Composed by
Pierre Langer & Tilman Sillescu

 

Published by
JoWood Productions (2006)

 

Tracklistings
1) Shadowsong
2) Hawkeyrie
3) Freedom
4) Sorvina
5) Karash
6) Plains of Chaos
7) Dun Mora
8) Oblivion
9) The Mines of Underhall
10) The Shaikan
11) The Realm
12) Sevencastles
13) Shadowplains
14) Fireforge
15) The Clans!
16) Dragh Lur
17) Attack of the Nightblades
18) Desolation
19) Dun Mora (Instrumental)
20) Shadowsong (Instrumental)

Bonus Tracks
21) Uram Gor
22) Un'Shallach
23) The Magnet Stones
24) The Crystal Fields

 

Extras
- Game website
- Composer website
- Interview

 

Availability
- Soundtrack ships with German Collector's Edition of the game
- Soniciminds shop

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn

Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars

Ever since Blizzard’s Warcraft III, the genre mix of role-playing and strategy has become a trend in the gaming industry. It’s no big surprise, then, that Phenomic’s Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars, the follow-up to the successful Spellforce 1, builds upon that formula. While critics generally enjoyed the immensely detailed graphics and the intriguing storyline the game offered, the gameplay elements for both role-playing and strategy were judged to be rather weak and unsatisfying.

After having worked on the original Spellforce, composers Pierre Langer and Tilman Sillescu would again collaborate with developer Phenomic to work on the sequel. This time around, the score was performed by real orchestra. Langer and Sillescu were able to employ the services of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Theatre Altenburg-Gera and the choir of Artful Voices Frankfurt. The result is a much more vibrant and full musical quality than was the case in Spellforce 1. It also allowed the composers to work with solo performances of instruments, most notably a solo violin, as featured for example in “Freedom”. That cue in particular is an impressive ambient cue introducing thematic material associated with The Realm, one of the three factions the player can choose from. This theme gets its most spectacular and heroic treatment in “The Realm”: fast-paced strings, epic brass and even choir elements form a cue that is both massive and triumphant. For the other faction, The Clans, the composers wrote a percussive piece with soaring brass and deep male voices (“The Clans!”). This second theme is also featured in other cues, for example “Karash”. Additionally, some of the towns in the game get their own music: a rhythmic and percussive arrangement for the dwarfs of Underhall (“The Mines of Underhall”) and a calm and sad cue for the humans at Sevencastles (“Sevencastles”), which again uses the Realm-theme. There are a few heavily ambient cues that have been banned to the end of the album in a so-called “Bonus Section”, but overall, the album offers thematic variety and musical depth.

The battle tracks were the biggest flaw in Spellforce 1. In the sequel, they surely are the highlight. The big arrangements for orchestra and choir give the in-game battles an epic quality, even though their implementation into the game leaves much to be desired. The transition from ambient to battle music and back is far too abrupt and the rather short in-game battles make you hear the beginning of each battle cue many times, but seldom their ending. As a stand alone listen, however, the battle cues, such as “The Shaikan” or “Attack of the Nightblades”, make up the score’s greatest asset.

One thing that film score fans will immediately notice is the influence Howard Shore’s The Lord of the Rings had on Spellforce 2. “The Clans!” is clearly derived from the thematic material Shore wrote for Saruman and Isengard. “Dun Mora” will remind you of the music for the Elves with its soft combination of warm strings and ethereal female voice. Although this might bother you as a film score fan, the quality of Langer and Sillescu’s effort certainly comes close to Shore’s musical writing.

Overall, Spellforce 2: Shadow Wars does a great job in underscoring an epic fantasy game. The use of real orchestra helps the music to become more natural and emotional and the thunderous brass and percussion in the action cues sound spectacular. If you are a fan of fantasy role-playing/strategy game music and don’t mind some derivations from LotR, this is definitely a score for you.