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Jesper Kyd – “Assassins Creed Brotherhood OST” Review

Main staple composer of the highly respected and much loved Assassins Creed series, Jesper Kyd returns for more dramatic high-jinx in this riviting score.

“Master Assassin” opens the score with tense rumbles and before an almost Metal Gear esque sneaky tumble and thrust composition begins however this track slowly evolves into a more atmospheric scene setter than and out and out theme tune. “City of Rome” takes a much more period music approach in its style. As in the previous track, acoustic guitars and rolling percussion set the backdrop but they are now joined by some wonderful string and choir works and the result is an uplifting, grandeous piece that gives a sense of solitude inside a vast void. The way the guitars echo and other instruments decay around eachother is really quite beautiful.

“Cesare Borgia” introduces you to the the more filmic type of tracks on the album as the choirs burst into life with Latin murmurs that carry their weight in stone. “Flags of Rome” is an abstract crossover between a percussive beat and some techno wizardry that would be just as akin to a survival horror piece. I really got into this track and its constant build up it gives you while “The Brotherhood Escapes” ups the ante with full speed percussive beats and big strings screeching their way behind the choir. It’s as dramatic as when they announce the names of contestants on the XFactor before they sing… and then sum!

“Brotherhoods of the Assassins” is a tension track with a beautiful solo vocalist turning the screw slowly as the track slides more towards the creepy than the tense. There is a lot of disonance and discord in the albums, a lot of glass effects and feedbacks which always give an eerie feeling and here it really shines through. “The Pantheon” is quite like an RPG dungeon track in many ways with traditional structures and melodies and a very palatable darkness to its core. Another track that stood out me, it just flows seemlessly well together and although the track hasn’t really done much different to the rest, it just caught my ear.

“Villa Under Attack” is much more dramatic than sinister but the male choir chant their way through Latin like its a battle cry and really raise the soundtrack to a new (dare I say higher) plain. “Echos of the Roman Ruins” is a lovely string track and a nice time to reflect and the second half of the song emerges as an etheral bell/vocal piece that is heavenly. Having it lead into “Borgia Tower” which is mood piece full of quiet pitter patters makes a good transition as this track hasn’t a particular theme but a certain feel to it that brings intruigue and unease. “Borgia Occupation” is a track full of whispers laid under a percussive beat which makes for more surreal but tense audio.

“Roman Underworld” is another shift in feel as a lone female breathes, whispers and sings like an angel in a etheral state and as each sound drowns the other its really quite entrancing. “Countdown” is far more claustraphobic as a ticking clock runs throughout the track as the guitar and strings calmly sway through. “Borgia – The Rulers of Rome” gives us the demonic church organ, which no evil soundtrack should ever be without. As a backdrop to some great choir music it sets a grande period piece.

“Ezio Confronts Lucrezia” continues Kyd’s use of tuned percussion for melody which appears to be a real key for this soundtrack as a whole as the percussion is really pushed forward in the mix and even when the strings are going crazy, they never take over. Even “Battle in Spain” which is a very cinematic track is percussion to the front and choir in the middle. It does make the tracks fuller however.

“Fight of the Assassins” is one last hurrah of pure action music and is a fantastic adreneline fueled triumph. “Desmond Miles” returns to the period string music we heard at the beginning of the soundtrack only with electronica elements buzzing around in the background. It’s a beautiful arrangement that never overblows itself and therefore is a nice sanctuary in the soundtrack. “VR Room” is a clinical ambience with a lovely string soloist over the top and rounding off the soundtrack is “Apple Chamber” which is almost so removed from the rest of the soundtrack its like a bonus track. Flowing arpeggios electronically produced are slowly added to by more strings and end of world ambient pads swirling around. It’s a fantastically otherworldly and ambiguous way to end the soundtrack.

I have to say “Assassins Creed Brotherhood” has been my favourite of the Creed soundtracks to date. Each track has its own purpose and doesn’t outstay its welcome. The soundtrack is a lot more ambient and darker than I expected which always appeals and Jesper Kyd is a master now at weaving together crafts from different time periods and cultures and layering effects over them. A great soundtrack for those after something a bit like a twilight winter dark night with rustlings in a bush out of view – you’ll be intruiged and hooked for more to be revealed but will enjoy the view of what you can’t see just as much as what you can.

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