[ShockWave is a monthly feature which highlights video game music and our favorite soundtracks, for the music lover in every gamer]
Gather round listeners. It’s time once again for ShockWave, our exciting new musical feature. This month, we’ll be perusing an exceptional video game soundtrack: the Devil May Cry 4 OST. No, it isn’t exceptional because I’m one of the biggest DMC fanboys to ever roam God’s Earth, but it’s great because it mixes many different genres and styles. From the furious and angry rock to the soothing classical and even gospel, this album is definitely worth a listen or two.
- Album: Devil May Cry 4 Original Soundtrack
- Genre: Ambient/ Classical / Orchaestral / Rock / Metal / Electro/ Clash
- Credits: Tetsuya Shibata (composition), Aubrey Ashburn (Vocals “Out of Darkness”), Jason “ShyBoy” Arnold (Vocals “The Time Has Come”), Shawn “Shootie HG” McPherson (Vocals “Lock and Load”),
- Original Release: February 2008
- Price: $20+ Physical ,$25 Itunes
- Runtime: More than three hours
This absolutely monster soundtrack spans three discs and the full runtime is longer than three hours. A lot of the tracks on the album fit neatly into the Ambient/techno vibe, but the stand out tracks are just about all of the songs that don’t fit that description. A huge number of artists contributed to the creation of this album, but I’ve listed the most important ones.
The project was headed by composer Tetsuya Shibata. He’s done work on other games for Capcom such as previous DMC games, Darkstalkers, Monster Hunter and more. The strength of this album lies in its sheer variety and its powerful standout songs. When your feeling edgy, you can turn to any number of the thumping rock arrangements or if you’d rather relax and chill out, there are the softer, more easy listening pieces.
Spotlighting select songs on this album wasn’t an easy task, considering there are literally more than one hundred of them. Fans who’ve played DMC4 will quickly recognize the catchy battle theme The Time Has Come, but will probably not recognize less used but equally effective numbers like La Vita Nuova or Standard Daytime. DMC is a powerful series for many reasons, and this soundtrack proves that the music is definitely one of them. Now, it would be ridiculous for me to list all one hundred and three tracks here, so for the full track listing, just click iTunes above in pricing. Notice also that you can sample all of the tracks there.
While there is a ton of content on this soundtrack, I feel that certain tracks more than distinguish themselves from the rest of the bunch. Below are some of my favorite tracks from the album. After listening to the entire album, you’ll understand how easy it is to forget about everything other than the rock and roll and the ambient techno. I’ve layed out my favorite softer songs and my favorite harder songs. Listening to them all will give you a good idea of what the album is like entirely, only with a lot more rock.
[Love interest Kyrie lip syncing to Aubrey Ashburn’s Out of Darkness. The song is pretty much the beginning of the game and soundtrack. Things get pretty nasty right after this scene]
Disc 1, Track 2: Out of Darkness
So, if you don’t count the title track, Out of Darkness is the first song on the album! Okay, technically it isn’t, but it’s pretty obvious why it’s so close to the beginning. The soft vocals of miss Aubrey Ashburn are backed by an eery and yet somehow peaceful and beautiful organ. I think you’ll agree she’s quite the vocalist.
The chiming of bells and soft choir in the background clear the way for her powerful solo, backed with a gentle harp. The song is so soft and beautiful, you wouldn’t believe which game it was made for. The harmonizing vocals towards the end of the song are immaculate, and the ending note is so strong you’ll applaud, even in a room alone.
The three minutes will feel like just a couple of seconds your second time through, and Out of Darkness is no doubt one of the strongest tracks on the DMC4 OST. The lyrics have a spiritual conotation, telling you how you should be vigilant under the burden of sin and in the face of the devil. Barely fits DMC, huh?
Disc 3, Track 39: Standard Daytime – Ordinary Life
I fell in love with Standard Daytime within the first thirty seconds of it, which is funny because the song changes nearly completely just after then. The beginning of the song is no doubt the best part, the hum of the synths in the background creating a lovely, relaxing mood.
This part of the song is truly a rarity on the soundtrack. Halfway in though, it picks up a familiar pace of harsh, industrial sounding electric guitars and almost cacophonious synths. And then, just as peacefully as it began, the song is over. The groovy, sort of trip-hop sounding beginning is just excellent and the rough latter part of the song maintains an awesome melody.
It isn’t everyday that the beginning of a song and the end of a song are this different from each other, but this is one of the things that makes it awesome. It’s also very, very short and you’ll have played it ten times before you know it. It is more of what DMC is about than Out of Darkness.
