"Infamous Second Son"
Video Game Soundtrack Review
Music By Marc Canham, Nathan Johnson & Brain
Sumthing Else Music Works
23 Tracks/Disc Time: 74:01
"Infamous Second Son" is the latest video game on the Play Station 4 platform which is set in the year 2016, seven years after the events in New Marais, and the death of hero Conduit Cole MacGrath. In the events after Cole's death, the Department of Unified Protection is formed to hunt down and capture the remaining Conduits, now dubbed "Bio-terrorists," by any means necessary. The game is an open world action game, where the player controls main character Delsin Rowe who is a Conduit, who can channel superhuman powers to his advantage from a third-person perspective.. His initial superpower is smoke-based, and he later obtains other powers by defeating other Conduits. As he expands his powers, the player can execute more advanced moves to inflict more damage on enemies and the environment and much like the previous "Infamous" games, the game offers a choice between a good or evil playthrough, changing Delsin's combat abilities and certain parts of the storyline.
While the game has its detractors, the music of the video game plays an important part and features the work of composers Marc Canham, Nathan Johnson and Brain, who have created a dark musical world based on layers upon layers of progressive grunge. Music that in some ways is a little avant-garde, but also infuses a solid rock based approach as its' foundation. The music seems to be inspired by the work of Oscar winner Elliot Goldenthal, who is one of the best at creating sounds within scores that ultimately pay off big with a unique and original flourish. This score is one that would make Goldenthal proud because it is really is an ode to him.
The soundtrack is a mixed bag of material that ranges from experimental from "The Bio-Terrorist Threat", "Wavelength", "Freedom and Security" and "Owning The Future" to rocking good action licks featured in tracks such as "The Vandal King", "Speed Of Light", "Martial Law", "Conflict Resolution", "Enemy Territory", and "Serial Tagger" to which each composer explores and provides his own unique sound to the proceedings but do keep the same organic feel of what the primary basis for the score is, which is a hard driving pulsing sound. While tracks such as "Abigail Walker", "Henry Daughtry" and "Brooke Augustine" establish the main themes for each character which don't stray too much from the basis of the score.
Video game scores are hit and misses for the most part because of the lack of real musical development contained in each game. Most games get a solid representation as the game plays itself out, but others suffer due to shifts in scene, venue and levels. This score suffers a little bit from that and the music in a way is a little grating at times to enjoy it. The real stand out of all this material really is Marc Canham's work because he had a game plan as to how to approach this and while Nathan Johnson and Brain did keep up somewhat, their music is a pale comparison to his work which is the strongest asset of this score and album. I liked Johnson's work for the film "Looper" and he touches upon it a little bit here, but not quite enough to make it a good portion of this score which is a real shame. He to me has taken a little step back with this and "Don Jon" which was also very disappointing. The real reason to get this album is really for die hard fans of the game and mainly for Canham's work. Otherwise, it's really a mix bag that doesn't quite work for me and it is a little too avant garde for my taste. A thumbs down.