Doom’s Manic Metal Gets Your Ass Moving

Welcome to Morning Music, Kotaku’s daily hangout for folks who love video games and the cool-ass sounds they make. Today we’re going to Hell. I hope you packed a shotgun and some armor shards.

There aren’t many games that have a better start than 1993’s groundbreaking first-person shooter Doom (playlist / longplay / VGMdb). You hit enter, the menu dissolves, and you are standing in a research station on Mars with a pistol and demons to kill. Within seconds you’re running around at breakneck speeds while shotgunning enemies through wildly creative levels. Doom was groundbreaking at the time and still holds up to this day, which is impressive. But while cutting-edge visuals and gameplay were the star of Doom, the frenetic, shredding music helped carry the whole thing forward. Without Doom’s music, the game would still be great, but maybe not as iconic.

Let’s take a listen:

id Software / Jim DarkMagic (YouTube)

Doom’s very first track, “At Doom’s Gate,” is an incredible punch to the head. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to move, which is exactly what you should be doing in Doom. I challenge people to listen to that song and not want to run around. I’ve known healthier folks than myself who use some of Doom’s soundtrack as part of their workout routine. Makes sense to me. Plus, seems like a smart choice, I mean, have you seen the Doomguy? Ripped as Hell. But not all of Doom’s music is fast and powerful. The game also has some moody tracks that are similarly great, like E2M2’s “The Demons From Adrian’s Pen.”

id Software / Jim DarkMagic (YouTube)

Doom’s iconic soundtrack was composed by Bobby Prince, who would go on to do music for other popular games including Duke Nukem 3D and Rise of the Triad, as well as Doom II. And yes, it’s become a well-known fact that some (but not all) of the songs in Doom are heavily inspired by some classic heavy metal tracks. And even the ones that are clearly taking inspiration from Metallica are, in my opinion, different enough to stand on their own. For example, one of my favorite tracks from Doom is “I Sawed the Demons” which is almost for sure pulling some bits from ACDC’s “Big Gun.” But I don’t think it makes the song any less catchy and it’s still its own thing, even if you can clearly pinpoint its origin.

id Software / Jim DarkMagic (YouTube)

Ultimately, the music of Doom, like the game itself, is a giant part of pop culture and to this day I occasionally hear some of these tracks remixed or used in other places, like YouTube videos. And the recent Doom games have pulled from these classic tracks too, and for good reason: These songs rip and tear.

That’s it for today’s Morning Music! Hope you had a good weekend! If not, listen to some more Doom music. That always makes me happier! See you tomorrow!

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