Garry Shyman: Dante’s Inferno OST Review

Garry Shyman has been a busy bee of late and so this will be the first of two soundtrack reviews of the composer. Dante’s Inferno, a game which has came out to general critical acclaim has a very distinctive sound to it.

Opening with the dramatic and powerful “Donasdogama Micma”, you are immediately thrown into the deeply archaic and twilight religiousness of spoken Latin and the sordid manical discordant instruments and rousing chorus. A real throw you in the deep in. “Storms of Lst” continues to weave an underworld waltz to oblivion with striking strikes and operatic laments. The smashing timpani’s and gargling brass layer on thick atmospheric pressure to the music making it feel quite oppressive. “Excessum Alighiero” is a mesmerising albeit short piece that bashes and shouts its way through, marching out a beat and distressing every vocalist in a five mile radius! It’s deliciously dark and there is no let up at all.

“Dante, Casarma Treloch” thrives on the deep male vocalists pushing the brass forward to pounding beats while the tense strings round off everything else in a tight bundle of horror. It’s really rare to have such power and electricity stinging in every single note. You will definately know by track four if this soundtracks for you. “Abyssus Incendia” is quite abstract with its twisted string arrangement and hollaring rallies of war – it’s like listening to Phantom of the Opera sung by Korn! “Redemption” is really the first track to offer a softer lamenting side the soundtrack and stands out for that.

“Tower at the River Styx” reminds me of the old b-movie music with the shrill string stabs, before it breaks out into a percussive frenzy – its a perfect example of unreigned maniacs in the orchestra being let loose – it’s fantastic. “Beatrice Taken” is a sinister track, very underplayed and wriggly as the undertones for each instrument all fit together in an unsettling tone – even when the beautiful choir are solo, because of the music you hear either side is still fresh in your mind, you just know all of a sudden a freak out is coming! “Arphe (The Descent)” is just an eerie with worbling vocals and slimey tense strings sloping their way around the speakers.

“Jas Davos Cha Dante Va” returns to the full on assault with its full choir and orchestra pounding out perfectly scultured passages that you don’t even get in all out blockbuster action sequences from a sci-fi or fantasy film. In many ways, Dante’s Inferno’s score is one of the most unabashedly biggest scaled soundtracks I’ve ever heard. “Whores of Babylon” even has witch cackles and screams! It’s these little nuances that just up the ante over other scores.

“Cereberus” is epic (as is all the soundtrack to be honest) as it really sets up to be a stonking battle track, from the six beats percussion, two beats manic strings and brass time stamp it has at the beginning which then revels in deep and growing percussion and brass. “Dies Irae” is a short brooding piece before “Greed Minions” use a hoarding chant and march that is heavily vocal based, almost like a Maori chant crossed with the demonic sounding olds Latin choirs you used to have. There is a great mini bell/triangle section at one point that reminds me of the Lost soundtracks.

“Adgt Vpaah Zong” is full on again, there’s even a middle section which is so dramatic it reminds me of a carry on film! However the pace just doesn’t let up at all and continues to flow into the militant “Barma Beigla Te Carma” although this one is more rousing than the previous, which was just more pacey. “Hall of Abraham” is more ghostly and otherworldly than the rest of the soundtrack with its ominous lost vocal layers.

“Bella’s Secret Revealed” sounds arabic and completely different in tone to what we’ve heard so far. It’s a very haunting yet simplicitic piece with wraparound chords on an organ/sitar hybrid instrument with glassy overtones.

“Minos” returns to the usual antics of throwing every instrument at you at once, while “Babylon Ors” gives a more miltant feel with its marching drums but the way the whole orchestra ramps and ramps itself up until you can almost not stand it really gets you motivated to start going a bit mental yourself! There’s a male vocal particularly in this track which really stands out in that “I’m purposely a key higher to sound extra emotive” way and it works a charm.

“Phlegyas Marches to Dia” is a brooding step up and down track before “The Second Circle” takes you on a slight breather with an eerie and unsettling vocal/string track. “The Queen of Hell” is another well constructed track going through different movements in a single track and is one of a few to have several different shifts in tone and pace and makes a good track to see if you’ll enjoy the album.

“Battle with Abraham” is more dramatic the previous few tracks and the vocals continue to sound like they are spewing through another relm. Add to that a fully flowing orchestra and a vey busy percussionist, you have the reciepe for another classic track. “Phlegyas Ravages Dis” ups the ante further in pace and drama with stomping timpanis, all kinds of horror vocal flurries and stabs in with percussive number. “The Defeat of Lucifer” is a grande track although it slows down the pace a little almost like a rolling goodbye before “Donasdogama Mica Decepto” closes the soundtrack with a downplayed choir and a bubbling adversity.

Garry Shyman’s “Dante’s Inferno” really deserves to be heard in stereo. That sounds a strange thing to say, but turn up the volume of your speakers and sit in the middle of them.There is just so much sound going on, it gives you a completely different take on the score. “Dante’s Inferno” is not easy listening, not even for orchestral fans. It contains some of the boldest and darkest orchestral music I’ve heard this side of game music and the world is a richer place for having it. Technically stunning and flawless, the way how it captures the essence of the otherworld that’s been created is mesmorising and is already vying for Higher Plain Music’s 2010 soundtrack of the year award.

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Categories: composer, game music, music, orchestral, producer, religion, review, scores, VGM

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