Icewind Dale II (soundtrack) by Inon Zur

 

 

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Icewind Dale II (soundtrack) by Inon Zur

"Cool as Ice "
Review by Steve Townsley

 

Icewind Dale II (soundtrack) by Inon Zur

Icewind Dale II
7/10

Inon Zur
Composer 
Inon Zur


 

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Category    Score

Originality 7
Music Selection 8
Composition 8
CD Length 8
Track Order 5
Performance 7
Final Score 7/10
 


 

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Icewind Dale II (2002)
Music composed by Inon Zur 
Collector's Edition Original Soundtrack 2003

*Game Industry News’ 2002 Soundtrack of the Year Nominee.
*Nominated for Music of the Year Award by the Game Audio Network Guild

As much as I pay attention to video games, I rarely play them. One reason is the massive amount of time that games today require—practically another life, or at least a second job. However, there is a great deal of talent in the game industry, and the effort that goes into producing a single game today is equivalent to that of many full-length feature films, with all the writing, directing and (wait for it) score composing that goes along with that.

In a on-line discussion with a colleague, the question was posed as to whether one had the opportunity to work with one of the “grand masters” of film music on a project of your own origin, would you take the opportunity? The answer was mutually “no”, but for varying reasons. While the other gentleman’s opinion hinged upon style preference, my own expressed a desire to emulate, though not to imitate. As a post script to this bulletin board dialogue, I added that I would pay attention to the computer game industry, as musical talent seems to flourish from this proving ground.

Composer Inon Zur has already created a small stir in the composing world with his efforts on television movies, anime series like Escaflowne and Digimon, and some smaller films that probably passed under your nose. However, if you’re a role-playing/tactical sim computer-game fan, you’ve probably heard his music in Balder’s Gate II and Star Trek: Klingon Academy. But like most composers will tell you, if you were paying attention to the music, then the music wasn’t doing its’ job, right?

But, it’s a good thing there’s a small and thriving community listening to his music, anyway, as Zur is quite a talent, and his efforts on Icewind Dale II are quite evident. Icewind Dale is a rather Nordic-inspired locale, in the mythical realm of Faerun, a world made most popular in the “Forgotten Realms” novels marketed by the RPG company, Wizards of the Coast. (I, and probably most of you, became familiar with the setting through the writings of author R.A. Salvatore, who used the setting as the basis for his popular Dark Elf series.)

Zur took over composing duties on the Icewind follow up from composer Jeremy Soule. Soule’s score was haunting and full percussive action, and Zur’s approach is somewhat similar--and yet not imitative of Soule’s work. With such a popular title in Icewind, Zur has risen to the challenge and presents a series of score cuts that vary nicely, for an epic feel. Zur introduces the album with something almost resembling a love theme, as early at Track 2, “Arrival at the Docks”, developed further in the following track, “Skeleton of a Town”. The album contains moments of tension and terror (Track 13, “The Fellwood” – quite striking!), and a even a mystic choral piece, “Chant of the Black Ravens”, (Track 16). Appropriately for a computer game, the tracks are plentiful (40 tracks!) and short, some no longer than a minute, and most of the remaining running under 2 minutes in length. Zur really makes those few moments count, filling them to the brim with power and atmosphere appropriate for such an adventure.


Track Listing and Ratings

 Track

Title Time

 Rating

1 Choose Your Hero 1:18  ***
2 Arrival at the Docks 1:45  ***
3 Skeleton of a Town Track 1 1:20  ****
4 Palisades Under Siege 1:03  **
5 The Goblin Hordes 1:39  ***
6 The Shaengarne Track 4 1:53  ****
7 Reclaiming the Bridge 0:42  **
8 Fortress of the Horde 0:15  *
9 Sherincal of the Chimera 1:35  **
10 The Temple of Auril 0:34  **
11 Lysara the Aurilite 0:17  **
12 Limha's Secret 1:22  ***
13 The Fellwood 1:38  ***
14 Roar of the White Dragon 0:36  ***
15 Lair of Horrors 0:48  **
16 Chant of the Black Ravens 1:10  **
17 Return to Kuldahar 1:31  ****
18 Battle of the Heartstone 1:37  ***
19 The Jungles of Chult 0:32  **
20 Return to Dragon's Eye 1:28  **
21 The Severed Hand 1:39  ***
22 Saablic Tan - Red Wizard of Thay 0:36  **
23 Showdown with the Twins 1:31  ***
24 IWD2 Main Theme 1:01  ***
25 More Trials Await 0:27  **
26 The Town of Lonelywood 2:11  ****
27 The Shrine of Waukeen 0:47  **
28 Barbarian Battle 2:37  ***
29 The Camp 0:29  **
30 Inside the Tent 1:01  **
31 Isle of the Dead 1:48  ***
32 Tormented Spirits of the Barrows 1:14  ***
33 The Edge of the Gloomfrost 2:10  ***
34 The Remorhaz Tunnels 0:58  ***
35 The Flowing Caves 0:51  **
36 The Seer Speaks 0:52  **
37 Icasaracht's Lair Track 10 0:48  ***
38 The Sea of Moving Ice 0:58  ***
39 Dragon Battle 2:17  ****
40 Heart of Winter Theme 1:20  ****
 

Total Running Time

48:53  

Icewind Dale II by Inon Zur

*The Experience-O-Meter displays the track to track listening experience of this soundtrack based on the 5-Star rating given to each track.  It provides a visual depiction of the ebbs and flows of the CD's presentation of the soundtrack.

 

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