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CRYSIS 2

Composers: Hans Zimmer, Lorne Bafle, Borislav Slavov, Tilman Sillescu

Release: November 2011

Length: 46 Tracks (2-discs)

Label: E.A.R.S (digital) La-la Land Records (Audio CD)

Two minds are better than one, but four musical minds are much better than two, and that was clearly the thinking behind the creation of Crysis 2’s score. Four composers, two CDs, and 47 tracks, sounds like a legend to me. Hans Zimmer lends his name and skill to the soundtrack, but the real stars of the show are Borislav Slavov and Tilman Sillescu; two experienced game composers with an ear for rich and cinematic themes. The game is a futuristic FPS with lots of mind-blowing action and a sci-fi plot, so we can expect the usual epic bass and string melodies, but is there anything here to elicit an emotive connection?

Let’s start with “Crysis 2 – Intro”, composed by Zimmer and Lorne Bafle. Zimmer has a thing for epic strings and thumping drums, and his use of this technique on this track has the desired effect. Think The Dark Knight soundtrack and you’re more or less there. The context of the game is essentially summed up; hopelessness, danger, adventure, and the apocalypse. Zimmer worked on six tracks out of the 47, and the most memorable composition is the aforementioned intro, with the other five pieces basically acting as variations of it. Zimmer’s contribution, albeit a small one, sets the tone for the rest of the score, and now that we’ve talked about his bit part, we can review the real meat of the soundtrack.

Slavov composed 21 tracks, and it’s a perfect example of the Bulgarian’s abilities to mix different styles of moods and music.  Soft piano and violin solos on tracks like “New York Aftermath” provoke emotions of loss, contemplating and misery, while “Chase” has the pacey drums of a cinematic scene, with enough deep brass and determined strings to epitomise the urgency of the scene.

In “Resolution (Reprise)” Slavov manages to conjour up memories of Gears of War and The Exorcist; the deep brass associated with the score of the former is introduced with a piano not dissimilar to the latter’s main theme. However, Slavov makes the track his own by adding a beautiful string melody that really tugs on the courage in your heart. That last sentence might have been a little dramatic, but the emotion in this track is highly potent and provocative.

In a direct contrast to the previous track, “Sneak and Shoot” displays Slavov’s ability to compose gameplay music. Reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid 4’s score, this piece is a sporadic experience. In order for it to work with the moments of stealth gameplay, the music is discontinued, from slow-pace quiet moments (sneak) to crescendos of numerous instruments (and shoot). Whether or not Slavov was inspired by any of the references made in this article thus far, he still manages to produce original pieces, giving the score its own identity, and managing to match the subject matter.

The final – but not the least – member of this composer quartet is Tilman Sillescu, a winner of the industry-recognised G.A.N.G award in 2007, brings his own magic to Crysis 2’s score. Dominating 19 tracks, Sillescu introduces gamers to his use of the electric guitar and soft soprano horns, especially in the prominent “Catastrophic Beauty”, which, coupled with Slavov’s “New York Aftermath”, provoke a melancholic emotive response.

The Crysis 2 score is cinematic and epic experience, rivalling and possibly surpassing many Hollywood blockbusters. Despite Zimmer’s input, Slavov and Sillescu are the true talent behind this. These guys proven that videogame soundtracks are an art in their own right, making this writer proud once again.

Check out more of Alec-Ross Bower’s writing at Thirteen1.com

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