Medal of Honor: Frontline

Michael Giacchino

 
" The best Medal of Honor has to offer "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

"And when he gets to heaven,
To Saint Peter he will tell:
One more Soldier reporting-sir.
I've served my time in Hell."


It had to happen some day, but low and behold, composer Michael Giacchino has given us the best of the best. He has reached the fourth installment of the popular shoot-em-up games known as Medal of Honor, and in that fourth he gives it all he's got. The first game was mostly covering action music, which was of course outstanding to say the least. The second covered a new path, giving it some color. The third only offered various tracks but treated us to another brilliance, namely Schermzen's theme. And the fourth, well he gave it top of the notch brilliant music.

At the time of writing, it wasn't common that war games held emotional music, but Giacchino (and the producers) opened up another world when bringing beauty to horror. And so Frontline easily surpasses the color in Underground, while growling better than Allied Assault. And don't forget the outstanding booklet, having track by track analysis and recording pictures.

The score usually starts with a main theme of some sorts. And Giacchino easily already surpasses us with that alone. Given its rather subdued nature, people could easily dismiss this as a weak opener to the score, but do not think that for a moment. The main theme in "Operation Market Garden" just isn't of a powerful nature, but more a beautiful climax reaching its finish. It opens with a boy's vocal stating a part of Patterson's theme, before giving us a very emotional piece that grows to heavenly proportions through choir at the end.

This choir is what keeps Frontline at the edge of perfection, as it graces pieces that couldn't link itself otherwise to the majesty of the music. There is an occasional if even low brooding sound to be found on the score, such as in track 3, 6 and 9 (which at times is quite boring). But the others deliver something more noteworthy.

"Shipyards of Lorient" begins to build through cymbals and flutes, all wrapped inside a tight tense rhythm. "Manor House Rally" brasses its way forth, stating one of the many sub themes that Giacchino has written for Medal of Honor. This sub theme becomes better when we reach the furious "The Halftrack Chase".

Easily one of the powerhouse highlights is "The Rowhouses", covering powerful strokes of the sub theme of track 8. The choir gets a workout when stating Sturmgeist's amazing choral theme in "Sturmgeist's Armored Train", combining the allies theme, Patterson's and the Nazi theme. And "Clipping their Wings" just continues the road of melodic action material. But then, we are treated to the best that Frontline has to offer.

The first "After the Drop" uses the vocal talents of Anders Marshall in such a fitting order that not only it gives the track beauty, but equally relaxing qualities. This for an action game is quite interesting. But this is not the piece that wins the Oscar for most amazing track on the disc. That Honor is for "Arnhem" instead. A grieving song for the fallen city, this emotional cue takes its superb sub theme to the most amazing climax the MOH saga has ever known. A true highlight and during the furious fighting it all makes utter spine tingling effect.

The last track "Escaping Gotha" is too good to be true as well. The playful mine car chase is but a small part of the wonder that this track delivers you. Here we have everything we ever wanted. Namely the wonderful choral Sturmgeist's theme and heroic fanfares saluting you when you leave the airstrip victoriously. It is a mix of everything that Giacchino does best.

The final tracks are usually credited to extra goodies, such as a good placed song ("The Songless Nightingale") and its game version (meaning German café version), quite funny in a disturbing way actually.

All together, Medal of Honor: Frontline is a pearl of musical material and booklet presentation. The booklet is superb, the music is stunning and the series showed a rise of musical excellence. The good part is also that most of the tracks are linked to one another, so you receive the best listening experience available. In general, you can't find anything better in the MOH war than Frontline. It is the best he has ever written for Patterson, believe you me.

"And when people will buy the score,
To the community there will be told:
Another masterpiece has come.
Staying and deserving to be hold."


Tracklisting

1. Operation Market Garden (5.32) Excellent track
2. Border Town (3.36)
3. U-4902 (4.44)
4. Shipyards of Lorient (3.13)
5. After the Drop * (5.37) Excellent track
6. Kleveburg (3.32)
7. Manor House Rally (3.48) Excellent track
8. The Halftrack Chase (3.40) Excellent track
9. Nijmegen Bridge (3.21)
10. The Rowhouses (4.40) Excellent track
11. Arnhem * (5.51) Excellent track
12. Emmerich Station (3.02)
13. Thüringer Wald Express (2.52)
14. Sturmgeist's Armored Train (3.54) Excellent track
15. Approaching the Tarmac (3.47)
16. Clipping Their Wings (3.27)
17. Escaping Gotha (7.18) Excellent track
18. The Songless Nightingale * (2.46)

Bonus Track
19. Unreleased Source Music (4.29)

* Music by Michael Giacchino, Lyrics by Scott Langteau, Vocals by Anders Marshall

Total Length: 79.20
(click to rate this score)  
 
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(total of 18 votes - average 4.81/5)

Released by

DreamWorks 4021920 (regular release 2002)

Conducted by

Tim Simonec

Orchestrations by

Michael Giacchino & Tim Simonec

Performed by

The Northwest Sinfonia