Composed by
Jeremy Soule

 

Published by
DirectSong (2005)

 

Tracklistings
1) Warhammer Theme
2) Trial of the Gods
3) The Hordes Advance
4) For the Dark Gods!
5) Preparing for Battle
6) Men of the Empire, Make Ready!
7) Sigmar Protects
8) Forges of Nuln
9) From the North They Come
10) Leave None Alive!
11) The Siege of Gotterung
12) Onwards to Victory!
13) Patrolling the Old World
14) Unscrupulous Methods
15) Skulls for the Skull Throne!
16) Dark Winds
17) Stefan's Vengeance
18) For the Emperor
19) Vigilance and Strength
20) Sudobaal's Treachery
21) Stalking the Prize
22) Shallya Watch Over Us
23) Patrolling the Borders
24) The Aftermath of War
25) The Talebheim Crater
26) Grim Preparations
27) Mark of Chaos

 

Extras
- Game website
- Composer website

 

Availability
- DirectSong.com
- Collector's Edition of the game features soundtrack

 

Review by
Oliver Ittensohn

Warhammer: Mark of Chaos

Warhammer: Mark of Chaos marks the latest attempt to bring the very famous tabletop miniature battle game Warhammer to PC screens. Not surprisingly, the gameplay involved commanding huge armies on epic battlefields. In addition, the game also featured a tactical map for troop movement and recruiting. While the graphics were impressive and the presentation (in particular the intro cinematic) left little to be desired, the gameplay lacked depth in comparison to other strategy titles. Still, for fans of the series, it was a welcome addition to the Warhammer franchise.

The game was developed by Black Hole Entertainment who previously worked on the underrated strategy title Armies of Exigo. When it came to choosing the composer for Mark of Chaos, Black Hole turned again to veteran game music composer Jeremy Soule who had worked with them before.

Soule is of course more than at home in the universe of fantasy games having scored a great number of projects that involved elves, dwarves and mythical creatures: Guild Wars, Neverwinter Nights, Dungeon SiegeI and II, and Kohan II just to name a few. In fact, it looks like he is getting too comfortable because his score to Mark of Chaos is a lacklustre effort on all fronts.

The challenge for a project like this would certainly have been to first of all write a signature theme to bring Warhammer and its universe to life on the PC. Sadly, you will be hesitant to call “Warhammer Theme” a theme in a cinematic sense. It is unmemorable and unexciting. You can argue that Soule’s strong point has never been the creation and manipulation of thematic material, at least not in the last two to three years and you’d be right. But to miss an opportunity such as this is odd to say the least.

To underscore the actual game, Soule went for a militaristic approach that is suitable to a title that deals with epic battles. Sadly, he basically recycles the same orchestral arrangements over and over again. Indeed, the whole album is relentless in its orchestral monotony: directionless brass figures over pounding drums with an occasional addition of choir for effect. There is really nothing Soule has not done better before. What is least understandable is Soule’s apparent refusal to colour each of the factions with a distinct musical tone. The designers are giving the player control of either the Imperial army, the Highelves, the troops of Chaos and even the rat-like swarms of the Skaven along with Dwarven and Orcish mercenaries, but from the listening experience of the score, you’d think there was nothing only remotely mystical or fantastical going on in the game.

There is little more to be said about the score. Soule’s synthesizer still sounds reasonable and he handles it with ease. Still, we have not seen an improvement in sound quality in the last two years which makes you wonder if the synthesizer has reached its limits.

There are occasional rays of hope in the score: A captivating brass fanfare in “Forges of Nuln” or more engaging rhythms in “The Talebheim Crater”. They remain the exception, though. If you have never been a fan of Soule’s un-thematic writing, then do stay away from this release. But even die-hard Soule fans or fans of the game will have a hard time enjoying this uninspired album.