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Defiance: Original Video Game Soundtrack by Bear McCreary (Review)

posted May 14, 2013, 5:38 PM by Kaya Savas

Bear McCreary is one of the best auteurs working today. His music is instantly recognizable and universally accessible. His ability to hone in on emotions, compose engaging melodies and his propulsive energy make his scores enthralling listens. Bear made a name for himself with his work on Syfy Channel’s Battlestar Galactica and Caprica series. He also helms The Walking Dead and has impressed with his SOCOM 4 and Dark Void video game scores. McCreary returns to his Syfy family with the new hit-show Defiance but in an interesting branching of continuity is also scoring the video game. This is an incredible way for a composer to really cover the entire universe of the story over two mediums and the result is phenomenal.

The Defiance video game score shares the soundscape of the show but are two separate stories. So they work independent of each other, just exist in the same universe. The interesting thing here is that video games take significantly longer to develop and produce so it probably meant that McCreary worked on the video game before the show. Either way the score is fantastic. There is plenty of full-on action tracks that slowly help build the Defiance universe for the listener. The structure is a bit unique as I’ve never seen 7+ minute tracks on a video game score that actually have structure and progression. Usually video game scores have a looping structure and even though you can detect that here sometimes it’s not very evident. You feel like you’re in the midst of an aggressive action universe with a progressing narrative. McCreary uses some fantastic electronic textures although I wasn’t a fan of the dubstep sounding moments here and there. The music manages to create a sense of scope very successfully, and with 1.5 hours of music you will have plenty to sink your teeth into.

Defiance is an excellent video game score with tons of action and a large scope. McCreary does a fantastic job with this cross-media venture that Syfy is attempting. He builds a unique soundcape and musically crafts a world for the narrative to exist in. You will hear more character and emotional beats in his music on the show so don’t expect much of that here. However, even though there is a notable lack of character scoring here doesn’t make the listen any less enjoyable. This is a big score that successfully handles the material and is executed in masterful McCreary fashion.