Artist: nervous_testpilot (Paul Taylor)
Album: Frozen Synapse 2 OST
You may have noticed that Musicalypse does the occasional review of soundtracks, including that of the remake of Beauty and the Beast, or the Finnish video game, Noita. This time around we’re looking at last year’s soundtrack to Frozen Synapse 2, a 2018 tactical game for PC by Mode 7 Games.
I was personally a huge fan of the original soundtrack for Frozen Synapse, though I over-listened to it and haven’t been able to enjoy it as much in more recent years. I first made note of the music when my partner was playing the game and had marveled at how good the music was – almost too good for the game, if you had asked me. Nevertheless, having grow weary of those songs and not being as impressed with the music from Frozen Synapse: Red EP, we were curious to hear the newest soundtrack.
Listen along to the album on Spotify:
Have you ever found a song that makes you feel feelings? That’s “Incursion,” the opening track on this album. There’s something in the music that moves so emotively that I can feel my heart start beating a bit faster every time this song plays. It makes me feel inspired, like I want to dive into creativity and make something beautiful. If that’s not a song with a full score, I don’t know what is.
The first half of the album is made up of the named songs, like “Contact,” “Infiltration,” “Sneak,” and “Complicity.” The soundscape is ambient, emotive, and beautiful. Alongside “Incursion,” the other particularly moving songs are “Infiltration” with its upbeat yet passionate feel, and “Map 3,” that’s full of moving pieces that flow gently but with nonetheless strong melodies. The album’s “Theme” is interestingly located a third to midway through the album and doesn’t hold as compelling a melody as the first track, though nevertheless remains atmospheric and enticing.
“Sneak” doesn’t necessarily have a sneaky feel to it, but is nevertheless a gorgeous song. A few tracks have what I would call a more feminine sound to them, some created by the use of female vocal lines – not lyrics, just sounds like in “Theme” – and others are accomplished through the music, such as “Complicity.” “My Killer” feels almost like a dance track more than a soundtrack song and includes soft female vocals.
The album largely slows down for the “Map” songs, which make up five out of fourteen songs, in the second half of the album. What’s great about this music is that, in the Frozen Synapse games, the idea is to plan scenarios ahead, much like in chess. If at first this music seems too emotional for a tactical game, remember that in the moment, there is a lot of tension and the moves must be chosen wisely and on a limited timer, so having backing music that’s full of atmosphere and emotion works surprisingly well. The album then ends on the “Menu” song, which, much like its predecessor soundtrack, is the simplest song on the album though far more appealing than the menu track from the original Frozen Synapse.
The original soundtrack to Frozen Synapse 2 proves itself to be an excellent (mostly) instrumental album full of magnificent and memorable synth soundscapes. The provocative sound and moving atmosphere is ever-present and also a solid improvement and step forward from the already excellent soundtrack to Frozen Synapse. It’s quite clear that nervous_testpilot knows how to put together a moving soundtrack for a tense, tactical game.
Rating: 9.5/10, 5 stars
8. My Killer
9. Map 1
10. Map 2
11. Map 3
12. Map 4
13. Map 5