Posted on May 18, 2011 by Monica Valentinelli
Available at FlamesRising’s RPGNow Store
To enhance your gaming experience for an upcoming Trail of Cthulhu campaign called Eternal Lies, Pelgrane Press has published a collection of songs you can play in the background on a never-ending loop. For this hour-long selection, several composers collaborated with Will Hindmarch and Jeff Tidball to create the atmospheric tracks.
The purpose of the Eternal Lies Suite is to enhance your mood as you play through this campaign. Since Eternal Lies isn’t out yet, we can glean some insight as to the scope of this story — it’s a global adventure that may include two characters named Edgar Job and Henslowe.
Since Trail of Cthulhu is a period game, I expected the music to give off an early twentieth century feel without too many noticeable stanzas. The main track, Eternal Lies Main Title, is a mournful, pulpy introduction that that sounds like it would be the perfect introduction for a radio show or a movie from the era. A few notes and stanzas throughout the collection really hit home that this is a period game. However, each arrangement is unlike the next, so you don’t get a sense of repetitive themes like you might listening to a movie soundtrack.
The highlight of the collection are the five arrangements dedicated to a different locale. Los Angeles, Malta, Mexico, Yucatan and Bangkok are four minute, focused tracks that have elements of each location (or city’s) culture, but directed at the time period. To tie the individual pieces back to Trail of Cthulhu, each arrangement is less a “song” and more of an amalgamation of sounds. For example, Bangkok has some oriental instrumentation and phrasing, but it’s not consistent throughout so you don’t hear repetitive sounds that are noticeable. Yucatan is another example. You hear crickets chirping and the pan flute in the beginning of the tune, but as it progresses, it shifts to reemphasize a mournful violin with a few haunting elements. On repeat, you won’t be barraged with pan flute over and over again, so the music can definitely be played in the background.
Eternal Lies Suite does exactly what it sets out to do — provide atmosphere in the background. It achieves this by providing a compelling collection of sounds which can be played on auto-repeat during different sections of the Eternal Lies campaign. Just how well does this music fit the epic tale we have yet to see? Only time will tell, but if you’re looking for well-composed arrangements to play during your next RPG session, these are definitely well done and well worth the price tag.
For additional music to play in the background for your Trail of Cthulhu campaign, be sure to check out my review of Four Shadows for Trail of Cthulhu.
Review by Monica Valentinelli