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Medal Of Honor by Ramin Djawadi (Review)

posted Oct 11, 2010, 11:33 AM by Kaya Savas

The "modern warfare" genre is something that many composers attempt and fail at. It started back in 2001 when Black Hawk Down was released. For that film Hans Zimmer composed a unique and brutal contemporary sound for what was known as "modern warfare". The score was trashed by many for its heavy use of electronics, electric guitar mashed with cultural instruments. In that time it has become the score that has defined its own genre and has made those critics look very very foolish. Thomas Newman tried his hand at the style with Jarhead and Danny Elfman tried it with The Kingdom. Infinity Ward then took video games into that genre with Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare where Stephen Barton and Harry Gregson-Williams composed an amazing score. Modern Warfare 2 then featured the talents of Lorne Balfe and Hans Zimmer embracing and building off the style Zimmer crafted almost a decade ago. Now EA has decided to take its Medal Of Honor franchise into the modern warfare realm. For this Ramin Djawadi was asked to take the musical helm.

Medal Of Honor is a sacred franchise when it comes to music. Michael Giacchino started this franchise off in 1999 and in a sense it launched his career. Christopher Lennertz also made his mark on the franchise. So there were extremely high standards when it came to the music. Did Ramin meet those standards? Absolutely. First off, this score is unlike most modern warfare scores in that it DOES NOT treat the game like an action movie. The score is so poignant and emotional that it absolutely floored me. The hymn-like motifs that Djawadi has crafted give the score a special emotional weight. If you are expecting pounding synths and percussions from front to end then you may be surprised at the refined approach that Ramin took.

Don't get me wrong though. Ramin has plenty of action fueled tracks that embrace what this genre is all about. Tracks like "Hunter-Killer" and "Taking The Field" embrace the scoring style. It's just amazing that Ramin is able to flow from such intense tracks into lyrical hymns like that found in "Falling Away". That motif finds its way into the quilt of the soundscape often throughout the score.

As a video game score the music exceeds in that nothing ever feels like loopy background music. While game music must be created with looping in mind in no way did that detract from the thematic structure of this special score. The last track features a haunting solo vocal (which I thought was some woodwind instrument at first) that echoes the main theme and reminds you that this score is no way a copy of anything that came before it.

FMM: Exclusive Interview With Composer Ramin Djawadi On Medal Of Honor