Howard Shore scores video game music with Soul of the Ultimate Nation

I’ve geeked over Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings score ever since I first heard it in theaters back in 2001. Everything about the tracks in the trilogy felt epic, beautiful, haunting, sad and catchy, from the Fellowship theme to the Minas Tirith theme. They’re the only soundtracks that I can listen from beginning to end, over and over again (okay, so Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy fits the bill too). Yeah, that’s the power of Howard Shore. Now Howe Records has announced that it’s releasing next week Howard Shore’s score for Soul of the Ultimate Nation, an MMORPG game. Howard Shore doing video game music? And the game’s been out since 2007? Where the f*** was I? To be fair, the game didn’t come out until 2009 in the United States. But still…

Howard Shore worked on the music of Soul of the Ultimate Nation in the summer of 2004, half a year later after he worked on The Return of the King’s score. The soundtrack for SUN was made available to certain parts of Asia, but coming next week, it’ll be available to a worldwide audience (finally, after all these years). Since the release is Volume 2 of SUN, I’m wondering if we ever got a Volume 1 version, and if not, why did we skip it?

So how’s the music? I’ve had a chance to listen to it, and if you’re familiar with Shore’s Lord of the Rings tracks, you should feel right at home. Back are the ensemble low bass wind instruments to ready you for battle, tuba and drums set the tone for the dark forces, string instruments for those touching moments, and an ensemble choir singing to give you that human touch. His track, “Sanctuary of Ether”, feels very beautiful and tranquil, along with “Tides of Hope”. “A Prelude to Revolt” has an upbeat tempo that has you prepped and ready for battle. If you’re a fan of Howard Shore or The Lord of the Rings film score, get the Soul of the Ultimate Nation soundtrack.

“Sanctuary of Ether”

Howard Shore’s Soul of the Ultimate Nation, Collectors Edition Vol. 2 from Howe Records will be available in stores and digitally on July 10, 2012. He will return as composer for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.

“Tides of Hope”

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