Icewind Dale The Soundtrack


Review by · November 4, 2008

Note: the ten “bonus tracks” are unlisted on the tracklist, and hence don’t have official titles.

Jeremy Soule is a legend among game composers. Along with being one of the first (and only) Western composers to bridge the East/West gap with his score to “Secret of Evermore,” Soule has written music for many of the greatest, most critically acclaimed PC RPGs of the last two decades. Today, many people associate Soule’s name with the Elder Scrolls series, and some dedicated Guild Wars fans have come to love him as well; but dedicated fans trace their love of Soule back to one album, one game: Icewind Dale.

Released in 2000, the soundtrack to Black Isle’s “Icewind Dale” marked and solidified Soule’s standard orchestral style. Since then, some say, Soule has remained too comfortable with this style, becoming less and less “fresh” or “original” since this epic release. Others say his work has improved since this time. As for me? I’m not sure I’m with the former or the latter. What I do know is that I love this soundtrack.

That’s not to say the soundtrack doesn’t have its flaws or weaknesses. If you look at the tracklist, you see over 40 tracks packed into one disc. Comparing disc time to number of tracks, you see the average track is just over a minute long. These songs, many times, feel like short cues that would be better suited for… (wait for it, wait for it…) film score. However, if you ignore the separation of tracks and just listen to the album from start to finish, imagining it as one 50 minute masterwork, the experience changes on cognitive level.

If you like the Western VGM writers, particularly those that helped pave the way for the “film-esque” soundtracks written primarily for epic fantasy RPGs (sometimes in the D&D realm), your collection isn’t complete without this artifact. Note that it is a rare find, especially because it printed by the now all-but-dead Interplay. And even if you’re not the biggest fan of Western VGM or Jeremy Soule in general, still be sure to check out the audio samples: you may want to consider owning this one.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.