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Jade Empire OST

[back cover]
Catalog Number: SE-2017-2
Released On: June 14, 2005
Composed By: Jack Wall
Arranged By: Jack Wall
Published By: Sumthing Else
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD
Tracklist:

01 - The Way of the Open Palm
02 - Jade Empire Main Theme
03 - Hills and Fields/Dance of the Babbling Brook/Fallow Ground
04 - Fist/Test Your Mettle
05 - Dawn Star Theme
06 - The Tea House
07 - Fury, Hammer and Tongs
08 - Anthem of the Tyrant
09 - Buried Secrets/Whispers
10 - Mischief in the Marsh
11 - Empire at War
12 - Death's Hand Suite
13 - A Night Out
14 - Fires of Chaos
15 - House of Spirits/The Dark Land
16 - Metropolis I and II
17 - Ill Winds
18 - Ballad of the Drunken Revelers
19 - Call to Victory
20 - Into the Fray
21 - The Waterdragon
22 - Last Rites/Internment
23 - Silk Fox Theme
24 - Wine and Women
25 - Lost in the Wilds/The Hunt
26 - Sky Theme
27 - Tribute
28 - Rending of Flesh
29 - Soaring/Stormclouds
30 - Torment/The Way of the Closed Fist
31 - Sanctuary
Total Time:
76'07"

Composed by Jack Wall, the Jade Empire OST is a collection of Chinese-inspired themes, employing styles and instruments from that part of the world. While the soundtrack sounds, at times, a bit gimmicky and bland at others, the overall quality is high and the album provides delightful background music, with a few tracks that will do far more than that.

Many of the songs sound similar and this is one of the reasons that the soundtrack works better as background music rather than the center of attention. Listeners would have difficulty identifying any given track by name, although the in-game purpose is usually clear. There are comforting tracks like "The Way of the Open Palm" that set an excellent mood. Many of these tracks paint quaint images of babbling streams and bamboo gardens, especially "Hills and Fields." Character themes like "Dawn Star Theme" are among the better-orchestrated songs on the album. Battle and dungeon tracks, however, are the least remarkable, only succeeding at serving an in-game purpose for the most part. The listener is less likely to tune out battle themes than dungeon themes, namely "Fury, Hammer and Tongs." "Death's Hand Suite" is one of the least captivating songs on the album, due to its lack of structure, which plagues all the lesser selections.

There are a few standout tracks that deserve special mention. The "Jade Empire Main Theme" is a perfect ode to what the game is all about. "Ballad of the Drunken Revelers" is the catchiest tune on the album, and "The Waterdragon" is a somber and beautiful dirge to honor a majestic creature. The album also finishes strong with the airy "Sanctuary" with its divine flutework.

The Jade Empire OST may function better in the game, but even without visuals to assist in creating that Chinese flavor, the soundtrack succeeds in doing so. It may be a bit repetitive, and not every track will inspire, but the songs are carefully and passionately crafted and it shows.

Reviewed by: Kyle Miller



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