Game Music

Aarbron’s Aria – Shadow of the Beast 2015 Remix Album

June 15, 2015 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Aarbron’s Aria – Shadow of the Beast 2015 Remix Albumon Twitter

Games like Shadow of the Beast were unique in a couple different ways, in my opinion. The cover art was surreal, aesthetics of the game felt almost alien and yet indigenous, and the mechanics were deceivingly basic yet challenging. The game’s music mirrored it’s visuals quite a bit with its ethnic instrumentation, that was tweaked and played upon with it’s sequels.

The original Shadow of the Beast OST was written and composed by David Whittaker, who was prominent in the realm of music creation for the Commodore 64, Amiga and ZX Spectrum. (Bit of trivia; he’s also the composer of Lazy Jones, whose track “Star Dust” would later be bought and sampled by Zombie Nation to help create the song “Kernkraft 400”.)  Shadow of the Beast 2 and 3 were both composed by Tim Wright, whose other popular works spanned from Lemmings to Wipeout. With these two men at the helm of the franchise’s music, the games were given an almost ethereal value with it’s soundtracks.

Fast forward about two decades, and we have the Kickstarting of a book; The Amiga Visual Compendium, which celebrates the imagery and graphics of the games of the Commodore Amiga personal computer. My personal desire to get my hands on this book was one of pure aesthetic nostalgia, as the Amiga was the only other gaming machine I owned growing up beyond our model 1 Sega Genesis and the games we owned for it (or at least, had been burned to disk by the previous owner, since Amiga games were laughably easy to copy) held a special place in my childhood memories. My sole focus was the book, and I passed by any of the additional swag that had progressively been added as additional content as the campaign broke it’s stretch goals. So of course I was pleasantly surprised when I received my hardcover book full of Amiga visual goodness, and along with the typical trinkets was a CD that contained a remix album of the music of Shadow of the Beast; my eyes focusing on the byline “Tim Wright vs David Whittaker”. Cue my mounting giddiness.

The album consists of 11 tracks of arranged pieces from the franchise’s games; the originals from Shadow of the Beast by Whittaker re-done by Wright with some source tracks being arranged more than  once, as can be seen by the track listing. Each mix is done in a specific style of music, such as “Shadow Theme – Fat C64 Mix” and “Shadow Theme – Grand Flutes Mix” being pretty much what they say in their title. I can’t say I was necessarily a fan of all of the arrangements, though I did enjoy “Pipes of the Beast – Big Band Mix” for it’s subtlety, as I did with “Grand Flutes Mix”. Part of me wishes that other tracks had been included, such as “Inside the Tree”, which was my favorite track from the first Shadow of the Beast game. Perhaps even tracks from the other two games could have been included as well to give some variety. However, at the same time, this is a “versus” album and a fun little project addition I hadn’t been expecting anyway, so any complaints I could register really are superficial and don’t spoil the entire concept of the album itself – the fact the album is the child of the talents of the franchise’s two composers.

Overall the album is fun and a great little bonus for backers of The Amiga Visual Compendium book, as well as an interesting collectable for Shadow of the Beast fans. Even if all of the arrangements didn’t tickle me, I enjoy the concept of such as album a lot and would love to see such interesting ideas from other franchises with multiple composers in the future.

You can check out a lot of Tim Wright (aka: CoLD SToRAGE) on his bandcamp page, which includes other Amiga and C64 arrangements. As for the album itself, your best bet on finding a physical copy outside of the Kickstarter is probably on sites like Discogs or Ebay.

Did you back the campaign and receive the Shadow of the Beast 2015 Remix Album? What were your thoughts? Let us know!

Disclaimer: The album reported on was obtained through the Amiga Visual Compendium Kickstarter as a tier reward available to all backers of that tier.

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