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Game Soundtrack Review

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The Lord of the Rings Online
10th Anniversary Commemorative Soundtrack


Composer: Chance Thomas
Label: HUGEsound Records
Release Date: 23 June 2017

HUGEsound Records will release The Lord of the Rings Online 10th Anniversary Commemorative original video game soundtrack. The album features the game’s original score by Chance Thomas, an avid lifelong fan of The Lord of the Rings. This 26-song double album features Thomas’ very best work over the past 10 years – music so emotionally nuanced it’s as if it sprang forth from the pages of The Lord of the Rings itself...

The Lord of the Rings Online has been transporting Tolkien fans to Middle-earth for 10 years, and with that comes the release of this collection of music. Chance Thomas began writing music for The Lord of the Rings well before Howard Shore tackled the soundtrack for Jackson’s trilogy. He has already contributed to 9 games and expansions spanning a 20-year period, and just started work on a 10th expansion. All of this music – orchestral, choral, and acoustic ensemble music – is completely original and is all based on personal research conducted into the literature by Thomas himself.

When he first began composing music based on The Lord of the Rings, Chance spent months intensely researching the books – eventually running into years – pulling out everything professor Tolkien wrote about music, song, voices, instruments, even the effect that music had on people and environments. He collected these references, sorted through them, organized and then distilled all of his research into a 26-page document which he called The Tolkien Music Style Guide. For each of the 5 key races in Middle-earth, his Style Guide lists specific instrumental palettes, vocal ranges, stylistic guidelines, even home keys – all based on references and inferences drawn directly from the text.

If you've played the online Lord of the Rings game then you'll already be familiar with Thomas's work. Delivered here as a standalone score, it's impressive how many of these are beautiful works of art in their own right. The album contains 26 tracks (1 hr, 11 min, 53 sec) with personal highlights including 'Tears of Nimrodel'; 'Rivendell' and 'Heart of a Hero'.

'Theme for Rohan' was the only track that was close to Shore's music, but then you have to bear in mind that the sounds for this universe drawn on very distinct imagery from the original books and the genre of fantasy. It's no surprise that there will be some overlap - if anything I was surprised there wasn't a lot more.

So who is this suitable for? Just about everyone! From fans of the original books, the movies and obviously the game, this is packed full of beautifully crafted themes performed by artists who have poured their hearts into the performances. Beautiful stuff.


Darren Rea

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