Jukebox Heroes: Diving into Shadowlands’ soundtrack

    
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Any year that we get a new World of Warcraft expansion soundtrack is always a great reason to rejoice. Blizzard never skimps on its art department — nor its music one, as evidenced by the amazing scores that WoW has produced over the years.

Because of my high expectations, I can’t help but feel somewhat disappointed with Shadowlands. It doesn’t have any powerful break-out tracks, for starters, nor does it seem to build off of the great streak that the studio’s had over the past three expansions. Instead, Shadowlands dwells in just-good-enough, occasionally surfacing to produce something nice, if not tremendously impactful.

In today’s column, we’re going to go through my picks of this OST’s highlights — and you can let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments below!

“Through the Roof of the World”

The World of Warcraft main themes are always overtures of the expansion, and as such, this track samples from the Shadowlands score after it presents to us that familiar opening beat. Honestly, I’ve never been one for the main themes (nothing touches the vanilla edition, in my opinion), but it’d be remiss to exclude this one.

“Unbroken Will Action”

A dark action riff, this track brings urgency and warning to the score. Even as the warrior girds him or herself up for battle, this piece says… it might already be too late. But hey, get that item level up there and go for it. See what you might accomplish.

“Bastion Kyrian”

To me, Bastion is a zone that’s trying too hard. It’s trying to impress and to be pretty, but you know that it’s trying, so it’s difficult to take it at face value. I feel that way with the theme, too. It’s trying to manipulate our emotions into thinking that this is all incredible and holds such importance, but it’s kind of a façade.

“Ardenweald Nocturne Melancholy Dream”

Ardenweald definitely has the lion’s share of the good music from Shadowlands, what with its etheral soundscape that shamelessly plucks at our wants and hopes. This is a pretty track that holds echoes of past druidic and elfy WoW tunes. As long as you can tolerate a whole lot of harp, you should be in heaven here.

“Only Human”

It seems grossly unfair — but quite typical — that the Alliance would get the better of the two new starting zone themes. Considering that this is now the first track that new WoW players will hear upon starting their journeys, I think it’s an excellent one (even if it does lay it on pretty thick). Long gone are the quieter days of Elwynn Forest and Dun Morogh.

“Revendreth Ember Court Band”

Revendreth really surprised me with a lot of great tunes. I think it’s because the composers really leaned into the gothic/vampire angle and delivered a much different sound that we’re used to hearing in this MMO. This track is quite beautiful, holding an old world sound to it.

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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Bryan Cole

Agreed, this is probably the worst soundtrack of the entire game’s history for me. It’s not “bad” it’s just not top of the charts like all of the previous ones were for me. I really only found Ardenweald to be memorable music wise. The rest of the zones seem dialed in.

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Michram142

It sounds as if the inspiration for the soundtrack was more Classic maps, rather than Shadowlands – where Afterlife is – where everything would seem to be mysterious, strange, unpredictable, ominous. The music is really beautiful, but it makes me feel like Shadowlands isn’t really a twisted beyond.

I was honestly expecting something like Void Elf music.