Tuesday, 24 November 2015

DRAGON AGE INQUISITION: TRESPASSER Score Review

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ____
Check it out... if you're a fan of the score for the base game, Dragon Age Inquisition, or possess a fondness for bold, brassy fantasy composition 

Skip it... if a few dull, conventional "horn-of-doom" appearances render any listening experience throwaway for your taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ____

"Trespasser is the appropriately heroic, grand expansion score that fans of Morris' work for the base game have been seeking since its release."

After the abysmal Dragon Age Inquisition: The Descent, a mediocre DLC score at best, Trevor Morris continues to offer additional music for the Dragon Age franchise in the form of Dragon Age Inquisition: Trespasser. Trespasser comes in a double pack, alongside The Descent, and from the first second of its fifteen minute length, it is clearly the superior score. The scope is more vast, the mix full of reverb and a balance that helps to accentuate each individual component in the recordings. The more evocative of pieces prove more effective than the slower segments on The Descent, and the action is better conceived all round. Trespasser is the appropriately heroic, grand expansion score that fans of Morris' work for the base game have been seeking since its release. 

Without hesitation, Trespasser explodes into action from the word "go", with the deafening, admittedly generic low-end horn blasts that characterised 'Titan' from Descent, before a mighty brass theme rockets through the soundscape. The titular motif on 'Dark Solas Theme' is a gloriously audacious identity that disregards subtlety in exchange for colossal fanfare, and whilst the mixing is slightly muddled, it proves resonant. The loud, gargantuan size of this initial foray is matched by Morris' work on the one-two punch that is 'Qunari Mission' and 'Qunari Battle (Full Theme)', where the mixing clears up and each element in the recording is allowed ample opportunity to deliver. The ferocious string ostinati that permeate these two tracks adds a definitive sense of direction to the pieces, that is aided by the presence of Morris' unrelenting array of percussive instruments, timpanis, bass drums, snares, and cymbals all crashing out in due course. But what brings everything together are, yet again, the triumphant brass passages, whose charisma and explosiveness offers up comparisons to the action of Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings trilogy; no small affirmation. When Morris shines on Trespasser, he excels.

Compositional nuance is not lost on the slower of instances either, though. On 'Lost Elf Theme', Morris offers up a relatively humble, simplistic piano melody, full of magic and intimacy, that he goes on to develop further with a string ensemble. It's four minutes of satisfying, breathtakingly sincere majesty, executed perfectly. It is followed by 'Qunari Atmosphere', which introduces the aforementioned Qunari theme that appears within 'Qunari Mission' and 'Qunari Battle (Full Theme)'. Here, in a more foreboding, restrained context, the idea is gifted opportunity to flex its dramatic muscles, both major and minor chord sub-motifs littering the nearly three minute duration. This introduction perfectly establishes the melodies, before the subsequent two action pieces take flight.

Trespasser is grounded by a variety of simplistic constructs, evident all throughout, and a number of out-of-place conventions, similar to its predecessor, The Descent. But these issues serve as the extent to Trespasser's missteps; otherwise, all things considered, this is an exceptional DLC expansion score. The primary, newly introduced leitmotifs are all captivating to behold, and Morris' brass work is on point. Whilst neither of the releases reach the standard exhibited on the composer's work for the original Dragon Age Inquisition, Trespasser is undoubtedly worth checking out. You can purchase Dragon Age Inquisition: Trespasser on Amazon or iTunes, here and here.           

7.8      


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ____


Additional notes about release: comes with the score to fellow Dragon Age Inquisition DLC, The Descent. 


Track Listing

1.Dark Solas Theme3:01
2.Lost Elf Theme3:58
3.Qunari Atmosphere2:41
4.Qunari Mission2:41
5.Qunari Battle (Full Theme)2:40
Total Album Time:15:01