Skyrim Soundtrack Review

Photo of Skyrim Soundtrack physical version

  • Name: Skyrim Soundtrack
  • Label: directsong
  • Composer(s): Jeremy Soule
  • Number of Tracks: 53

For those who regularly read my blog, you would know I ordered in the special physical edition of the Skyrim soundtrack from directsong. Since I ordered early too I actually managed to get Jeremy Soule's signature on it too (hopefully it'll be worth something someday :)).

I'm a big fan of Jeremy Soule's music. He's created classic soundtracks for games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Guild Wars and of course the previous two Elder Scrolls games, Morrowind and Oblivion. No surprises that he was recruited again to do the soundtrack for Skyrim.

The physical soundtrack comes on a whopping 4 CDs and there's a lot of music here: 53 tracks, although one of the tracks is a 40 minute long track of ambient music/sound effects so I didn't really listen to the last disc. However, as always half of the tracks are combat and ambient music. This is appropriate when you want to build atmosphere while dungeon-crawling but not as entertaining when you're listening to the tracks by themselves.

When I first heard the main track Dragonborn, I wasn't actually impressed. It had a similar tempo to Oblivion which I didn't really like, and there it sounded like a bunch of drunken Vikings were belting out the tune. Of course, that's the whole point I guess but I still prefer the "original" Morrowind theme where it all started. However, after playing the game, and finding how they integrated it so well with the experience (e.g. bards actually sing the song, the music plays whenever a dragon attacks - although that track is actually called One They Fear etc.) it's now definitely one of my favourites on this album.




Another track that is a favourite is the Jerall Mountains. Like the track Dragonborn, it too is based off previous Elder Scrolls music by Jeremy Soule. The melody found in Jerall Mountains is based off Silt Sunrise in Morrowind and Through the Valleys in Oblivion. It's a very calming, peaceful and nostalgic tune.




Finally, one of the best original tracks on the album (i.e. one not based off previous themes) would have to be Ancient Stones. This one quickly became a favourite as I wondered through the charming towns and hamlets of Skyrim during the day. It just fits the majestic nature of the province so well. Still not quite sure what the main instrument played in the track is though.. sounds a bit like a harp, harpsichord and a lute all in one...



Other tracks of note are the adventurous and grand Far Horizons and a combat song that is actually worth listening to, Death or Sovngarde.

So there's quite a lot of good tracks on this album, about half of the 53 are worth listening to, the rest however is the combat and ambient music so just be aware of that when deciding to buy the album.

Score - 5/10

You can grab the album off directsong for $30 (plus shipping and handling).

Comments

  1. You totally forgot "From past to present", one of the best tracks in the soundtrack.

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  2. Hello Anonymous,

    The soundtrack was simply too big for me to go through each and every track I liked, so I only took a sample. I agree that From Past to Present is one of the better tracks on the album and it rated highly for me as it was a majestic, orchestral theme.

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    1. Let me get this straight: you "reviewed" an album of 53 tracks by "sampling" the album? I can tell you as a former professional movie reviewer that would be like me watching part of a movie and reviewing it as a whole, i.e., it would be unethical and I would get fired for it.

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    2. Hi Today In...

      You misunderstand me. Rest assured I listened to every of the 53 tracks on this album multiple times and they were taken into account in the final score. What I was referring to however is not featuring every track I found to be my favourite in the review and instead sampling or picking some of the favourites to discuss/describe. Using your movie review analogy, it's like talking about qualities of the film you like/dislike but only using one scene to justify your viewpoint instead of categorically listing the 100 or so scenes in the review that justify your viewpoint. Hope that makes sense.

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    3. Today In... You sir are a moron. If I had any worker with such arrogance working for me, I would have fire them before they get another opportunity to open their trap. You claim to be a professional movie reviewer, yet, you have not linked any of your previous work for others to openly dissect, and still have the gall to insult an independent reviewer who offers his review for free off his own free time. Please go back under your bridge, and be a nuisance no more.

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  3. I believe the main instrument in Ancient Stones is a hammered dulcimer... an instrument used to help personify medieval Esq periods. I may be wrong, yet it sounds like one. Take a look on YouTube if your able, it is a beautiful instrument.

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  4. I think you're right - had a look on YouTube - does sound a lot like a hammered dulcimer :). Choice find!

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  5. 5/10 is a fail rating. I don't agree with you.

    10/10 ... and I don't say that lightly.

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  6. Hi JMB,

    Thanks for commenting! Technically, 4/10 would be a fail rating but yes I take your point that the rating is rather low. The reason is explained in the review. I like to rate the album as a whole and while there are some exceptional tracks in there, there's also a lot of ambient stuff I wouldn't give a second listen to. So you could picture a 5/10 as roughly half the tracks being of exceptional quality.

    Regardless, glad to see a fan of Jeremy Soule's music :).

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  7. I just found this blog by chance. I am usually not a huge fan of the music from Jeremy Soule's music, but this soundtrack struck me by suprise! I am listening to something rare here I think. I have not played the game, but I am a collector of fantasy and sience fiction film and game score's and so have heard some really good stuff but here on this album are some tracks that are outstanding, such as Standing Stones (simply amazing), Far Horizons & Wind Guide You. There are others but here a majestic, rarely found in such soundtracks is masterfully captured. I can compare this to The Planets by Holst. This sounds BIG and I get gooze bumbs nearly everythime I hear these tracks. Amazing!

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    1. Hi Jensen, thanks for posting! Totally agree that there are some truly majestic tracks on this album. I'm surprised you're not a fan of some of Jeremy Soule's other works although he's definitely getting better with age :).

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  8. Some of the ambient music in the album is simply amazing, Out Of The Cold and A Chance Meeting are my favorites!

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    1. The ambient music is pretty good but I'm more of a fan of melodies or leitmotifs :). Just had a listen to Out of the Cold and a Change Meeting though and they definitely have a medieval sound to them :).

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  9. ancient stones is by far my favourite game soundtrack ever.. gives me chills everytime and makes me teary eyed

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