Sunday, 22 July 2012

Review: Batman Arkham City Album

I've dug up this review from the Aaron Vault Archives to commemorate Arkham City Steam summer sale, this is a small article I wrote on the music of Arkham City just before it's release onto PC (I was really bored of waiting). So without further ado, thought long deceased, uncut and unedited, the Batman Arkham City Music Roundup. 

As you may or may not be aware, I cannot play the long awaited sequel to Arkham Asylum. (Long awaited being roughly when I finished AA). So to pass what I have, in my more polite moments of drunk rage "The long week", I invested the Arkham City soundtrack, DC can consider that a successful marketing campaign

If you are like me and have been keeping up with  the new 52, you will have seen this everywhere

So I've decided to mix up the old Comic/Movie/Video game routine and mix it together with my all together probably less informed, but just as passionate past time, Music. (Keep in mind that due to the wonder of "deadline refinement" I have not had the privilege of seeing these songs within the context of the game)

1. Mercenary - Panic at the Disco.

PatD manage to pull off that trick they always manage to do, in which I knew it was them even without seeing the track listing 100+ times. It keeps their repetitive upbeat tone, and mixes in some sound clips of that delightful Hugo Strange trailer we were all obsessing over. Lyrically lacking, but ultimately catchy.

2. Deranged - Coheed and Cambria.
Upon seeing Coheed and Cambria, a Mr Burns style "Excellent" echoed through my mind, and the song does not disappoint, haunting enough, and I think it is a great song seemingly focusing on Batman/Catwoman (for the line "pretty little enemy"). And the end really hits home with their "Deranged" title, I imagine it will be surprisingly apt.

3. Creature - The Duke Spirit

To make up for my lack of things to say about this one, I will state that I am writing each one of these snippets as they play for the second listen through. I remember trying this technique before, and it really works if you want to keep a deadline. Anyway, The Duke Spirit, never heard of them, apparently not a Duke Nukem tribute band, but I suppose that is for the best now. Despite the high hopes from the title and opening, I didn't feel it ever peaks above average, feels too light hearted, and not even in that cool 'creepy' manner that people seem to be getting confused with whimsical.

4. Shadow On The Run - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

With the band sounding like a mix between Black Label Society and the Bombay Bicycle Club, and the title of the song sounding like a bad Joseph Conrad adaption starring Tom Cruise, hopes were not set overly high for this one. However, you should never judge a song on vague interpretations you thought up of while reading it's name for the 15th time, and as such, the song is actually probably a creeper highlight, beautifully understated, and in my mind, perfectly Batman, it kind of reminds me of that fan made Batman video from a while back, where he is fighting in the nightclub...Yeah, that was awesome. I will find that soon for a review. (Warnings, as previously stated, my idea of where this fits in, and where it might actually, are two completely different things)

5. Afterdark - Blaqk Audio

Now these guys were automatically given a penalty for having a name I don't know how to pronouce for no good language reasons. (I eventually settled on BlaQuack Audio). However, they gained points when I remembered they were those two guys from AFI. They also continue the trend of really obvious song titles for a Batman franchise, "Afterdark" and "Shadow on the Run" are certainly not standing up to "The End is the Beginning is the End" by my beloved Smashing Pumpkins...Oh yeah, the song doesn't really stand out, which can also be to its credit, the eye of hate did not fall on it.

6. Oh, Stranger - The Raveonettes

Oh, hey look, a Danish band that I recognise. This is a pleasant surprise. I won't lie, I was so surprised anyone other than anyone with a direct connection to Denmark has heard of these guys. (Apparently if you played FIFA 04 you might as well...). Either way, with as little bias as possible, this is a really great song by an underexposed band, it really all blends together well. Go check out Rave In The Grave.

7. The Years - ††† (Crosses)

I won't lie, I had no idea who these guys were until I looked it up, and apparently they are a side project of the Deftones leader singer. The song itself is pretty good, if you removed the few lyrics that aren't repeated, you'd probably have a really nice addition to the score. I'm pretty sure I am right in saying it wasn't made for this game either, but that is by the by. Next song!

8. Trophy Widow - The Damned Things

And here we go, number 8 on this action packed (for me at least) speed review. A fast paced heavy rock track which is pretty different from all which has come before it. Which is probably needed by this point, it is a really good song, though as for its validity on a Batman soundtrack, I'm not sure, either way, this will walk away from the soundtrack smelling of roses.

9. Drown In You - Daughtry
I was not optimistic once again when I saw the title 'Drown in you'. That doesn't sound very batman-y to me. Unless he is fighting Taps-man. The song turned out slightly differently, but that was more because I couldn't work out quite what they wanted to do with the song. I felt it sounded quite generic, like Shinedown and Nickelback had a baby, and then it was schooled by Breaking Benjamin, and killed itself at like...19 due to musical confusion. Anyway, tortured metaphor forgotten. Number 10!

10. Losing You - The Boxer Rebellion

And upon hearing 10, I officially declared that this album is way more diverse than I ever expected a Batman soundtrack to be. (I had low expectations alright?). I don't quite know how to explain this song, I had never heard of the Boxer Rebellion (The band, not that horrible foreshadow of things to come) and I was pleasantly surprised at their inclusion on here, though once again, the inherent disadvantage of doing this without having played the game comes into play. But I like it as a song, if nothing else.

11 Total Paranoia - Serj Tankian

Oh yeah, Serj Tankian, they put this at the end for a reason, this is the one you were waiting for, this is the one I was waiting for. And. to top it off, it is called Total Paranoia; it couldn't possibly be a song about your favourite Batman Villain could it? Could Dr Jonathan Crane be beautifully soliloquised by Tankian himself....Well...This is embarrassing, I have no idea. I don't even know if he is in it, I haven't researched it to keep the surprise, I can only pray so. He was my favourite part of Arkham Asylum. It is either that or some strange Batman/Catwoman analogy. But god I hope it is Crane, that would make me forget all about this extra week...Or month. Depending on how angry I'm feeling.

And thus ends a long but time efficient experiment, remember, music, even more so than anything else I give my amateur opinion on, is in the ear of the beholder. Just my views, thrown in with a bit of Batman humour, and general comments.

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