If you are familiar with that open-world RPG The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, then you may get at once from the title that Malukah’s The Dragonborn Comes contains music from that game. Personally, I could never get into that game because the combat system doesn’t resonate with me, and I actually developed a headache while adjusting the camera view. Maybe I was doing something wrong, but then again, I never did like open world games much. Give me a tightly focused game with a good story anytime.
Still, the music has always been good to me, and Malukah, whose YouTube channel I’ve subscribed to, is as closest to a real life bard one can get to these games. She has a lovely, silky voice that can channel all kinds of emotions from passion to sorrow with apparent ease, and I like the way she rearranges the songs to her fancy. The title song, originally a stormy herald of a mighty new race, is now something more serene and calming, but there is no mistaking the underlying urgency beneath every word. Ragnar the Red is both an amusing tavern song and a beautiful ballad all at once. Age of Oppression is something that is both epic and intimate at the same time: it feels serene and calming due to the artist’s vocals, but a closer listen reveals the steely determination in her voice as she calls for war:
All hail to Ulfric! You are the High King!
In your great honor we drink and we sing
We’re the children of Skyrim, and we fight all our lives
And when Sovngarde beckons, every one of us dies!
If there is one complaint, it’s that the quiet arrangement of each track can make the songs all blend together after a while, and perhaps a bigger production would have given some of the more epic tracks here a greater degree of atmosphere. But to be fair, the artist is independent, and it’s not like she has the budget of a recording studio at her disposal. For what it is, The Dragonborn Comes is gorgeous earwax, perfect for those quiet moments when a little mood-appropriate music would just enhance the atmosphere.