Review Summary: A superb soundtrack ending gamings most ambitious Sci-Fi epic.
The Reapers have arrived. We all knew it was coming. You can see them, you can hear them, you can hear people telling you they see them, you're shooting them to bits, you're running away from them. Throughout Commander Shepards journey he's been told time and by again by numerous Reapers that the galaxy is doomed to fall, that there is no escape. You've witnessed what these horrors of Space can do, hell you've even destroyed one. But now they're here in force, destroying and harvesting all advanced life in the Galaxy. And Commander Shepard is going to stop them, one way or another.
Composed by numerous different composers, (Sam Hulick, Clint Mansell, Christopher Lennertz, Sascha Dikiciyan & Cris Velasco) it takes a more 'Human' approach, pulling away from the Sci Fi sound of the previous entries for more conventional intruments. Of course, the Sci Fi elements are still present in the music, they're just not at the forefront. Staring out with 'The Fate of the Galaxy' you'll hear strings, horns and a very, very familar piece towards the end. It paints a perfect picture of the tone the soundtrack, and game, will be taking. After the initial introduction, Clint Mansell's first credit on the soundtrack rears its head. 'Leaving Earth' comes into to play with a few simple piano keys before a horn blasts onto the scene (which was made to sound like a Reaper) If I was to interpret this in a certain way, the piano would represent 'humanity' and the depressing nature of the notes being played would be their downfall, with the horn represnting the Reapers sound and imposing themselves onto the scene. The light/heavy contrast of the piece works brilliantly, and make 'Leaving Earth' one of the most emotional on the soundtrack.
After Leaving Earth, things turn more Mass Effect. 'Mars' is more akin to the previous games with electronics and strings played side by side in a frantic fashion before slowing down halfway through and picking up speed again. The soundtrack doesn't start to really impress again until 'A Future for the Krogan' comes along. With its gorgeous, lone female chants to the absolutely breathtaking, sweeping orchestration, its a piece that should be heard by everyone. Played alongside its visual counterpart, makes it simply breathtaking and highly emotional.
The latter part of the album (from tracks 17 - 22) are what I'd like to discuss next. Having waded his way through numerous Reapers, taking down Cerberus, constructing the Crucible AND uniting the Galaxy, its time for Commander Shepard to take Earth back and in doing so, defeat the Reapers. Starting out with 'Stand Strong, Stand Fast, Stand Together' it brings the 'Human' feel all the way up and has a sense of unity to it. 'I was lost without you' plays when Shepard and his/her Love Interest get their last moment before the end. Soft piano keys play into a massive orchestrated effort with the electronics and sweeping melodies. 'The Fleets Arrive' is up next, and if this doesn't have you on your feet screaming "GO ALLIANCE! GO CRUCIBLE! GO NORMANDY! GO GALAXY!" then you are listening to it wrong. Its starts out calmly enough before blowing its way into full blown glory. The last track I'm going to talk about 'An End, Once and for All' is Mansells only other credit (composed along side Sam Hulick) If you've played the game or looked up ending videos on youtube, you've heard this track. It fluctuates between bittersweet and downright depressing and is one of the 'darkest' pieces in the series. A stunning piano melody played through out before coming into a cresendo with the orchestration going into overdrive.
Whether or not you enjoyed the ending is irrelivant at this point. This isn't a discussion on what was wrong with it (because we've all heard a million times over what was wrong with it) What this is is a bittersweet farewell to gamings most ambitious Sci Fi epic through its soundtrack. We've had a helluva ride haven't we Shapard?
A Future for the Krogan
I was lost with you
The Fleets Arrive
I'm Proud of You
An End, Once and For all