Soul of the Ultimate Nation: Collector's Edition: Vol. 2

Composed By: Howard Shore

Distributed by: Howe Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Soul of the Ultimate Nation, or SUN as called by fans, is a fantasy-based online multi-player role-playing game.  It basically pits clan against clans in battles for power, freedom or revenge, depending on what scenario is chosen by the player.  Players can chose between various characters representing various clans, fighting styles and powers.  Operating out of Asia, the online game is enjoyed by fans all around the world.  The game's soundtrack was originally only available in Asia.  On July 10, 2012, Howe Records released Soul of the Ultimate Nation, the second in Howard Shore's Collection Edition series, for fans around the world to enjoy.

            Academy Award winning composer Howard Shore served as musical director for Saturday Night Live from 1975 to 1980, before moving on to a career in film scoring.  Howard Shoreís credits include the musical scores for Big, Crash, Gangs of New York, Ed Wood, Seven, A History of Violence, Doubt, Hugo and more, but he is perhaps most recognized for his award-winning musical scores for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

            His approach to creating the musical score of Soul of the Ultimate Nation was inspired by a visit to Tokyo, Japan for a concert engagement.  According to Howe, "While in Japan, I decided I wanted to write the piece specifically for this orchestra and chorus.  I wanted the chorus to sing in ancient Korean as a way to express the world of SUN. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring together the western and eastern concepts at play...The pieces were composed as tone poems to express the different characters, cultures and the world of this wonderfully detailed game."

            I listened to this soundtrack without knowing anything about the material for which this score was created.  A good musical score will inspire images to appear in a listener's mind and this score gave me mental images of the Crusades.  I imagined epic battles between religious factions, some achieving amazing victories while others faced horrific defeats.  The musical score composed for Soul of the Ultimate Nation is powerful and compelling.  The sounds of battle are perfectly described by percussion and brass.  The chorus and accompanying organ-like sounds inspire a feeling of religious might that brought the Crusades to my mind.

            The action and excitement of the Soul of the Ultimate Nation: Collector's Edition: Vol. 2 Soundtrack have inspired me to look into the workings of the game itself.  Not being an online gamer, this is actually quite some feat.  It means that the music was so compelling that it inspired me to check out something I never would have considered before.  In that, I say Howard Shore has created the perfect soundtrack, leaving the listener wanting more.  As for fans of the game, I think Howard Shore has created the perfect accompaniment to your favorite game and I highly recommend purchasing it either in CD format for $15.00US or digital format for $9.00US.  Either way, you're getting a bargain for a masterfully created musical score.


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