Saturday, March 3, 2012

Music Review: The Battle Rages On

Today I'll be sharing my interpretation of the Dragonspyre combat theme. Before I get to that, however, I would like to, briefly, give an explanation as to my prolonged absence:

1. New stuff for Christmas (effectively distracting me from Wizard101)

2. New stuff for my birthday (also effectively distracting me)

3. Doctor Who- Three weeks ago, I logged onto Wizard101 for the first time in six weeks, and pretty much devoted my weekend to catching up in Zafaria. The very next weekend, I discovered Doctor Who on Netflix, and have been pretty much obsessed with it since. Any Who fans out there will understand :)

And that pretty much concludes my explanation of my absence, though I would like to say one more thing. When I started this blog last July, I made two resolutions- 1. I would never go for more than three weeks without posting. 2. I would never title my first post after going a long time without posting "I'm back," or anything of that semblance. My first resolution was effectively broken a while back; I'm okay with that. May the Dragon Titan roast me if I every break the second one :)


I was going to review the main theme of Wizard101 today, but I decided at the last moment to review The Battle Rages On (my title for the Dragonspyre combat theme) instead, since it was about this time two years ago that I defeated Malistaire for the first time. So, without further ado, here is The Battle Rages On:

Credit for the "video" goes to HelpfulWizard on Youtube. The music itself was composed by Nelson Everhart.

The build-up at the beginning makes it clear right away that this a much darker land than ones previously visited; you've had your ups and downs in those other worlds, but it was always fun. Now, the fun is over. (I don't mean that literally, by the way. I'm speaking, more or less, within the context of the game.) The sound of the drums becomes quite prominent then, as if something is approaching. It's an army, an army of evil. Or is it? Maybe this army is on the side of good, but has been so subjugated by evil forces that it has no choice but to engage in vicious warfare. Whatever the reason, the trumpets and the drums tell you that there is a war going on. It is an ancient war, both by the means of its fighting and by the span of time itself over which it extends. And it is a war of epic, supernatural proportions; the choir vocalizing indicates at least that much. This isn't simply a battle between the armies of good and evil, it is a struggle for power between the very evocations of good and evil. They are locked in eternal combat, and both sides possess certain talents and abilities that the other does not, such that for a long time, the odds were even. But recently, evil seems to have won out over good, and the indications of this exist everywhere you look- terror, death, and destruction on a phenomenal scale. The trumpets and drums, low in pitch, evoke this sentiment. They tell of the destruction as effectively as the visions of evil themselves. Darkness, despair, evilness, terror- these all come to mind upon hearing those terrible low tones. And yet, at the same time, this music is fast, frenzied, and exciting- spurring you to continue your crusade for good; maybe you'll get lucky. Among the "lava, fire, and ghosts", there are those few who remain as a force for good, and you have added yourself to their ranks. Despite the darkness, the terror, and the despair, you fight, no matter how futile it may be. Benevolence is more powerful than it seems; so long as there exists a spark of benevolence- just a spark- there exists a spark of hope. And so The Battle Rages On. The Battle Rages On.

This is the beauty of instrumental music- it gives you the ability to construct from your interpretation of it a scenario unlike any other. This is what I do. Granted, in the case of W101 music, I have a bit of help from the premise, the back story, of the world, but 80-90 percent (depending on the nature of each individual piece) of my interpretation comes from the music alone. The Battle Rages On is actually a pretty enjoyable piece, which I've never really appreciated enough because I rarely visit Dragonspyre (It's my least favorite world. I'm not saying it's not good, I just don't enjoy it as much as other worlds). The drums and trumpets of battle are certainly epic enough, and the first time I heard the theme, the first thing that came to mind was the armies of old, such as the Greeks, Romans, and Persians. That contributed heavily to my interpretation of the piece. In fact, most of the Dragonspyre music is pretty good, but the distribution is terrible. Out of four major themes, only two are played outside boss rooms and towers, and one of those two is only heard in three different areas. Hearing the same theme over and over and over again throughout the course of the entire world gets kind of old (especially when it takes you three months to get through Dragonspyre- that used to be my record for longest time spent on one world, but I think my recent absence has now relegated that to the four or five months Zafaria will take). The same is the case with Grizzleheim, though having only three tracks and a smaller overall number of zones, as well as the parallel world concept, make it less offensive. I will say, however, that, without a doubt, the good outweighs the bad in the case of the Dragonspyre music, and the combat theme is the ultimate proof of that- it is certainly a suitable theme for the Malistaire battle, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the finale of the original W101 story was a major factor for Nelson Everhart in his composition of the piece. So next time you're hanging out in Dragonspyre, where there is always a "behind-the-fourth-wall" reason for defeating Mobs, remember that The Battle Rages On.

I hope you enjoyed my review. I realize, as I conclude my post, how sorely I've missed blogging. That in mind, I hope to talk to you all again real soon.

Until then, Ponder on!        

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