Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Composed By: Jamie Christopherson
Songs Performed By: Various Artists
Distributed by: Konami
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Metal Gear is one of those military stealth action games that has lasted decades and has gone through many incarnations. I had my first experience with Metal Gear in 1987 when I bought a copy of the game for my Nintendo Gaming System. Since then, I've played many of the game's sequels on other gaming platforms. Konami has also come out with a number of prequel games as well. In February 2013, Konami released the latest entry in the Metal Gear saga, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, available for the Playstation 3 and X-Box 360 gaming systems. On the same date, Konami released two albums featuring music and songs from the game, the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Vocal Track (available everywhere) and a Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Score (available in limited quantities).
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, the ninth title in the series, is set four years after Metal Gear Solid: Guns of the Patriots and centers around Raiden, former child-soldier, now katana-wielding cyborg working for PMC Maverick Securities. Raiden is drawn into battle with a rival PMC group known as Desperado Enterprises whose purpose is to destabilize peaceful nations and preserve conflict. When Raiden and his team come under attack while protecting an African Prime Minister, the ensuing battle leaves Raiden near death. Emerging from the disaster with a new body, Raiden sets off on a vengeful quest to prevent Desperado Enterprises from continuing its terrorist activities.
The musical score of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was created by Jamie Christopherson, an American composer and musician with a reputation for musical experimentation and fresh and unique musical scores. Having created scores for film, television and video games, his résumé is quite impressive, featuring entries such as The Crow: Wicked Prayer, The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth, Stranglehold, Revolution, Ghost Image, Inside Out and more.
When I first began playing Metal Gear, the music was mainly fast-paced electronic/synth. Classified as electronic or ambient music, the music definitely sounded like a computer generated track with a that 80s dance feel. Since then, the music of the franchise...and gaming as a whole, for that matter...has improved exponentially. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is very different from past Metal Gear games. Where others required stealth, this game is all about the action. Thus, this game has a very different musical score.
According to Jamie Christopherson, "With action-packed gameplay this intense, we knew that the music for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance had to be something really special and different from previous Metal Gear Solid games. In order to accomplish this, we decided early on to have hardcore electronic/metal songs with vocals that would lyrically and sonically mirror the game storyline during boss battles. Pre-existing licensed songs or traditional orchestral score wouldn't suffice for these sections; the music had to be something fresh and impactful."
To that end, Christopherson enlisted the aide of artist/producer Logan Mader to co-write and co-produce some of the songs of the soundtrack. In addition, many talented artists were signed on, including mixers Maniac Agenda and Ferry Corsten and vocalists John Bush, Tyson Yen, Jason Miller and more.
The first soundtrack I listened to was the limited edition musical score and let me just say that I was extremely impressed. The music featured was instrumental metal at its best, featuring amazing guitar riffs and classic metal percussion and some industrial metal (think Gravity Kills and KMFDM) as well. This is music designed to heighten the action level of the game and get that adrenaline racing. I listened to the vocal track album next which featured heavy metal songs and instrumentals. The songs contained lyrics about the faceless art of soldiering, rebellion against following orders mindlessly, political and social issues and more. The mixing on these songs and instrumental tracks give the music an edge...sort of a metal meets dance feel (think Mortal Kombat Soundtrack).
The music of both soundtracks is amazing and adrenaline pumping. Imagine two albums featuring over an hour of music each...29 or more tracks on each album. That's a lot of rocking music that I found to be perfectly representative of the game itself and a whole lot of fun. The Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Vocal Track Soundtrack is available everywhere, but the score is only available in limited edition. That being said, I think you'll be lucky to get your hands on the Vocal Track, a much easier and probably a lot cheaper purchase, well-worth the money when you consider how much music is included. Just don't listen to the album while driving! The action-packed, adrenaline-pumping music is bound to get you in trouble speed-wise if you do.