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Two Worlds is the debut album of Anabasis and Gargrim the Liar. Both Anabasis and Gargrim the Liar have a CD each in which to paint, with music, their distinct world.
Packaged in a Jewel case, this CD collection comes complete with interesting cover artwork by John Howe, who was the leading artist for Peter Jackson´s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The music comes in at roughly 120 minutes and is packed to bursting with original themes and a mood for every scenario - whether you are using this as background music while playing fantasy games, or relaxing and reading a book.
Anabasis's 'The Challenge' is inspired by a poem by the English poet Robert Browning. Anabasis's music tells a story of heroism, adventure, darkness and valour. Over the course of this CD there are numerous tempos, themes and musical styles.
Highlights, for me, on the first CD include:
'The Challenge' which is an interesting, mellow theme; 'Skavedal Tavern' a fun theme which is catchy to the point that you almost want to get up and dance; 'Distant Stronghold' the later part of which reminded me of segments of Howard Shore's score for the movie Big; and 'Calling the Long Since Lost' a hauntingly eerie track.
The second CD is Gargrim the Liar's 'Stories of Long Forgotten'. The music here is inspired by Warhammer fantasy roleplay and other roleplaying games. In particular, it revolves around one specific campaign which deals with a power struggle among four families which, as a backdrop has a Romeo and Juliet-esque love drama. However, the romance is cut thinly, with the majority of the story being filled with mysterious killings, endless debates in the council halls, dark deep intrigues on many levels - all set in the upper class surroundings of nobility.
Gargrim the Liar introduces more vocal, almost choral, work to his CD. Highlights include:
'Preludium' which a beautiful track and an excellent way to start the CD; 'Of Noble Blood' which is hauntingly beautiful; 'Their Fate Sealed' which sounded not unlike Hans Zimmer's work - especially for Gladiator and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and 'Requiem for Miragliano' which is simple, but has some beautiful chord changes.
Personally I much preferred Gargrim the Liar's music. While Anabasis's CD is great, I did feel that I'd heard a few too many fantasy albums that sounded very similar, whereas Gargrim the Liar's music felt more like a score for a big budget movie. But then there are very noticeable nods to famous classical music scores in Gargrim the Liar's music.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I wish that hiring an orchestra wasn't so expensive as these two CDs are practically begging to be transformed into full orchestral recordings. While the recordings as presented are still works of art, I couldn't help thinking a lot more emotion and depth could be injected with a rousing orchestral treatment.
While both CDs are interesting, 'Stories of Long Forgotten' is one that I'll listen to much more often than 'The Challenge'.