Before jumping straight into hell with a heart-pounding soundtrack that equally guides you through one of the most anticipated sequels to a video game, The Doom Soundtrack 2016 is on our list of top soundtracks you have to hear this year! Little known to most people, Mick Gordon is the man behind this incredible soundtrack. His compositions (though only heard in video games currently), is the man behind this brilliant work which might just be the most intense soundtrack ever created for a video game. Before we walk you through the tracks that stand-out most in this feature, here is a little background about composer ‘Mick Gordon’ that you may not know.
Mick started-out sometime in 2004, tinkering with a pretty simple computer set-up to create music for films and commercials. He got lucky the first time around and landed some small jobs which parlayed into bigger ones overall. With a major Hollywood soundtrack sound, he’s an Australian from Mackay, Queensland and plays both the guitar, drums and keyboard. This is combined with a massive collection of sound pedals, sound distortion devices, and many other sound altering gadgets to get just the right sound he’s searching for. He recently worked with Frederik Thordenal of the Swedish metal band “Meshuggah” on the video game Wolfenstein and picked-up some new tricks for his latest major project that includes the Doom 2016 soundtrack. He upgraded his guitar (a Mayones 8) to a stock 9 string (Schecter Damien Platinum 9), just to get a deeper guitar string sound! Spoken more like a mad scientist rather than a tortured musician, Mick has a method for composing music that is more free and open to sound design than most musicians you often hear about.
The new ‘Doom’ soundtrack is a shining example of metal, industrial, and engineered organic soundscapes married together in perfect harmony. What is often the focal point of playing these high energy video games is the raw emotion that’s involved while you navigate around the game itself. Much like a film composition, each scene is given it’s own emotion and themed layer. Unlike a film, these musical scenes last only as long as you remain lurking within that domain. This not only generates a wider scope of emotion for the end-user (pretty much the game player) -who gets to experience this throughout the game itself. There are so many individual tracks all-through the game itself with at least 55 of them as I last counted. Alternate versions, many extended versions, and more than enough ambient sounds you will encounter within the game universe of Doom.
Back in 1993, the technology for video games was still pretty basic. Graphics and animations were nice but still very primitive compared to examples shown today. Back then the original soundtrack was supplied by Bobby Prince who also did the original Wolfenstein 3D, Doom II, Duke Nukem II, and Duke Nukem 3D video games scores. The melody is (at best) matching to the simple graphics and technology for games back then. It’s not a bad theme considering it’s one of the most popular of theme songs among gamers from the last 23 years! There is actually a decent version of the original music which is not compressed (into the video game) which gives a very moody feel but nowhere near as intense as the updated 2016 version. The ‘Prince ‘ version is very blues inspired with a lot of synth-pop overtones which give it a very 64-bit feel.
As you might expect, this game also has many fans jumping to find the hidden messages contained within the music. These images cannot be seen unless you have a special spectrogram which allows sound to be viewed in waves. The sound waves form vertical and horizontal lines which can be studied for a variety of reasons including animal calls, sonar, and seismology. Mick Gordon- being a master of sound design and digital electronic manipulation has also added special images into his music score in select songs. Some images include inverted pentagrams and 666 repeating in sequence when viewed by this spectrogram. This isn’t anything new of course since Aphex Twin had done this in their song ‘Equation’. Another recording artist “Disasterpiece” also adds strange images into their songs too. Even the band Nine Inch Nails has also done this. Will you go to hell if you listen to the Doom soundtrack? Nobody knows for sure, but for most excited gamers- they’ll be hoping to get a closer experience than ever before.