Review of Digital EP for God of War®: Blood & Metal, Soundtrack for PS3™ Game GOD OF WAR® III with Tracks from Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Dream Theater, Taking Dawn, Opeth, and Mutiny Within

On March 2, Roadrunner Records will be releasing the soundtrack to the third part of the God Of War video game series, entitled God of War®: Blood & Metal.   Available at all digital retailers, the 6-song EP contains new, unreleased music inspired by the PS3 game from Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Dream Theater, Opeth, Taking Dawn and Mutiny Within. It is unclear whether the soundtrack is also in the video game. According to the Roadrunner press release consumers who purchase the God of War III Ultimate Edition game get an amazing package:

Consumers… will receive a voucher code to download the tracks, as well as other music in the form of the God of War Trilogy soundtrack.  Those fans will also receive a special code to download a director’s cut of God of War: Unearthing the Legend, a full-length documentary depicting the history of the God of War franchise, access to an exclusive God of War Challenge Arena environment with up to seven unique challenges, an exclusive Kratos skin, and a limited edition art book.

I also found out today from Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy’s forum that until March 2, you can purchase the EP for $1.99 at shockhound.com.

The track listing is as follows:

  1. Killswitch Engage – My Obsession
  2. Trivium – Shattering The Skies Above
  3. Dream Theater – Raw Dog
  4. Taking Dawn – This Is Madness
  5. Opeth – The Throat Of Winter
  6. Mutiny Within – The End

Roadrunner gave us the opportunity to preview the EP, and I have to say that it’s killer. The first track, “My Obsession”, is by Killswitch Engage. I’m not a big fan of this band, but Contrapuntist likes the band and the track. In particular, he liked the riffs in the chorus. Generally speaking, it’s a typical hard-core Killswitch Engage song, with clean vocals in the chorus and heavy vocals in the other parts. It also has a nice groove, and a spoken word part in the middle of the song. Lead vocalist Howard Jones is excited to be part of this release.

“I have played the previous God of War releases. To be a part of this game in any fashion is amazing!  Let the rivers flow red with blood; there is vengeance to bestow!  Bring me more new finishing blows to my enemies!”

The second track, “Shattering the Sky Above”, is by Trivium. I’m not a big fan of this band either. But what I can say is that it is extremely intense and heavy, with a lot of blast beats, and some sick guitar shredding. As I mentioned above, although it is not clear if these songs are actually in the video game, this song seems like ideal music for a bloody battle and chopping people’s heads off. Here’s a quote from vocalist Matt Heafy:

“When we were initially asked to write an original song for the game, we were slightly perplexed since we’ve never actually written a track for something other than a Trivium record,” said vocalist Matt Heafy.  “But we answered the call as we are fans of the game.  Writing the song was a fun experience.  We started piecing riffs together on tour and then we really put time into the song when we got home and had the chance to go into the practice space to work on our ideas as a group. This new song captures a certain energy we’ve been trying to harness on record as well, as it will show all our fans worldwide where Trivium is heading musically in the future.”

The third track, “Raw Dog” (God War backwards for you anagram fans), is by Dream Theater. I love this track. It’s an instrumental track, displaying the band’s heavier side. The song is ominous and more atonal then some of their typical music, with a Zappa vibe. It starts out with a sick rhythmic riff played by bassist John Myung, guitarist John Petrucci, and drummer Mike Portnoy. Next comes a complicated hemiola/syncopation section. Petrucci and keyboardist Jordan Rudess trade off some devilishly difficult solos in the middle of the song. Finally, the song reiterates the hemiola/syncopation section and then comes to an abrupt halt (“Pull Me Under”, anybody?). Here’s a quote from Portnoy:

“This is the first time in 24 years that we’ve written and recorded a song for anything other than one of our own albums, so we’re up for the challenge and excited to have been asked,” said Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy about recording an exclusive instrumental track for the soundtrack.

The fourth track, “This Is Madness” is by Roadrunner newcomer Taking Dawn. For those of you unfamiliar with this band, they write great, fist-pumping anthems with an 80s Def Leppard/Motley Crue flavor. They recently released an album, and if you’re interested, you can check out our review here. I like this track better than most of the songs on their recently released album because it steps away from their influences with a more distinctive identity. I particularly like the lyrics in the chorus, which I think fit particularly well with a war game: “This is the shield, this is the spear, this is Sparta, hell is near.  Never falter, never fear, this is madness. We are the sword, we are the spear, this is our blood, these are our bones. Die on your ship, or hell is your home.”

Opeth‘s track, “The Throat of Winter” is actually my favorite of the EP. It is a mellow, wistful track, reminiscent of the songs on Damnation. I particularly enjoyed the acoustic guitar solo four minutes into the song, which has a Paco de Lucia vibe. Here is info about the song, directly from lead singer Mikael Akerfeldt himself, that I got from metalunderground.com

“I just finished and approved the mastering of a new song I wrote called ‘The throat of Winter’. I wrote it for that game, ‘God of war’ that we’re supposed to be included in, or however that works. Is it a digital album? I don’t know how that shit works, but it’s done anyways. Hell, I’m still with my turntables (got 3 of them) and right now I’m playing a Aussie original of ‘High voltage’ by AC/DC.

“Song is very odd, it’s good I think, or for my taste it is, but even I can understand it’s very….odd! Produced and recorded it from scratch and I’m happy with the sound if I may say so myself. Fred laid down a killer acoustic solo and Per laid down an amazing twiddly tweet moog solo. It’s not a very metal song, I’m saving up for that..later…..yet it’s got a metal ‘mentality’, or what I remember metal used to do to me. I can feel it, even though it’s not a ‘metal’ song per definition. Anyways, if you hear it I hope you like it.

The final track of the EP, “The End”, is from another Roadrunner newcomer Mutiny Within. The band recently released their self-titled first album on February 23. You can read our review of the album here. If you haven’t gotten to know this band yet, get ready to be blown away. Fronted by incredible singer Chris Clancy, the band combines virtuosity, high adrenaline, and great melodies with a complex instrumental texture. “The End” is quite similar to the songs from their album, so if you like the album, you’ll enjoy this song.  There is a moment two-thirds into the song which is reminiscent of Dream Theater’s song “Finally Free” from the album Scenes from a Memory. At the end of DT’s track, there is an effect which changes the music so that it sounds like it’s playing on the radio, and then you hear footsteps. In “The End”, a car door slams, the music’s sound changes as if it’s on the radio, and you can hear footsteps and passing cars. It’s an interesting tribute to one of their influences.

For those of you who are interested in finding out more about the videogame itself, here’s a little background:

The final chapter of the million unit-selling franchise, God of War III puts players at the center of carnage and destruction as they take the role of the ex-Spartan warrior, Kratos on his quest for revenge against the Gods who have betrayed him. In this single-player game, Kratos treads through the intimidating heights of Mt. Olympus and the dark depths of Hell once more to seek revenge on those who have betrayed him. Armed with double-chained blades, Kratos must take on Greek mythology’s darkest creatures while solving intricate puzzles throughout his merciless quest to destroy Olympus.

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