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Brothers In Arms Orchestral Selections :: Review by Steven Kennedy

Brothers In Arms Orchestral Selections Album Title: Brothers In Arms Orchestral Selections
Record Label: Ubisoft Music
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: 2005
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The initial album release for the Brothers In Arms series compiled ten orchestral tracks from the first two games. The release preceded the digital soundtrack releases for the series several years later. The resultant album provides a strong insight into what to expect from Gearbox's popular war shooter.


The soundworld of Brothers In Arms: Road to Hill 30 inhabits that of Saving Private Ryan managing to all but match the slow build up of the big emotional moments of John Williams' music. The opening march could easily be mistaken for many of that composer's other emotional patriotic concert works or scores. The main theme is in this same vein with Harwood's music making for a an equally moving experience. There is more room in these tracks for the composer to grow his ideas more, often in the span of three to four minutes.

Moving to the Earned In Blood score, David McGarry largely continued the influence from war films. The score's main theme etches a patriotic Americana sound that is representative of the rest of the score. The tendency is to have snare drum playing lightly underneath as melodic ideas slowly appear. In the "Main Menu" these ideas glide almost effortlessly around the orchestral ensemble, making for an equally moving musical experience.

This particular album release has some limitations despite its strong individual components. Each game is only represented by five tracks in this release and they are often presented in a muddled order that presents the formulation of a convincing dramatic arch. In addition, while some tracks give the album the feel of a large-scale symphonic suite, the tracks are not always generally rounded off in satisfying closing cadences. Instead they are gradually panned into a slow fade which might simulate the gaming experience but becomes a bit frustrating when the music is taken on its own.


Overall, this promotional album is a good summary of what Stephen Harwood and David McGarry offered to the initial instalments of the Brothers In Arms. However, it will only be a desirable item for those looking for merely the major themes for the series, while those wanting a more complete and cohesive listen ought to stick to the recently released digital scores instead.

Overall Score: 6/10