Jukebox Heroes: An exclusive journey through Aion’s Upheaval soundtrack

    
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Aion is a game that’s well-renowned for both its visual and audio beauty. Among my fellow MMO soundtrack enthusiasts, the title’s many soundtracks stand out as some of the best in the business. So it goes without saying that we wouldn’t mind a bit more of it, right?

Happily, we got just that. With the advent of Patch 4.8: Upheaval, NCsoft added 18 new music tracks to the game, and for the most part they are spectacular. The score carries the task of selling the atmosphere and wordless story to several new regions and locales, and I had a difficult time picking just six tracks to share.

So here we are with an exclusive first listen to the Aion Upheaval soundtrack. Enjoy!

1. Sea-Kissed Winds (Upheaval Main Theme)

This track starts with the traditional Aion intro tune and then quickly displays a burst of energy and power. Soon enough, that’s over and done with, and we settle back into a dreamy piano riff that grows increasingly disturbed as the track continues.

This is far more of a “story” track than the usual, although that is expected from main themes (that usually do double-duty as scores to the intro cutscenes). There are a lot of transitions and mood swings here, but at least it’s never dull!

2. Asmodian Resolve

I don’t know if I’d place this as a fantasy video game piece, but it’s certainly rich and relaxing while occasionally rising to deliver inspirational moments. I guess it sounds very contemporary, more like something you’d hear at a televised awards ceremony than in an RPG village.

To address the title, the track does deliver both a quiet and overt display of strength and dignity that speaks well of this particular faction.

3. Crimson Hills

Wow, do I ever love this piece. It’s a spirited jazzy track that has toe-tapping percussion and — of all things — a harmonica. I can’t get it out of my head. If I was ever in a sitcom, I would want this to be my main theme.

I get so tired of dour, bombastic fantasy tracks. I wish more could have fun like this one.

4. Drakenspire Depths

You really have to turn up your bass (and subwoofer if you have one) for this track. It’s got this hypnotic throbbing and clanging that it as fascinating as it is somewhat disturbing. I’m not sure if I’m listening to the soundtrack of a horror movie or the introduction of the most thrilling boss fight ever. But dang if it isn’t captivating.

5. Frostshard Cavern

This soundtrack is really all over the place, isn’t it? Frostshard Cavern almost gives off a circus vibe as it crashes and tumbles through frantic notes and heavy orchestral cues. I guess if you’re going to rent an orchestra by the hour, you want to get the most out of every musician you can!

6. Perennial Mosswood

We’ll end our tour of Upheaval’s score with a quiet, pensive track. Perennial Mosswood is absolutely lovely, growing into what feels like a dance in a magical glade. The flute and bells add an otherworldly feel to it, although one has to give the strings their due.

Which one of these did you like the best? Dish in the comments!

MMOs are meant to be heard as well as seen, and chances are that music ties your memories to these games more than you might realize. Every two weeks Jukebox Heroes listens through a game soundtrack and picks out the highlights to share and discuss. And if you like this column, then don’t miss the author’s MMO music podcast, Battle Bards!
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Thoroughmas
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Thoroughmas

Why is this not on Google Play/iTunes etc :(

Rebel Engie
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Rebel Engie

Wyattearp1989
This happened t me several times too.
But then I was confronted with the constant UI lag that is still in the game and my enthusiasm evaporated very quickly.
If the game was rendered like GW2, it would be brilliant, because the music really is excellent.

Rebel Engie
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Rebel Engie

It’s great that they brought back the “Aaaaa-aaa-a-a-aaaaa-aaaaaaa–eeeee–oooon!” opening.
I always felt that was an excellent opening in the original sound track.

Armsbend
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Armsbend

I wish more developers would add new music to older games like this.  People might not dig everything NCSoft is about but this is fantastic.

Wyattearp1989
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Wyattearp1989

One of the things I always loved about Aion was the music, it is absolutely beautiful! I really, really hope this soundtrack comes out for this. It did for the other expacs and for the base game. Makes me want to re-download Aion and give it a shot, haven’t really played since Beta/first month of launch.