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Order of War by Jeremy Soule

Order of War

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Order of War (Soundtrack) by Jeremy Soule

Order of War
Composed by Jeremy Soule
Direct Song (2009)

Rating: 7/10

Not yet available for sale.


“ORDER OF WAR contains all of the epic-goodness that a gamer (or World War II enthusiast) might ever look for.”

New Order. Old World.
Review by Christopher Coleman

ORDER OF WAR is a real-time strategy game set in the latter stages of the European theatre of World War II. Some gamers say that the World War II foundation has been over mined as a game premise and environment and while I might tend to agree, I certainly remain open to something new and fresh that a developer can bring to the genre. In the case of developer's,, and publisher's, Square Enix, ORDER OF WAR might just be that "something fresh.". No ORDER OF WAR is not another FPS (first person shooter) set somewhere in Europe, but a real-time strategy (RTS) game that takes a step beyond even in terms of that sub-genre. Interestingly, in ORDER OF WAR, the player is allowed to participate in the final thrusts of the European theatre on both fronts; controlling the Allied Advance or Germany's defense against the Russian counter-offensive in the East. Here we get much more than a few squads or divisions to control, but entire armies! ORDER OF WAR also allows the player to control just how these epic battles are viewed; allowing the game to become much more "cinematic" in experience than any other WWII strategy game.  Given the scope and breadth of this game, the developers made an epic choice in bringing on veteran game score composer, JEREMY SOULE.

Composer JEREMY SOULE is no stranger to scoring video game titles requiring both dramatic depth and fast-faced action music; his best known works to date being from game franchises such as GUILD WARS, ELDER SCROLLS, WARHAMMER and HARRY POTTER. Soule has clearly proven his hand at capturing the sci-fi/fantasy sub-genre, but what about the more realistic realm of World War II? ORDER OF WAR is, in fact, not his first foray into these battlefields. With his 2006 work for the well received title, COMPANY OF HEROES, Soule proved that he could equally handle a real time strategy game set in the European theatre. Since it's release, Soule's original score for the game has been praised as highly as the game itself. And it is this score that ORDER OF WAR most closely compares to. While there have been recent attempts at putting a new musical spin on World War II shooters, JEREMY SOULE keeps to the more familiar palette used for this historic subject matter whether it be for a game, television documentary, or feature film. In ORDER OF WAR, we are treated to a powerful entrée of epic, orchestral engagements that occasionally bring to mind some of Hollywood's best-ever composers. No. ORDER OF WAR doesn't necessarily offer anything "new," but it does manage to return to that idealized sound associated with this world war. And somehow, while sticking to conventions, JEREMY SOULE is able to keep his score fresh and avoids becoming a second-rate, knock-off of some of the better known WWII games of recent years.

ORDER OF WAR contains all of the epic-goodness that a gamer (or World War II enthusiast) might ever look for. To start, Soule employs big brass fanfares and anthems in tracks such as "A Call to Arms" (1), "A Summons to Madness" (7), Prelude to Battle (10), "March of the King Tigers" (13), and "Deployed" (15). Interestingly enough, there is very little thematic consistency from one track to the next, yet the staple instrumentation of brass, strings, and heavy percussion provide a foundational consistency. The effect of offering so many different themes and motifs in this score is unique. Upon first listen, you might not be bowled-over by the overall listening experience; not having any single theme ingrained in your brain as you finish the soundtrack. The flip-side to this is that the listening experience never becomes tiresome due to that recently documented disease TLF (of Thematic Listener Fatigue) where one becomes thoroughly worn out on a particular, over-utilized musical theme or motif.  Thankfully, listening to ORDER OF WAR will not cause symptoms of TLF syndrome...nor epileptic seizures.

What Soule's music does do is realize the cinematic goals of the developers. It's big. It's bold. It's brash. While there are some darker, more subtle tracks that bring needed contrast to the score: "Dreadful Skies" (3), "Outflanking the Enemy" (6), or "A Soldier's Lot" (14), the high points of the listening experience are generally found in faster paced, action cues. The best example is "High Ground" (5). Here we have five minutes of quintessential, battle music. Brass battles. Snares and timpani detonate. Strings lift the piece to its very satisfying climactic moments. Along the way we get moments that will stir the attention of John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith fans alike.  "Prelude to Battle" (10) invokes a bit of GOLDSMITH, but also the anthem maestro, BILL CONTI. For more JOHN WILLIAMS-isms, look no further than "Farewell to Arms" (17), where Soule crafts a march worthy of the next Olympic games.

Despite budgetary constraints that are occasionally reflected in the music, ORDER OF WAR is a fairly solid listen. Some synthesized instruments do call attention to themselves sporadically and at such moments the listener can be brought out of that "cinematic" experience. Certainly, this is a small gripe against a decent score, but it does cause one to wonder at just how good this would sound performed by a large, live orchestra.  Pretty fantastic, would be my guess.   That said, due credit has to be given to JEREMY SOULE once again for milking a realistic performance out of his kit of electronics and sample libraries.  It's true that the sparse thematic cohesion may detract from the experience for some, but for most, ORDER OF WAR will prove an engaging listen.  On another sad note, even with there still being plenty of room in the console market for such a game, ORDER OF WAR is being released for Windows PC only. But all ye Console-faithful don't lose heart and don't let that deter you from checking out the music.  There are rumored plans of an abbreviated soundtrack release with a collector's edition of the game, but the full and official soundtrack is to be released as a digital download (320 kbit) from DirectSong in late September 2009. If you are looking for some music to bring you back into the story, strategy and hardware of World War II, then take a look and listen to JEREMY SOULE's ORDER OF WAR.


Rating: 7/10

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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 A Call to Arms 2:15  ***
2 Seeing the Elephant 1:35  ****
3 Dreadful Skies 2:01  ***
4 Lightning War 2:05  ***
5 High Ground 4:59  *****
6 Outflanking the Enemy 5:12  ***
7 A Summons to Madness 2:00  ****
8 Cadence of Steel 6:08  ***
9 Entr'acte 1:34  ***
10 Prelude to Battle 2:43  ****
11 The Most Dangerous Game 4:09  ***
12 Rumor of Parachutes 3:10  ***
13 March of the King Tigers 1:49  ***
14 A Soldier's Lot 2:35  ***
15 Deployed! 1:40  ****
16 Bombardment 2:29  ***
17 Farewell to Arms 1:41  ****
18 Abwehrkampfe (Bonus) 2:38  ***
19 Panzerjager (Bonus) 2:31  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 53 minutes  




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