Hades is a force to reckon with.
From the addictive gameplay & story to the music which heightens the gaming experience. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack; here are the top 10 things I love about it.
1. Those Awesome Odd Meters
“Out of Tartarus” brings me back to memories of me back in music school. Why? Because it reminds of my friends doing Tool covers. It’s all about those strong rock grooves propelled by strong powerful bass lines.
I wish Malaysian rock band Tempered Mental would cover this track. It would be so in place with their material. Even when there isn’t an odd meter in sight, the note groupings create the impression that it’s there. I love how this feels like on “Through Asphodel”. Another standout moment is in “Mouth of Styx” – it’s so well written!
2. Rock Guitar Goodness
“Out of Tartarus” gets even more intense when the rock guitar parts come into full force. Great sounding lines and clean breaks. This is stuff head-banging dreams are made of.
On “The Unseen Ones”, the dueling guitars of Masahiro Aoki and Daisuke Kurosawa bring back 80s metal like it never left. This is a shred guitar extravaganza! My favorite part is the guitar battle that goes into interweaving twin harmony parts.
3. Orchestrated build-ups
There are these moments when you feel like you’re drenched in a post-rock underworld. The build-ups are so good in Hades that even when you expect it, it’s still exciting to experience. In “Through Asphodel”, the rock guitar part that comes in after 5 minutes gets me every time. I love the attacks before it launches into classic metal riffing vibes.
4 Non-intrusive parts
“The Painful Way” does a masterful job of having many contrapuntal lines weaving into each other. It is so fun to listen to yet does not overpower the listener. This is, after all, music to accentuate the action in the game.
There are so many great mixing choices that are on the Original Soundtrack version of this. And then, when the rock element comes in, it pushes it up a notch into that head-banging zone again. Darren Korb’s tasteful musical choices make the track a standout moment.
5. Mood setting textures
As “No Escape” begins, you know you’re in for a treat. From the crunchy rock guitar parts to the strong harmonic changes — this is like the beginning of a concept album. On “The House of Hades”, the rubato introduction and long drones envelop you before the rock groove kicks in.
6. Percussion Power
At the back of so many of the tracks, you can hear the percussion setting the mood & filling up spaces. It’s subtle sometimes but the fact that there’s percussion adds a lot to the music.
7. Trance inducing riffs
“The Bloodless” has a bluesy folky vibe mixed with strong percussion & drums. And the breaks at “Rage of the Myrmidons” – whoa!
“The King and the Bull” would be something that metal fans would dig.
8. Understated syncopated attacks and grooves
One of my favorite grooves is in “The House of Hades” where it’s like a Nitin Sawhney record mixed with a minus-one version of an Ani DiFranco track.
9. Mediterranean melodic sensibilities
Is it Mediterranean or does it even sound Middle Eastern? Either way, the parts in “Wretched Shades” do such a good job evoking a dreamy mood before prog-rock launches again. The percussion and picked string instruments in “From Olympus” paint the emotional intensity in the game.
10. Haunting Vocals
In “Lament of Orpheus”, the reverb-drenched voice contrasts the dry instrumental parts so well. In “Good Riddance (Eurydice Solo)”, Ashley Barrett does a great job of telling the story in her performance. This is one song that I’d love to cover at some point.
All in all, the soundtrack is a masterpiece even by itself. Along with the game, this is a great artistic experience. Recommended listening.
About Az Samad
Az Samad is a guest composer for the Metronomik video game, No Straight Roads by Metronomik. His DK West Encounter songs combine rap battle, spoken word & hip hop elements with Malaysian traditional music influences including Dikir Barat.
Az was the featured classical guitar soloist with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) for the Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy Kuala Lumpur premiere conducted by Arnie Roth (USA) at their three sold-out shows.
Az also performed for the South East Asian premiere of A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas in Kuala Lumpur conducted by Arnie Roth (USA) and featuring pianist Benyamin Nuss (Germany).
Before moving back to Malaysia, Az played in a video game music band in San Francisco. He has also been interviewed on GameSpot and featured in the GameSpot Asia Beat Podcast. Az was also invited to talk on the main stage for LEVEL UP KL 2018, Southeast Asia’s premier industry event for game developers.
After receiving 4 degrees in music and making music in Berkeley, California; Az is now based in Kuala Lumpur.