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Howard Shore Soul of the Ultimate Nation – Soundtrack Review

Here is our soundtrack reivew for Howard Shore Soul of the Ultimate Nation

It may seem strange that someone of the caliber of Academy Award and Grammy Award-winning composer Howard Shore would be composing soundtrack music for an online game, but Shore is actually no stranger to quirky projects. Though most famous for The Lord of the Rings score and scores for nearly all of David Cronenberg’s films, Shore has also created a variety of more unusual pieces, including an opera based on the movie The Fly, and a fanfare piece written specifically for the Philadelphia Orchestra.

This particular project, the soundtrack for the Soul of the Ultimate Nation online game, was conceived in 2004 and completed in 2007. Although the soundtrack was released in a handful of countries at that time, it’s only now that it’s being made available in a worldwide collector’s edition, both as a physical product and a digital download.

The soundtrack is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a Howard Shore soundtrack, and that’s to say it’s very good, but also very much in his usual vein. There’s nothing particularly innovative here, but given the quality of the compositions, the “same old Howard Shore” is a very good Howard Shore indeed. This soundtrack is big and confident, but it’s also subtle when appropriate.

One thing that works very well for this soundtrack is its length. Many game soundtracks are on the short side and don’t really use the space to uncover everything that could be done with the genre. Shore has almost always favored lengthy compositions, and that blends well with the grand orchestral themes and bold choral statements. Both darkness and light are explored in great depth here.

Certainly some more thought could have been given to the track titles. Repetitive prepositional phrases abound; there are a lot of “X of the Y”-type titles that aren’t terribly imaginative considering the music they represent. However, an issue with titles can be ignored a lot more easily than an issue with the music, and overall these are good, solid, if not slightly same-y pieces that most Howard Shore fans will certainly enjoy.

Howard Shore Soul of the Ultimate Nation Track Listing

1. Sanctuary of Ether
2. A Prelude to Revolt
3. Tides of Hope
4. Helron’s Castle
5. The Triumph
6. The Valley of Dragons
7. Forest of the Beasts
8. Empire Geist
9. The Epitaph
10. Night of the Crescent Moon
11. Hymns of Battlefields
12. Immortal Emperor
13. March to Victory
14. A Poem for Nemesis
15. Soul of the Ultimate Nation
16. Requiem for the Dead
17. Ethereal Life
18. A Pernicious Plot
19. Graveyard of Aiort
20. Menace of the Army Wings

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