Composed by
Jeremy Soule

 

Published by
DirectSong (2006)

 

Tracklistings
1) Land of the Golden Sun
2) Guardian Sunspears
3) Lost Dynasties
4) The Grand Cataract
5) Gathering Storm (extended)
6) Festival of Lyss
7) Desert Dwellers
8) March of the Margonites (Bonus)
9) Fortress of Jahai
10) Pride of the Centaurs
11) Haunted Ruins
12) Turai's Legacy
13) Dining in the Great Hall (Bonus)
14) Elona's New Hope (Bonus)
15) Path to War
16) Tortured Souls
17) Sunspear Assault
18) Garden of Seborhin
19) On Harpies' Wings
20) The Forgotten God
21) Corsair Armada
22) Blacksails at Dawn
23) Theme for Varesh (Bonus)
24) Sulfurous Wastes
25) The Garrison
26) Web of Terror
27) Invasion of Vabbi
28) Resplendent Makuun
29) Kormir's Theme
30) Kournan Caravan
31) Into the Breach
32) Distant Battle
33) The Makers' Song
34) Desperate Flight
35) Unseen Intruders
36) Abaddon's Gift
37) The Barricades
38) The Five True Gods
39) Trailer: Cries of Elona (Bonus)
40) Trailer: Sunspears Attack (Bonus)
41) Alternate Theme (Bonus)

 

Extras
- Game website
- Composer website

 

Availability
DirectSong

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn

Guild Wars: Nightfall

Guild Wars: Nightfall is the second expansion pack to the highly popular and very successful Massively Multiplayer online game Guild Wars. While the first addon Guild Wars: Factions was set in an Asian inspired landscape and focused the gameplay more on Player vs. Player combat, Nightfall’s world was based on African and Egyptian mythology and Player vs. Environment stood in the foreground. As always, the game combined beautiful and lush graphics, addictive gameplay and no monthly-fees to an impressive package and got excellent reviews across the board.

Having scored the original Guild Wars, one Battle Pak, one Mini-Music-Pak and Factions composer Jeremy Soule was of course an obvious choice for NCSoft. Similarly to Factions, Soule wrote an atmospheric score but this time featuring more oriental orchestration.

The new main theme he created for Nightfall is a sweeping and majestic piece underlined with ethnic percussion. Unfortunately, as often with Soule’s scores, it only appears in “Land of the Golden Sun”. So listen closely and enjoy it because you will not be hearing it for the rest of the 80 minutes on album. Instead, as in Factions, Soule’s score heavily focuses on obtrusive underscore. Long string lines, slow horn performances and an occasional soft choir constitute most of the background tracks. What makes the listen more interesting are the occasional oriental instrumentation and percussion rhythms. For instance, “Gathering Storm” features light ethnic percussion while “Resplendent Makuun” effectively combines several layers of ethnic orchestration and a traditional flute to an emotional piece. “Guardian of Sunspears” stands out because of its ethnic woodwind performance at the beginning and “ Garden of Seborhin” is possibly the best and most memorable track on the album for it features deep, oriental string lines coupled with occasional light percussion. But overall, it is probably the action music that is the most enjoyable part of the album for they not only contrast the slow and ambient underscoring but offer fast-paced tribal rhythms and epic instrumentation.

Unfortunately, the same problems that plagued Factions plague Nightfall as well. The focus on ambient scoring makes the score work in the game but it surely is a heavy and sometimes downright boring listen on album. There’s hardly anything truly memorable about Nightfall, perhaps with the exception of the main theme but even that will not stick with you as long as the solo violin from Factions. The ambient nature of the cues varies. While “Lost Dynasties” at least creates an air of sense and wonder with its soft and slow orchestration, cues like “Fortress of Jahai”, “Pride of the Centaurs” or “Turai’s Legacy” offer no redeeming value whatsoever on album. This is made worse by the too long running time of the soundtrack release that even features one extended and some bonus cues that would not have been necessary. Still, the score works as low key background music and surely complements the game in an unobtrusive fashion.

The album ends with two pieces of music written for the game’s trailers. “Cries of Elona” is worth mentioning because it finally quotes the Nightfall theme. Sadly, it is soon countered by the rather awful electronic arrangements in “Sunspear Attack!”.

In the end, it comes down to this: If you’re either a Guild Wars addict or die-hard Soule fan you should consider getting this album for it presents all the music written for the second expansion plus one extended and some bonus cues. For all others, it is probably better to experience the score while playing the game. Maybe some day, a best-of selection of all Guild Wars music will come out but until then you are better off with other Soule albums.