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Soundtrack review: Battlefield 1: In the name of the Tsar (Johan Soderquist & Patrik Andren – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Battlefield 1: In the name of the Tsar (Johan Soderquist & Patrik Andren – 2018)

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“Battlefield™ 1 In the Name of the Tsar” is the second expansion pack for Battlefield 1,
available standalone or as part of Battlefield 1 Premium Pass. Join forces with the
Russian Army across the expansive Eastern Front of World War 1 and witness the power
struggle of the civil war that followed. Ride in Galicia with the legendary Hussars during the epic Brusilov Offensive. Partake in the skirmishes of the Albion assault in a freezing archipelago. Pilot the massive bomber Ilya Muromets over the snow-covered ravines of the treacherous Łupków Pass. Drive the inventive Putilov Garford armored car in Galicia. Battle in Tsaritsyn where the machinegun fire echoes through the streets, as the White Army and the Red Army battle for control over Russia in the civil war. Johan Soderquist and Patrik Andren wrote the score and I am always up for a Soderquist composition.

The score opens with “In the name of the Tsar” and I just love the Russian choirs; to be
honest few choruses are as powerful and poignant as Russian ones, be they heavy male
voices or slim female voices like this one. The music builds up on the roots of the voices into an epic opening theme with an intensity that borders on trailer music. The voices are just another instrument picking up strength from the others. It’s clear to me right from the start that the composers will not fall in the game music trap of just going loud and epic but will also focus on the emotional moments. I like my scores to be well rounded. Contrary to the latest trend in game scores, “In the name of the Tsar” is short itself and includes mostly two minute long tracks without a major, long theme to lead them. I like that even with cues this short the composers find a way to include an epic buildup in most of them.

My soft spot remain the choral pieces and I get goose bumps at a cue like “Grace and glory” with its piercing male choir. These little magic tricks compensate
whatever might be lacking in the score and make this little gem of a composition work
very well for me even if I haven’t experienced a single second of “Battlefield 1” game
play. There are cues that knock on the door without making a decision whether to come
in or not and I imagine they are the written for the exploratory moments of the game.
They are hit and miss with me for the standalone listen. There is quite the discrepancy
between a cue like “Hunting down”, cold, uncomfortable and a warm emotional blanket
like “The wolves”.

However I might spin it I keep coming back to the choral work from “Battlefield 1: In the
name of the Tsar”; I might be lukewarm on some cues or enjoy the buildup in others but
whenever the choirs kick in I forget about anything else and feel inspired, motivated.
Luckily half of the cues are like that so the score is definitely a winner for me.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 15 / 36

Album excellence: 43%

Highlights:
In The Name Of The Tsar
Grace And Glory
The Wolves
Russian Dirge
Going Home
Brusilov Keep
Grace And Glory, Pt. 2
Aftermath

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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