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MX vs. ATV Reflex Official Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

MX vs. ATV Reflex Official Soundtrack Album Title: MX vs. ATV Reflex Official Soundtrack
Record Label: THQ; Sumthing Digital
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: December 11, 2009; November 16, 2010
Purchase: Download at iTunes


THQ released a soundtrack for the MX vs. ATV series of racing games at last in 2009, dedicated to the latest instalment 'Reflex'. The music for this title was principally composed and performed by Raymond Harrera, whose colourful career includes roles as a game sound producer through 3volution and a drummer for the heavy metal bands Fear Factory and Arkaea. The artist managed to suitably match the gameplay with a range of instrumental rock tracks, but unfortunately produced one of the most repetitive and uninspiring stand-alone soundtrack experiences while doing so.


Right from the opener "Pressure Plate", the soundtrack plunges listeners into the action with a hard rock performance. Like practically all additions to the soundtrack, the track is completely dominated by repeating rhythm guitar riffs and rapid drum kit beats, with little melody or development to speak of. Yet this aggressive riffs and rapid beats seem perfect for capturing the intensity and dirtiness of offroad racing gameplay. The overdriven guitars, especially, seem to capture the sounds of roaring motorcycle engines in a derivative yet entirely effective way. This track and its many successors like it thus provide serviceable and functional background music in the game.

Unfortunately, "Pressure Plate" is entirely uninspiring for stand-alone listening. While the opening rhythm guitar riffs grab one's interest, it is underwhelming how they develop into nothing and instead repeat ab nauseum, and the drum work by Herrera is equally mind-numbing. By a minute in, the track begs stand-alone listeners to press 'skip' and will also bore game players with its tame development. Unfortunately, the sheer majority of the rest of the soundtrack by 3volution follow suit, the only major change being the riffs repeated on tracks "Nac Nac" and "Terrain". This brings little variety to the race courses in the game and is extremely tedious on the 45 minute soundtrack release.

There are a few tracks that differ from the rest of the soundtrack. "Holeshot" undergoes a more extensive development than the rest and even incorporates a brief electric guitar solo, while "Accelerate" allows vocals to take centre stage in an adequate yet gimmicky heavy metal imitation. Though Robert Cote's two tracks are continuous with 3volution's riff-based contributions, Dave Lowmiller brings a little more variety with his two tracks, "Devil's Swingarm" and "Machined from Billet". They're driven by rhythm guitars like practically every other track on the soundtrack, but feature richer timbres and more anthemic melodies overall. Yet while these features are enough to stop me from pressing 'skip' on my Winamp, they're certainly not sufficient to make me toggle 'repeat'.


Good metal music is more than the collection of rhythm guitar riffs and drum beats featured here. While Raymond Harrera is a versatile musician, it is a pity that he took such a restricted and thoughtless approach here, perhaps partly at the request of the client. The soundtrack just about sets the pace for the gameplay, but fails to offer any powerful or engaging moments as a stand-alone experience due to its sheer repetitiveness. To avoid brain rot, please skip this soundtrack in favour of superior mainstream-targeted racing soundtracks such as Forza Motorsport 3 or Driv3r instead.

Overall Score: 3/10