Game Music, Reviews

Good Mods Have Their Own Soundtracks: Out Of Hell OST (Review)

December 4, 2009 | | 4 Comments Share thison Facebook Good Mods Have Their Own Soundtracks: Out Of Hell OST (Review)on Twitter

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from Justin Lassen. This pioneer in the world of commercial audio last spoke with us when he, alongside famed game composers Jason Hayes (World of Warcraft) and Gerard Marino (God of War) worked on the soundtrack for Midnight Meat Train together.

Now he’s doing some game music work of his own. Specifically, for a game called Out Of Hell. OOH (as I will affectionately refer to it as for the rest of this article) is a total conversion mod of Unreal Tournament 2004. As the name suggests, the game has a horror tone to it. Essentially, you’re a cop taking out zombies.

Sounds like Resident Evil, yes? Well the game looks like something infinitely darker, and the soundtrack sounds nothing like what we’ve heard from Capcom. Creator Long Nguyen had something entirely different in mind, and the screenshots I’ve seen of the game suggest something outright… well… “hellish.”

OOH, which was finally released on October 31, 2009, was six years in the making; the soundtrack, from Justin Lassen, has been done since 2007, but only now are we getting a chance to listen.  After the jump, check out our review of the Out Of Hell Original Soundtrack (OOHOST!!).

Now before you ask why I paste a whole tracklist into my review, I want you to look over this tracklist and consider the meaning and origin of each track name, if you know it.

01 Gehenna
02 Sheol
03 Jahannam
04 Diyu
05 Nark
06 Naraka
07 Purgatorio
08 Inferno
09 Cocytus
10 Acheron
11 Limbo
12 Hades
13 Mictlan
14 Annwn
15 Amenthes
16 Tuonela
17 Ukopacha
18 Adlivun
19 Yomi
20 Aizsaule
21 Metnal
22 Xibalba
23 Guinee
24 Avernus
25 Hell
26 Murimuria
27 Pulotu

Any of those names look familiar to you? Good. I bet you can guess the general meaning of the ones you don’t know. They probably come from a culture with which you’re unfamiliar, but you can guess the word refers to “a big bad place with fire and brimstone.” So, you get the drift from the names, right?

Now, you should know ahead of time what kind of soundtrack this is. This is extremely dark, ambient stuff that occasionally lacks a melody of any sort. The music is functional, but it is also evocative. This is mood music that I am forbidden from playing around my children. Usually my wife would lay down that injunction for lyrical content. But this? The sounds actually scare my children. Most tracks from, say, Silent Hill, are not able to boast the same claim over my three-year-old.

So I guess, the best way to sum up the soundtrack is that it sounds like 50 minutes of hell. For some people, that will be 50 minutes of boredom. For others, it’s 50 minutes of edge-of-your-seat anxiety. There are certainly plenty of percussive tracks to get your pulse pounding and your head spinning. But other tracks are made up of low drones and creepy sound effects: machines, or perhaps a train, making noise in the distance; a door creaking open; fire crackling. It’s all creepy stuff.

The tracks sometimes transition from one to the next seamlessly, but other pieces have clean breaks. The first three tracks I had mistaken for one fluid piece. But later, I found the eerie tonality of “Limbo” to be a stand-out piece that I could recognize over multiple listens.

I wouldn’t say I “enjoy” the OOH OST so much as I “appreciate” it. But one thing I can say for sure: if I ever throw a Halloween party and want to legitimately scare my guests, this is what I’ll play. And after about 15 minutes of it, people should be plenty terrified, and then we’ll move on to something truly cheesy, like The Monster Mash.

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