Original Sound Version‘s Patrick Gann reviews The Banner Saga and the Austin Wintory Soundtrack behind it:
“The Banner Saga sports a 71 minute magnum opus, most of it recorded by a group of musicians known as ‘The Dallas Winds.’ So it’s a wind orchestra, and they’re from Dallas, TX. And they sound absolutely amazing. … Listening to the score over and over reveals one point I cannot stress enough: painstaking care was put into balancing the audio. The mixing and mastering is perfect, especially for this genre. The mixdown isn’t too “wet” or blurred. Silence isn’t feared. There are times when things are sufficiently sparse, often to offer a contrast to moments of peak volume or tension.
“There’s a certain intellectual prowess that is revealed in this soundtrack as well. The poetic track titles, such as ‘No Tree Grows to the Sky’ or ‘We are all Guests upon the Land’ fit alongside a pensive sort of composing. Wintory took his composing skills to new heights in some of these songs. In the former track title, for example, Wintory uses sparse (but booming) percussion and adds in a small choir singing what is likely some forgotten Viking language (though it may well be modern Norwegian or Icelandic as far as I know). The melody meanders around a few notes, whether carried by the instruments or the voices. But in its deceptive minimalism is brilliance. Themes repeat themselves. In track 5, ‘Cut with a Keen-Edged Sword,’ a violin seems to bring back those simple melodic patterns of the two prior tracks before it is lost to a cacophonous sea of woodwinds, transitioning to the tension of battle…
“You need not be a fan of the Grammy-nominated Journey soundtrack to enjoy Wintory’s latest soundtrack. He has proven in the past three years to be a composer capable of true diversity.” —Patrick Gann, Original Sound Version