There's a certain amount of irony to the fact that while this particular writer doesn't particularly care for sword and sorcery fantasy films or television programs, I absolutely adore the scores for them. It likely has something to do with the fact that the films themselves are frequently poorly-acted messes or burdened with overly-complicated plots, whilst the music is usually expansive and majestic. Such is the case for Ramin Djawadi's music for Game of Thrones.
This installment is, obviously, not all of the music for the show's fifth season, but it does contain the most often-used themes, and those which score the rather more notable highlights. Despite being sequenced exactly the same as the compact disc release, the Music on Vinyl version consolidates tracks into chunks of four or five individual pieces.
The double LP collection does a wonderful job of emphasizing the commonality of the particular aspects of the included pieces, turning each of the four sides into a series of suites. Additionally, each pseudo-suite ends on something of a cliffhanger note, leading to a series of panicked rushes to the turntable, flipping over each LP to get to what's next.
Side One into Side Two is a bit obvious, being parts one and two of Hardhome, but when one switches LPs from the first to the second, it's an even more frantic change. Side Two ends with Kneel for No Man, and the response it evokes is something akin to, “Oh, hell – what could possibly be next after this?!”
High Sparrow is next, that's what. It starts out ominously, then fully ratchets up to full creepy chorus mode, setting the stage for Side Four, and the final suite of music. The final one is the most effective, combing three very dark and ominous themes (and one bonus track). Concluding this trio of terror is Son of the Harpy, which will delight any fan of choral-laden ominous themes. Think Rosemary's Baby combined with Carl Orff's Carmina Burana and you're still only halfway to how effective this piece of music is.
This double LP positively flies by. Any fan of fantasy scores should already have this on their radar, but even those like myself, who don't really care for that genre of entertainment, will find themselves enraptured by Djawadi's music. It's a perfect distillation of everything this sort of music should be: powerful, frightening, moody, and – above all – epic.
GAMES OF THRONES: MUSIC FROM THE HBO SERIES SEASON 5 / COMPOSER: RAMIN DJAWADI / LABEL: MUSIC ON VINYL/AT THE MOVIES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW