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Killzone 2 by Joris de Man

Killzone 2

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 Killzone 2 (Video Game for Playstation 3)
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Killzone 2 (Soundtrack) by Joris de Man

Killzone 2
Composed by Joris de Man
SCEA (2009)

Rating: 10/10

Not yet available for purchase

 Clips from all 15 tracks


“There are strong and memorable themes, there's solid development, lush orchestration, storytelling quality, and excellent production values — what's not to love? If you like well-crafted, extremely cinematic music for your video games, then you can't go wrong with KILLZONE 2.”

Under-Appreciated Gem
Review by Marius Masalar

Composer Joris de Man

"It was great to be back on familiar ground and see if I could take it to another level; retain some of the themes we had for KILLZONE 1, and at the same time musically try to do something that was a bit more beefy and meaty than the first one."

Plus, "Behind the Score" Video Documentary.

Joris de Man

Read the full interview with Joris de Man

The world of First-Person Shooter games is hardly under-populated, and the general expectations for musical quality have been high thanks to standards set by the Medal of Honor series and others besides. So it's no surprise that sometimes a title slips onto the market without getting the recognition it should for music. When the original Killzone hit stores in 2004, it received largely mediocre reviews and seemed to be considered a title that lacked distinguishing features. While the game itself may have been unremarkable, JORIS DE MAN's musical score for it was one of the most superbly well-crafted efforts in the game music world. Taking the military game score stereotypes and raising them to new heights of symphonic majesty, DE MAN's score flowed from soaring brass fanfares, to remarkably lyrical sections, to epic marches, to aggressive modern elecontrics...all while demonstrating clever, lush orchestration and narrative musicality. It was an under-appreciated gem. Considering DE MAN's extensive musical background and experience, it's not surprising that he managed to raise the bar and deliver a cinematic and enthralling sequel score for KILLZONE 2.

From the main titles, "Birth of War - Retribution" (1) to the individual cutscene cues, the music of KILLZONE 2 is a faithful extension of the sound JORIS DE MAN implemented in the first game. The major themes — including the popular Helghast March, "Helghan Forever" (2) — all return in renewed form, and they're joined by new and extended variations. Where the music of KILLZONE and its sequel differs from that of many other modern FPS game scores is in the fact that these scores provide a completely engaging listening experience even outside the game. The broad track "March On To Visari's Palace..." (8) illustrates this perfectly as it moves from the the foreground into the background without sacrificing musicality. That is a difficult thing to achieve; the music not only fits the game like a glove, but is also able to stand apart from it. Many times, the need for "underscoring" or "ambience" music in games means that listening to the result outside of the actual game proves to be dull, tedious, or even boring. It is admirable, then, that even when KILLZONE 2's score is staying quiet and allowing the on-screen action to dominate, it still manages to be interesting to listen to, as in the tense "Question Time With Radec" (9). Take note, all ye composers who would cut corners — audiences notice and appreciate craft in the music of their games.

In terms of instrumentation, DE MAN sticks to his symphonic roots pretty faithfully, but he makes liberal use of interesting playing techniques and isn't afraid to layer a choir, solo instrumentalists, and heavy electronics where appropriate — as in the rousing "Visari's Lament & Conclusion" (14). Of course, it also helps that the score was recorded at Abbey Roads with a brilliant ensemble. The performance and mixing alone is spellbinding, with an organic depth and vibrancy to the sound that is sometimes lost amid the processing of other scores these days. At the risk of sounding too positive, there really isn't a whole lot I can find fault with in KILLZONE 2's score. I would love to see other composers aiming for the standards that JORIS DE MAN has set here. There are strong and memorable themes, there's solid development, lush orchestration, storytelling quality, and excellent production values — what's not to love? If you like well-crafted, extremely cinematic music for your video games, then you can't go wrong with KILLZONE 2.

Unfortunately, listeners are stuck playing through the game to experience the awesome effort on display here. Those without PS3s will either have to invade a friend's house or wait for the official release — which, by the way is apparently coming soon! With an iTunes release of the score pending, according to his website, JORIS DE MAN's score for KILLZONE 2 will hopefully receive the recognition it deserves.

Rating: 10/10

Get more KILLZONE 3 - Go Behind the Score!


Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Birth of War - Retribution 3:35  *****
2 The 2nd Helghast March - Helghan Forever 3:04  *****
3 Battle Preparations 1:35  ****
4 Flight into Blood Meridian 0:50  ***
5 The Arc Tower - An Unexpected Guest 0:59  ***
6 A Bridge Too Far 0:54  ****
7 Petrusite Revealed 0:57  ****
8 March on to Visari's Palace & A Day of Mourning for ISA 2:36  *****
9 Question of Time with Radec 1:19  ***
10 Garza Stripped 0:42  ****
11 Funeral for a Friend 1:27  ****
12 Templar's Last Stand 3:45  *****
13 Nuked & Band of Brothers 1:55  ****
14 Visari's Lament & Conclusion 4:41  ****
15 Atac Attack (In-Game) 2:01  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 30 minutes  


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