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Red Dead Redemption -Undead Nightmare- Soundtrack :: Review by Harris Iqbal

Red Dead Redemption -Undead Nightmare- Original Soundtrack Album Title: Red Dead Redemption -Undead Nightmare- Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Rockstar Games
Catalog No.: iTunes
Release Date: November 23, 2010
Purchase: Download at Amazon MP3


Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare is a major piece of downloadable content for Red Dead Redemption. Though set in the same environment as the main game, it focuses on legendary creatures such as zombies and features missions dominated by survival horror gameplay. The soundtrack for the chapter, by returnees Bill Elm and Woody Jackson, contrasts considerably with the game's main soundtrack. Given the scenario, most of the music mixes the horror genre with classical, jazz, and western elements, though a few licensed tracks are also featured. The surprisingly extensive soundtrack was given a 50 minute digital release in November 2010. Let's take a closer look...


The soundtrack starts with "Undead Nightmare", which does a tremendous yet terrifying job of introducing the horror element in this game. It uses string crisis motifs, especially in the climax, written in the style of the high-pitched shrieking of Psycho. While these could have been derivative, they're actually well-integrated into the cue and splendidly produced. Though a short cue and a select taste, it is nevertheless highly effectual and makes a clear warning: BEWARE.

Bill Elm and Woody Jackson explore many eerie soundscapes during the Undead Nightmare score. "Chupacabra" is especially ominous, with its exotic percussion palette and use of bizarre sound effects, including a screaming women and a sound similar to an elephant blowing its trunk. While the novelty factor is high here, the music also does well to give the feeling of being in a remote forest. "Missing Souls" also uses the tried-and-tested formula of creating a haunted atmosphere using broken whistling in the foreground and diverse percussion in the background. In fact, there are a few times when shrieking violin passages are heard similar to those in Silent Hill Origins.

Between these more atmospheric tracks, there are bolder tracks integrating various contemporary styles. "Ojo Muerto" (Spanish for "Evil Eye") brings back the jazz element of the franchise with its distinctive electric bass and drum kit use — giving a sound that is classic and modern at the same time. "The Foru Horses of Apocalypse" fuses the Wild West sound of the main score with the horror elements of Undead Nightmare; while the snare drum is used to portray a free-spirited horse, the electric bass reflects their evil and possessed nature. However, certainly the boldest track on the soundtrack is "Showdown at Escalera", with its dominant electric guitar riffs and cocky trumpet melody. The track undergoes an impressive evolution towards a climax dominated by faster-paced dance-like brass motifs.

Like the Red Dead Redemption main soundtrack, the soundtrack for Undead Nightmare closes with a few licensed tracks. Among them, "Dead Sled" blends surfing electric guitars with a touch of the possessed, while "Stinkin' Zombies" elaborates on this influence to give a classic movie sound. The soundtrack also features the lyricised song "Dead Man Walking", which accentuates the male vocals with drums and claps. The song is certainly hilarious and pays tribute to zombies with lines such as "My soul is splintered but I'll still be walking when I die".


It is pleasing that such an elaborate effort went into producing the original score for a piece of downloadable content. Bill Elm and Woody Jackson's music does an excellent job of introducing the horror genre to a western games, often through a fusion-based approach. Admittedly the soundtrack is sometimes gimmicky and narrow in its scope, but there is still a decent amount of variety and a fair number of tracks to enjoy. For the best experience, the music is well worth experiencing in context and then revisited through an iTunes download.

Overall Score: 8/10