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Silent Hunter 4 Wolves of the Pacific Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Silent Hunter 4 Wolves of the Pacific Original Soundtrack Album Title: Silent Hunter 4 Wolves of the Pacific Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Ubisoft Music
Catalog No.: 5005372
Release Date: March 22, 2007
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Silent Hunter 4: Wolves of the Pacific continued Ubisoft's line of World War II submarine simulations in 2005. The company hired two of the most competent cinematic orchestral composers in the industry — Jason Graves and Rod Abernethy — to create the score. Their resultant score was heavily influenced by cinematic tradition, yet nevertheless was of particularly high quality. A physical soundtrack release was available for those who purchased the limited edition of the game.


As with most of Graves' scores, Silent Hunter 4: Wolves of the Pacific is headlined by a strong main theme. It is written close to the convention of war films, mainly intersynching a bittersweet slow brass melody against resolute string accompaniment. Yet while somewhat derivative, the quality of the composition is outstanding. It's impressive how the melody slowly develops through several sections from the elegaic opening through to the uplifting finish. The harmonisation grows all the more beautiful and the subtle use of choir adds a finishing touch. It's an all-round gem on par with some of Williams' and Giacchino's greatest war anthems. Plenty of other highly memorable themes occur through the soundtrack, culminating in the recapitulation of the main theme in the momentous end credits sequence.

While composing the soundtrack, Graves and Abernethy were very aware of the underwater focus. They emphasise the setting in a number of the more ambient contributions to the score. On "Rising Sun" and "The Coral Sea", for example, Graves combines the anthemic elements of the main theme with some special nautical touches. As he describes in his recent interview, he recreated the pinging of the sonar with repeating short woodwind chords and conveys waves hitting the sides with violin notes bubbling up and down over the melody. These subtle touches make the score more fitting and distinctive, yet while still maintaining the highbrow cinematic feel.

The score also features several action cues to represent the battles during the game. "Decoded Transmissions" exhibits a sound that will be familiar to those who listened to Graves' Section 8 and Dead Space. Rasping brass leads and tense choruses lead the composition and provide a sense of the magnitude of the situation. When combined with dissonant string elements and furious percussion, it's clear that the situation is dire and gamers should expect brutality. A particularly interesting twist is provided by the incorporation of Japanese percussive elements — especially taiko drums — to represent what Graves describes as "the unseen enemy" in tracks like this and "Infiltrating Kure Naval Base". Though there wasn't a live budget for the title, the samples used of exceptional quality and are beautifully mixed.


Overall, the score for Silent Hunter 4: Wolves of the Pacific stands up strongly against other cinematic war scores out there. It is filled with memorable expansive melodies, rich affecting orchestrations, and contrasting moods from start to finish. Though written firmly in the tradition of Williams, the score also has a voice of its own, especially through the nautical aspects and Eastern influences. The score is highly recommended, though note that it was exclusively available with the deluxe edition of the game and is therefore now a rare purchase.

Overall Score: 9/10