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Silent Hunter 5 Battle of the Atlantic Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Silent Hunter 5 Battle of the Atlantic Original Soundtrack Album Title: Silent Hunter 5 Battle of the Atlantic Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Ubisoft Music
Catalog No.: 300028981
Release Date: March 4, 2010
Purchase: Buy at eBay


In 2010, Ubisoft continued their critically submarine simulation franchise with Silent Hunter 5: Battle of the Atlantic. Jason Graves returned to offer an orchestral score for the title produced with high quality samplers. The resultant score combines the same sort of cinematic mood-setting and action music present on Graves' other war scores with a novel operatic influence. A physical soundtrack release was available for those who purchased the limited edition of the game.


On Silent Hunter 5, Jason Graves took a classically-oriented approach to the score and aimed to give a Germanic slant to the game. This is immediately evident in the main theme "Into The Atlantic", which presents a recurring leitmotif on orchestra and chorus. The phrasing is much more romantically influenced than his previous offerings on the Silent Hunter series. Furthermore, there is a sense of timbral evolution throughout the piece, culminating in a breathtaking climax juxtaposing solo trumpet and male chorus. It sounds like a cinematic war score has been hybridised with a romantic opera. The effect is simultaneously beautiful yet spine-chilling. Several other pieces on the soundtrack, namely "No Survivors..." and "Wrecks of the Deep", elaborate on this novel influence and are also major highlights.

That said, the traditional elements of the series' music are still back in Silent Hunter 5. A large proportion of the score is highly ambient in nature and adheres closely to the tradition of mood-setting game scores. In tracks such as "No Respite" and "Still Waters", Graves places the focus on low suspended notes and slow developing soundscapes to represent the depths of the sea. The result is highly effectual in context, though may be less appealing to stand-alone listeners than the more operatic cues. "Night Stalker", more notably, portrays a looming threat through repeating a series of low 'cello notes. It gradually gains a greater sense of urgency with the use of high tremolo strings and brass discords, to stunning effect in conjunction with the game.

Of course, there are plenty of notable faster paced themes on the score. "Convoy!", for instance, is an excellent example of Jason Graves' brutal approach to action scoring, dominated by bold brass and aggressive percussion. In a curious twist, it nevertheless still features the main theme for the score, culminating in an elegaic trumpet solo. "Hunted" and "Those Once Neutral" are also examples of the main theme being incorporated within fast-paced action cues. The repetition of this leitmotif in a range of contexts both ties the score together and gives a sense of underlying fate as the climax looms. The parallels with a Wagnerian opera are obvious and seem completely fitting for a game focused on commanding a German submarine.


Overall, the score for Silent Hunter 5: Wolves of the Pacific is a strong complement to the game and an enjoyable independent listening experience. At times, the score can be a little uninteresting on a stand-alone level and can sometimes labour features earlier used in other war scores or, indeed, Graves' own repertoire. Nevertheless, the operatic influence and leitmotif recurrence are fresh and appealing. Consumers should seriously consider purchasing the collector's edition of the game to obtain this soundtrack.

Overall Score: 8/10