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Heavy Metal In Video Games: A Look At The Limited Offerings Available

Photo of Cradle Of Filth

Band Photo: Cradle Of Filth (?)

Considering the huge potential for crossover between metal and gaming fans, it's always baffled me that there aren't more heavy metal focused video game soundtracks. Rather than going for sounds that make the player bang their heads and launch their controller through the television, most games – even highly action focused ones – tend to stick with more tepid ambient soundtracks based on electronica. Techno is about as “heavy” as most game soundtracks tend to get.

This week we're going to take a look at a handful of games that buck that trend and offer up honest-to-Lucifer extreme metal in their playlists. Not an exhaustive list (and we'll be looking at more in the future), this is just a few that are worth your time and are notable for their inclusion of tracks from excellent metal bands or for having original soundtracks rooted strongly in the metal tradition.

Brutal Legend

This one's a no-brainer, as it's essentially THE heavy metal video game, created solely to celebrate our beloved genre. Eddie may be a lowly roadie, but through the power of metal (and a battleax, wicked car, and some magic powers) he can annihilate the goths, please the gods, and get the girl (or two).

Although it seems like a gimmick to get heavy music fans interested, the gameplay is actually really solid and revolves around three different styles: strategy large-scale combat as a general over an army, open world GTA car driving shenanigans, and elements of combat-heavy action games like God of War or Dante's Inferno

The game features more than 100 metal tracks (some of which have to be unlocked in-game) covering a huge range of sub-genres with everything from In Flames to Cradle Of Filth, along with a whole lot of classics from the likes of Motorhead and Judas Priest.

Saints Row The Third

Remember when Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt accidentally announced a new Saint's Row game before it was supposed to be unveiled to the public? Oops. All of the Row games feature extensive musical options on a wide range of radio stations along the lines of Grand Theft Auto, but entries number 2 and 3 offered particularly impressive metal lineups.

Saint's Row: The Third features metal-themed radio station “The Blood,” with songs from Between the Buried and Me, After the Burial, Opeth, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon, and more. All of this can play in the background while you run around as a naked giant, beat people to death with big soft floppy sex toys, and engage in low-speed carriage chases while BDSM freaks wearing horse hair butt plugs carry you around gang-infested neighborhoods. There's also a zombie uprising and Burt Reynolds. Easily one of the most ridiculous games ever developed, its also one of the most consistently fun.

Killing Floor 2

This first-person frantic zombie killing franchise is renowned for its insane gore (although it looks like the upcoming Doom 4 will give this one a run for its money!) and now also for its metallic soundtrack with the surprise announcement that the game would feature an all Solid State Records track listing.

So, there's something amusing about a hyper-gore fest demonic zombie shooter having a Christian music soundtrack, but whatever, it's just nice to see metal bands getting repped in games more often. If you dig bands like Living Sacrifice, Demon Hunter, Zynthetic, etc. then be sure to give this one a try, as an early access version of the game is available to play through Steam, with the full, feature-complete version scheduled out later this year.

For those who just want to hear the music, someone has helpfully posted the full soundtrack online at YouTube here – also check out the game's trailer below.


Did you know heaven has a hitman? No, we're not talking about more Christian Solid State Records metal this time, but instead the 2004 shooter Painkiller. Rather than taking tracks from existing metal bands, this one had an original soundtrack very heavily influenced by metal, with some techno/electronic twists.

Here you can check out a sampling of the backing music while burning, exploding, and slicing up a horde of demonic enemies. Fans of the Unreal Tournament style shooters or the more horror focused FPS games like Clive Barker's Jericho will dig this one.

Guilty Gear X2 Reload

You'd think fighting games would be shoe-ins for something pulse pounding like metal going on in the background, but surprisingly there aren't that many that go fully into fast riffs and distorted guitars – one notable exception being the Guilty Gear series.

The X2 Reload title is particularly notable for its original metal compositions running across insane, hyper-stylized one-onone battles from a huge cast of anime fighters. You can sample the full soundtrack below, and by the way, all the tracks come along for free if you buy the game through GOG.

So that's all for today, but we'll be looking at more metallic game titles in the near future. What did you think of these picks, and what games with heavy metal soundtracks would your recommend to us?

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

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2 Comments on "Why Isn't There More Heavy Metal In Video Games?"

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Anonymous Reader
1. slammin_rushdie writes:

If you like mindless anime beat-em-ups, Guilty Gear has a soundtrack that's one long love letter to power metal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TE6Zlq_0umo (prob a bit nsfw)

# Aug 5, 2015 @ 5:27 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. slammin_rushdie writes:

Wow I'm dumb. I posted something about Guilty Gear, then noticed it was in the article already, because I thought the one in the article was Metal Gear.

Well then:


# Aug 5, 2015 @ 5:29 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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