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The Lyrics to God of War

Sony PlayStation’s classic God of War franchise journeyed from Ancient Greece to Norse myth, telling the story of Kratos and his young son Atreus, in an epic saga spanning two games, God of War (2018) and God of War Ragnarök (2022). I composed two scores to support the narrative, drawing influence from the soaring orchestral overtures of Hollywood and the rustic melodies of Nordic folk music. The most striking sound in both scores is the human voice, ranging from evocative solos from Faroese singer Eivør Pálsdóttir and multi-platinum artist Hozier, to massive full choir passages featuring Iceland’s celebrated choral ensemble, Schola Cantorum. Their unique voices are even more distinct because the lyrics were written in a dead language, Old Norse.

In my previous God of War blog entries, I alluded to the team of dedicated artists and writers who collaborated with me to create the lyrics for these scores. Here, I hope to chronicle the meticulous attention to detail and ambitious scope of their work. I will also, at long last, share the lyrics and translations that fans have been clamoring for. This is the story behind the lyrics of God of War (2018) and God of War Ragnarök (2022). (Spoilers for both games lie ahead.)

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The Lord of the Rings: Episode 106

In this series of blogs, I explore the musical details of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. For a comprehensive introduction to my approach and my creative experience, start with my introductory four-part “Appendices:” Part 1 “Journey to Middle-earth,” Part 2 “Themes of Middle-earth,” Part 3 “Forming a Fellowship,” and Part 4 “There and Back Again.” I also blogged about scoring episodes 101, 102, 103, 104 and 105.

SCORING EPISODE 106
“UDÛN”

SPOILERS AHEAD: “Udûn” is unlike any episode of television I have ever scored before. It was substantially more difficult and  demanding even than scoring a feature film. Scoring a big film is a sprint (as I learned on Godzilla: King of the Monsters). The composer blasts down the racetrack, gets to the end in one piece, and can collapse when done.  Television is a marathon. I could not even start “Udûn” until I had already scored five hours of narrative for nearly half a year. Even before I laid down the episode’s first notes,  I was already nearing exhaustion. And when I was done with its fiery climax, I would still need to have in reserve enough strength to keep going for another two months.

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