Latest reviews of new albums:
Gears of War: Judgment
  • Composed by Steve Jablonsky and Jacob Shea
  • Sumthing Else / 2013 / 57m

Gears of War: Judgment is the fourth entry in the popular third-person shooter franchise of Xbox games.  The previous two entries in the series were both scored by Steve Jablonsky, who returns this time round with a co-composer, Jacob Shea.  I will be even lazier than usual by allowing the first of my two paragraphs to quote in its entirety the only customer review of this album currently available at – with apologies for breaking any rules I may be breaking.  It seems that Jablonsky took the helm once again, despite Epic only having an advisory/executive production style role on Judgment.  If you approach this soundtrack looking for more music in the vein of Gears of War 1-3, you are likely to be disappointed.  Gone are the epic style instrumental tracks with lots of instruments layering up for an orchestral feel. What we have is a trimmed back amount of instruments, which isn’t a bad thing.  It’s just not “the same.”  A lot of the tracks feel like they are designed to get your heart pumping and filled with synth.  It just feels more “metal” and less epic this way.  The thing is, in game, the music works.  For me this soundtrack is a mixed bag.  I was hoping for the more orchestral over “rock,” (rock isn’t really the right term, but it sorta fits) but it’s not bad, it’s just not as great as the previous entries.  Recommended, with the caveat that if you want music just like 1-3, you won’t likely be happy.  The reviewer, Stephen M. Lerch, awards the album five stars out of five.

As usual, I will attempt to be more succinct in my own review.  The album starts – there is a 57-minute period of highly-unpleasant noise – and then the album ends.  I think that pretty much says it all (with apologies to Mr Lerch), but in the interests of filling up a bit of space I’ll add a couple more sentences.  There are electric guitars!  There are keyboards!  There are samples!  There are drums!  What more could you want?  Well, I guess you could want something resembling compelling musical drama, or perhaps the merest scintilla of compositional prowess, and I’m afraid if that is indeed what you want then you are unlikely to award quite as many stars as Mr Lerch.

Rating: No stars | |

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  1. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Friday 22 March, 2013 at 19:34

    I must say, your endless capacity to find new ways to pan continues to astound me! Considering I doubt you’d give any of Jablonsky’s other Gears of War scores any more than two stars at best, and considering what I’ve heard of this one, I’m not particularly surprised at the rating…

  2. orion_mk3 (Reply) on Saturday 23 March, 2013 at 04:44

    I’m not a big fan of the series, since it’s always been hellbent on smothering an interesting premise with bad action movie cliches. It’s had an interesting musical history, with a dark but well-regarded score by Kevin Riepl for the first game not being enough to keep him from being replaced by Jablonsky for the next two.

  3. Christian K (Reply) on Thursday 28 March, 2013 at 14:47

    “the merest scintilla of compositional prowess”


    Thank you, James, for this mighty gift on this early Thursday morning!

  4. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Sunday 7 April, 2013 at 22:02

    Incidentally, I do have to question the reviewing abilities of this Mr. Lerch if he awards a “mixed bag” a five-out-of-five.

  5. CJ Sneek (Reply) on Saturday 22 June, 2013 at 13:46

    “The album starts – there is a 57-minute period of highly-unpleasant noise – and then the album ends”

    Awesome! So it’s a basicly a Merzbow record?

  6. ANDRÉ - CAPE TOWN. (Reply) on Sunday 30 June, 2013 at 14:18

    Your reference, CJ Sneek, to Jablonsky’s music being “MERZBOW”, had me confused as yr posting introduced me to this word > and its etymology is fascinating… It was coined by German artisté Kurt Schwitters to describe Japanese ‘NOISE MUSICIAN’ Masami Akita’s works [these included the sounds of scissors cutting and disparate sounds that were recorded & distorted]. It’s most basic definition is ‘art made from rubbish’. One of the titles of Merzbow music is “SMEGMA PLAYS MERZBOW” > though what influence the cheesy secretions of the sebacious sexual glands have on ‘noise music’ is anyone’s imaginative guess.