Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Friday, April 02, 2010


God of War III
Music by Gerard Marino, Jeff Rona, Ron Fish, Mike Reagan, and Cris Velasco
Sumthing Else SE-2080-2 (US)
24 Tracks 59:09 mins

You always know what you're going to get with the music for the God of War game series - and that's quality. So, it's no surprise that here we have again another great 2010 game score - and it's still only the start of April.
The award-winning music scores for the first two games in the God of War series were scored by a team of composers all writing their cues individually, yet the scores held together well as a complete whole. There was obviously no need to change a winning format and so God of War III features cues written by game music specialists Gerard Marino, Mike Reagan, Ron Fish and Cris Velasco, with film and TV composer Jeff Rona also contributing for the first time.
The music is played by the renowned Skywalker Session Orchestra, with choral parts recorded in Prague with the Czech National Symphony Chorus. Featured musicians are Chris Bleth, who handles the woodwind solos; with World Strings Solos by Loga Ramin Torkian, and percussion performed by MB Gordy and Jonathan Mayer.
Marino provides the first 4 tracks on the album and a further 3, including the final cue, "End of Vengeance." Fish and Velasco both have 5, Reagan 4, and Rona contributes just 3.
Gerard Marino is of course the composer most associated with the franchise and he opens the album with "God of War III Overture" which, after a dissonant opening, bursts powerfully forth with propulsive orchestra and choir. The equally powerful opening of "Call to Arms" very much continues the mood and style, before engaging in full-blown conflict to close. "Poseidon's Wrath" presents more powerful orchestral/choral action writing, with ethnic woodwinds and percussion adding to the mix. After a big opening reprise of the main theme, "Revenge Falling," we go into a brief clone of James Horner's Aliens music most often heard in numerous trailers over the years, before a big choral conclusion. Marino is next heard from in track 12, "Tides of Chaos," a turbulent, drum-driven piece, which suddenly turns dark and mysterious, with ethnic woodwinds, before the choir and drums return to propel it to a powerful, almost barbaric conclusion. "Rage of Sparta" is next for Marino, with choir, drums and low strings driving this one forward. The final cue on the album, "End of Vengeance," sees Marino wrap things up with in fine style with yet more powerful orchestral/choral writing and a further reprise of the main theme, with a mysterious woodwind interlude and then a strange silence, before the woodwind returns to play us out, this time accompanied by strings and drums.
Jeff Rona makes his first contribution with track 5, the choral requiem "Anthem of the Dead," and follows this up with "Duel with Hades," all pounding drums and twisted brass, leading to a punchy conclusion. "Lure of a Goddess" is Rona's final track, a suitably seductive, ethnic-styled dance.
Ron Fish first makes the scene with track 6, "Depths of Hades," which is suitably foreboding to start with, before transforming into an exciting action piece. Tracks 8-10 also belong to Fish, commencing with "Labor of Destruction," with its heavy brass, percussion and hissing choral. "The Three Judges" moves expectantly to a fateful choral ending; whilst "The Lost Souls" is dissonant and nightmarish. Fish's final contribution is the suitably propulsive "The March of Tartarus."
The first of Mike Reagan's four offerings is the mysterious, then awe-filled "The Forge of Hephaestus." After a big choral opening, "The Great Machine" settles into a propulsive groove, before ending in a feeling of overwhelming hopelessness. The huge choral "Revenge Rising" speaks perfectly of vengeance; whilst Reagan's final offering, "In the face of Fear" is another propulsive orchestral/choral combo.
Last, but certainly not least, comes one of my favourite game music composers, Cris Velasco, starting out with tracks 13-15. Firstly,"Stalker," a rhythmic, ethnic-flavoured action cue; then "The Muse's Song," another ethnic-flavoured piece, with wailing female voice and ethnic woodwind both having their say in this ever intensifying piece; and thirdly, "Brothers of Blood," another powerful and propulsive choir-driven piece. Next up, is track 19, "Pandora's Song," an emotion-filled piece for wordless male vocalist, ethnic woodwind and full choir. Velasco's final cue, "All for Nothing" starts out in action mode, and then turns elegiac, with a final menacing flurry at the end.
Although I chose to review the album by separating out the various composers' efforts, really it has to be said that, despite all the different hands, this is very much a unified score, each track blending perfectly with the other. The fine musical tradition of the the God of War franchise continues, with this fine album available both on CD and as a digital download from Don't waste a minute!


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