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Mason B. Fisher -“Age of Wonders Soundtrack” Review

The Age of Wonders is a fairly long running god sim which has spawned off into various other offspring on the way. “Age of Wonders II: The Wizards Throne” is an 11 track soundtrack to the game of the same title composed by Mason B. Fisher, not a name I’ve heard of to be honest.

“The Age of Wonders” opens the soundtrack with a cinematic synth orchestra piece that comes across very noble and well written. It has a strong tension to it as it goes from strong outbursts to much more sweeping parts of the song. “Fire” then cements this style with a quite anthemic melody that is quite similar to a war march with a booming bass drum giving much needed pace. One of the great things about this track, and the others is that there is no real looping in a sense. The tracks are formed much like songs, having a beginning, middle and ending. This marks is seperate from many other soundtracks.
“Water” is a more ambient piece with some lovely guitar melodies and echoing vocal samples. It reminds me of the Final Fantasy tactics Advanced arrangement album in style. The synths blend particularly well together here to make a seamless painting of sound.
“Life” ups the pace with our first real drum tracking with a quite dark melody that equally has plenty of beauty to it. That achievement is quite hard to pull off so well done to the composer for doing so. It’s like a synth orchestral near hip-hop piece.
“Air” (can you tell the naming pattern yet?) starts off in the same vein as the previous two songs, bridging the gap between acoustic synth and orchestral synth – which is probably the best way to descibe the overal sound of the soundtrack. Air however is my favourite piece on the soundtrack – it has a beautiful harp lead melody playing over a lush string and acoustic guitar background.
“Earth” is a much more subtle track, using string and woodwind arrangements to bring out emotion slowly while keeping in line with the same style of music. Once again the result is pretty and mellow with dark undertones.
“Death” takes things a step darker with some big cymbols, pained vocal samples and some very theatrical string arrangments. The music seems quite primal and medievil on this track, more so than others.
“Cosmos” takes on a regal feel, but also one that feels quite sorrow-fueled and not at ease with itself, which makes the track a lot more intresting as a listener as you have to choose which stance you listen to it from.
“Aggressor” is a very simple track in places with hightened tension and lots of miliatary drum rolls and some dramatic string pluges which keeps everyone on their toes before “Defender” brings out some nice dulicmer synths to keep things moving slowly in a different direction as the soundtrack finishes on the lush string & brass arrangement “Finale”.

The way how to synths on this soundtrack have been produced in a soft and airy light way makes the overal sound quite unique and intresting to listen to. The tunes themselves are pretty and catchy in places, but are slow to evolve into anything that really catches your attention. The purists who enjoy music where you can pay attention to detail and really soak in sound, will enjoy this soundtrack I feel, but if you are looking for life changing stuck-in-your-head melodies, I suggest to look elsewhere first.

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