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Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood
by David McGarry

Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood

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 Brothers in Arms:  Earned in Blood (Download MP3 Soundtrack) by David McGarry
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Brothers in Arms:  Earned in Blood (Soundtrack) by David McGarry  

Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood
Composed by David McGarry
Sumthing Else Records (2008)

Rating: 6/10


13 Full Tracks.  Used by Permission


“While DAVID MCGARRY's score for BROTHERS IN ARMS: EARNED IN BLOOD is much more subtle than its predecessor, it does offer an interesting listening experience; however brief. ”

Bloody Brief
Review by Christopher Coleman

BROTHERS IN ARMS: EARNED IN BLOOD was Gearbox's second entry into its budding franchise. Following in the very same year as ROAD TO HILL 30, Gearbox decided, rather than directly continue the story started in the first game, to center EARNED IN BLOOD around events which happened in parallel. This time out we follow Sergeant Joe Hartsock, who was under Matt Baker's command in ROAD TO HILL 30.  In the game, we follow Sergeant Hartsock from the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, to Carentan, to the link up of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions at Baupte. Even though EARNED IN BLOOD covers much of the same time-frame from ROAD TO HILL 30, it reveals different skirmishes and plot points.  Naturally, we'd expect with such tight connections to the previous installment that composer DAVID MCGARRY's score would have much in common with ROAD TO HILL 30, but surprisingly it does not. While the title theme fits roughly within the same world as STEPHEN HARWOOD JR.'s thematic music, beyond that the music here has a distinctly different feel. The fact that MCGARRY was audio director for ROAD TO HILL 30 makes this departure all the more surprising. Foregoing the easily identifiable, contemporary compositions for World War II epics, DAVID MCGARRY chooses to travel a different route. The game itself was criticized by some for not being much more than an expansion pack to ROAD TO HILL 30; not offering up enough advances or differences in gameplay to be so considered. The same complaint can't be made for the amount of change in this game's original score however. The overall personality of MCGARRY's work here has more in common with music from brilliant composers of yesteryear like Ralph Vaughn Williams, Jerome Moross, ...and even a J.S. Bach.

On the expected side of things, the soundtrack launches with the title theme and is not distinctly heard again until the closing moments of the "End Credits" (13). These are two of the rare moments where the music feels a part of the world that HARWOOD originally established. "Main Menu" (2) also features a similar texture and, like many of STEPHEN HARWOOD Jr.'s secondary themes in ROAD TO HILL 30, this could have easily served as a title theme. The only other moments that lightly touch this vein are "Scuro" (10) and "Vittoria (12) which feature somewhat subdued string and brass melodies, but are sadly under-developed in comparison to these others.

In "Funzionare" (3) we have a theme introduced in which MCGARRY uses as the foundation for several of the tracks following. He has written pieces that are variations of several key components of theme as a whole. In "Sonno" (6), the tempo is slowed and one of the contrapuntal melodies originally performed on strings is taken over by woodwinds. "Serbatoio" (7) is an slightly slower, but more determined performance of the core Funzionare-theme. This track is followed by "Pesante" (8) which takes the woodwind motif in "Sonno" and performs it on brass. Lastly, "Meccanico" (11), is an almost-fun, string staccato performance of, again, the core Funzionare theme.

The release by Sumthin' Else Digital delivers short glimpses into what would most likely be a very enjoyable listening experience, if only it could be extended a bit. The tracks offered here are below average in duration (there is only one track that reaches the three minute mark). Understanding that game scores are seldom (if ever) written with a soundtrack release in mind, given the production value of the ROAD TO HILL 30 soundtrack release, I expected a little more for EARNED IN BLOOD. An extened suite or two of music would have been an interesting route to take, but a track listing of 13 likely sells better. Another minor problem are those track titles which are in Italian, as they only give a modicum of context for its music. Ironically, it's the absence of more conventional track titles here that shines the spotlight on how descriptive (yet non-spoiler) track titling can help shape the listener's experience.

While DAVID MCGARRY's score for BROTHERS IN ARMS: EARNED IN BLOOD is much more subtle than its predecessor, it does offer an interesting listening experience; however brief. MCGARRY focuses on strings, woodwinds and low-register brass over the more militaristic trumpet fanfares, timpani rolls, or cymbal crashes; thereby giving the score a slightly more somber feel than ROAD TO HILL 30. If you are not looking for extended thematic development, but brief sketches or intermezzi that feature a distinct personality from other World War II FPS scores, then this release is worthy of consideration.

Brotherhood of Duty:  The Music of Brothers in Arms and Call of Duty: World at WarRating: 6/10


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Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Earned in Blood Theme 2:35  ****
2 Main Menu 2:38  ****
3 Funzionare 2:01  ****
4 Triste 2:02  **
5 Euphorico 3:02  ***
6 Sonno 1:58  ***
7 Serbatoio 2:01  ***
8 Pesante 2:02  ***
9 Memoria 2:01  ***
10 Scuro 2:01  ***
11 Meccanico 2:02  ***
12 Vittoria 2:02  ***
13 End Credits 2:43  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 29 minutes  




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