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Halo 3 ODST Original Soundtrack :: Review by sirkibble23

Halo 3 ODST Original Soundtrack Album Title: Halo 3 ODST Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Sumthing Else Music Works
Catalog No.: SE-2068-2
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Purchase: Buy at Amazon | Download at Sumthing Digital


Halo 3: ODST is an expansion of Halo 3 based around an event that occurred in Halo 2 in New Mombasa. Gameplay wise, not much has changed — same graphics, same type of gameplay with minor tweaks, and the same sound effects. What actually makes this game feel different without making it feel like a whole new game is the music. Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori drop a fresh bomb for this games music.


Being that this is still considered "Halo 3," I really thought there was going to be many musical instances that referred to Halo 3. There are none except in "Finale", which takes an excerpt from "Halo Reborn" in the Halo 3 soundtrack and reminds us that this is still a tie-in between Halo 2 and 3. Other than that, listeners are getting fresh new Halo music.

This freshness is immediately established by the artists adding in a saxophone — an instrument never before used in Halo music. "Overture" presents a new theme for ODST and quickly sets the theme for the whole soundtrack — lost and lonely. "The Rookie" has carefully placed piano lines among the strings that provide that "lost in the city" feel and its ambiance later in the track with strange otherworldly guitar expressions.

Unfortunately, the sound engineering is the same as Halo 3's. While it fit the game and gameplay nicely and are very much appropriate, as on the album, I long to hear the original instrumentation. The strings sound muffled and synthesized, while the drums are sometimes a bit too powerful. The former is still beautiful and the engineering did very little to the saxophone but for two games that used real instruments, it's still unfortunate that they chose to use various filters on them for both OST's.

That does not take away from the large dynamic that the artists use in the music, however. The strings are authoritative and sweet as need be, the drums are still powerful, and the saxophone still brings the sense of loneliness. "The Office of Naval Defense" has some of the most pounding drums despite the purposely distorted bass lines and the piano notations in "Bits and Pieces" are still something very enjoyable.

When listening to the album, I did forget the game was set in New Mombasa. As I continued to listen though, subtle instances of the setting were revealed, mostly through the percussion instruments. "Neon Night", for example, has a graceful jungle feel midway into it. "One Way Ride" meanwhile has very subtle instances of it with the colorful instrumentation amidst the booming timpanis.

Depending on what tickles your ears will determine which disc you will listen to most. I found myself listening to and enjoying disc one more. There are more rhythmic themes with distinct beginnings and ends. In contrast, disc two is a little bit more ambient, orchestral, and not as war driven. Both discs generally are the same but you will find more of something on a certain disc.


Is this soundtrack worth your time and money? ODST's soundtrack is definitely worth listening to especially if you are familiar with the last three soundtracks. There is fresh instrumentation, the same attractive phrasing, and the distinctive dynamic that made the last three soundtracks so good. It is available both physically as a two disc set and digitally on iTunes for $20. No matter the case, ODST has some of Martin O'Donnell's and Michael Salvatori's best work on this album.

Overall Score: 9/10