Rise of the Tomb Raider Original Soundtrack
Rise of the Tomb Raider Original Soundtrack
July 27, 2016
Download at SoundCloud
A veteran of Hans Zimmer’s production company, Bobby Tahouri has worked on all sorts of titles over the years: Games of Thrones, Iron Man, and Despicable Me among them. In the majority of these roles, he has served as a co-composer or composer assistant. But with Rise of the Tomb Raider, the composer finally received the opportunity to take a solo role on a AAA production and he recorded the entire soundtrack with the Nashville Music Scoring Orchestra. The 23-track score was released completely for free through Crystal Dynamics’ SoundCloud to coincide with the game.
On first listen, it’s clear that Rise of the Tomb Raider is yet another action-packed cinematic adventure score. The music follows the much-used epic sound and extremely functional post-Zimmer (a fun term coined by a composer once upon a time UK) rhetoric to get its messages of danger, urgency and other emotions across. During the last 10+ or so years, the amount of such music has kept increasing. So much so that sometimes it feels like it is everywhere. The genre has a big audience and is extensively used because of its high degree of functionality and impact. And in the case of the latest iteration of Tomb Raider, it does deliver in-game, but how does it function in our home-audio systems without Lara?
From the very beginning the soundtrack builds tension and works up the action. The first track “London” introduces us to colors of melancholy and kicks off a new adventure for Lara and her crew. Along the way, it tastefully incorporate’s Lara’s Theme from Jason Graves’ 2013 soundtrack, while also firmly asserting Tahouri’s cinematic soundtrack. The next track “The Prophet’s Tomb” introduces the main color of the soundtrack – danger of discovery – immediately after before “Siberia It Is Then” presents the first straightforward, aggressive action track. It packs a punch with power and doesn’t leave any question about the mood. “Blood in the Snow” continues with the same power, though with a tad lower gear and has a more urgent quality rather than immediate life threatening danger.
Most of the “atmospheric” tracks of the soundtrack have a quality of tension to them. As if something is always lurking around the corner. “The Expedition”, “Soviet Facility” and “Revelations” are prime examples of this, each in their own way. There are many others here and there throughout the score but they give a great picture of their kind on the soundtrack.
A couple of more positive tracks have also found their way to the soundtrack. While most of the one-hour score is packed with action and tension, these deliver hope and light to the otherwise dark score. Since “London” the first of these comes about halfway in to the score. “Something Else Happened”, while still being on the burdened side, introduces colors of hope and possibilities for the first time since leaving home. “The Atlas” takes this to another direction with a bit more grandeur and power, while “Echoes of the Past” is a beautiful, calm pastoral track for the most part. Regardless, it still reminds the listener that we are not home yet.
“Do What You Must” brings a refreshing breeze into the action scene. This time the listener can feel that we got this. We have a chance to make it. While being one of the shorter tracks, it still has a change of leaving a heroic impact. This track is also a tipping point in the tone of the soundtrack. Until “Do What You Must”, the soundtrack has been tense, dangerous and you’ve had to fight for your life for the most part. After the track, the music collectively has a tone of survival, making the listener feel that we will make it home. “The Deathless Prophet”, “The Reckoning” and “Execution” deliver the last moments of suspense before the conclusion of our adventure. The title track “Rise of the Tomb Raider” concludes the score with determination though remaining slightly flat and not quite delivering with the same power as the soundtrack did in the beginning.
The soundtrack for Rise of the Tomb Raider is well-produced. It stays true to the traditions of the genre and at times makes an impact. If the listener is looking for the easy-to-digest epic ear-candy, that is exactly what they’ll find here. While staying true to traditions is the strength of the score, it is also its downfall. The score delivered nothing new to the already crowded epic music scene. Regarding the musical narrative, the score starts strong but kind of belly-flops in the end. The build-up towards the conclusion does not quite satisfy as an out-of-game experience. In short, Rise of the Tomb Raider is a well-produced and functional score in-game with a few high points. However, the score does not quite make it without the immediate connection to the game.
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Posted on February 28, 2017 by Markus Lappalainen. Last modified on February 28, 2017.