With the plethora of lame original motion-picture soundtracks featuring empty songs by here-today-gone-tomorrow artists, you may be forgiven if you approach this soundtrack to a series of fantasy novels with a bit of trepidation. After a couple of spins, though, you might just find yourself appreciating Magna Carta's score for The Wheel of Time series — if for no other reason than its musical depth. Elements of progressive rock, folk and Celtic music weave themselves into this primarily instrumental album.
Written, produced and performed by Robert Berry (save for a few extra singers and string players, including Tempest's Lief Sorbye), A Soundtrack for "The Wheel of Time" is authorized by author Robert Jordan himself and features artwork by Darrell K. Sweet, the same artist whose work graces the novels' covers. But don't fret if you've never read the more than 7,000 pages in this series of nine books (and counting) that have garnered Jordan comparisons to J.R.R. Tolkien. Cinematic in scope and overflowing with majestic overtures, the 15 instrumental and four vocal tracks here evoke countless images that aren't necessarily linked to The Wheel of Time novels. That said, listeners who are also readers will practically be able to feel the intense approach of the Last Battle, while almost tasting and smelling the endless heat wave sent by the Dark One.
Soundtracks for novels? If this concept ever catches on, imagine the possibilities presented by Stephen King, Clive Barker or even Tolkien himself.