Thursday, July 31, 2014

Risk of Rain Soundtrack Review

  • Name: Risk of Rain OST
  • Label: Chris Christodoulou
  • Composer(s): Chris Christodoulou
  • Number of Tracks: 17

Usually when I purchase a game, if the soundtrack edition is only a few dollars more, I'll usually grab it since, as you know, I'm a bit of a VGM aficionado. So if I go out of my way to buy the soundtrack for a game separately, it usually has to be something that's pretty special - Risk of Rain's soundtrack is one of them. Chris Christodoulou (what an awesome name) has delivered a soundtrack that not only fits the theme and mood of the game (i.e. exploring a hostile alien planet alone in all its 8-bit glory) but it manages to be a pretty good album standalone.

There is a mix of genres here including prog rock, metal, drum 'n' bass and industrial, all with a dash of chiptunes. "Wait, did you say prog rock?" you might ask. Yes I did, and that's a genre you don't hear often in a video game soundtrack but it's one I'd like to hear more of. I'm a big fan of works by Yes, Pink Floyd and Genesis and believe their kind of sound fits in perfectly with sci-fi games, which Risk of Rain happens to be. There are already many fans of the music that have made comments to Chris about the similarities with Pink Floyd and he says this is no coincidence. He mentions in his album notes:

"...you could say there's a 70s-phychedelic[sic]-progrock vibe going on, a sort of electronic/rock hybrid of sounds. Guitars, basses, keys and good-old drums, mixed with synths, choppers, bit-crushers, vocoders and more drums..."

The closest track I could think of in terms of capturing the Pink Floyd vibe would be "Moisture Deficit" which starts off sounding like backing music to an old Sean Connery James Bond film but has got enough of a blues sound and power chords to be considered a work of Pink Floyd's. I also have a few other favourites on this album including the toe-tapping "Dew Point", the hypnotic "Monsoon", the epic sci-film sound of "Aurora Borealis", and the strangely alluring 11/8 time masterpiece "25.3°N 91.7°E". So you won't need to look hard for some quality music on this album as most tracks lift their own weight, except for maybe "Intermission", but you'd probably expect that with a name like that.

Score - 8/10

Chris Christodoulou has done a fantastic job in not only making a suitable soundtrack for sci-fi roguelike Risk of Rain but an album that's very pleasing to the ear for those who like a bit of chiptunes added to their prog rock. If you're looking for quality indie game soundtracks, this is one of them.

You can grab this album off Chris Christodoulou's bandcamp page for €4.

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