Thursday, May 03, 2012

[BETA] New Shoots

Finally, some music has emerged from the beta. I for one am really rather excited about it.

The first 90 seconds of any Blizzard Loading 'Theme' will become ingrained on your memory, like it or not, and I think the return to the 'old style' signature here is very deliberately placed. The drums of war are sounding again, and this is mirrored and reinforced by returning us to the earlier musical style we will remember from 'times past'. However, once we get past 1.25, it's clear this isn't Azeroth any more: the main 'Oriental' theme is immediate, beautiful and evocative, with the two stringed 'voices' of our new Panda Guides setting the scene of what we are to expect.

At 2.25 we hear what I hope will be a selection of a longer piece, which gets me very excited indeed. I'm going to bet this is the Zone Theme for the Valley of the Four Winds, which is very similar to Nagrand in both feel and expanse and I sense this music is conveying the same sense of tranquillity plus scale. It's also one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've heard in game for some time. The fact it moves into a new Alliance/Stormwind Variant at 3.36 reminds me of how much of a signature piece that section has become. 4.23 gives us what I'm guessing is an Orgrimmar theme variant to boot (not sure, been a while since I have listened to the themes there, must rectify that)

We then arrive at what I'm going to also guess is a Mantid-inspired section at 4.34, as there are strong oriental undertones but it's not fitting any thematic style we've heard before, and at 5.18 there's more evidence of how traditional Chinese Music has influenced this composition. However, it is back to familiar territory at 6.36 where chanting monks make me remember that the Scarlet Monestart has changed, and there's a lot happening at home to bother people as well as the arrival of a new race.

I'd suggest you give this a few listens: there's a great deal of subtlety in this eight minutes that you can miss on a first pass. If I wasn't excited already for this expansion, the arrival of the musical themes really has dialled the anticipation up a few notches...


Andy said...

The bit around the 1 minute mark reminds me a lot of the Lord of the Rings soundtrack.

Jonathan said...

There's always been more than a bit of Lord of the Rings about WoW's music. I remember my first day playing in Elwynn Forest, and a brief 3-note piece that 'honoured', shall we say, the main LOTR theme. :-)

I've only listened to a few bits of this theme - saving the rest for when Pandaland gets installed - but I'm not surprised that it carries on the format since Wrath of having a coda before the main Drums of War kick in. Really glad that it hasn't followed the Cataclysm experiment though, of having the coda drag on for over a minute and a half; that was just painful.