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HBO drops the mic with “Catch the Throne Volume 2”

To prepare fans for a new season of action and drama, HBO commissioned some of modern music’s best and upcoming superstars for “Catch the Throne: The Mixtape, Vol. 2”, a sequel to “Catch the Throne Vol. 1,” which was released in 2014.

The soundtrack, if you haven’t guessed by now, are all related to HBO’s hit drama, “Game of Thrones.” With the fifth season premiering on April 12, they decided to come out with a new soundtrack to get people hyped up.

Unlike the hip-hop and rap dominated first volume, HBO decided to branch out with different genres, bringing in some Latin flavor, some smooth R&B, and even some aggressive, yet catchy metal tunes. But don’t fear, they made sure to keep with the hip-hop vibe from the first volume as well.

Starting off with “The Oath” by the legendary Method Man, the soundtrack wastes no time wrapping you in with its anthem of war. Like every other track on this album, this track starts off sampling scenes from season four, which in this case, fits well with the chorus of “The Oath: Are you even man enough to take the oath? Man enough to take a dagger to the throat?”

The next couple of tracks, MNDR’s “Run for Cover” and Ty Dolla $ign’s “Never Back Down” are fairly hip-hop based songs that refer to the throes of battle. Both of these are solid buildups to what I thought was the best song on the album, “Loyalty,” by metal band Killswitch Engage.

With the opening sampling a scene from episode 7, “Mockingbird,” the band rumbles on with a steady diet of chugging guitar chords and passionate screams, courtesy of the band’s lead vocalist, Jesse Leach. The song carries into a catchy, anthemic sing-along chorus, then trades back into the heavy chugging; all which builds up for one of the most epic endings I have ever heard.

Fortunately, the rest of the soundtrack does not disappoint. With Kap G and Melanie Fiona following “Loyalty” their respective tracks “Surrender Now” and “Fight Through It” have a certain swagger to them all their own. Kap G shows no fear as he raps about him and his crew going to war; while Fiona professes her will to keep fighting on as the smooth keyboards accompany her melodic singing.

The next standout track comes courtesy of possibly the most iconic figure on the soundtrack, Snoop Dogg. Snoop lends his talents to “Lannister’s Anthem” an ode to the most sinister family in the show, the Lannisters. Over a catchy, royal-themed beat, he sends a message of their quest for power, singing, “sign of thy lord, swing thy sword, servants of war; welcome to the power, seven kingdoms strong.”

Follwing Snoop Dogg is Puerto Rican reggaeton musician Yandel, who lightens the mood with his song, “Marcando Territorio.” Unlike the rest of the soundtrack, his song is performed with all Spanish lyrics. The upside is that it doesn’t detract from the rest of the soundtrack. But unless you can fully understand Spanish, it does turn out to be a hard listen.

The rest of the soundtrack is a balance of drama and aggression, with each song keeping up with the general theme of the show. The lone ballad on the soundtrack, Mastodon’s “White Walker” has a real slow, bluesy feel, which really draws you into the song. Latin singer-songwriter Raquel Sofia follows up Mastodon with her mixture of English and Spanish lyrics in “Legends” while rap artist Stalley and art metal band Mushroomhead finish off the soundtrack.

Overall, while I never really got into the show, this soundtrack makes me want to get into the series. Each song stands out in its own way, giving the listener an aural journey through the last season of “Game of Thrones” while preparing them for the season to come.

You can download the soundtrack for free through iTunes.

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