game score

Soundtrack review: World of Warcraft – The burning legion (various artists – 2007)

wow_Crusade

“World of Warcraft: The Burning Legion” is the first expansion set for the MMORPG World of Warcraft. Two new playable races were added to World of Warcraft in The Burning Crusade: the Draenei of the Alliance and the Blood Elves of the HordeThe expansion’s name refers to the return of the “Burning Legion”; a vast army of demons being one of the main antagonist forces in the Warcraft-universe and whose last invasion was defeated in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. This legion and its allies are the main enemy which players will fight against in The Burning Crusade. In addition to some new areas on Azeroth, this expansion mainly features the ravaged world of Outland which the Burning Legion and other powerful beings control. The composers for this score are Russell Brower, Matt Uelmen and Derek Duke.

The “Warcraft” game franchise for me is a guarantee of great music. The fantasy setting and world that rivals that of “Lord of the rings” always demands heavy and epic music. Not only that but the magical and mystical element bring choirs and voices that make a score like “The burning crusade” a worthy entry in the series. Listening to a score like this is like reading a novel that’s all about discovering new worlds and new characters. The music isn’t contained and is full of surprises, depending on the direction the player chooses: we get ambient jewels like “Shards of the Exodar” which makes me think of finding an ancient artifact.

I like how the composers alternate the cues that describe the surrounding elements of the world with the powerful ones that explore the characters and creatures themselves. I like that the music is orchestral and not artificial. I can imagine the recording sessions and the comparison with the “Lord of the rings” scores is not exaggerated. I find deep cello valleys from which I fly out on wings of angelic voices. I hear magnificent choirs that make me think of hoards of warriors.

Having not played the World of Warcraft games I always read the plot and view videos of gameplay and imagine a thunderous score that will make my ears bleed. I am glad to have the composers prove me wrong and create much more complex musical canvas. They go through extremes that make sense in the context of the game from the mysterious and quiet “Origins” to the epic “The dark portal”. There are purely ambient pieces that describe various lands from the map and majestic action build up cues like the “Cavers of time” trilogy.

More subtle than I expected but just as beautiful, “The burning crusade” will satisfy “Warcraft” fans as well as fantasy ambient music lovers. My favorite cue was “Outland suite”.

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 51 / 78

Album excellence: 65%

Highlights:

The Burning Legion [Main Title]

Shards of the Exodar

The Sin’dorei

The Dark Portal [Cinematic Intro]

Origins

Caverns of Time –  The Battle of Mount Hyjal

Azuremyst Isle

Caverns of Time – The Escape from Durnholde

Outland Suite

The Tower of Karazhan

The Gates of Ahn’Qiraj [Exclusive Track]

Shadow of the Necropolis [Exclusive Track]

Lament of the Highborne [Exclusive Track]

 

 

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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