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Tom Salta ~ Prince of Persia Forgotten Sands OST Review

Tom Salta’s busy streak continues with the release of the latest PoP game, this time on the Wii, PSP and DS and Tom’s latest soundtrack.

Once again Salta’s penchant for mixing different cultures is very much brought to the fore. From the opening “Sacrifice” which opens with exotic instrumentation and vocal floatations and incantations, you are taken deep into a world with mixed influences where East meets West on a dramatic landscape. “The Stranded Castle” is a short track but fuses electronic beats with eastern fixtures and fittings for a powerful and industrial Arabian experience. “The Ancient Halls of Izdihar” however are much more ambient and dense in atmosphere and harsh dusty reality. The percussion used in the soundtrack as a whole is something quite beautiful and organic. “Taking the High Road” mixes the two previous tracks in tone and has a real drive and journeyman feel to it with its one note bassline and structured percussion.

“Breaking the Seal” starts to merge the mystical and orchestral into the mix with lots of jangles and heavily layered and then feathered out strings and keyboards. The song then flips into a real hardcore Persian Trip Hop track for a few bars before falling back to mysterium. “Clear as A Sandstorm” has all kinds of whispy soundeffects for a parched windy feel and here really see’s the Asian guitars take control for a track while swirling vocals slid in and out like a mirage. “Tourtered Souls” is more ambient with lots of drums and backwards voice snippets. It’s more tense and thrilleresque than the other tracks so far. “Ambush in the Caves” is not as fast paced for a battle track as I’d have thought it would be. It keeps the traditional boiiing-boing beat of Persia and features some great guiro sounds but actually is no more percussive and dramatic than the other tracks so far. “Warriors of the Haoma” is much more frantic however really pounding out percussion and dulcimers to signal a huge upping of the ante.

“Interlude I” is a wonderfully short but quite astral keyboard piece. It reminds me of something from Ico or Crystal Dreamscapes. “The Menagerie of Legends” is another very beautiful piece with lots of ancient guitars and lutes. It absolutely holds a history inside it, and the echoed production here really suits the music perfectly. Similarly “At the Palace’s Gates” holds the same regal and ancient qualities with its twisted riffs and slightly eerie chords. It’s a take I could happily listen to on repeat for 20 minutes and not notice. “The Peri” is another mystical track relying on the Arabic musical scale to up the charm and the spirit. It’s a great track to completely envelope you inside with its great use of wind instruments and astral vocalscapes. “Swarming” is a short build up track for “Challenge of the Beasts” which is another well constructed battle track that reminds me heavily of Heavenly Sword in pacing and structure. “Interlude II” is a short, icy keyboard note.

“Water Bearer” is quite clever in using percussion that sounds like water drops to make the track stand out. “The Dead City” is a bit more rockier and atmospheric than most tracks with big drums and empty keyboards. “Chase Through the Palace” on the other hand has a bounce in its step with its thin guitars and drums. “Roaring Fire, Lingering Smoke” is about as close to a sneaking theme as you’ll get on the soundtrack. It leads well into “Augur of Malice” that has a great detuned element to its instrumentation that makes it sound a little more kookier than the other tracks.

“Trapped” is more dramatic and intricate but follows very much the same line of thought as the rest of the soundtrack. There isn’t really much of a melodical edge to the soundtrack. There’s very little in the way of repeating riffs and so on, its much down to the feeling of the instruments and how they are played. The percussion really sets things up and the other instruments augment around the drums. “Falling Apart” is one of the few times where this is not the case with lots of real traditionally Persian instrumentation. “Regret” is more of an etheral piece with keyboards and ab lib vocal layers taking centre stage before “Interlude III” rounds off the short but sweet trio of ambient spacescapes.

“Harbinger of Gods” is quite underplayed with what sounds like a harpsichord playing in the background at times. The song reminds me very much of Dead Can Dance’s Eastern inspired tracks with its slow overtune and quick percussion underneath. “Lord of the Sea” has a lot of water based extras thrown in with electronic elements thrown in and twisted metal synths piercing the ear on occasion. “No End in Sight” and “Dance of the Veil” go hand in hand really as evolutions of each other before “Mah’s Void” takes interesting stance switching from ambient swirls to heavily manipulated tabla runs and back again.

“Sacred Ascent” is a real culmination of the whole soundtrack in an excellent four minute pilgrimage. It encompasses everything that’s gone on before and pulls it all together for a fine track. “The Earth Mother” is a vocal chant led piece with heavy drums slowing marching behind the leading lady. “Defying the Haoma” is more of a scowl than a chant before the epic “Final Confrontation” takes over for an excellent final battle track with melody patterns and increasing tension and drama as everything gets progressively faster during the track. Excellent stuff!

“Loss” is an etheral vocal cry and is very emotive with the heavy echoes and strong vocal delivery. That then leaves you with the massive nine minute “Credits” which combines the entire soundtrack into nine minutes of Tom Salta excellence.

Prince of Persia Forgotten Sands is a very interesting soundtrack because despite having very little in the way of melody and hooks, it holds a certain ambience and feel that keeps you interested. I’m sure having played the game, many of the tracks would surely take on a greater emotional meaning, as on first listen, there’s a lot of similar tracks that blend into eachother. What it does give you is a great pilgrimage soundtrack, one to make a mix tape of all the percussive tracks and then take on a road trip – you’ll feel like you’ve crossed the desert in a day!

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