Saturday, 14 November 2009

Command & Conquer Red Alert 1 Soundtrack by Frank Klepacki

Album: Command & Conquer Red Alert 1 Soundtrack.

Released: 1997

Genre: Video Game Soundtrack, Industrial, Metal, Techno, Ambient, Trip Hop, Electronica, Orchestral.


1. Hell March
2. Radio
3. Crush
4. Roll Out
5. Mud
6. Twin Cannon
7. Face the Enemy
8. Run
9. Terminate
10. Big Foot
11. Workmen
12. Militant Force
13. Dense
14. Vector
15. Smash

NOTE: The Full Game soundtrack is much larger with its exapansion packs Counterstrike and Aftermath so not all tracks that I talk about in this review are here in this tracklisting this is the track listing for the Offical Game Soundtrack CD.

Sorry with not updating my blog in a while, I will try to keep up to date as much as I can. Anyway I was going to review Psyclon Nines first album but instead I feel like review this game soundtrack. I am reviewing this soundtrack because it is a very big influence on me, I first played Red Alert when I was six years old and is probably responsible for some of my taste in music that I listen to today.

The soundtrack was composed by Frank Klepacki who started out as inspiring heavy Metal drummer (he is also very skilled with guitars and keyboards) who started out in various Metal bands around Las Vegas. To make ends meet Frank began a game tester at Westwood studios and manage to get a job scoring some Westwoods early projects like Dragonstrike Dune 2, Lands Of Lore. He even worked on Disney's the Lion King Video Game soundtrack were made with the film composer Hans Zimmer who was impressed with his work on rescoring his work for the games soundtrack. Eventually got to work on Westwoods most well known Game the First Command & Conquer one of the most groundbreaking Real Time Strategy games ever made. Using only an Electric Guitar, Roland JD990 Synth Module, Ensoniq ASR-10 Sampler Workstation and a Roland S760 sampler, Frank created an unique blend of Industrial (Nine Inch Nails, Ministry), Heavy Metal (Metallica), Rock, house, Funk (Prince, Sly and the Family Stone) as well Ambient and Orchestral music.

Released in 1996 Command & Conquer was a successful release for Westwood including Frank's soundtrack which stood out from most game soundtracks at that time.

After C&C's release Frank began work on the soundtrack for next game in the series even though he didn't what the C&C game would be. The first track he composed was the Iconic "Hell March" a track that features catchy Metallica style bass and electric guitar riffs, swing march live sounding drums before changing into a techno dance track with dance beats, techno bassline and synthetic stabs. The track was extremely popular with Westwoods producers who wanted as the main track for the next C&C red Alert. Frank first wrote as a Nod VS GDI theme of Tib series but got used for Red Alert Instead.

Westwood Producers told Frank that Red Alert was set in a Alternate 1950's where Hitler had been erased from existence by Albert Einstein who went back in time to 1920's to remove Hitler to prevent WWII one of the most brutal conflicts in Human History. However Einstein forgot about the USSR and Joseph Stalin's campaign to conquer Europe which happens in the games story between the Allies and Soviets creating an even more brutal Second World War with exotic technology like Tesla Coils and Chornospheres. Westwood first want to make the game as a campy Cold War spoof based old 50's B movies (Ironically they did this Red Alert 2 and 3) but instead the game was much darker and serious with less unusual technology than the latter Red Alert games.

With this in Mind Frank decide to making tracks with campy spoof sound like an unused Tanya theme that sounded like cheesy 70's Disco (which got scrapped quickly). Obviously the Game Producers had conflicting ideas of the games direction which led the game to have a more serious tone which help Frank make the music more in the styles he was known for with the first C&C game.

Gear wise Frank Klepacki probably used the same equipment from the first game (Electric Guitar, Ensoniq ASR-10 sampler, Roland S760 sampler and a Roland JD 990 synth module) he may have also used a Korg Trinty on the expansion Pack tracks (which also used on the next C&C game soundtrack Tiberian Sun) mainly for Ambient pads and 'Analog' type sounds like basslines, leads etc.

I really like the range of styles and genres this soundtrack has for example Industrial on tracks like Bigfoot, Smash, Hell March, Twin, Workmen, Chaos 2, Roll Out. Metal on tracks like Hell March, Twin, Militant Force. Alternative Rock on Vector. House and Techno on Crush, Radio 2, Arazoid. Trip Hop on Mud, Fogger, Shut It, Traction, Trench, Snake, The Search, Float V2. Ambient Electronica on Underlying Thoughts, Wasteland, The 2nd Hand, Terminate, Running Through Pipes, Voice Rhythm 2, Groundwire, Gloom, Dense, Await, Backstab and Bog. Orchestral tracks like Face the Enemy parts 1 and 2, Run For Your Lives.

