game score

Soundtrack review: The order 1886 (Jason Graves – 2015)

the-order-1886-feature

„The order: 1886” is a video game set in Victorian-era London which also mixes alternate history stories like the ones about the Knights of the Roundtable. The score is written by Jason Graves who recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios and tried to bring the sound of that era into our ears. There’ve been quite a lot of British scores lately and all of them had a special weight. I am expecting good things from this one.

„The Knight’s theme” makes for an encouraging start. The composer worked with an impressive. 24 men choir and they deliver in this theme. It’s interesting how the choir is used in “The enduring pride”: it follows the inflexions of the music and it guides the listener. The choir here seems to be watching or playing the adventure with us and marveling at the twists and turns.

“The rampage” is intriguing. The choir is still with us and acts as just another weapon in the arsenal of this cue. This is horror music at its best complete with creepy sounds and sudden spikes of fear. The choir is menacing and almost growls at me for the duration of the cue. Every now and then there’s a fierce string attack which gives me chills. This is a cue that will affect you.

The more I hear from this score the more it works for me as a standalone listen. The music is rich and interesting and the instrumental work is quite excellent. I can see myself playing this game and missing something because the music might distract me. This is just based on the score itself. It’s too interesting and gripping to just work in the background. A cue like “The darkness within” with its deep strings and menacing moments surrounds me with a dark fog and yet I don’t want to leave.

This score manages to be an interesting listen even in the moments when it doesn’t exert any emotion for me. The orchestral work and the atmosphere still keep me connected through the middle part of “The order 1886”. There’s always something to discover…be it an unbearably tense moment or the sweetness of a solo violin. “A knight’s burden” is a perfect example of a cue that probably is even better in context. This time I can see myself immersed in an adventure and being helped by the music.

“The knighthood” is another cue that sticks. Here the choir does all the work, somber and almost elegiac and sends shivers up my spine. I get a sense of brotherhood, a connection from this theme and it makes me feel part of it. Then the cello comes in and leaves the voice in the background and me enchanted and inspired. Best track of the score so far. The buildup, the emotion, the darkness…Just beautiful. “The edge of sanity” follows and keeps the wonderful momentum going. This is what I need from a score…this is the emotion I am looking for and if I find even one cue like this, I am happy…

“The Order: 1886” stands out among game scores. It’s serious, dark and somber and works very well as a standalone listen. You can imagine it as a horror score and you wouldn’t be far off. You will remember the atmosphere and that powerful choir will still echo in your ears long after the score is over.

Cue rating: 82 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 24 / 66

Album excellence: 36%

Highlights:

  1. The Rampage
  2. The Darkness Within
  3. The Knighthood
  4. The Edge of Sanity
  5. Brother, Let Us Embrace
  6. Last Man Standing
  7. Sir Galahad

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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