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The Lord of the Rings Online ~Shadows of Angmar~ Official Game Soundtrack
Catalog Number: N/A
Released On: April 24, 2007
Composed By: Chance Thomas, Harry Chase, Brad Spear
Arranged By: Chance Thomas
Published By: Turbine
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD
Tracklist:

01 - Shadows Of Angmar
02 - Hills of the Shire
03 - Bree-land Jig
04 - The Ring-bearer Sets Forth
05 - Ride of the Nazgul
06 - Wreck and Slaughter
07 - Courage of Men
08 - Silent Hope
09 - The Nine Draw High
10 - Far Ahead the Road Has Gone
11 - Lament for Oakenshield
12 - Red Stones and Golden Leaves
13 - Fell Deeds Awake
14 - Scattered Allies
15 - Lay of the Free Peoples
16 - Autumn Ale
17 - East of the Sea
18 - The Brigand's Tale
19 - Home from the Hunt
20 - Frodo's Path
21 - The Doom of Edhelion
22 - Ruins of Old
23 - Garth Agarwen
24 - The Shadows Linger
25 - Vale of Imladris
26 - Things to Come
Total Time:
45'35"

"See sleeve for track listings." Okay! Also, don't be confused by the "Disc Two." Disc One is a "making of" DVD.

Chance Thomas, a game composer known for his ability to take licensed work (be it film, television, book, comic book, whatever) and create a unique score for that franchise's game. Thomas had done soundtracks for other Lord of the Rings games, but if you really want to see him shine, you'll want to listen to the music composed for the MMORPG "The Lord of the Rings Online." The initial release of the game, "Shadows of Angmar," has a full OST that has been released in many formats, and in multiple regions (a German version of the game got its own soundtrack printed, but it is identical to the American version reviewed here).

Everything about the MMORPG has a taste of the movie version, but there was more emphasis on staying true to the book. For example, some of the tracks have voiceovers from Gandalf, but it's not Ian McKellen from the films. Furthermore, events that only occur in the original books (and did not happen in the films) are now covered, in detail, in the MMORPG. Thus, even if Chance had wanted to, he had no way of "borrowing" from Howard Shore (the film score composer for the LotR trilogy), since many scenes and environments covered here are not found in the films. That said, Chance Thomas has already confirmed that his inspiration for the score does not come primarily, or even secondarily, from the film and Shore's music. Of course, having been exposed to it, there's no way he can totally avoid letting those visuals and sounds influence him to some small degree. As for the other composers who contributed to the album, I cannot be sure of their influences, but again, this isn't some b-list clone of the film score.

The music is very much orchestral, and when not orchestral, then certainly "provincial," and always live instrumentation whenever possible. Chance prefers to work with real instruments in place of synths, so the vast majority of this soundtrack was recorded in a studio with a variety of instrumental performers. For example, track 19, "Home From the Hunt," features some very enjoyable acoustic guitar work, and "Bree-Land Jig" sounds like a Scot/Irish outdoor dance party. There's no question that Chance Thomas has a strong grasp of ethnomusicology and is able to work it into his compositions without much struggle. That said, the "ethnicities" represented here are mostly of a European nature, as is fitting for a Lord of the Rings soundtrack.

I only have one problem with this soundtrack: its availability. Obviously, the likelihood that you'd be a fan of this music probably correlates to your love of the MMORPG itself. Thus it is fitting that the soundtrack is packaged with "special edition" versions of the game. But what if you're a soundtrack collector who isn't exactly interested in playing the MMORPG extensively? In that case, you're out of luck. Hopefully, someday, Mr. Thomas will be able to publish these separately. If not in a physical release, at least a digital release would be nice to have as an inexpensive alternative.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann



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