The fourth title for the Hitman series, Hitman: Blood Money, concluded the series before it was revived by Square Enix Europe in 2010. Jesper Kyd aimed the score to be the most definitive in the series to date and blended elements from earlier Hitman series into an encompassing whole. In particular, he offers orchestral, electronic, and choral elements on the score, in order to create a dark atmosphere and accompany the infiltration gameplay. The Hitman Blood Money Original Soundtrack is the full commercial release of the score, courtesy of Sumthing Else Music Works.
"Apocalypse" demonstrates the unique sound Jesper Kyd has developed through the Hitman series and refined in Hitman: Blood Money. As the title implies, the track creates the sound of an impending apocalypse, through its obsessive repetition of several crisis motifs and percussive figures. As with previous main themes for the series, the Hungarian Radio Choir leads the way, singing several ominous chants in Latin. Unlike Hitman: Contracts, however, the accompaniment is purely orchestral this time, with deep string chords, doubled woodwinds, and ferocious tribal percussion particularly making an impact. The strength of the theme is the way the motifs are repeated and interweaved to generate both an intense psychological effect — that feeling of impending doom — yet also something strangely compelling and addictive too.
Kyd develops the score's orchestral textures with several impressive subsequent entries. "Secret Invasion" and "Before the Storm" are reminiscent of softer compositions in Bernard Herrmann's horror scores — simultaneously conveying beauty with their elegant string-based timbres, yet also being deeply unsettling due to the shaping and repetition of the component motifs. "47 Attacks" and "Action in Paris" springs listeners into the head of action and are more reminiscent of the dazzling and dissonant compositions made by American avant-garde artists earlier last century. Yet this is not a score of mere imitations and even these works feature Kyd's fingerprints and abstract interludes.
Much of the latter half of the soundtrack is focused on electronic ambient compositions reminiscent of those of Hitman: Contracts. "Day Light in New Orleans" and "Night Time in New Orleans" form interesting contrasts — the former moody yet colourful, the latter barren and abstract — despite using many conserved elements. "Vegas" meanwhile is an extraordinary example of how Kyd is able to produce fitting accompaniments to the game's detailed locations. Kyd introduces the composition with some menacing infiltration grooves, before introducing more specific elements to represent a sleazy yet alluring city. The final composition evolves over six and a half minutes to encompass many subtleties and contradictions, ultimately proving delightful in and out of the game.
That said, not all attempts an atmospheric soundscaping are enjoyable out of context. In particular, "Hunter" feels an inferior imitation of the 'chants + beats' concept developed on Hitman: Contracts. However, even this track is extraordinarily immersive within the game. Moving to the end of the soundtrack, "Funeral" is an extraordinarily dark and beautiful elegy demonstrating Kyd's flair for small ensemble composition. The soundtrack concludes with the "Main Title". Initially an intimate piano and strings composition, it evolves into a colourful militaristic anthem at the 0:36 mark, featuring uplifting brass fanfares and chorus work. Completely different to anything heard in the Hitman series previously, it leaves listeners wondering what to expect from the impending Hitman 5.
Overall, Hitman: Blood Money represents the culmination of the Hitman series' music to date. While it doesn't offer many novel elements, it wonderfully blends aspects from Silent Assassin and Contracts to create a rich representation of the series' music. Furthermore, the implementation — including performances by the Budapest Symphonic Orchestra and finely sampled electronic elements — is top notch and on par with the best of today's video game scores. Sumthing Else Music Works presents the music in an effective way on the soundtrack release, offering 65 minutes of the best music from the score. Highly recommended.