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Destiny: The Taken King by Michael Salvatori, C Paul Johnson & Skye Lewin (Review)

posted Oct 6, 2015, 10:14 AM by Leo Mayr

Last year's score album for the highly successful videogame Destiny still is one of my favourite videogame scores of all time. So to hear that a second album, featuring the music composed for the new expansion The Taken King, as well as the previous expansions The Dark Below and House Of Wolves I really was excited. After sinking several hours into the expansion and listening to the score extensiveley, I honestly could not be happier about it. The expansion to me feels more like a sequel in many ways, fixing some issues but mostly just adding onto the existing material. The music does just that. After Martin O'Donnells mysterious departure, I was worried the score might loose a vital aspect, but the remaining composers did an outstanding job, both finding new themes and keeping existing ones intact.

Right off the start, "Path To Oryx" introduces us to the new general feeling. Where the first album greeted us with the mysteries of the final frontier (one more for old time's sake), The Taken King begins with a dark and dramatic track that introduces Oryx's theme that will carry through the entire album. "Regicide" uses that theme to support the first action track that feels a lot more dramatic and intense than most of the action in the first album. Generally, the score feels a lot darker than the first album, mainly due to fact that the universe of Destiny has been established, so now it's time to really endanger it. There is a considerable increase in electric sounds mainly when the new enemies, the 'Taken' arrive, giving them their own distinct feeling. "Visage Of Oryx" first introduces us to the 'electronics only' elements associated with the Taken and boy does it work. While the pace is considerably slower than other action tracks, the increasing intensity of the electronics and added choir elements just feel terrifying. "Exfiltrate" then perfectly describes my emotions while playing the first mission in the expansion. The glimpse of hope, a way out of this mess within reach but tons of powerful new enemies in my way. The score then returns to more heroic action with "Surge Of Light", starting out with Oryx's theme but then turning into a both heroic and desperate battle.

The Cabal theme returns in "Cabal Breach", this time sounding a little more desperate and also containing more electronic elements. The new enemy theme is finally introduced in "The Taken", and if could not sound any more different from the other enemy races. "Dark Blade" again focuses on electronics to create one intense fight sequence. With the electronics switching sides in your headphones, and teleporting enemies covered in light blue smoke all over the place, the battles just feel terrifying. The score then reaches it's climax with "Last Stand", a fight sequence that uses parts from Oryx's theme in a constant shuffle between heroic battles and intense moments of 'please don't die'.

Let's go back a bit, to focus on the non-fighting side of things. "Remembrance" starts the emotional undercurrent, surpassing most of the emotional resonance of the tracks in the first album. While this does set high expectations for the rest of the album, tracks like " Bow To No One" and "All Part Of The Plan" manage to meet those without doubt. "Traveler's Promise (Reprise)" sees the return of themes from the main game but also variates them to the point where I immediately felt like it had always been there. "Vestian Outpost" is the music heard in the new hub area of the game, perfectly resembling the feeling of staring out into the endless void. There are countless other great pieces, making the score really feel like an addition to and also a continuation of the first score album.

Even with O'Donnell no longer working on the music, the team of composers has managed to keep the all the things intact that made the first Destiny score so great. The score works perfectly on it's own but if you already know the first album, there are a lot of great moments when old themes return and variate.