Bungie announced as of its first week spinning in Xbox 360’s, over 70 million games of Halo: Reach have been played. A number which undoubtedly has grown exponentially since then. So it’s safe to say there are at least a few of you out there enjoying the adventures of Noble Team. Many of you are also listening to the music composed for Reach and have bought the game’s soundtrack. As of press time, it holds the #1 spot on Amazon’s MP3 Soundtracks chart and the #3 position on iTunes. Since you have set your controllers down long enough to read this far, we’ve got some sounds for you to sample as part of The Feed’s review of the Halo: Reach soundtrack. Hit the jump, Spartan!
This being the sixth soundtrack album from Bungie and Sumthing Else Music Works for the Halo series (and seventh overall when you include Halo: Wars) you would be right to want it to beat your expectations. And it does. It accomplishes that rare achievement of being equally enjoyable both in-game and as a stand-alone listening experience. Most importantly, it has the “Halo Sound”. It revisits familiar soundscapes, while striving to be unique and original when compared to its predecessors. As Bungie’s last foray into the Halo ‘verse, it is the coda to a compendium of music, which, when looked at and listened to as a whole, should be considered the benchmark to which future game soundtracks should strive for. Have a listen to hear for yourself.
Up first is a piece entitled “The Battle Begins”. Opening with a voice chorus, the track builds with characteristic drum and string sounds. These are familiar thematic elements which combine to create an original listening experience, but one that still reminds you that you are indeed immersed in a sequence of music from a Halo game.
Next is the epic number, “Unreconciled”. If you were going to do something silly like download only one track from the album, it would have to be this one. The imagery it creates as you listen will make for a much more interesting mix on your iPod during your morning commute. Just remember, you are not in a Warthog and that isn’t a Ghost tapping its brakes in front of you.
“Ghosts and Glass” comes up deep into the soundtrack’s second half and is a prime example of the somber, heroic sound which Marty O’Donnell talked about in our interview with him yesterday.
Like a well placed sniper round through a CQB helmet, the soundtrack album for Halo: Reach is bang on target as a listening experience; enjoyable from start to finish. But who is it for? If you count yourself among the Seventh Column of Halo-fandom, you have already downloaded it or are holding out for the physical release on Tuesday. If you are a recent convert to the world of Halo (don’t laugh at that statement, because Bungie says Reach in its first week had four times the number of total unique users over Halo 3) then this is the one video game music album you need this year. The same goes for the film score fans out there, who should find Halo: Reach an immensely enjoyable listening experience.
As the sun sets over the glassed horizon of planet Reach, a couple questions come to mind. What will the music of potential, future iterations of this beloved franchise sound like without Marty O’Donnell and his team? And what new sounds will they conjure when Bungie’s project with Activision finally sees the light of console laser lenses? Game music fans will hopefully get a win-win on both of those fronts. Halo: Reach is available now in digital download form from Amazon, iTunes and Sumthing Digital. The double-disc physical release of the album drops on Tuesday.
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