The horror shooter Dead Space made quite a splash when it made its appearance in 2008, and went on to win the G.A.N.G. Award for “Audio of the Year” just two weeks ago. Following a mature trend in the gaming industry it tickled gamers in the right way. Playing the protagonist Isaac Clarke, you are out on a routine space mission where things go, unsurprisingly, hella wrong.
Fans of easy listening or soft sensual RNB will surely be disappointed. These are not songs for lovemaking or a replacement for your new age cassette Songs of the Whales Vol 3. This is an uncompromising and extremely dark and vivid orchestral score. If that is what grinds your gears then look no further.
Are you scared yet? Hit the jump and read more, and I bet you will be.
Composer Jason Graves weaves a thick sound with heavy reverberated ambiance reminiscent of classical atonal pieces that convey pictures of fear and evil. I was immediately surprised about how professional it sounded. It could just as well be the soundtrack compliment to a million dollar horror movie. This is one of the score’s strongest points. I can definitely imagine this playing in the background when somebody wants to read an H.P Lovecraft novel. I can also see this used by those into role playing games to aid an adventure or two with the unsettling vibe found here.
But I have to admit to one thing. I had to turn this album off before all 17 songs had played trough. Maybe I am not the horror buff I thought I was, and people are probably right when they say I’m just a big softie at heart. But this does not take away from the fact that this is good stuff. Finally getting through the seventeen pieces of the album was a task in it’s own right.
At first I thought no one track really stood out because essentially they are not songs in the usual sense, and they all fit so well together so well. However, coming back to the album you soon find your favorites. Clearly the “Dead Space Theme“ sets out what is to come. It is also one of the few calmer tracks found here. Together with “Nicole’s Farewell” and “Cyanide Systems Online,” these three are my personal favorites. Notably they are also the pieces whose arrangements work you up in a more indirect way.
The longer you listen, the more hectic and chaotic it gets, progressing into more openly hostile territories. Whether you find the cacophony of strings and percussive drums to your liking or not, it’s still hard to not recognize the amount of talent it takes to pull something like this off. These tracks in particular are however not the work of subtlety.
Doing a bit of research I found out that Jason Graves was nominated to two British Academy Awards for this soundtrack. Just like the game, it has generated its fair share of praise within the industry. He’s no anonymous character either, with a history of writing music for both video games, television and movies. Previous works include among others: Blacksite: Area 51, Star Trek Legacy as well as Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.
One detail that I also find extremely entertaining about the Dead Space OST is the choice of names given to the tracks. How about “Fly Me To The Aegis Seven Moon,” “I Left My Heart In Med Lab 3” and “I’ve Got You Devolving Under My Skin?“ I like that. I also like that this album successfully did what it was made to do – scare me.
You can pick up the Dead Space Original Soundtrack on iTunes via the Nettwerk Group, so I recommend checking it out if you’re a fan of the game or just looking for something scary.Tags: Dead Space, EA, iTunes, Jason Graves, Nettwerk, Orchestral, Reviews, Survival Horror, Videogame