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Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour Original Soundtrack Album Title: Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Electronic Arts
Catalog No.: iTunes
Release Date: November 9, 2005
Purchase: Download at iTunes


Command & Conquer Generals: Zero Hour is an expansion pack for Command & Conquer: Generals. Bill Brown and Mikael Sandgren returned to offer six new themes for the score. While most of the series' expansion soundtracks didn't receive separate releases, Electronic Arts chose to release the results of this one digitally through iTunes.


The majority of the soundtrack evokes strong memories of the Command & Conquer: Generals soundtrack. Zero Hour's "Main Theme" is one of the best examples of this, taking the same rock-meets-orchestra as the main theme from the original game. That said, the new main theme is actually a considerable improvement on the original, both technically and musically. In technical terms, the samples as a whole sound more realistic and are better mixed to achieve a full balanced sound. As for compositional value, the orchestration is this time more commanding and the guitar work is more elaborate, while still maintaining a gritty feel. It doesn't win any points for originality, but it's certainly a superior realisation of the original concept.

"Raid in Progress" proves another welcome revisit of the music from Command & Conquer: Generals. This time the brassy theme representing the United States is punctuated with diverse elements — ethnic percussion, string discords, and guitar riffs — to give a commanding and definitive sound. It's the best anthem on each of the scores. "Helix Armada" is another aggressive fusion, hybridising yet more electric guitar riffs and dissonant brass utters with Japanese forces such as shakuhachi solos and taiko drums. It's one of those themes that quickly exceeds — and continues to exceed — expectations during its extensive development following its somewhat typical introduction. This is certainly a must-download.

"GLA Anthem" is a fascinating way to portray the Global Liberation Army, a terrorist faction of Middle Eastern and Soviet origins. The Arabian introduction is a little too reminiscent of the sample-based scores of Remote Control Productions to be of appeal. However, later sections are much more daring and individualistic, whether the charismatic male vocalist, aggressive guitar riffs, or occasional contemplative solos. Rounding off the release is "The Final Hour", another fully-fleshed track that blends the various cultural influences featured in the rest of the score to capture a sense of ultimacy.


Overall, the Command & Conquers Generals Zero Hour Original Soundtrack is superior from its predecessor in terms of quality. Perhaps due to enhanced technology or perhaps due to fewer time restrictions, the co-composers were able focus more and create fleshed-out well-implemented compositions. However, the release is considerably lacking in length and originality, so it is far from a must-have. It's worth considering for those wanting even more Generals-style music.

Overall Score: 6/10