Here are some of my favourite tracks off the soundtrack.

Hell March: Just a briilliant track catchy memorable riffs nice techno synth sounds, samples of marching feet, chant of an Officer shouting often misheard as "We Want War, WAKE UP!" when it is actually "Die Waffen Legt An!" which is German for Ready Weapons!

Radio 2: Reminds of a track off Moby's first album only a bit harder, hard dance beats, 303ish basslines, techno stabs to me one of my favourite tracks off the soundtrack, used put this on repeat when I was younger. I prefer this over the first Radio track off C&C 1 because its a bit Housey than Techno.

Bigfoot: This track reminds me of Front Line Assembly, hard marching beats, pulsating rhythms, I really like the phased bass sound. If you play as the Soviets this is usually the first track you hear get you straight into the game.

Smash: Awesome track love the 'live' feel of the drums over the hard synth sounds. Great for listening to if your blowing the shit out of enemy base.

Fogger: Interresting track laid back nice piano parts, jazzy hit hats and 80's sounding toms, this track really stands out but in a good way.

Title Track (The Track that plays at the Games Main Menu): My favourite track from the whole game actually, love the phased synth sound, the agressive bassline (not bad for a ROMpler) ambeint chords and 'live' sound drums, interresting track. Brilliant should of been put in the games main soundtrack.

Crush: Great Techno Industrial track, great kick sound, agressive synths marching rhyhtms suits the game really well.

I like alot of tracks off this game but there is just too many to metion. For me this is one of the best game soundtracks ever made it even beat the first Quake soundtrack that was composed by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails in a PC Gamer for Best Game Soundtrack in 1997. This soundtrack is big influence on the type of music I listein today. It is also probably responiable for getting into Electronic and Industrial, influencing me into getting into Gary Numan's Pure and so on.

Fran Klepacki is underrated musican you can listein most of his works on his website:

Please Check His music Out.

Next review will hopefully be Psyclon Nine's Divine Infekt.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

VST REVIEW: Free SCI Pro Synthesizer VST's

Above: P-600.

Above: Prophet 5.

Above: Pro 1.

I discovered these plugins while searching the internet for free plugins and I came across these.

Their based on Sequential Circuits a bit old school for me but their all very good for basslines (a bit of delay and reverb make them sound modern enough).

Their made by EFM synths who have also made VST's based on other well known hardware synths.

They don't come with many presets and most of them seem to be based on some of the sounds it created and came with, mainly the Prophet 5 which had a few presets and was one of the first synths to do so.

One of the presets is a haunting bell like sound which reminds me of a sound Gary Numan used on his Dance and I Asssassin albums, Just listen to opening sounds of 'Slow Car to China' on his Dance album.

Of course you can get better Prophet 5 VST's like Native Instrutments Pro 53 and Memorymoon's Messiah, but for a freebie EFM's you can't really complain.

I don't know how well they stand up against the real deal as I never used the actual synths themseleves, but I think you can do quite a bit with them.

Me I would use them for basslines as I think thats what they are really good at.

Give them a try.

PS: Next album review might be Psyclon Nine's Divine Infekt album.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

ALBUM REVIEW: Gary Numan Sacrifice.

Album: Sacrifice
Released: 1994
Genre: Darkwave/Gothic Rock.

1."Pray" – 3:55
2."Deadliner" – 4:29
3."A Question of Faith" – 4:52
4."Desire" – 3:47
5."Scar" – 3:25
6."Love And Napalm" – 5:08
7."You Walk in My Soul" – 4:39
8."Magic" – 4:42
9."Bleed" – 6:10
10."The Seed of a Lie" – 5:25
Reissue Bonus Tracks:
11."Play Like God" - 7:01
12."Whisper of Truth" - 4:21
13."Metal Beat" - 3:10
14."Absolution" - 4:37

For me this album was the return for Gary Numan, who spent probably the past 10 years trying recapturing his fame and fortune which only led him into a more fractured cult fan base.

After the faux Prince like funk of 1992's Machine + Soul (which Numan described as a piece of dog shit). Numan decided to make music for the sake of making music this led new Numan musically into a new direction along with the personal help of Gary's girlfriend (now wife) Gemma O' Neil. Apparently Numan musically was listeining to well known Goth groups like Sisters Of Mercy, the Cocteau Twins and even Depeche Mode who's album 'Songs of Faith and Devotion' was a big influence on Numan at the time. It is also possible that Numan was listeining to Electronica acts like Massive Attack, Portishead and Bjork as well.

