Musical Score By: Neal Acree
Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Revelation Online, known in China as Tian Yu, is a Chinese themed fantasy MMO created by NetEase. Featuring mythology by bestselling Chinese author Jiangnan, the game allows you to choose from various characters and classes. Learning how to master the power of flight is key to the game as it offers up a whole new gaming experience, allowing the player to view the beautiful scenery from the air or dive into the water and see the world created below. Each player's path is different and each storyline is added on to by the players themselves.
The musical score of Revelation was created by American composer Neal Acree who has created musical composition for television, film and video games. Some of his works include the scores of World of Warcraft, Daiblo III, Overwatch, Witchblade, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and more. Creating the music for Revelation was actually rather special for Neal Acree as it allowed him to work with music of the Chinese, a culture very special to his father: "His love of Chinese movies and culture was a way of life. We studied martial arts together when I was a kid and he would go on to teach Tai Chi for over 20 years. He was never a religious man but became a Buddhist later in life. One of his lifelong dreams was to visit China so when I got to go for the first time and conduct, I felt like I was living his dream."
The music of Revelation features a mix of traditional orchestral instrumentation, choral sounds and traditional Chinese instrumentation. According to Acree, "Each Chinese instrument has its counterpart in the Western orchestra but brings a unique character to the overall sound. Combining the cinematic scope of the orchestra with the unique colors of the traditional Asian instruments helped create an otherworldly sound that existed somewhere between the two worlds that created it... The key to making the music sound genuine (aside from a lot of research) is to put it in the hands of musicians who truly understand their instrument and who grew up playing Chinese music. Inviting the players to interpret the melodies through their own voices and experience opens up a new world of possibilities and gives the music a sense of authenticity that would be impossible to achieve otherwise. The music of Revelation wouldn't be what it is without the talents of Tina Guo (cello solos), Karen Han (erhu), Bei Bei (guzheng), Jie Ma (pipa) and Uyanga Bold (vocals). The best part about working with musicians like these is that it's the best way to learn how to write for the instrument."
As I listened to the score of Revelation, I could imagine myself transported to another world. The score was so rich with sound...so dramatic as to be perfect background music for film rather than a massive multiplayer online gaming experience. Reading past reviews of mine, anyone would be clued into my love for the use of exotic instruments in soundtracks, but the Revelation Soundtrack has surpassed my greatest expectations. The beginning tracks are soothing in tone as you are introduced to the various characters and locales. Latter tracks, like Lair of the Wolf and The Spider Queen (complete with spine-tingling clacking sounds), offer up a more adrenaline pumping sound with a rise in crescendo and a heavier hand on percussion.
All in all, the Revelation Soundtrack has an epic exotic sound suitable for a movie soundtrack as well as the video game it was created for. As a stand alone album, it makes for a beautifully exotic listen well worth the $12.00US for the CD and $9.50US for mp3 download.