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Call of Duty 3 Official Soundtrack :: Review by Harris Iqbal

Call of Duty 3 Official Soundtrack Album Title: Call of Duty 3 Official Soundtrack
Record Label: Activision
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: November 7, 2006
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Call of Duty 3 closed the series' original trilogy of World War II titles and took gamers back to the Normandy Breakout. Following the precedent of Michael Giacchino and Graeme Revell, Joel Goldsmith inherited the composing duties for this title. In addition to being the son of Jerry Goldsmith, Joel Goldsmith has become a major television composer in his own right through the scores for Stargate's series. His video game debut does show some moments of brilliance, but is often more of a cliché than a classic.


Joel Goldsmith headlines the soundtrack for Call of Duty 3 with a memorable main theme. The composer evokes the images of soldiers embarking on a mission with the courageous brass melodies and background snare rolls. While very typical in construction, the melody captures the bittersweet personal feelings of war and continues to engage listeners with its shifts during the development. That said, the rest of the theme is somewhat deficient: the snare rolls are highly repetitious, the supproting string runs are little more than gloss, and the secondary section is rather bland. The whole theme is functional, but unremarkable.

Goldsmith builds on the very typical military approach of the main theme throughout the soundtrack. "Falaise Road", for example, is built from the sporadic interjections of various trumpet fanfares above snare drum rolls. The track does create suspense in the game, but it is too stereotypical and sparse to be particularly suited for stand-alone listening. "Maryanne Bridge" further focuses on the chemistry between snares and brass to motivate listeners. The result is a barely serviceable accompaniment to the game and a disappointing listen outside it.

There are a range of moodier tracks to depict certain scenes in the game. "Night Drop Prelude" maintains the typical military instrumentation and rhythms, though there is a marked contrast between the bright main section and the much darker development. Moments like these can take listeners by surprise amidst the unremarkable material surrounding it. Among other highlights, "Laison River" and "Call to Arms" modify the military orchestration to give an action-packed feel. They're not up there with past action themes in the series, but still serve their purpose well.

Like every typical war score, there are also some sad scores, most notably "For the Fallen" with its very personal harmonica solo above snares. It's once again extremely generic, though at least it is effective in the scene it is used in. "Road to Chambois" reprises the main theme in a succession of variations and features a gradual intensification of pace and mood towards its climax. Finally, "Victory Melody" is a very bittersweet piece that, despite its brevity, compensates with its memorable thematic treatment and gushing orchestration.


Joel Goldsmith's score for Call of Duty 3 seems to have been composed to an overdone formula throughout and, as a result, lacks the outstanding qualities to stand up against the many other World War II scores out there. While most of the tracks fit the scene in the game, few are sufficiently emotional or memorable for stand-alone listening. The disc was a Wal-Mart exclusive packed with a special version of the Xbox 360 game. It's a decent bonus, but by no means a precious collector's item.

Overall Score: 5/10