First, let's start with the one single song that renewed my interest in soundtracks (sometimes called epic soundtracks): Game of Thrones, Season 6 "Light of the Seven."
Wow! That was awesome.
This entire album is great. And as much action the whole album spews it seems easy to forget this is supposed to be part of a drama series. The overall tone of the album is very serious. Not drab necessarily, but serious. With the exception of the song "Needle" which is a contrast to the rest of the tracks. It's almost fun in the opening bars, especially coming after the more serious previous track of "Light of the Seven."
If you've watched the show then you'll understand how sober the song "Hold the Door" can be based on the context of its meaning. No spoilers here, but the song, even without context, is enough to pick up your heart rate.
As I noted above, this album was the catalyst that got me back into listing to soundtracks. I had honestly forgotten how powerful they could be. The series' composer Ramin Djawadi (he's done all six seasons thus far and another favorite of mine Westworld (review on that soon too) has no shortage of imagination in his sounds. He's able to capture the nature of a scene, be it dragons flying around breathing fire over a sailing armada or "people" walking across a frozen tundra. He is truly able to make you feel through sound (or I'm just an uber-emotional guy).
The best part of this "soundtrack" is that it doesn't fit the mold of most soundtracks, that is, the songs are actual full-length songs (for the most part). Most are well over two and a half minutes and each could easily stand on their own as a separate song (though there are, I believe, three that have the undertone of the series theme song).
A final favorite on this album is "Lord of Light." It's smooth but dark tones are actually really calming to me. My daughter made mention of how scary the lower notes sounded to her, however, for me, they were, again, soothing. It's a good song to end the day on.
I'll give it 4.75 Oathkeeper swords out of 5.