1. Nemesis the Warlock (Rob Hubbard) - 7 mins 16 secs.
The opening track for "The EPIC Themes" collection was difficult to decide but in the end I went for this great track from Rob hubbard. The slow and progressive start is an ideal intro for the CD and sets the scene for the awesome music which is to follow. This track has a very catchy main theme, some nice deep "gongs" in the music and I'm sure there's voices chanting "OH YEAH!" in this piece too! Rob has also included a nice "flutey" section at the end of this tune just before it fades into infinity.
2. Tetris (Wally 'Hagar' Beben) - 25 mins 45 secs (!)
Now they don't come much more epic than this one!! I originally did the CD recording of this track for a Custom Music Compi and was AMAZED at how good this track sounded on CD. I love the way track begins with the eerie soft thumping bassline and gradually brings in other parts of the tune. This track also features an inspired use of a 'distorted guitar' sample which comes in around the three minute mark. My other favourite sections of this tune include the part where it changes at the 6 minute mark, the section at 11 mins 30 seconds where it speeds up a bit, the nice thumpy bass at 16 mins 30 seconds and those GORGEOUS 'wibbles' 22 minutes into the track which have just made the hairs on the back of my neck prickle! ZZAP! 64 awarded this tune 98% and described it as "exquisite".
3. Kentilla (Rob Hubbard) - 13 mins 1 sec.
I remember playing this neat adventure from Mastertronic (and being attacked by those darn Cavezats!) The 13 minute piece composed by Rob for this game was nice and atmospheric although it seems a little out of place having this wonderful EPIC theme in a very simple looking game. The tune was originally intended to be 'interactive' and change depending on where you were in the game. Unfortunately, this was not to be so Rob bolted all the sections together into one long (and nicely varied) theme. I like the way the track trails off at the end (and yes, I even included that extra "chime" right at the end!)
4. Breakthrough (Paul 'FeekZoid' Hannay) - 6 mins 51 secs.
Heavily inspired by the awesome in-game tune from Delta this track was produced for the Jon Wells horizontal shoot 'em up "Breakthrough". The track opens with menacing bass sounds and then leaps into the forward looking main theme. FeekZoid has included a variety of great parts in this track including the nice 'spacey' section beginning at 1 min 46 secs, the SUPERB bit 3 mins into the track and the wicked section at the 5 minute mark with a great use of a nice big bass!
5. W.A.R (Rob Hubbard) - 9 mins 58 secs.
This track was a lot longer than what I originally thought which made it ideal for "The EPIC Themes" collection! The tune features a great build-up at the start and is very, VERY catchy! I absolutely *love* this track when it REALLY gets going, Rob must have been hyper the day he composed it! There's a great 'break' at around 4 mins 30 seconds which brings in a groovy bassline and there's a really neat bit at 7 mins 36 seconds. ZZAP! 64 gave 'W.A.R' 98% for sound and described this as an "Outstanding Rob Hubbard soundtrack".
6. Parallax (Martin Galway) - 11 mins 23 secs.
Here we have the track that inspired "The EPIC Themes" CD project in the first place (and also the artwork which features a rendered version of the spacecraft from the Parallax advert and loading screen!) It features one of the biggest intro sections in a C64 theme - one which takes up two thirds of the entire track in fact! After the immense intro comes a highly memorable 'main' section which features wonderful backing 'wibbles' and a classic Galway bassline. SID aficianados will be relieved to hear that the bizarre ending of the tune IS featured on this CD - although I did decide to feature this track last on the CD so you can always hit stop if you can't handle one of the strangest C64 tune endings of all time. (Once you get over the initial shock it really is cool how the SID voices come into 'sync' right at the end before 'falling away'). ZZAP! 64 gave 'Parallax' 93% for sound and described this tune as "weird but wonderful".
'Epic Themes' CD 2 (7 tracks - running time 72 minutes 49 seconds).
