After the truly memorable Metal Gear Solid 3 OST, I had extremely high hopes for Metal Gear Solid 4 and I am pleased to report that this latest (and possibly final?) offering from Harry Gregson-Williams and Nobuko Toda does not disappoint.
Opening with the melancholic "Old Snake", the soundtrack guides the listener through a rather sombre 2 hours with sorrowful strings and horns interrupted by bursts of adrenaline-pumping techno shoot-outs. Its remarkable how cinematic the score for this game is. There a few standout tracks and most of them appear to be tear-jerkers: "Love Theme" is a hebrew lament with vocals by Jackie Prestie, memorable for its Middle-Eastern vibe and overwhelming heaviness. Contrastingly, "Call Me Hal" is a bittersweet ballad about our favorite Otaku. "Mobs Alive" is epic. It featured in the trailer and with its stabbing strings and choral chants, makes for a rousing set-piece score. Disc 1 finishes witht the track "Violent Ceasefire", a track of swelling orchestral beauty underscored with tragic melody. Its a strong finisher for the disc.
Moving onto Disc 2 and we have 4 of the finest tracks on the album: "Everything Begins" is quiet and moving and dare i say it, upbeat. "Father & Son" introduces some themes and instruments reminiscent of the outstanding "Debriefing" from MGS3 and is powerful in its lush arrangement. When the strings fade away leaving only a spanish guitar and accompanying vocal "ooohs", Gregson-Williams perfectly encapsulates the history of the entire Saga in one simple melody.
"Metal Gear Saga" is, as expected, a wonderful remix of the MGS3 Theme. We finish quite serenely on the beautiful "Here's To You" by legendary composer Ennio Morricone, a triumphant ballad with haunting ethereal vocals by Lisbeth Scott. Its a fitting end to the saga with fine work from all involved. It may not be as memorable as MGS3's soundtrack but one can only salute the consistent excellence on show here.
Verdict: **** (4/5)