Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - The Soundtrack
Catalog Number: SE-3017-2
Released On: February 7, 2012
Composed By: Grant Kirkhope
Arranged By: N/A
Published By: Sumthing Else
Recorded at: Unknown
Format: 1 CD, Digital
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01 - Reckoning Main Theme
02 - The Age of Arcana
03 - Dead's Dead
04 - Well of Souls
05 - Troll
06 - Dalentarth
07 - House of Ballads
08 - Warsworn
09 - Mines and Caves
10 - Gardens of Ysa
11 - Niskaru
12 - Titarion
13 - The Plains of Erathell
14 - Scholia Arcana
15 - Rathir
16 - Fight!
17 - Detyre
18 - House of Valour
19 - Adessa
20 - The Erathi Ruins
21 - Conflict
22 - The Ships
23 - Mel Senshir
24 - To War
25 - The Strongholds
26 - Balor
27 - It Ends Here
28 - Klurikon
29 - House of Sorrows
30 - Fae Hollows
31 - Alabastra
32 - Bhaile
33 - Gadflow
34 - Heart of Amethyn
35 - Tirnoch
Total Time:

Western-style fantasy RPGs tend to follow a pattern when it comes to music – atmospheric and ambient; cinematic rather than melodic. For that reason, the music tends to be more of a complement to the game rather than a core component. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning's soundtrack is a classic example of this – sweeping orchestral pieces and subtle ambiance rule the day.

The music on offer here is lavishly produced and recorded, and having completed the game, I can say that it serves as a great accompaniment to the experience. One of the earliest tracks on the album, "Dalentarth," conveys a suitable atmosphere of whimsy and curiosity, appropriate for the early game area, which introduces you to the world of Amalur and holds many secrets for intrepid explorers. "Mines and Caves" serves a similar purpose, filled with a sense of foreboding and hidden danger, with its slow, ponderous strings and open, echoing piano lines. As I mentioned before, these tracks accompany the game very well, and are well-produced and technically sound. However, the problem is that every track serves the same purpose: atmosphere.

Since the music is so atmospheric, each track blends into the next, and the lack of any discernable melodies makes it difficult to recall anything about it. In some cases, I could listen to a track four times and still have a hard time recalling anything other than the mood it had conveyed; this makes for very effective in-game music, but wholly unsatisfying independent listening. Again, this isn't to say there's fault to be found with this music, it's simply that casual listening isn't what it is meant for.

To be sure, there's plenty of music here that will get your blood pumping – "Fight!" accompanies some of the bigger battles in the game, and it definitely gets you in the right mood for combat. Dramatic percussion, crashing cymbals, and sweeping strings give it a lot of energy, and it is definitely one of the better tracks on the album. The award for best tune on the disc, though, goes to "Alabastra," for its sparse yet otherworldly sound. A choir's lament accompanies the melancholy of the instrumentation, and it gives a strong sense of the lost and destroyed nature of the area it plays in. Halfway through, lonely piano chords give way to a strings-only bit of foreboding, and by the time the choir kicks back in, you'll be totally enveloped in the mood. It's perhaps the only track I will remember after listening to the album, and it is the apex of the artistic goals of Reckoning's soundtrack.

So would I recommend this to the casual listener or the music fan who hasn't played Reckoning (which you most definitely should do)? Probably not. But as an accompaniment to the game itself, judged solely on the merits of its production and composition, this album is a rousing success.

Reviewed by: Stephen Meyerink


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