Reviews

Bear McCreary “God of War Ragnarök (Original Soundtrack)” Album Review

God of War Ragnarök (Original Soundtrack)

Bear McCreary

  • Genre: Soundtrack
  • Date: 09 Nov, 2022
  • Content: Not-explicit
  • Region: USA
  • Track(s): 28
  • ℗ 2022 Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC, under exclusive license to Sony Classical, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

“Ragnarök” is finally upon us, after a tortuous four years. The latest installment of the God of War series features the return of the god Kratos and his son Atreus (a.k.a. the half-giant Loki) for PlayStation 4 and 5. The game’s storyline promises to be a grand fantasy epic, and a powerful orchestral score will play a significant role in it. Award-winning composer Bear McCreary steps into the fray at that point. Fantasy epics are nothing new to McCreary as a composer.

God of War (2018)’s score was written by McCreary, who also won the BAFTA and D.I.C.E. honors for his work. “Ragnarök” isn’t just an epic; it’s also billed as the series’ “Norse saga,” continuing the original “Greek saga,” and it goes without saying that a finale this significant calls for both sensational and heartbreaking symphonies. As a result, scoring this game was no easy task.

Album Cover Art

Bear Mccreary &Quot;God Of War Ragnarök (Original Soundtrack)&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, May 22, 2024

Two able-bodied warriors, one huge and buffy, the other half the size of his fellow soldier, can be seen standing war-ready on thick ice, on their guard and looking out for any intruding enemies or rivals. They are also armed with weapons that include a heavy axe, like that of Thor’s, and a bow, respectively.

Tracks and Features

The 28-track album opens with “God of War Ragnarok,” featuring Eivor. The track begins with chants that may be likened to a warcry which is accompanied by clashing cymbals, heavy bass, and chaotic but well arranged piano and trumpet chords that serve as a fabulous opener, taking into consideration the general war theme of the album. The next track, “A Son’s Path,” is a wonderful blend of strings, percussion and piano chords that combine with the background humming vocals to create an amazing tune. “Hand of Odin” comes next and the solemn viking intro gears up the listener for the chaotic vibe the track has up its sleeve. The background chanting as well as the instrumentation playing in crescendos tend to hint at some message from the supernatural.

For “Giantess of Iron,” the xylophone and flute intro leads to a pleasant acoustic rhythm that is quite calming and melodic too despite the surge at intervals in the tempo. The acoustic guitar chords blend perfectly well with the background vocals and also plays till song’s end. “Huldra Brothers” comes in next and the Viking effect on the track is pretty dominant. The beautifully-composed piece consists of calm violin chords, energetic upbeat percussions, graceful piano and acoustic chords, and the melodic bass of the chants provided by the background vocals. The track can well fit the shoes of a warcry or post-war tune. The background vocals hum till the end the track. Eivor comes in again on “Holding On” and the beat arrangement and composition seems to hint at a troubled time that requires perseverance as the background chants grow quite sorrowful and solemn. The trumpet chords that blast through at intervals also perfectly sync with the background vocals and really sets the mood.

Another Eivor feature, “Pull of the Light,” is so soothing to listen to as it begins with very melodic chants and humming vocals that effortlessly blend with the wonderful arrangement of the piano, violin, trumpets and guitar chords. The crescendo’s rise and fall and the general composition makes this track a great listen already, especially with its calming vibe. “Blood Upon the Snow” sees Hozier give a sonorous rendition on the track that also features the now-familiar name, Eivor. The piano, percussion and strings arrangement accompanied by the ever-present background vocals all combine with Hozier’s vocals and lyrics that speak of war, death, nature’s struggles and one’s resilience. A befitting close.

Tracklist

NO TITLE TIME
1 God of War Ragnarök (feat. Eivør) 4:34
2 A Son’s Path 3:30
3 The Hand of Odin 4:24
4 Giantess of Ironwood 4:22
5 Huldra Brothers 4:47
6 Holding On (feat. Eivør) 3:33
7 Svartalfheim (feat. Eivør) 5:13
8 Pull of the Light (feat. Eivør) 1:44
9 Alfheim 6:07
10 Jotunheim 4:37
11 Grýla 3:02
12 Whispered Souls 4:11
13 Vanaheim 7:34
14 The Hidden Beast 4:11
15 To Forgive or to Kill 4:26
16 Asgard 3:39
17 Muspelheim and Niflheim 3:44
18 Midgard 3:50
19 The Mermaid 2:55
20 Remembering Faye (feat. Eivør) 2:40
21 Return to Helheim 2:43
22 The Hammer of Thor 3:22
23 The Mask 2:24
24 Ragnarök 5:14
25 The All-Father 3:53
26 Raeb’s Lament 4:24
27 Letting Go 9:25
28 Blood Upon the Snow 4:31

Album Theme

The game, which concludes the Norse era of the series, deals with “Ragnarök,” the eschatological event that is a major part of Norse mythology and was prophesied to occur in the previous game. This soundtrack album perfectly captures the mood required for “Ragnarök,” which expands on the story of the previous game while placing an even greater emphasis on exploration and open-world gameplay.

Production Credits

Chad Cox, Yumi Yang and Cory Barlog handled the soundtrack album’s production.

Stream

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