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CD: God of War: Ascension (2013)
Review Rating:   Very Good  
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March 12, 2013

Tracks / Album Length:

27 tracks / (65:35)



Tyler Bates


Special Notes:

16-page colour booklet with liner notes / Limited to 3000 copies.

Comments :    

300 (2006) may have typecast Tyler Bates to the extent of being the go-to composer for epic scores that harken back to a Medieval or antiquities era, but it’s arguably given him plum opportunities to write and perform scores with massive orchestral elements, and God of War: Ascension doesn’t disappoint in its enormous scope, with big brass, percussion, and mixed chorus (with vocal solos by Ciscandra Nostalghia).

Bates was able to integrate a handful of themes into the PS3 video game score, ensuring most of the CD follows a quest-like path after the obligatory opening action cue (“Primordial Rage”). Most tracks build towards a major dramatic declaration, if not snarl forward into a heavy action cue with thunderous percussion (“Warrior’s Truth”) and heavy chorus reminiscent of Basil Poledouris’ Conan the Barbarian (1982), but Bates' fluid marriage of styles also traverse Gregorian harmonics, raging liturgical incantations, and little touches that pay homage to middle eastern prayer calls.

The choral declarations get a little too familiar near the end (“Prison of the Damned”) due to Bates structuring cues to reach the same high-strung, emotional pitch, but there’s much to enjoy in his orchestrations, especially the fine instrumental details and vocal colours which ensure none of the action build-up are wholly identical (and monotonous).

La-La Land’s CD features sharp mastering, and although most cues average 2 minutes, the hour-long disc features just enough balance between action and short slow-down cues to let listeners decompress a little between the orchestral grandeur (such as the leadened “”Martyr’s Chamber,” with its echoey trumpet that oddly evokes jazzman Don Ellis).



© 2013 Mark R. Hasan



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