[55 tracks in total]
Much like the video-game of the same name, one of the most iconic pieces of The Witcher comes from its musical score. With a distinct Slavic folk influence and a great array of instruments used throughout, there’s something instantly recognisable with a lot of the pulsating tracks featured in The Witcher 3. Taking influence from that wildly popular game, Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli team up together to form an expansive 55 track soundtrack spanning over 3 hours of music. The result is something that pays homage to what’s come before whilst standing out as unique enough without feeling like a carbon copy of The Witcher 3.
The early parts of the soundtrack are by far the strongest and most recognisable, weaving the ‘Geralt Of Rivia’ title song with various Jaskier ballads, including the wildly popular ‘Toss A Coin To Your Witcher’. These opening tracks set the scene and keep things exciting before the compositions begin to double down on instrumental pieces, with a consistent musical journey through the different episodes that follow. Due to the sheer number of instrumentals, when the vocal tracks do crop up they’re given far more weight and gravity, helping to really solidify their impact on the album as a whole.
The vocals on ‘Last Rose Of Cintra’ in particular really stand out here, feeling very similar to that of Nick Cave & The Flood’s ‘Red Right Hand’; Peaky Blinders’ iconic main theme share the same rasp on the vocals, acting as foreshadowing for some of the darker content to come.
As the score builds up to the dramatic crescendo of bloodshed that captures the finale of the series, there’s a lot more chords and string segments used to really accentuate that urgency. ‘Yennefer Of Vengerberg’ is a great example of this changing tone while the drum-heavy ‘You’ll Have To Fight It Until Dawn’ is a 9 minute monster that roars into minor-key territory, right the way through to ‘Battle Of Sodden’. The final track, ‘The White Wolf’, is a reflective, hopeful reminder that this journey isn’t over and as Netflix themselves have said – there’s a lot more story to tell here.
The productions are tightly woven together, with a lot of feature-length songs as well. Expect a whole swathe of 4 minute+ tracks here and a solid musical journey that should keep even the most enthused Witcher fan busy for a while. The instruments used are varied enough, although there is a particular emphasis on flutes and violins for the motifs that occur repeatedly through the album.
Although it still feels second best to Polish composer Marcin Przybyłowicz’s pulsating Witcher 3 audio, this is a valiant effort nonetheless and a worthy companion piece to the Netflix series. There’s a good balance of ballads and instrumental beats, while the changing tempo and tone across the album keeps things feeling fresh and engaging throughout its extended run time. It’s not perfect, but the positives far outweigh the negatives here, making for a really engaging listen and one well worth checking out.
Verdict - 8/10