James Semple’s compositions for Four Shadows are beautifully conceived and performed, and they capture exactly the right tone of an investigation-based Cthulhu mythos game. Including both a “pulp version” and a “purist version” of the Trail of Cthulhu theme is a brilliant move (if you’re not familiar with Trail of Cthulhu, those are the two game styles described in the rules) and the music fits each label perfectly. Neither theme, however, is a “loop while playing” kind of composition, so their usefulness is really rather limited. The other two tracks, “Ruminations” and “Anagnorisis,” are wonderfully cinematic—but, unfortunately, rather too cinematic. Despite each track’s modest length (3:08 and 3:14, respectively), both exhibit definite movement and progression. Such distinct changes of mood, crescendos/decrescendos, and so on make the tracks ill-fitting for a freeform RPG where anything might happen. Therefore, while the music and the production values are of absolutely the highest quality, the product doesn’t well serve the purpose of scoring a Trail of Cthulhu play session. You could, I suppose, wait and play the tracks at just the right moment, once through instead of looping. The Eternal Lies Suite, also by James Semple’s team, serves better. Get Four Shadows for simple listening pleasure, not for constant background music during your game.
[4 of 5 Stars!]