Review: Into the Grey

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Into the Grey cover artworkThe German band Erdenstern is known for their “Fantastic music for the adventure in your mind”. Their albums were mainly created with the use at the game table in mind. Five of their albums “Into the Green”, “Into the Red”, “Into the Dark”, “Into the Blue” and “Into the Gold” are perfectly suited as background music for your fantasy game and I even used parts of “Into the Dark” while running a Call of Cthulhu game. But their last two albums strayed from that path. The “Elyrion Soundtrack” was composed as soundtrack to the German RPG Elyrion which combines elements of Steampunk and Fantasy. Finally their latest CD “Into the Grey” adds Cyberpunk and SF themes to their “Library of fantastic music”.

And in my opinion “Into the Grey” is their best album so far. The 80-min CD features a lot of strong tracks that are almost to “strong” to be played in the background. But that’s not really a bad thing. Some of their pieces reminded me of Vangelis’ excellent “Blade Runner” soundtrack. And especially fans of near future and cyberpunk campaign will be able to put a lot of the music on this CD to good use during their gaming sessions.

While the first few tracks have a cyberpunk theme, the later tracks of “Into the Grey” take the listener to a more distant future. Especially “Mothership” sounds much like the intro theme of a Star Trek series. I even believe the composers were inspired by the intro theme of the fictional SF series “Galaxy Quest” that appeared in the SF parody of the same name. The leitmotif of “Mothership” also appears in a few other  tracks like “Leaving Space Dock”.

As with all Erdenstern albums “Into the Grey” comes with a booklet that give the GM tags for each track that should help him to find the right music for any given situation. The 19th track “Orbit” for example is tagged as gigantic, dangerous, dramatic, while the aforementioned “Mothership” is described as confident, hopeful, solemn. Each of the 21 tracks also has a subtitle to describe further what the music is meant to be about. One of my favorite track “Downtown Blues” has the subtitle “And Another One For My Friend Here”. This should make finding the right music for the job even easier.

All in all I enjoyed “Into the Grey” very much. In my opinion it’s Erdenstern’s best album so far and I will probably make heavy use of their music in my upcoming gaming sessions. Alas their CDs are not yet available digitally but you can order it directly from the Erdenstern website. “Into the Grey” has 21 tracks (playtime about 80 mins) and will set you back 20$ (or €14.99) plus shipping from Germany.

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(Into the Grey Medley, 5:00 min)

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