Author: Chris Wickham
The Arathi Highlands are situated in the Eastern Kingdoms in the former human kingdom of Lordaeron, east of the Hillsbrad Foothills. Once ruled by the human Empire of Arathor from the capital city of Stromgarde Keep, it is now a tired, desolate landscape where the Alliance, Horde and pockets of the human criminal organisation, the Syndicate, continue to battle for supremacy. Following the Fall of Lordaeron during the Third War, the Arathi Highlands were largely deserted and overrun with ogres and trolls, despite the region itself being spared the plague of undeath that ravaged Lordaeron.
The sonic landscape of the Arathi Highlands is a subtle blend of the sorrow of the fallen Human Kingdom and a sense of aspiring hope. The piece opens with a lamenting melody on high woodwind, female choir and strings, almost reminiscent of a requiem; a music composition designed to lay the souls of the deceased to rest. There is an occasional seasoning of harp playing broken chords during the softer moments. The player is reminded of the conflicts that ravaged the Highlands during the Second War; a pulsating militaristic snare and low strings underpins the polyphony of the brass and higher strings.
Melancholy 'cello and vocal melodies often vie with more optimistic regal brass lines and homogeneous string harmonies, with the power of the brass reigning supreme and instilling a sense of hope through the sorrow. The 'cello melodies actually use musical material from the Elwynn Forest soundtrack, which is efortlessly weaved in to produce a remarkable continuty between the regions. There are moments of expansive grandiose flourish when the strings, choir, brass and percussion reach their full force which serve as a reminder of the once mighty kingdom that once controlled the land.