A look at music designed for deathmatch
November 24, 1996
by Stephen "Blue" Heaslip
An audio CD designed as Quake background music, Methods of Destruction is a project I've had a strong curiosity about since it first came to my attention. Musical tastes run a wide range, and I wondered what to expect from music written for a group defined by a common taste in computer games, rather than a musical genre.
The music is mostly industrial.... Some of it is similar to the music of the original Quake CD, but it all seems like a mixture of more than one genre. Far from attempting to appeal to all musical tastes, the composer, Sascha Dikiciyan, goes out on a limb combining contrasting elements...some of it's got this kind of techno thing going on, while there is also hard rock, and some hip-hop. A lot of it is very "Depeche Mode" and much is enhanced by ambient sounds, noises and screams (some stretches are solely "noises").
Track two, "Welcome to Mayhem," is actually the first track on the disk, since track one is blank to match the format of the Quake CD (where track one is the game data). "Welcome to Mayhem" is the only track that contains vocal samples ("The tough guys... who came to kill... but stayed to rape, and ravage..." not very P.C., but hey, this is Quake). I had concerns even one track with words would be a distraction in the game, but it is a great touch, and the decision to use the effect only once was prudent. In fact, overall I'm terribly impressed by the discretion used in this CD's production. Many effects are pretty cool but would be detrimental if abused, and that line into excess is never crossed. There's a portion of track five, "Ultimate Rage," that's extremely ambient, but once again the effect within the game turns out to work perfectly. Track six, "Military Installation," has a lot of computer blips, which is one thing I would prefer to have generated by the game environment, but that's just a quibble. One of the risks this production takes is to use ambient background sounds as well as music (a lot of radiator hissing and clanking), and these noises usually compliment the feel of the game, making it legitimately scarier.
I enjoyed this CD and found that it actually enhanced my Quake experience, which is not what I expected. Sample Methods of Destruction at Cyber-Age Studios, where there are wave files to download, and streaming audio if you have the Shockwave plug-in. See if it appeals to you as much as it does to me.