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Thursday, August 23, 2007

CD REVIEW - GEARS OF WAR + News of a new release from Screen Archives Entertainment and BYU

Gears of War
Music by Kevin Riepl
Sumthing Else SE-2035-2 (US)
28 Tracks 69:21 mins

I am sure fans of the game Gear of War will be delighted that Kevin Riepl's fine score has been finally released on CD, courtesy of the enterprising Sumthing Else label. An album of mainly loud rock songs has been available for some time but Riepl's score certainly deserves a release and it's yet another excellent game score album, easily the equal of any film score soundtrack making the rounds.
I'm not a gamer, so am not overly familiar with the premise of the game, but it appears to be an outer space combat adventure, similar in some respects to the film Starship Troopers.
Riepl has previously scored such games as Shrek 2, Pitfall - The Lost Expedition and the Nancy Drew series, and provides a largely orchestral score, featuring the dependable Northwest Sinfonia, under the experienced baton of Tim Simonec, who also orchestrated, along with Chris Tilton, who has orchestrated for Michael Giacchino, as well as having written game scores himself.
As one would expect, there is plenty of high octane action writing to be found over the album's generous playing time, sometimes purely orchestral, at others enhanced with electronics or a range of percussion, some of it quite industrial. Pitted against the propulsive main theme, there is a kind of dark march for the villains of the piece, which is suitably menacing, along with some atonal, scene-setting atomospherics, but these latter moments are few and far between, and even the suspenseful moments of the score often have movement to them, making this a thoroughly entertaining listen throughout.


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