Death metal. Odds are, it’s probably not your favorite genre of music; all that dark imagery; scary dudes with long hair and tattoos; loud, fast guitars; faster and louder drumming; inhuman vocals… I get it.
But the thing is… I LOVE it. No genre has stuck with me so long, or at least, I haven’t held passion for a genre as long as I have for death metal. It’s the reason I listen to and love many genres — from rock, to hip hop, and even country. It’s because of death that I discovered my love for music.
The only thing I love more than death metal is, of course, videogames! So I wanted to put together a list of some of my favorite examples of the two hobbies joining forces, and maybe show some of you it’s not all about guts and gore — Sometimes, it’s about video games (that have guts and gore in them). Without further ado, here are a few awesome moment of video/death metal matches made in heaven (hell?)
The Black Dahlia Murder meets Castlevania
This is one of my my favorite examples of video games being featured in death metal. Back when I was a youngin’, just scratching the surface of the metal genre, an album called Nocturnal was released by a band called The Black Dahlia Murder. I ordered the album immediately after I saw a music video of theirs on MTV2’s “Headbanger’s Ball” back in 2007. It arrived in the mail the same day as a GameInformer with Brutal Legend on the cover (coincidence?).
That video was called “What a horrible night to have a curse” which you will probably recognize as the famous line in Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. The entire song is a poem vocalist Trevor Strnad wrote about the game one night. As a teenage gamer obsessed with both Castlevania and Metroid-style games, this was awesome to me, and ever since I saw that first music video, they’ve been my favorite death metal band.
Since then, they released a follow up in 2009, titled Deflorate, and their latest album Ritual dropped on June 21st. The first lyrics on that album?
“Let us go out this evening for pleasure, while the night is still young!”
Ring a bell? for all you Castlevania fans it should. Here’s the game over screen for Symphony of the Night:
See? Someone in the band’s got a thing for exploration-based gameplay.
Here is the video for the song ‘What a horrible night to have a curse”:
And “A Shrine to Madness”
See, it’s all just a bunch of guys who like Halloween and videogames goofing off and making sweet, sweet music. No harm in that, right?
Vader meets The Witcher
Most European countries are vastly different than the USA in terms of “acceptable” music. In fact, all over Scandinavia — the birthplace of Black metal and Swedish death metal — metal music is a common and accepted part of the culture. Black metal is even Norway’s biggest musical export!
In Poland, death metal bands are extremely popular. Bands like Behemoth make top spots on the county’s music charts, compared to here in the U.S. where a metal band debuting in the bottom 50 of the Billboard top 200 is big news. It’s also where a guy like this:
Can get a girl like this:
ANYWAY! Back on topic. So, as you can see, metal is kind of a big deal, or at least people know about it and are more informed than here in the States. Because of that, when Polish developer wanted a music video done to spread the word on their new game, The Witcher, they contact Polish death metal legends Vader.
Vader were one of the first ever death metal bands, and the first extreme metal band from Poland to gain international popularity, so it’s only natural they’d be selected.
Their video, called Sword of the Witcher, is slightly different than their usual sound showcasing more conventional song writing and keyboards, but the heaviness and “Vaderness” is all there. Check it out:
Brutal Legend meets metal.
To be fair, the game doesn’t feature that much death metal. In fact, I barely even included it on this list, but had to out of principal. There’s plenty of black metal from Enslaved, Dark Fortress, Rotting Christ, Cradle of Filth, and Emperor, and there are some thrash songs just a smidgen away from being death metal thanks to Skeletonwitch, Coroner, and 3 Inches of Blood… but the only death metal songs come from Swedish melodic death metal bands Dark Tranquillity and In Flames, and grind legends Carcass.
That’s 3 songs in the whole game.
Still, you can’t fault the Brutal Legend for that. The entire soundtrack is absolutely fantastic, and the game is extremely fun, no matter how much death metal is or isn’t featured. It has Mastodon for cryin’ out loud!
Last Chance to Reason meets… Last Chance to Reason?
This one is actually really cool. Extreme prog-metallers Last Chance to Reason have always had a video-game theme to their brand of metal. While not exactly “death metal” in the purest sense of the word, the heavy parts and harsh, growled vocals definitely come from a death metal influence. Very similar to absolute-100%-no-questions-asked-favorite-band-of-all-time-and-forever Between the Buried and Me, these proggers have truly outdone any other video-game-metal crossover…
By making their own videogame.
For their newest album, Level 2, was written with an entire video game developed to accompany it. Here’s a prom clip for the game:
The game is a shoot-em-up/platformer with influences from “R-type, Conta, and Super Metroid,” according to wikipedia. A demo for the game is available here, and you can get the full game with purchase of the album. The band is right up the alley for fans of BTBAM, protest the Hero, or the Human Abstract, get on it!
Here’s a music video released for the song “Upload Complete” off of Level 2:
Whew! Okay, so that’s probably a lot to take in, and I know there are plenty of other great bands — death metal or otherwise — with excellent video game references. But hey, I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe even learned something new!
Did I miss any awesome death-metal-meets-video-gaming moments? If I did let me know, and what about other genres? Are there any awesome gaming moments from your favorite musical genres? Comment away!