With these musical influences Numan created a style that was far different from the white boy dance funk of his mid 80's and early 90's albums with a more update and back to basics sound that reflected his Early Tubeway Army albums of the late 1970's. Lyrically the album saw Numan going to back reading books and watching movies for inspiration, however instead of SCFI influencing him it was horror works of Clive Barker and Stephen King as well even the Holy Bible. This lryically led Numan to write about all things demonic dark supernatual and anti- Reilgious.

The overall sound of Sacrifice is dark brooding synth sounds, distortion rock guitars, uplifting Choir Pads, minor key Piano melodies, trip hop drum loops (actually Drum and Bass breakbeats from a sample CD slowed down to lower tempos).

Gear wise Sacrifice is very miminal in this respect a far cry from his old Analogue synth days. Numan instead created the album with only three synthesizer workstations, one sampler and his 'Dodgy' Les Paul Guitar that he has had since his teens.

Some of the equipment possibly used on Sacrifice:

  • Midi Keyboard.
  • Akai S1000 Sampler.
  • Gibson Les Paul guitar.
  • Korg M1REX Module.
  • Korg Wavestation SR Module.
  • Roland D550 Module.

Sacrifice starts off with a chilling track called Pray, Numan uses a pitch shifter for the open dialogue and uses clear vocal for chant at the end of the track, brilliant opener that shows you that this album is darker and different from all others before it.

Then next track on Sacrifice is Deadliner a slow piano choir based track about a Nightmare made reality very Jacob's Ladder.

The next track is 'A Question of Faith' an uptempo track with hard 'Vision Thing' Mercy Era stlye Guitar and percussion loops from the Korg Wavestation with a few minor programmed drum parts, a standout track. Lyrically at the end is brilliant "They kneel down, praise God Shout 'Hallelujah' Lift up their eyes while they pray.... When children kill childrenDon't it make them wonder?Don't it make them question their faith?".

The next track is one of my favourites called Desire a slow Trip Hop style track with some brilliant vocals from Numan, great track.

The fith track on the album is one of the most acessible on the album called 'Scar' it features Trip Hop drum loops, female vocals, a guitar solo from Kipper (Worked on the Machine + Soul and toured with Gary in 1993, he was the one who wears tight shorts during the Dream Corrosion tour, he looked like a very bad Axl Rose).

Track Six Love and Napalm (Name of this song was a line taken from the book by The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard, the title of this book was used for a Joy Division song). Love and Napalm is another 'Vision Thing' styled Hard Rock which features the infamous Kipper on synth bass duty.

The next track is a lush ballad called 'You Walk in My Soul' the track is dedicated to Gary's then Girlfirend Gemma O' Neil who he married in 1997 (ironically this track was played at their wedding). Beautiful ballad.

Track eight is Magic an uplifting track about someone who rather believe in magic then the idea of God, this track is brilliant live.

Track Nine Bleed is similar to Deadliner in that it is about a Nightmare that comes real this track has a great chorus.

Track Ten is another ballad called a Seed of a Lie a depressing track probably about an old relationship but written in a way that fits with the rest of the album. Another good melodic ballad similar to an old ballad called 'Whisper'.

Track 11 is 'Play Like God' the first of the bonus tracks off the 1999 English reissue of Sacrifice. Musically its similar to Love and Napalm and A question of Faith only personally not as good or dark. Lryically its a good track but it lacks the style of the latter tracks, a demo left off the orginal album.

Track 12 is ballad left off the album, musically its simiar to an old Ballad called 'Whipser' the track is about wanting to be saved. This track was probably left because Numan didn't want album to be too ballad heavy like his previous two albums. The recording quality of this track isn't as good as the rest of the demos unfortunely as I think its the best out of all demo bonus tracks.

Track 13 is Another "Vision Thing' style hard Rock track, catchy but personally it wouldn't fit with the musical style of Sacrifice, a demo left off the orginal.

The final track number 14 is the 1995 single version of Absolution a lush semi ballad about blind faith. This track is a great song that was put out as a single in 1995 that was slighty redone for Numan's next album Exile. This version is stripped down compared to the Exile version.

Overall I loved this album played it to death at was the first 'real' album I bought next to NIN's 'Things Falling apart'.

If you enjoyed this album I would recommend all three Sisters Of Mercy's albums and Clan of Xymox's Creatures.

I give is album 9.6/10.

Bloodfetish Blog For Music

Hi I deicide to start a blog, where I will Review music and VST's, maybe some films (mainly Horror SCFI).

First music review is Gary Numan's Sacrifice