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Section 8 Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Section 8 Original Soundtrack Album Title: Section 8 Original Soundtrack
Record Label: SouthPeak Interactive
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: September 4, 2009
Purchase: Not Available


Section 8 was a multi-platform first-person shooter featuring a militaristic scenario and space-based setting. Fresh from his exposure on Dead Space, Jason Graves offered an memorable and action-packed score for the title, blending orchestra, rock, and electronic elements. He compiled ten central tracks from the game into a highly enjoyable promotional soundtrack release.


One of the features that makes the Section 8 score so enjoyable is its thematic emphasis. A highly memorable main theme runs throughout the soundtrack, which captures all the feelings about the military scenario — somehow fearsome yet motivating at the same time. Its exposition in the title theme is especially impressive. The composition slowly builds up towards the initial brass-based presentation of the melody at the 0:40 mark. The development thereafter — featuring boundless build-ups, dramatic turns, and even a spacey interlude — ensures the concept of the game is properly embellished musically. The final result is certainly reminiscent of some of John Williams' war epics, but has a unique touch and a contemporary feel too.

"Welcome Aboard The U.S.I.S. Texas" and "In-Flight Stimulants" are some of the finest examples of Graves' thematic treatment during the score. Both revisit elements of the main theme to emphasise specific concepts in the storyline. However, they do not overly rely on the melody and exist as well-developed compositions in their own right. The former fully captures the feeling of being onboard a battlecruiser, developing from a subtly elating introduction towards an epic climax, featuring a particularly motivating metric expansion of the main theme. The latter meanwhile emerges into one of several fast-paced action cues on the score, juxtaposing desperate brass renditions of the central theme against brutal discords and chaotic percussion.

Some compositions on the soundtrack feature contemporary elements in addition to orchestral forces. The rhythm guitars in "Burning In" and electronic breakbeats in "Combat Drop From 15,000 Feet", in particular, bring a lot of aggression to the score. Easily the centrepiece of the entire soundtrack, though, is "Clavius System, New Madrid", an action-packed epic offering bold brass, horrifying strings, thrashing guitars, pulsating beats, and even a drum kit. As with many of Graves' cues, it's not just the amount of elements that is impressive here, but the skilful way they are all mixed together. The composition maintains a wonderful rhythmical edge throughout and becomes more immersive as new elements enter over the six minute playtime. The final result is intentionally abrasive, yet still downright delicious.


Overall, the Section 8 soundtrack is a highly effective score, combining conventional militaristic features with contemporary elements and a thematic focus. Several compositions on the soundtrack, particularly the title theme and "Clavius System", have a timeless quality to them and definitely deserve to be listened to. The soundtrack never received a commercial release, probably due to the games' average sales figures, but the music itself certainly deserved it. While the soundtrack was only available to media venues, it is possible to enjoy many of its themes through Graves' official website.

Overall Score: 9/10