On October 7, Namco Bandai released the tracklisting to the Splatterhouse original soundtrack. The bands have been listed on the official site for ages now, but virtually nothing has been known about what songs each band was contributing (aside from ads in various magazines showcasing ASG and Cavalera Conspiracy's contributions). Now that the tracklisting has been released, I took it upon myself to track down each song and check them out. A quick trip to YouTube took care of that - although I didn't need to use YouTube to check out ASG, I've been listening to their album Win Us Over (from which the song "Dream Song" was taken for the OST) for several months now. As they were the first band showcased, I decided to check them out and I'm glad I did. The whole album is awesome, and I recommend it to any rock and metal fans.
The rest of the songs were all new to me. I consider myself a metal fan, but I haven't kept up with many bands (outside of a few favorites) since about 2000 or so, and a lot of bands I missed altogether. When it came to the bands on the OST, I'd either never heard of them or I'd only just heard of them but never really checked out their music (Lamb of God and Mastodon come to mind here). But I've listened to each song on the OST several times, and I approve completely. I know a lot of fans aren't too crazy about the idea of a metal soundtrack, but there's also a lot that are. I think that as long as the songs are integrated into the game exceptionally well, and - most importantly - compliment Howard Drossin's score, then the overall experience will be heightened.
Two of the bands confirmed to be on the soundtrack, Invisible Enemies and Wolfshirt, are local California bands that Splatterhouse producer Dan Tovar plays with - he's the drummer in both bands - and as such, he was able to have them both included on the OST.
So here's a breakdown of the OST with my commentary, along with links to the individual band websites and songs on YouTube, whenever possible. I've also included links to the lyrics when I could find them and a one to five Terror Mask rating for each song, one being the worst and five being the best. Keep in mind, I'm not a musician or a music critic, so if you're expecting detailed in-depth critiques of each song, you're in the wrong place. But I know what I like. Of course, your mileage may vary. Note that this is a review of the soundtrack, not the score composed by Howard Drossin. I've only heard the same four tracks from the score that everyone else has, the ones on the official site. I'll review the score if I'm able to snag a complete copy at some point.
The Accüsed - "Pounding Nails" (lyrics)
A decent opener, although it took the vocals a bit to grow on me. If I had found out about these guys back when the album this song came from (Grinning Like an Undertaker) was released, I'd probably have been all over it. On that note, this is (possibly) the oldest song on the OST, originally released the same year as the PC Engine/Turbografx-16 port of Splatterhouse, 1990. Is its inclusion a subtle nod to that fact?
ASG - "Dream Song"
ASG is awesome. Now that I have that out of the way, I feel that "Dream Song" is one of the weaker songs they included on Win Us Over - despite being really good, a lot of the songs on the album are far superior, in my opinion ("Glow", "The Ballad of Richard K.", "A Number To Murder Two" and "Win Us Over" coming immediately to mind). But on the Splatterhouse OST, it fits in nicely. Sorry about the link to the live version, it was the only one I could find on YouTube. No one's uploaded the studio version.
Cavalera Conspiracy - "Must Kill" (lyrics)
Hearing Cavalera Conspiracy just makes me say one thing: I really miss Sepultura. The real Sepultura, not this in-name-only Sepultura that exists today. But hey, at least Cavalera Conspiracy sounds like the next best thing so far. "Must Kill" reminds me of the glory days of Sep, but even if I knew nothing about what had come before, I would still approve of this song. My only issue with it is that it's a little on the long side.
Five Finger Death Punch - "Dying Breed" (lyrics)
I've heard Five Finger Death Punch before, but not very much (a couple of covers they did, along with one or two singles), not enough to really form an opinion of the band. But if the rest of their work sounds like "Dying Breed," then I'm looking forward to seeing what else they have.
Goatwhore - "Apocalyptic Havoc" (lyrics)
Now we're really starting to get into some music to kill zombies by. "Apocalyptic Havoc" is the kind of song I can picture listening to while flying into a berzerker rage, eviscerating anything stupid enough to get close. Will this happen while playing Splatterhouse? Only time will tell, but I'd say it's very likely.
The Haunted - "Hollow Ground" (lyrics)
Now we're going to a slightly slower (but still heavy) sound, and damn is it awesome. This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the OST, and it's one I could picture being used for a boss battle.
High on Fire - "Fire, Flood & Plague" (lyrics)
I'm getting an "I can crush monster skulls with my bare hands" vibe from this track, which is definitely a good thing. I'm not a big fan of the vocal delivery, but I do like the nice sludgy riffs. Overall, good stuff.
Invisible Enemies - "Dead Eyes"
Out of all of the songs on the OST, this is the one I'm not crazy about. It sounds a lot more punk than I was expecting. There's nothing wrong with punk (truth be told, I'm a big NOFX fan) but the sound really doesn't gel with the rest of the OST. I've linked to the live version above; the studio version sounds very similar.
Lamb of God - "Walk With Me in Hell" (lyrics)
Read the lyrics, then tell me this is not the Terror Mask's theme song. Also, awesome song is awesome. I can't think of much else to say, so I'll let my rating speak for me.
Mastodon - "Blood and Thunder" (lyrics)
All I really knew of Mastodon before now was their appearance in Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters, which was absolutely hysterical. I didn't really give them a chance after that, thinking that they were some kind of a joke metal band like Green Jellö. But after hearing this, I may have to check out some of their other work, because this is pretty good. Attentive fans will also remember that Rick is sporting a Mastodon t-shirt before everything goes to hell.
Municipal Waste - "Rigorous Vengeance" (lyrics)
More zombie killing music here. It's nice and fast, and really gets you pumped to go nuts and slaughter legions of the undead.
Mutant Supremacy - "Morbid Dismemberment"
Everyone that's been following the new game should be familiar with "Morbid Dismemberment" from the "Blood Thrash" trailer. It reminds me of a cross between Obituary and Napalm Death with a little Slayer thrown in, which is not a bad thing at all.
Terrorizer - "Dead Shall Rise" (lyrics)
Based on what I turned up, there are actually two versions of this song, one released on the album World Downfall in 1989, and the other on the album Darker Days Ahead in 2006. The question is, which version is being used in Splatterhouse? Judging by the streaming OST on the official site, it's the 2006 version. That works for me: I've listened to both, and I prefer the 2006 version to the original version.
Wolfshirt – "Headlong Into Monsters"
Wolfshirt's offering is quite good. It's got a pretty good vibe to it, and I can see it being used for some sequences where Rick literally has to run headlong into monsters. My apologies for the lack of YouTube video (there isn't one) but you can hear "Headlong Into Monsters" in it's entirety on both Wolfshirt's MySpace page and the official Splatterhouse site.
Overall, I give the OST the following rating:
As we move even closer toward the November 23rd release of the game, keep checking back on either West Mansion or The Third Moon (the official West Mansion forum) for all the latest Splatterhouse news!