For various reasons, I have yet to enter the abyss in which Artorias makes his home. There is always a nearly equal sense of attraction and repulsion connected with Dark Souls, but listening to the soundtrack for the DLC expansion has upset that balance, and I want to take the plunge into sweet, mad hell.
I mean to focus on the five new tracks at this time. You can also find a review of the core soundtrack here on RPGFan Music.
The first new track, “Sanctuary Guardian,” sounds very similar to the core boss themes. While this means that the original aural vision remains intact for the expansion material, it also means this isn’t the most unique or memorable track. “Battle of Stoicism” has a wondrous mix of bell, harp, and vocals both high and low that set the stage for an august battle of almost legendary proportions. The track sees some real movement as well, unlike the aforementioned.
“Father of the Abyss” is loud, dire, and frightening. This is what one expects from a track with such a name as that. When the initial salvo of drums and, well, noise, calms down for a few seconds, one can hear an almost Halloween-inspired tinkling, but you can bet the track concludes with the suggestion that this almost offensive roar will go on forever if you don’t put a stop to it. “Kalameet” is similar in nature, but more compelling. The typical Souls vocal harmonies and intense strings play over an underlying growl that can be heard clearly only occasionally. There’s a bit more melody to this one, however, as well as moments of organ and descending/ascending piano scales that tickle the spine. This is a tightly crafted song with a variety of lovely layers.
I save the best for last, and when I say that, I mean the best of the entire 29-track album. “Dark Knight Artorias” is one of the finest tracks in recent memory, a perfect fusion of brooding danger and madness, mounting tension, cacophonous conflict, and, finally, a certain dark acceptance as you prepare to die. This one song defines the Dark Souls experience.
With five additional tracks, the Dark Souls soundtrack is better than ever. This brand of dark orchestral music sees its complete fulfillment in “Dark Knight Artorias:” the style taken to its brilliant pinnacle. The additional tracks come with a catch, however: many of the tracks are shorter, made briefer to make room for the additional tracks. The original soundtrack is the same length as this one, despite Artorias having additional tracks. If you don’t mind artificial fade-outs, then you can safely purchase this album and this album alone. But you might want to keep both and combine them into one perfect playlist.