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Prince of Persia The Sands of Time Original Soundtrack :: Review by Steven Kennedy

Prince of Persia The Sands of Time Original Soundtrack Album Title: Prince of Persia The Sands of Time Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Scitron Digital Contents
Catalog No.: SCDC-00383
Release Date: October 20, 2004
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time initiated Ubisoft's highly successful revival of the action-adventure series. Former rock band member Stuart Chatwood was selected as the composer for the project. He intended to portray the setting and action of the title with a dense blend of orchestral, percussive, and rock elements. While effective in context, the import soundtrack release for the title is largely unappealing as a separate listen.


Stuart Chatwood's opening music has a definite sample feel to its orchestral sound. It hints at an ancient Middle Eastern melody before heading into an insanely fast drumming idea that is looped through the music. The music tends to sound like something from a bad Sci-Fi channel movie tending toward just enough hints at the Middle East to make the music lend ambience to a sequence. Regardless, the melodic line is practically cliché in its use. The use of percussion here is what creates the interest but it would have been helped by live acoustic instruments. Here the vision is hindered by the lack of the real thing though vocal lines help create some ambience.

The problem too may be in the brevity of the tracks here which are mere brushstrokes. Tracks such as "Call to Arms" or "The Battle Begins" certainly attract attention in context with their bombastic orchestral writing. However, they're far too short and typical to be worthwhile for stand-alone listening. The majority of the tracks fail to exceed a 90 second playtime. The disorientating nature of the soundtrack is emphasised by its stylistic inconsistency. When the metal elements appears in "Enter the Royal Palace" "Trouble in the Barracks", the context of the scenario itself is completely broken and we are drawn out of the time frame.

Thankfuly, there are some redeeming themes throughout the score. "The Library" is a little better musically than most of the ambience with interesting ethnic touches and odd meters. This all helps to keep the music off kilter and a bit more interesting. "Farah Enlightens the Prince" meanwhile subtly blends Arabian tonalities and percussion into unobtrusive background music. "Reverse the Sands of Time" also impresses with its ever-changing soundscapes and rich assembly of components. However, its abrupt development may inspire frustration on a stand-alone basis. The soundtrack concludes with the brief theme song "Time Only Knows". Despite moments of instrumental ingenuity, the lyrical content is too clichéd and the development is too brief for this to be an artistic highlight.


Overall, the import soundtrack for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is not well-suited for stand-alone listening. While Stuart Chatwood's approach generally complements the game's scenes, most tracks come across brief or uninspired out of context. Although there are a number of highlights in the release, they're probably not enough to compensate for the unappealing material.

Overall Score: 6/10