1. Yie Ar Kung Fu (Martin Galway) - 9 mins.
I love the start of this track and couldn't resist having it as the opener for the second "EPIC Themes" CD! This is the main theme from Yie Ar Kung Fu and it's a stunning and powerful rendition of "Magnetic Fields (part 4)" by one of my fave musicians - Jean-Michel Jarre. All the classic Martin Galway trademark voices are present in this track including an excellent bass-line and great use of those 'wibbles'! Truly excellent stuff.
2. Knucklebusters (Rob Hubbard) - 16 mins 39 secs.
This is a favourite track of many a C64 fan and this CD collection would NOT have been complete without it. The music is even hyped on the cassette inlay for this game which reads:- "Driving you on is the relentless beat of Rob Hubbard's musical score over 17 minutes of atmospheric, pounding, unrepeating music". (I assume Melbourne were including the 'title' and 'get ready' tracks when they timed it!) I don't think I really need to enthuse about this tune, it's utterly superb and features probably the best C64 bassline EVER!
3. Driller (Matt Gray) - 8 mins 45 secs.
The first game to feature the amazing(ly slow) Freescape 3D system was also blessed with this fine soundtrack from Matt Gray. For me the soundtrack made the game seem better than it actually was and gave a real feeling of PURPOSE as you chugged around the 3D lego-land releasing pockets of gas (pardon me!) Listen out for the nice military drums around 2 mins into the tune, the Panther-esque bit just before the 4 minute mark and the SMART bassline and grungy drums 6 mins and 30 seconds into the track. ZZAP! 64 gave Driller 92% for sound and described this soundtrack as "absolutely stunning".
4. Trap (Ben Daglish) - 9 mins 45 secs.
This is an absolutely belting theme from Ben Daglish! I love this huge sweeping track from the start to the finish, It really is an awe-inspiring and surprisingly emotive piece. (Calm down Kenz!) The tune has quite a unique 'feel' to it, there's nothing quite like it on the C64. Listen out for the brief section from the "War of the Worlds", the brilliant section from 4 minutes onwards and there's a even a bit which reminds me of 'Knight Games' at around the 6 minute mark. Bl**dy brilliant!
5. Delta (Rob Hubbard) - 11 mins 22 secs.
Quite a few people have asked for this incredible in-game track on their Custom Compi CD's and I can see why - it's excellent! Spacey, cosmic and almost downright surreal all at the same time. The perfect music to cruise through space to in fact. Apparently, Rob was inspired by Philip Glass and Pink Floyd when he composed this (and it drove him insane too!) The way this soundtrack shifts and changes is superb. Crank up the volume on your hi-fi, kill the lights and enjoy this splendid, swirling, EPIC theme!
6. Marauder (Barry Leitch) - 6 mins 31 secs.
In my opinion this in-game tune is easily the best thing Barry ever composed on the C64. Even though it's one of the shortest tracks in the collection it really has an EPIC sound to it. The ominous start is really excellent and gives a feeling of grim determination. 1 minute 40 seconds into the tune it picks up pace a little before slowing back down a minute later. 2 mins 40 seconds into the track and you are treated to some great bass which is followed by a nice flute section. There's another nice bit 4 minutes into the track which then transforms into - JOY OF JOYS, the bass from the STUNNING "Assault on Precinct 13" theme by John Carpenter!! I *adore* this film soundtrack (and most stuff by John Carpenter) so this is a real treat.
7. International Karate (Rob Hubbard) - 10 mins 44 secs.
The final track on "The EPIC Themes" CD collection is this 10 minute masterpiece from Rob Hubbard. The first part of the tune is a very nice and laid back oriental piece and there's a lovely section at 2 mins 40. At 4 minutes the tune changes slightly and goes slightly more up-tempo. Towards the end of the track it slows back down and there's some marvellous Hubbard drums 'dooshing' away at the end. ZZAP! 64 gave International Karate 96% for sound and said "One of Hubbards best tunes fits the bill perfectly".
The Epic Themes (2CD)
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