World of Warcraft: Taverns of Azeroth, David Arkenstone / Jason Hayes, 2007
The seemingly gimmicky concept behind World of Warcraft: Taverns of Azeroth might make score collectors hesitant: the album brings together the music heard in the taverns of the first two World of Warcraft games. But listen closer, and you’ll discover an album that, until the release of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, was actually the first consistently satisfying Warcraft soundtrack. With music as formula-bound as this, the question is how much variety the composers can wring out of that formula, and it’s here that Taverns of Azeroth plays its trumps. Keeping things modest and using only a small acoustic band, David Arkenstone covers a lot of ground, writing lively jigs, sea shanties, warm camp fire songs, music for tribal processions, and forlorn meditations on the dark road ahead. And like in all good folk(-inspired) music, there’s a strong melody at the centre of each of these rustic, gentle compositions that form this immensely charming album.
Purchase on iTunes.