Author: Chris Wickham
Gilneas is an abandoned region on the southern peninsula of Silverpine Forest, located in the Eastern Kingdoms. It was once home to the proud and noble Gilneans, ruled by King Genn Greymane. Following the Second War, the Gilneans extradited themselves from the Alliance and erected a mighty Greymane Wall to barricade themselves in. However, a sinister curse ravaged the land, turning the inhabitants into mindless worgen. While some have been reduced to mindless beasts, others managed to hold onto the vestiges of their humanity. After the Cataclysm breached the Greymane Wall, the Horde ordered Forsaken forces in Silverpine forces to invade. While the Gilnean Worgen managed to repel the Forsaken with the aid of the humans and night elves, the conflict left the region in ruins.
The prevailing sonic pallette throughout the Worgen soundtrack are the notions of curse or conflict. The lead melody instrument is the harpsichord, a keyboard instrument that plucks the strings when played, rather than a piano that uses small felt hammers to strike the strings. The result is a distinctive haunting sound that some listeners will liken to the character Dracula, a well-known fictional character with a vampire curse. The harpsichord mainly performs broken chord patterns around minor and diminished chords, which reflect the zone's dark, unsettling atmosphere while the woodwind section weaves in these heavy haunting melodies.
The woodwind, particularly the flute, is largely utilised softly in its muddy low register which musicians will know is not the section‘s most vibrant of registers but in Gilneas, it goes a long way in creating this impression of darkness. The bassoon is often heard performing the melody which is pleasing to hear as it is a versatile instrument whose expressive range is not exploited nearly enough in my opinion! Its similarity to the oboe‘s tone allows the two instruments to swap melodic material, creating some moving melodies that explore their whole registers.
It's interesting to note that the woodwind section in general is also barely homogenous with itself - that is to say, its sonic colours do not blend as smoothly as brass or strings. The use of the woodwind section in unison is not entirely pleasing to the ear and this conflict does help to reflect this atmosphere of uncertainty which shrouds Gilneas.