Review: Halo Reach Original Soundtrack
Release: September 28, 2010
Genre: Original Soundtrack
Label: Sumthing Else Music Works
Composition / Arrangement / Production: Martin O’Donnell, Michael Salvatori, C. Paul Johnson, Stan LePard
Available Formats: Audio CD, iTunes®, Sumthing Digital
How do you go from a melancholic destroyed city to the heat of battle? How is losing a comrade believable, and how is it possible to actually realize the only hope your people have is for you to keep fighting? The main objective of a videogame soundtrack is completely fulfilled in this piece of art, where great pacing, exquisite choice of instruments, and powerful melodies merge together for an outstanding result. This is, without a doubt Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori’s finest composition yet. It’s the soundtrack for a little title you may have heard of; Halo: Reach.
With Reach, the premise was clear from the beginning. This is not a tale of victory, nor a story of how the main character achieved humanity’s greatest goal. This is a tale about defeat, about the desperate feeling of losing, of knowing that what’s at stake is the main core of what you fight for. Above all, this is a tale of futile heroism.
Gone is the grandeur of the gregorian choirs so popular in past Halo titles, and so is the epic percussion-driven main theme, adequately accompanied by heavy electric guitars and edgy solos. What we have here is a solemn representation of a doomed planet, and its brave but hopeless fighters.
The mood is overall pretty dark and melancholic, with some bright spots that include a pretty interesting second act on “Overture” (0:16) and “At Any Cost” (0:45), both of them mixing some middle-eastern melodies with the traditional african percussion (although this time it’s been spiced up a little so it’s not entirely african).
The order of the tracks follows that of the story, so you’ll begin with tunes like “Winter Contingency“, which brilliantly sets the mood for some sort of “calmness before the storm”. “ONI: Sword Base” masterful changes the tone to a cautious and surprising fighting. Then, you’ll find pieces like “Tip of the Spear” which is a equivalent to Halo 3’s “One Final Effort“; full of dynamism, and heroic fighting spirit. Things get even more interesting with “New Alexandria, “Exodus” and “We’re Not Going Anywhere“, which serve as a device for the listener to understand we’re slowly approaching a difficult fight with an ultimately sad defeat. The last pieces, including “Walking Away” and “We Remember” are kick-ass tracks full of emotions, which fits the equally emotional ending of planet Reach.
Overall, it’s a great package. Dare I say it’s one of the finest OSTs you’ll find on stores now. Even with its darker tone, the 2-Disc soundtrack manages to keep a healthy dose of variety, exploring new sounds, executing brand-new influences into an already rich musical world, and above all, letting your feelings transcend from what you see on a television screen.
I honestly recommend you to give this OST a try. It will let you wondering how much impact would Halo: Reach have if there wasn’t such a masterful soundtrack accompanying the action.
Tracks you should download right now:
– Winter Contingency
– Tip of the Spear
– The Pillar of Autumm
– Long Night of Solace
– Ghost and Glass