The Thaumaturge Original Soundtrack


Review by · April 19, 2024

Since I recently reviewed the supernatural themes and dark streets of The Thaumaturge and came away pretty impressed, I was stoked to get my copy of the game’s digital soundtrack. The Slavic themes and minimalist, ambient background music offer quite a surreal experience as you race around gathering clues and making conclusions in the game, so I was intrigued to listen to the soundtrack as a standalone release. Would it work as a soundtrack album, or would it disappear like a tortured soul into the cold, dark Warsaw evening?

Fool’s Theory utilized the skills of Agnieszka Wlazły and Sebastian Syczyński for the game, and this appears to be their first, with both working in-house. Most of The Thaumaturge‘s tracks are rooted in acoustic orchestration, avoiding much use of synthesized sounds or pads. The composers did not do much to alter these tones either; they let the instrument sounds breathe without the need for excessive reverb or sampling. This approach keeps the music in line with the cultural inspiration behind the work and keeps their tones distinct.

“Wiktor with a W” kicks things off with just this ethos — plaintive strings, possibly a string quartet, intertwined with single notes that seem to crawl across your skin (or maybe the dark nights of Warsaw). There’s a heavy use of discordance too, and a melody just about begins to peer above the murk at nearly a minute in, alongside more percussive elements and plucked motifs that build to a greater intensity.

Further tracks build on these discordant themes, using woodwinds to deliver mysterious melodies in “Sweet poison of hope” and “Believe and be blessed.” Again, the clever use of scale patterns and the lack of popular chord progressions adds to the disharmony. Thinking back to Wiktor’s internal struggles with his psyche in the game, this disharmony does a great job of representing this lack of one-ness, the slow crawling tension of his many competing inner voices. “Ligia’s lullaby” offers a more traditional Slavic Romanze, with the violin melody being more harmonious and an added piano harmony adding warmth, with a lovely segue into a waltz-like rhythm by the end. This track is one of the more “Witcher-esque” songs and wouldn’t seem out of place during some of that series’ more tender moments.

The Thaumaturge has some left turns to surprise: “Poet with a gun” uses a country-styled, amplified twang on its guitar theme and a real attack on the strings. The penultimate track, “Iniquity mysterium,” is also more epic and song-like in its structure, with a further tortured piano that brings to mind classical compositions by Liszt. The standout track for me is one I didn’t have time to appreciate as much in-game. “Gut you with love,” used as the battle theme, has manic strings and insistent piano referencing Slavic dance history and an intense energy that works just as well to listen on its own as it does in-game.

The main downside to an album this focused on its vision is that it’s quite invariable. The use of discordant strings, lonely piano stabs, intense percussive passages, and droning walls of sound are very much the order of the day. There aren’t that many melodies, and, in truth, the tracks aren’t memorable, nor are they tied to characters or places.

But for me, that’s the point. This is a soundtrack to a main character grappling with who they are and what they could become, never mind the tragic events that occur throughout the story. In that sense, it fits perfectly. Much like the game, this is committed art and design; everything is in service to the overarching narrative. It’s not the sort of tracklist you can appreciate on a random shuffle as part of your work commute.

RPG music holds a special place for all of us. The soundtrack to The Thaumaturge takes us to darker examples of these places, and that’s why it’s worth a listen. It reminds us of the rich heritage of Slavic and Eastern European composition and offers quite a unique take on an RPG soundscape. Given its influences and orchestral composition, it was an intriguing listen as a standalone OST and, on my third playthrough of the game, provided a new appreciation for how these musical themes intersect with the main narrative and the city of Warsaw. I recommend listening to The Thaumaturge Original Soundtrack, but maybe only for those of a grim-dark persuasion for whom cold nights and colder souls are welcome.

For information on our scoring systems, see our scoring systems overview. Learn more about our general policies on our ethics & policies page.
Mark Roddison

Mark Roddison

Hi, I'm Mark! I've spent most of my life in the education sector, but away from this world I like nothing more than to slip into a good fantasy or sci-fi setting, be it a good book film, TV series, game, or tabletop option! If it is a game, you won't find me too far from the turn-based games. From Final Fantasy, to Shadow Hearts, to Baldurs Gate, to the Trails series, all have me hooked. When not indulging in cerebral turn-based nirvanas, I enjoy soccer, fitness, and music where I tutor keyboard and guitar professionally, as well as having an unhealthy obsession for progressive metal as well as some 80s synthwave. I nearly forgot I also have a lovely wife and little boy who also make great co-players! :-p