[Songs like The Time Has Come convey the edgy, action-packed attitude of the DMC series. The Nero vs. Dante dynamic is also represented in many of the tracks]
Disc 1, Track 13: The Time Has Come
Easily the most recognizable and popular song on the album, The Time Has Come takes no prisoners with its strong guitar work and raspy, nasty vocals. This song embodies everything DMC is about. It’s fast, it’s mean, and it’s stylish. This song is used as the main battle theme in the game and even though I’ve played more than one hundred hours of it (and therefore listened to this song for many, many hours), The Time Has Come still manages to rock.
Lyrically, it’s a dark trip to hell and back, with our vocalist making all types of terrible threats in a whisper-like, almost chant of a voice. In its heavy guitar and stylized vocals, this main battle theme is catchy and addictive. It is probably the most consistent of any of the songs here as it sounds pretty much the same coming as it does going, but it is a very enjoyable track and no doubt a treat for rock enthusiasts.
Disc 3, Track 37: La Vita Nuova
Slowing things right back down, La Vita Nuova is a standout track. It’s soft violin and piano compliment each other wonderfully, and the harp makes it sound like something out of a Final Fantasy game. I can only remember like one time where this was used in the game and it’s a shame because its gorgeous.
Just over a minute in the violins get louder and more dramatic, while keeping things soft and relaxed. After a short, organized showcase of all the instruments in the song, a piano solo takes things away. At this point, the music is so sweet it could be a lullaby.
Then, as the song ends, you hear The Time Has Come starting up, which again displays the dynamic of the contrasting songs on this album. La Vita Nuova means “A New Life”. Again, while this track doesn’t really represent the series or the game very well, it is wonderful and again one of the best songs on any of the discs.
[Larc~En~Ciel is one of the highest performing Japanese musical acts of all time, selling more than thirty million units worldwide.]
Disc 3, Track 3: Lock and Load (Blackened Angel Mix)
The ambient beginning of this song lets you know that it’s about to go down. Another battle theme from the game, but I remember it being used much less often than The Time Has Come. Shawn McPherson warns us of an impending doom in a heavily vocoded tone of voice.
The lyrics say “prepare to fight” while the music seems to say “run for your life”. The creepy synths and random sounds of static make the track altogether pretty spooky. A couple of minutes in, the song takes on a very busy electro sound and again sounds like something pretty terrible is about to happen. It seems to speed up as well.
The DMC games have always had the appeal to be frightening or scary games, and this song does a pretty good job of conveying why. Towards the end of the song Shawn starts hollering and then proceeds in a nearly inaudible whisper. Okay, I’m afraid, jeesh. Lock and Load is moody, thrilling and a bit scary, a pretty awesome track.
Bonus: DRINK IT DOWN
Okay so DRINK IT DOWN isn’t actually on the soundtrack. It is however the actual Japanese theme song for the game. It was used for commercials and everything. It’s even rumored that the castle you see on the cover art for the single is actually Fortuna Castle, a stage from the game! For some reason, it wasn’t used to promote over here in the US.
From the first ten seconds, it’s clear to see why this is the game’s theme song. This track is contributed by the uber-popular Japanese rock band L’Arc~En~Ciel who I happen to love. The powerful vocals in this song add to the urgent and spooky vibe of it and represent the game perfectly. The grunge sounding breakdown actually sounds a lot like some of the songs on the DMC4 OST, which is probably why this song got picked.
It’s a strikingly good representation of the game, and I want to play every time I hear this song. Just watch the promo vid and you’ll understand why this song is just too perfect. Buy DRINK IT DOWN physically here and or digitally here.
[So is that really Fortuna Castle in the background of the single’s cover art? Or perhaps just some random castle added to compliment the songs cryptic sound? ]
Disc 1, Track 26: Baroque and Beats
Disc 1, Track 20: Sworn Through Swords
Disc 2, Track 30: Chorus in the Darkness
The iconic DMC series is obviously more than just its stylish looks. We probably can’t imagine the amount of time and talent that went into this soundtrack, but we can certainly enjoy it. The DMC4 OST is a beast of a soundtrack and it covers enough genres to warrant a purchase, regardless of what kind of music your into.
I cannot remember hearing another soundtrack quite this diverse. A sea of content lies within its multiple discs, but fans of rock and techno in particular should definitely think about checking this one out. Another bonus is the fact that its age makes it relatively cheap, even though you’re getting tons of music. This album further proves that video game music can be serious business. Please return next month for more remarkable game music! Also, check out last month’s SW here.