Music is a tool that’s historically used in movies to enhance the atmosphere, manipulate emotions, and more.
However, it’s just as vital now in video gaming. Things have changed significantly from players’ binary sounds in games like Pac-man and Space Invaders.
Music in video gaming has progressed to such an extent that it’s now found nominated in the Grammy Awards alongside the likes of Metallica.
It’s pretty apt that soundtracks in video games sit alongside some of the greats of metal because there has been a long-storied relationship between the two.
The music of Motörhead and Iron Maiden could be heard around the offices of game developers in the eighties as inspiration for them working through the night to bring the latest games to life.
It was no surprise then to hear the genre become the audio backdrop to the frantic shooter, Doom, when it appeared in the ’90s and the pairing has long since become a legend in the industry.
That success brought Nine Inch Nails lead singer Trent Reznor to the party, and he was the curator of the main theme to the successor to Doom, Quake. Hia efforts gained universal acclaim, and the game was released on almost every gaming platform imaginable with the same thumping soundtrack.
But it’s not only the consoles and PC games which feature heavy musical accompaniment. Often, even the smaller games featured on mobile platforms have quite heavy soundtracks.
For instance, Foxy Bingo has online slot titles such as Steam Tower and Vikings Go Bezerk which have heavier music than some. Others, such as Legacy of The Beast, which is a game designed around the world of Iron Maiden, are the ideal platform for heavier music and, it’s great to hear some of the actual metal tracks people already know out there too.
So, after noting those links between gaming and metal music, we’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the best soundtracks that feature in the digital world.
The whole soundtrack to this real-time action-adventure game pulls together some of the finest metal artists in the world, and it sets its stall out early. The title track on the game ‘The Hellion’ is by Judas Priest is supported by tracks from Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, and Megadeth.
The game is inspired by the music, with its fantasy backdrop looking familiar to some of the artwork seen on many classic metal album covers. It’s a game that was well-received by gamers, and its audio soundtrack won an award at the Interactive Achievement Awards.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Metal Gear isn’t usually revered for its rock soundtrack, but when the franchise took a forward step by heading into the hands of a new developer, the whole feel of the game changed with the audio. Some fantastic guitar solos and solid metal tracks make it worthy of a listen independently of the game. The game’s producers, Konami thought so too, as it was available as a standalone album on their store. It mixes older metal styles from the ’80s and adds an electronic twist befitting its futuristic game style.
The 80’s hit arcade classic remake was given both a graphical and audible boost when it hit consoles in 2010. Splatterhouse is almost a homage to the hack and slash horror movies of the ’80s with visceral scenes of gore and blood at every turn.
Pounding Nails by The Accused is one of the memorable tracks accompanying the action on screen and heightening the sense of manic anxiety-inducing action. Five Finger Death Punch and the aptly named Swedish band, The Haunted also feature too.