Video Games

Exploring the Diablo III Soundtrack | Top 6 Tracks

Title: Diablo III Soundtrack Composers: Russell Brower, Derek Duke, Glenn Stafford, Joseph Lawrence, Neal Acree, Laurence Juber, Edo Guidotti, Matt Uelmen Full list of credits here.   Diablo III OST Art 

In honour of the spookiest month of the year, I want to discuss the equally spooky Diablo III soundtrack. Composed by the amazing team at Blizzard Entertainment, this soundtrack houses epic fantasy music, along with classic and gothic horror sounds, as well as unsettling ambience. Diablo III is yet another Blizzard soundtrack that beautifully balances heroic timbres and ethereal moments. A special treat is the hellishness conveyed through the prominent use of the guitar and, in the case of one particular track on this list, the organ. The various genres that have inspired this soundtrack, from classical to folk, create a unique musical experience, making this one of the best gaming scores ever made. Selected are six tracks in Diablo’s honour. Do be sure to listen to this entire soundtrack, however, as there are certainly more amazing songs than just the few analyzed here.

Top 6 Favourite Tracks

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6. Garden of Hope

gardens_of_hope (1)
Artist: Peter Lee. Image from diablo.wikia.

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The title of this track refers to a location in game; the song itself is not particularly hopeful. The Gardens of Hope, the location in Heaven that is under the guidance of Auriel, the Archangel of Hope, have been attacked by the armies of Hell and the Archangel herself has been taken hostage (by Rakanoth, the Lord of Despair, no less). The ambience and subtle demonic sounds emphasize the current hopelessness of the area. At 1:44, it begins to pick up and 2:13 sounds a little more alive; it might take a fight, but perhaps there is still hope left.

5. Caldeum

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Caldeum is a place the player will spend a lot of time, so the music becomes familiar. “Caldeum” is one of the more secretive tracks on the album, which is fitting for a desert holding many big, terrible secrets. Whether in the sands, on top, or deep underneath, the city and surrounding areas hold many mysteries. The antagonists in and around this region are also known for their treachery: Zoltun Kulle, a corrupt wizard who speaks in riddles and aims to manipulate the player, and Belial, the Lord of Lies.

4. Heaven’s Gate

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“Heaven’s Gate” is a standoff between the powers of Heaven and Hell. The razor-sharp sounds of Hell versus the heroic, noble sounds of heavenly skies. There is a constant back and forth between the two. At 1:51 are the angry stomps of Diablo himself, approaching the gates, as the divine chorus becomes more prominent.

3. Evil Reawakened

Image from diablo.somepage

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Is there a more demonic and grand instrument than the pipe organ? “Evil Reawakened” sounds like just that — something malevolent and classically evil stirring. It is as if you have just walked into a vampire lord’s lair. There is also a hint of mischief to it, as if something is toying with you. Then at 1:29, an abrupt halt. The evil has awoken and knows. The creeping, stinging sounds suggest that it is coming.

2. And the Heavens Shall Tremble

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This song begins by clearly anticipating a danger. In many ways it reminds me of classical Victorian pieces, and would fit gothic horror. What is especially alluring about the track is the shift at 0:51 to a beautiful, romantic sound that seems to conjure up images of heavenly bodies. From 0:58 the strings become more rushed, anxious and even sad as the melody is interrupted by foreboding bells. From there, an ominous chorus begins instilling a deep sense of hopelessness…in the context of the game, Heaven has been overtaken by Diablo and the rest of Hell. We also lose an important protagonist in the most cruel fashion. What hope is left? This composition convincingly instills a deep sense of desperation.

1. New Tristram

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Artist: Peter Lee

“New Tristram” is a revamping of the original Tristram theme from Diablo. The song’s initial sharp sounds are unnerving and begin to paint the image of what the town of Tristram has become. Instead of beginning entirely softly or with only ambience, this way there is a clearer hint at the madness and serious evil now occupying the village. 1:37 picks up with the sound of tragic strings, and at 2:28 is my favourite part — pure gloom. 4:33 is another stand-out moment, with more prickling sounds that lead into more of the iconic guitar.  

Notable mentions:

Songs I really like and the specific parts I enjoy most

The soundtrack is available for purchase on iTunes for $11.99, or stream it on Spotify.

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