CD: Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning (2012)

April 9, 2012 | By

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Rating: Very Good

Label: Sumthing Else/ Released: February 7, 2012

Tracks & Album Length: 35 tracks / (71:56)

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Special Notes: 4-page colour booklet.

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Composer: Grant Kirkhope

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Review:

It takes a few listens to really appreciate the richness of Grant Kirkhope’s score, performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Nic Raine. Kirkhope’s approach is all-classical, exploding with the full might of a large orchestra, with heavy brass and strings performing many of the action cues, and strings and woodwinds providing more pensive material (“Dalentarth” is quite beautiful, boasting breathy flutes and a small amount of brass) between aggressive and bombastic cues like the ferocious “Troll.”

The emphasis is on robust, romantic themes and variations, with some obvious homages to John Williams, particularly the boisterous adventurism in cues like “Fight!” with eddying string figures, and the finale to the brief “To War,” which recalls some of the final battle music in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.

Equally impressive are the more pensive cues where Kirkhope had room to prolong a sense of mystery. “Mines and Caves” is wonderfully loose in pacing, allowing for uneasy strings, and a concluding section in which vibes, shimmering effects and brass intermingle. “The Plains of Erathell” is somewhat liturgical in its harmonic arrangements, and features rich warm tones and lovely vibrato from the celli, and the combination of flutes and oboes in “Klurikon” is quite exquisite.

Sumthing Else’s mastering is first rate, and the album is packed with 35 cues which generally flow smoothly between urgent and delicate cues, but there are cuts that simply fade out – either because that was the length of the material, or Kirkhope looped sections for longer play segments. The lack of some cue resolutions does harm the album, particularly the last cue which simply dials down into silence without leaving listeners with any concluding theme recap. That said, as a sampler of Kirkhope’s writing, Reckoning (his tenth score for a videogame) is great fun, and one can see the score easily adapted into a solid, fluid, concert work.

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© 2012 Mark R. Hasan

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External References:

IMDB Soundtrack AlbumComposer Filmography

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