20 September 2023
MOST METAL VIDEO GAME SOUNDTRACKS
A good soundtrack helps shape the game’s inner world. A great one can stand alone on its own merits. The best game music has remained as iconic as the games themselves. Here are RH’s selection of the best when it comes to Rock music. There’s even a playlist of key tracks for you to enjoy, which is awesome:
Doom (1993 – 2016)
The original Doom (1993) took inspiration from punk and heavy metal classics by Slayer, Pantera, Megadeth and Metallica. The tracks were pummeling and merciless, wringing every single bit of aggression from the primitive sound cards of the day. It turned an already iconic, bloody shoot-em-up into a four-hour extreme metal music video.
The latter-day version (2016) fitted somewhere between industrial djent, power and prog metal, opening track “Rip & Tear” fits this headbanging, demon-killing niche to the best ability. It pairs the chug of djent guitar ideas with industrial and drone and tops that off with killer riffs for the total cathartic package.
Key tracks: Rip & Tear, Rust, Dust & Guts
Mortal Kombat: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1995)
N.B. This is the compilation album that accompanied the 1995 film Mortal Kombat but its based on the game. The original soundtrack for the most infamously violent fighting game of the 90’s is world class in its own right. A masterclass in the art of crafting a genuinely atmospheric backdrop that elevates the action on screen, Midway’s crown jewel boasted a soundscape that dripped with tension and brooding menace.
Key tracks: “Zero Signal” Fear Factory, “Blood & Fire (Out of the Ashes Mix)” Type O Negative, “Twist the Knife (Slowly)” Napalm Death
Twisted Metal (Various)
Essentially a demolition derby that emphasizes the use of ballistic projectiles, machine guns, mines, and other types of weapons. Players choose a vehicle, and an arenato engage in battle with opposing drivers. A concept this awesome deserves a killer soundtrack and it got one.
Key tracks: “Heavy Metal” Sammy Hagar “I Can’t Drive 55” Sammy Hagar “More Human than Human” White Zombie “Natural Born Killer” Avenged Sevenfold “Raise the Flag” Airbourne “Riding on the Wind” Judas Priest “Dragula” Rob Zombie
Need for Speed Most Wanted (2005)
The game focuses on street racing-oriented gameplay involving a selection of events and racing circuits found within the fictional city of Rockport, with the game’s main story involving players taking on the role of a street racer who must compete against 15 of the city’s most elite street racers to become the most wanted racer of the group, in the process seeking revenge against one of the groups who took their car and developing a feud with the city’s police department.
Key tracks: Disturbed Decadence; Mastodon Blood and Thunder; Bullet for My Valentine Hand of Blood; Avenged Sevenfold Blinded In Chains; Fu Manchu Eatin’ Dust
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (2000)
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is as central to millennial rock culture as baggy jeans, spiky hair and Kerrang! TV. We should thank the original for the amount of young gamers it introduced to pop punk, metal and alt rock. The sequel gets credit for boasting a soundtrack that featured everything from Public Enemy to Powerman 5000.
Key tracks: Bring the Noise Public Enemy, Anthrax; Guerilla Radio, Rage Against the Machine; Blood Brothers Papa Roach; Evil Eye Fu Manchu
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
Vice City fully embraced its 80’s setting by featuring decade-defining anthems, including vintage heavy metal. Fancy gleefully lobbing grenades from your car while blasting a bit of Raining Blood? Of course you do! The in-game DJs and hilarious call-ins added an extra level of authenticity to Vice City’s seven radio stations, ensuring you had the perfect soundtrack to cause absolute mayhem with.
Key tracks: “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” Judas Priest, “Too Young to Fall in Love” Mötley Crüe, “Peace Sells” Megadeth, “Bark at the Moon” Ozzy Osbourne, “2 Minutes to Midnight” Iron Maiden, “Raining Blood” Slayer
Saint’s Row 2 (2008)
THQ’s open-world, gangland romp sequel featured a superior soundtrack to the original including prime cuts from the likes of Deftones, Lamb Of God, Trivium and others. It featured the ability to make your own mixtape from the songs available and you had the perfect audio experience to soundtrack your journey through the crime underworld.
