Master Chief Returns in Style
Video game music has come a long way, with die-hard programmers having to act as musicians in the ’80s, punching in hexidecimal commands into trackers, a somewhat archaic (yet still powerful) form of music production software. Today, your typical sweatpants donning, joystick-gripping audience is treated to lush soundscapes, full orchestral arrangements and real producers. Neil Davidge, the man behind some of Massive Attack’s most well-received albums not only pushes the limits of exciting video game scores, but sets the standard for modern incidental music with the Halo 4 Original Soundrack.
Now that Microsoft Studios has taken the reigns from Bungie, the studio responsible for the past Halo titles, it seems no expense has been spared on the newest installment of the fast-paced, competition-heavy first-person shooter. For the mainstream video game industry, bigger is always better. Tracks like like “Awakening” and “Belly of the Beast” kick off the album with a pumping percussion section, overly-dramatic string section, blaring brass instruments and enough energy to make you forget you have to press “start” to continue with the game.
“Legacy” is an ambient trip-out, with some over-processed Celtic-like vocals. Davidge definitely sets the mood for what the journey ahead and the weight of the Halo Universe, now set four years after the events of “Halo 3.”
“To Galaxy” is, without a doubt, a romantic, majestic piece fit for anyone donning a Covenant plasma gun. It will either make you want to climb your roof and declare war on your neighborhood or throw a handful of Utz cheese puffs at your best friend after fragging him in the face during a heated deathmatch at 4 a.m.
“Green and Blue” closes the album, only being sentimental enough to let you know there’s two more games to be released, closing yet another chapter in the Halo Universe. With the release date of “Halo 4” coinciding with Election Day, can you blame anyone for not fulfilling their civic duty? In case you DO have time to hit up a voting booth, why not load up the Halo 4 Original Sountrack, strap on some headphones and change America just as intensely as you’re going to change the planet.