Guild Wars Sorrow's Furnace Mini Pak
A few months after the release of the original Guild Wars, NCsoft incorporated an update to the Prophecies campaign featuring Sorrow's Furnace — a formidable area located deep in the Shiverpeak Mountains. Jeremy Soule was asked to create some more music for this update and decided to build upon his darker orchestral approach to represent the location. He released his eight tracks for the update for free through DirectSong, then a newly created digital store that he wanted to promote. The release supplemented the music that could be played in the game, while offering new tracks for stand-alone listening.
The music for Sorrow's Furnace is dominated by heavy horn leads and driving string ostinati. In this regard, it builds on tracks such as "Guilds of War" and "Devona's Theme" from the main soundtrack, though the tracks prove much more elaborate and accomplished for the most part. This should be immediately obvious with "The Foundry", which builds up in an incredible manner from its thunderous string-based introduction to its commanding brass-heavy climax. Though Soule adheres closely to his established sound, he pays more attention to detail and incorporates much more lavish development. While the orchestra is once again virtual here, the brass, string, and choral samples are considerably richer than those on the main Guild Wars soundtrack and still impress at 128 kb/s.
The other highlights of the soundtrack are "Dark Forge" and "Sorrow's Furnace". The former features Soule at his most artistically inspired, combining experimental orchestral textures with striking basso ostinati and dissonant chord progressions. The dark and abstract references to the Guild Wars main theme are also a welcome twist. "Sorrow's Furnace" is a much more rhythmically compelling and melodically rich composition. Every section in this composition brings something interesting to the picture — whether the grandiose orchestral tutti from 0:20, the spiritual choral interlude at the 1:08 mark, or the perplexing twists on the opening idea from 1:44 — and they all come together to create an extremely tight composition.
The other tracks on the soundtrack build on this approach, though are less enjoyable on a stand-alone basis. Whereas "Sorrow's Furnace" sounds energetic and dramatic throughout, "Grenth's Footprint" simply meanders and never gets going. The more dissonant string chords in "The Latch" prove too unpleasant for stand-alone listening, even if they're appropriate for capturing the formidable nature of the dungeon. By the point that listeners come to "Stone Summit", the once immersive string motifs come across tired and it's clear that Soule laboured a successful formula too much here. Finally relieved of the aggressive string textures, the soundtrack closes in an anticlimactic manner with the subdued ghostly ambience of "Strenuous Trek".
Several tracks featured on Sorrow's Furnace are among the very best in the Guild Wars franchise, namely "The Foundry", "Sorrow's Furnace", and "Dark Forge". But like other supplementary soundtracks for the series, the remaining tracks tend to labour the same ideas and bore on a stand-alone basis. This additional soundtrack nevertheless make Sorrow's Furnace all the more chilling and memorable. It's a pity that it is no longer available for download at DirectSong, given the tracks were a welcome freebie for gamers and stand-alone listeners alike.
The FoundryJeremy Soule
Dark ForgeJeremy Soule
Grenth's FootprintJeremy Soule
Sorrow's FurnaceJeremy Soule
The LatchJeremy Soule
Sorrow's StandJeremy Soule
Stone SummitJeremy Soule
Strenuous TrekJeremy Soule