Key tracks: Avenged Sevenfold Bat Country; Chimaira Resurrection; Helmet Unsung; Lamb of God Redneck; Mastodon Colony of Birchmen; Opeth Ghost of Perdition; Trivium Anthem (We Are the Fire)
Brütal Legend (2009)
The most metal video game ever made with Jack Black as its plucky protagonist and cameos from Lemmy, Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Halford. Not only was the game itself great fun, but the soundtrack was unbelievable, boasting classic cuts from right across the metal spectrum. Over 100 metal anthems were built into the game. And it all backs one of the funnest, most underrated games to come from Double Fine Productions.
- Black Sabbath – Symptom of the Universe
- Children of Bodom – Angels Don’t Kill
- Iced Earth – Pure Evil
- Judas Priest – Battle Hymn
- Kiss – God of Thunder
- Marilyn Manson – Beautiful People
- Mastodon – Crack the Skye
- Megadeath – High Speed Dirt
- Metal Church – Metal Church
- Michael Schenker – Group Assault Attack
- Ministry – Stigmata
- Motley Crue – Live Wire
- Motorhead – Marching Off to War
- Overkill – World of Hurt
- Ozzy Osbourne – Diary of a Madman
- Prong – Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck
- Quiet Riot – The Wild and the Young
- Riot – Swords and Tequila
- Savatage – Hall of the Mountain King
- Saxon – Wheels of Steel
- Scorpions – Blackout
- Skid Row – Youth Gone Wild
- Slayer – Metal Storm/Face The Slayer
- Testament – For The Glory Of
- Whitesnake – Still of the Night
‘SSX on Tour’ (2005)
The fourth title in this snowboarding series likely isn’t the first to come to mind when someone brings up ‘SSX’, but its soundtrack is the strongest of the franchise. With over 40 tracks, and a nice balance of genres, it included Queens Of The Stone Age, Pennywise, Dio, Motorhead and plenty more for rock fans.
Key tracks: Dio Stand Up and Shout; Scorpions Dynamite ; Iron Maiden Run To The Hills; Motörhead Overkill; Def Leppard Let It Go; Queens of the Stone Age Medication
‘Madden NFL 10’ (2009)
Back in the good ole days The ‘Madden NFL’ soundtracks were overrun by variations of rock and metal including the likes of with Slipknot, Nirvana, Mastodon, Pantera, System Of A Down and many other heavy favorites backing the big hits on the field.
Key tracks: Alice In Chains Them Bones; Helmet Unsung, Iron Maiden Aces High; Kid Rock I Am The Bullgod; Killswitch Engage Reckoning; Korn Blind ; Mastodon Divinations; Pantera Walk; Slipknot Duality; System Of A Down Sugar
One of the better skateboarding games to hit consoles, the physics and flick-based ‘Skate’ also had a killer soundtrack. The track list for ‘Skate’ melded rock (Band Of Horses, Nirvana), with metal (Children Of Bodom, Slayer) and more.
Key tracks: Airbourne Let’s Ride; Children of Bodom Hate Crew Deathroll; Motorhead We Are Motorhead
‘Burnout 3: Takedown’ (2004)
Deep in the heart of screamo and pop-punk’s golden age came the soundtrack for ‘Burnout 3: Takedown’, a purely raucous good time of racing and smashing shit. My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Funeral For A Friend.
Key tracks: I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” My Chemical Romance; Just Tonight…” Jimmy Eat World; Right Side of the Bed” Atreyu; “Rookie of the Year” Funeral for a Friend;
‘Guitar Hero II’ (2006)
After the phenomenon that was 2005’s ‘Guitar Hero,’ the series’ second installment really found its footing and expanded its epic song list for hours upon hours of chord-clicking madness and tenacious tapping on the quest to take down DragonForce’s “Through The Fire And Flames” with expert perfection.
Key tracks: “Beast and the Harlot” Avenged Sevenfold; “Hangar 18” Megadeth; “Institutionalized” Suicidal Tendencies; “Laid to Rest” Lamb of God; “Monkey Wrench” Foo Fighters; “Them Bones” Alice in Chains; “The Trooper” Iron Maiden
‘Rock Band 3’ (2010)
While ‘Guitar Hero II’ might have a bit more nostalgic resonance, ‘Rock Band 3’ has more than twice as many songs, with just as many mammoth classic rock hits. There’s so much more genre variety keeping the game fresh and fun that it wouldn’t be fair to place it any lower on this list’
“Crazy Train” Ozzy Osbourne; “Du Hast” Rammstein; “Killing Loneliness” HIM; “Midlife Crisis” Faith No More; “No One Knows” Queens of the Stone Age; “Plush” Stone Temple Pilots;