The sequel for Vigil Games' Darksiders took a 'bigger and better' approach in most regards. In the soundtrack department, Jesper Kyd replaced the ensemble composing team from the original game and developed a more creative, cutting-edge sound for the score. The soundtrack was released by Sumthing Else Music Works as both a two disc physical release and a digital download. It totals to more than an hour's worth of hybridised music.
The soundtrack begins with the track "The Makers Theme" and it contains everything Jesper's music is known for. Exotic instruments, charming melody, and a unique mixture of electronics and percussion. It's definitely a great way to start off the track, oozing with the originality that was lacking in the original game. The production values are also notable, blending rich performances and high-quality samplers with an absorbing analog sound. "Into Eternity" is also really noteworthy, building on the composer's flair for vocal writing with an iconic performance from vocalist Melissa Kaplan. The track's melody is very warm and distinct sounding due to the mixture of suspenseful rhythms and uplifting acoustics.
What's really noteworthy in this soundtrack is that the soundtrack rarely sounds repetitive, in a large part owing to the use of multiple instruments from different corners of the worlds. What this does other than making the listening experience fresh is that it gives the fictional world of Darksiders II its own identity. Due to the interesting use of a wide variety of instruments, even the ambient tracks like "Supernatural Desert" and "The Corruption" sound stellar and not at all boring. The latter deserves a bit more of a mention as it uses the game's depressing but beautiful main theme. Unfortunately, the memorable main theme which is heard during the opening gameplay is absent from the soundtrack, as are several other interesting pieces of music which are heard in the game but not the soundtrack.
With soundtracks for blockbuster action games like Assassin's Creed and Hitman, Jesper Kyd has pioneered his own iconic set of action tracks which balance memorable melodies with adrenaline-pumping beats. The same kind of action tracks are present here and sound better than ever. A particularly notable track is "The Abyssal Plains", which uses a robust and exciting mixture of acoustic parts and percussion work. Not only does it sound absolutely stellar and makes the game much more exciting but it also references Kyd's previous work on Assassin's Creed as it also contained action tracks with a similar formula. An even greater highloght is "The Makers Overworld", boasting an exciting melody performed with ethnic instruments. That said, the fantastic melody heard at the conclusionvcould've been a bit more emphasised, as it is one of the most enjoyable parts of the track. There are also some other tracks like "Death Brings Hope" and "Trouble in Eden", which enrichen the analog sound with some electronic samples.
Lastly, even though Jesper Kyd uses many exotic instruments to promote different range of emotions, "The Crowfather" proves that Jesper Kyd can use even the most basic of instruments to turn a scene into something really epic and special. The beautiful climax of the track is played when Death is forced to fight with an apparition of his brother War. The grand mixture of brass and vocals really give the scene an importance. It's a welcome deviation in a world where most video game scores feature action loops not really scored according to the scene. Once again, another grand leap forward for the series.
This soundtrack has everything a Jesper Kyd fan desires: diverse instruments, unique melodies, variety in context, and exciting electronic work. The soundtrack is from the beginning till the end a joyous experience well worth your time. As always, Kyd's music fits both as a stand-alone listen and in the game. The album release is well-presented and has a narrative flow, but keep in mind that several highlights from the in-game soundtrack were omittedhere. It's nevertheless worth picking up if you love culturally unique music or are fans of Kyd's work on other projects.