
August 23, 2010 (1st Edition); December 26, 2011 (2nd Edition)
Download at Official Site
Shank put an interesting spin on the classic beat ’em up with its badass attitude and stylish animations inspired by comic books. Duo Jason Garner and Vince de Vera captured the modern Western setting of the game with a hybridised guitar-laced soundtrack. The soundtrack was released for free shortly before the game release in 2010 and, to celebrate its appearance in the Humble Indie Bundle, was re-released complete with a preview of the upcoming Shank 2 a year later.
Shank‘s main theme is a great example of the hybridised sound that the duo developed for the game. The howling guitar melodies have a clear rockabilly influence, which complements the stylised environments and graphics of the game quite well. The melody doesn’t pack the strongest punch out there, but it still manages to draw listeners in. What’s more, there is a military element through the combination of synthesized brass and snare that capture the nature of the rogue character. Both elements are treated convincingly in terms of both composition and implementation. But when hybridised together, they sound especially fresh and fitting.
As they develop the soundtrack, the duo offer an enjoyable variety of sounds. “Big Guys Don’t Cry” builds on the ideas of the main theme to portray the main character: rugged, determined, and dangerous. Meanwhile the slowly evolving ambient soundscapes of “Hard Day’s Work” explore the setting of the game in some more detail. The electric guitar strikes an especially mean chord here and combine convincingly with the Hollywood-inspired brass, electronics, and percussion to create a decent soundscape. “Choppers” is faster-paced and hard-edged thanks to another standout guitar performance and potent melodies. However, it doesn’t quite achieve its full potential due to its brevity, much like a few other tracks here.
“Lost Angel” ditches the electric guitars in favour of a dark orchestration inspired somewhat by both romantic requiems and nationalistic marches. This track is ideal for encouraging players to explore their emotions and emphathise with the main character. However, it falls short of being an excellent track due to a combination of naive stylings and production limitations, especially the vocal sampling. “Resurrection” also goes for a slower heartfelt approach in an attempt to create an iconic moment in the game. Other darker tracks such as “Father’s Sin” and “Sweet Revenge” are well-executed, but are so dramatic that they sound a little contrived within such a short soundtrack.
The second edition of the soundtrack comes with a bonus: a preview of the main theme for Shank 2. If this preview is anything to go by, Jason Garner and Vince de Vera will largely continue the same ideas as the original game by mixing western guitar melodies with orchestration. However, the orchestration is somewhat richer here — both in the intimate and grandiose segments — and the melody is somewhat stronger than the original game’s. All in all, a fairly promising insight into the sequel.
All in all, the music of Shank fits the game’s unique western style quite well with a solid mixture of electric guitar leads and Hollywood-inspired orchestration. However, the soundtrack doesn’t always fit this humble indie game due to its tendency to overstate itself. What’s more, many tracks aren’t quite long, polished, or memorable enough to be major highlights. But given this soundtrack is completely free, it’s probably unique and interesting enough to be worth your time. There’s a good chance you might really enjoy it.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Harris Iqbal. Last modified on August 1, 2012.