Dead Rising 3 Original Soundtrack
Dead Rising 3 Original Soundtrack
Sumthing Else Music Works
November 26, 2013
Buy at Amazon
Capcom’s Dead Rising series has always been over-the-top and wacky with its gameplay elements and central characters, despite the fact it has a pretty serious storyline deep down. With the Xbox One’s Dead Rising 3, both the serious and comical elements are masterfully portrayed with the help of its brilliant music. Capcom Vancouver’s audio director Oleksa Lozowchuk returned as the lead composer for the game and also coordinated with a large team of external contractors, such as Sascha Dikiciyan, Traz Damji, Celldweller, and even Jeremy Soule. The soundtrack was released by Sumthing Else Music Works in two forms: the two disc physical edition reviewed here and an extended digital edition.
From the get go, the soundtrack comes across very unconventional, especially given there aren’t many soundtracks that are so varied in its content. The variety on the first disc isn’t in genre per se, because the entire soundtrack is filled with electronic tracks; however, they each sound so different given the instruments and techniques used. For example, the battle themes Lust, Envy or Gluttony sound very stylish with their heavy yet retro electronics. On the other hand, there are epic sounding tracks like Diego and Wrath Battle that mix electronic elements with orchestral parts. The second disc, on the other hand, is filled with diegetic music that plays in various locations in the city. As a result, there is a great variety in the styles used and also plenty of vocal tracks. Combine that fact with the total number of tracks available, we’ve got a pretty meaty soundtrack here, made even better with its low price.
The main theme of Dead Rising 3 is Nick’s theme. As the game’s protagonist, Nick is basically a mechanic who gets tangled up in the web of some seriously psychotic individuals. To illustrate both the character’s strength and his dire situation, the theme is both motivating and ominous at the same time. Oleksa Lozowchuk’s composition is extremely stylish, blending horror-inspired motifs, dubstep elements, and more retro sounds reminiscent of John Carpenter’s work. While there are plenty of awesome moments during the four minute playtime, my favorite part of the extended version is at the 1:44 mark, where the siren samples start playing to give this intense yet elating sound. The other version for the main theme is the vanilla one, which focuses more on the ominous side introduced in the first half of the extended track; it nevertheless greatly builds up on it, especially with the excellently-implemented synths by the end.
Another composition from Lozowchuk that I absolutely love is “Lust Battle”, which I mentioned being retro before. With the incorporation of coin sound effects, it sounds like someone has powered up an old arcade machine, which gets followed by this bone-chilling, intentionally cheesy laugh. In game, during the Dylan Battle, you get to hear this theme bit-by-bit, as different layers come on one by one. It certainly makes the fight seem more active and interactive. The guest contributors also do a fantastic job; I particularly love the harder-edged dubstep of Sascha Dikiciyan’s “Envy Battle”, the huge bass line and elating progressions of Celldweller’s “Sloth Battle”, and the rock anthem stylings of Traz Damji’s “Pride Battle” particularly. In fact, all of the battle tracks are carefully made to pump up your adrenaline in game, but sound just as hectic when listened to stand alone. The main reason they are made to be hectic and crazy is so that they fit with the deadly sins bosses, seeing how psychotic they are.
After the battle tracks, there are the ambient tracks, which provide a good contrast from the more hectic section of the soundtrack. Far from dull tracks, they are all impressively sampled and played to a very tense pace, mixing both horror and electronic influences. My favorite is “Ambient Track 9”, as it kind of reminds me of some of the samples Power Glove uses. They only included a few ambient tracks in Sumthing Else’s physical release, perhaps to avoid tedium, though completists can also check out the 99 track digital release if they want more. The other themes are the ZT themes, which are based on the in-game settings Sunset Hills, Almuda and Ingleton. These are also atmospheric in focus, but a bit more active in the sense that the samples sound more aggressive. Again, the production values are top-notch as is the in-game integration.
One thing I would like to mention about the tracks before moving on to the second CD is that they are always evolving. You will hardly find repeating material or samples, and instead will experience different layers one after another that have been distinctly crafted to provide you with a varied listen. Take “Wrath Battle” for example. It starts as a very Asian sounding track due to the use of Taiko drums, but quickly switches to retro/electronic scoring. Even though it eventually reprises the Asian stylings, it incorporates different rhythms and melodies to bring new experiences. Simply put, the tracks are pretty entertaining to listen to on a stand-alone basis from start to finish.
Following the trend of Dead Rising and Dead Rising 2, the title also features much diegetic music used during the city settings. These tracks are compiled on the second CD and there is a great variety in both the styles and artists involved. Do keep in mind though that, even though most of these are pretty good tracks, they are made with the key term “parody” in mind. I won’t mention them all, but will instead talk about my favorite few. “ICUC ME” is one of the enjoyable songs in this CD, especially due to the fact that it seems very inspired by Kavinsky’s ultra-stylish Nightcall. “Du Bist Mein”, which translates to “You Are Mine”, is written by legendary composer Jeremy Soule and is very classic opera inspired. Even the sampling in it makes it look like someone is playing it from tape, old and worn out.
The tracks by Lozowchuk on the second disc are not all lyrical songs per se, and are mainly tunes used for different places in game. For example, “Pirate’s Catch” plays at the restaurant located in south Almuda, and as the name implies sounds like a Pirate inspired Irish shanty without the actual lyrics. “Smiling Dragon” by Traz Damji on the other hand is very Mandarin-inspired and represents the takeaway of the same name. In this, you can hear an Asian guy talking about his restaurant! All in all, you will get to hear a varied amount of content throughout the second disc; while not all songs will be to everyone’s taste, there’s plenty of novelty value and many impressive creations here.
Overall, you will be hard-pressed to find any other soundtrack that offers exceptional content for such a modest asking price. There’s not only adrenaline pumping battle tracks and eerie sounding ambient scores, but with the addition of the second disc , plenty of comedic songs and jolly diegetic themes too. I really can’t find anything really wrong with this soundtrack, as it boasts variety, memorability, and rich content. On top if it all, the mixing is amazing and the samples transition smoothly from one to the other. So, if you have been craving to get a meaty and enjoyable soundtrack, do not miss out on this as it has some of the most exciting and enjoyable themes I have ever heard, especially by Lozowchuk, who has proven to be exceptionally versatile and to have a great overriding vision. In terms of the soundtrack release, keep in mind there are two editions: the two disc 48 track physical edition reviewed here and the extended 99 track digital edition. I would personally recommend that you go for the physical disc edition if possible, given it’s a more rounded stand-alone experience. However, the additional tracks in the digital edition also hold up well and completists are better off with this version. Either way, Dead Rising 3 is a must-listen for electronica fans.
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Posted on May 24, 2014 by Harris Iqbal. Last modified on June 3, 2014.