Album of the Week: Halo 2 Anniversary Original Soundtrack

Artist: Various
Album: Halo 2 Anniversary Original Soundtrack
Genre: Soundtrack
Release Date: November 11, 2014

Now for something really different than anything previously featured here. This week's album is the remastered soundtrack for Halo 2 Anniversary. This soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal and improves upon the original on so many levels.

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Everything has been re-recorded with a live orchestra and choir and it just sounds so much better for it. Their are just so many added layers to each song to make them more interesting. More brass here ("The Last Spartan" vs. "A Spartan Rises"), more choir there ("Earth City" vs. "Kilindini Harbour"), etc. Another cool thing is that they brough back the legendary guitarist Steve Vai who recorded the guitars for the original soundtrack to record new guitar parts. The rhythm playing is just so much meatier and present in the mix compared to the original especially listening to a song like "Reclaimer" from the original and it's remastered variant "Genesong."

One gripe I do have is the fact that they didn't reuse the tracks "Follow" by Incubus and "Blow Me Away" by Breaking Benjamin which were written for the game. However all is not lost because they have been replaced with some rockin' new original compositions by Misha Mansoor, the guitarist for the progressive metal band Periphery, "Follow In Flight" and "Breaking the Covenant" (nods to the title "Follow" and the band name "Breaking Benjamin" I assume). "Follow in Flight" has some melodic bits that are reminiscent of other Incubus tracks featured on the original soundtrack release that were not in the game. "Breaking the Covenant" features some sick djenty riffs that sound very much like they could belong in a Periphery song.

Aside from the actual music, there are A LOT of differences on the actual album. The original soundtrack mixed many the tracks down to "suites" that basically coincided with the progression through each mission in the game. It worked great for many of the short bits that really didn't appear anywhere else. Unfortunately they did miss a few sections such as the variant of the main Halo theme that plays during the bridge sequence in the mission "Metropolis." The remastered soundtrack does not do this at all. It features only single tracks. This allows them to squeeze in more tracks that were missing from the original release such as the now titled "Halo Theme Scorpion Mix." On the flip side a lot of the pieces of music from the games are not present on the soundtrack release. Many tracks are also pretty short on their own.

Overall the soundtrack is great and worth checking out, even if you aren't a fan of the games. Take a listen below!

Album of the Week brings you an album to listen to every week. Maybe a new release, maybe an old favorite. From alt-rock to technical death metal and everything in between, there will be something for everyone! Check out last week's album!

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