God of War Blood & Metal :: Review by Dave
God of War: Blood & Metal is a soundtrack EP released in conjunction God of War III. The album features tracks from six major artists from Roadrunner Records, namely Killswitch Engine, Trivium, Dream Theatre, Talking Dawn, Opeth, and Mutiny Within. This album is available as part of the God of War III: Ultimate Edition, but is also available to download separately. The album comes as a surprise for gamers, metal fans, and also game music fans alike it serves as a great way to promote metal artists through a well-respected game series, and vice versa. As someone who isn't especially a fan of any of the metal genre, this is certainly an album that I approached with caution. Rest assured that, with an open mind, I still found it to be quite enjoyable. Read on to find out why.
The album begins with metalcore veterans Killswitch Engage and their track "My Obsession." It has a surprisingly strong melodic side, much like many of their tracks on their second self-titled album, but remains aggressive with its heavy guitar riffs and pummelling drum line. The next track is a bit less melodic, and comes in the form of Trivium's "Shattering the Skies Above". Though there's been some controversy surrounding what the new drummer Nick Augusto will bring to the band, it's clear here that he does a great job. His aggressive beats really enhance strength to the track and compensate for the relatively weak vocals. The track can be described as an extension of their work on Shogun, conveniently promoted on the sleeve that comes with this EP.
The next contribution we are graced with on the album is a stunning instrumental from progressive metal legends Dream Theater, who in 24 years have never released a track exclusively for an outside project. "Raw Dog" (or "War Dog") is by far the album's longest addition, clocking in at over seven minutes. Over this time, the development is stunning. With crazy keyboard sections, hard-hitting guitar parts, and rampant drums, it's great to listen to. Although the members of Dream Theatre are renowned for their solo works, I really feel that this one is a little different, though by no means their best or particularly ground-breaking.
A band who do produce something out of the ordinary though are Opeth, with "The Throat of Winter," which sounds nothing like I thought it would. First of all, the piece isn't exactly what I would call 'heavy' (though certainly progressive) and features a rather strange collection of instruments and riffs. Some of the track's assets are the delicious acoustic guitar section which comes in towards the later section, and also the electrifying synth analogue sound which comes in at 3:23, almost mimicking the vocals. Overall, this is perhaps the strongest addition to the entire album.
The other two additions to the album, "This is Madness" from Taking Dawn and "The End" from Mutiny Within, can pretty much be treated as typical metal tracks, with no real tricks thrown in. "This is Madness" (as the famous line from 300 starts) is a track about Spartans, and does unfortunately feature some pretty lame lyrics. The instrumentation is great, though, with pulsating electric guitars and a strong drum line. "The End" from Mutiny Within is nothing particularly special either, but matches "My Obsession" in terms of the strength of its melody. It's nice enough to listen to, but it's nowhere near the strongest contribution on the album.
Overall, this is a good selection of metal music, and quite possibly opened my eyes a bit more to the genre. If I can hear tracks similar to Opeth and Dream Theatre's contributions, then I'd be more than happy to sit down and listen all day. Almost certainly, die-hard fans of the bands included on this album won't think twice before purchasing it, but for you game music fans out there, why not give it a try too? You'll be pleasantly surprised with the variety of music which can come under the rather broad genre of 'metal'!
Overall score: 8/10