While I might be too late for 2019’s Halloween season, I think I can safely get a jump on 2020’s fright fest with a look at Grim Dawn. Grim Dawn’s score has been lurking in my “to listen” folder for a while now and was the lucky recipient of my “eenie meenie miney moe” selection process.
Grim Dawn came out in February 2016 as an action RPG with multiplayer elements. It has done fine, but not stellar, for itself, cultivating a click-happy community that would rather play this than Diablo. So far the title has received two expansions (2018’s Ashes of Malmouth and 2019’s Forgotten Gods) and pumped out a fair bit of music.
Why not dig into this one and see what it has to offer? Maybe because some music… is best left buried. Nah, I’m joking. We totally need to listen to that eldritch monster-summoning rock!
It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to grasp that Grim Dawn’s OST is a mixture of horror and western. I was hoping that the western elements would be more prominent in the soundtrack, but I had to settle for only the occasional steel guitar riffs of Forgotten and a few other tracks. This one sounds a lot like a high noon showdown, ratcheting up the tension with each minute until something breaks.
The name of this track is downright misleading. You might think you are in for some hellacious cues, but instead you get a rather pleasant (if slightly sad) and relaxing track. Maybe the infernal depths have some nice cushions and a Saturday spa?
“Fire and Steel”
Dark and urgent, Fire and Steel delivers a terrific little action track that is perfect for this gothic horror setting. Obvious effort went into making this piece something more noteworthy than your average evil blatting horns track, and I appreciate that. The electric guitar even seems like it’s rocking out every so often there!
“City of Ruins”
This track sounds like a funeral march through a mostly deserted locale, providing sinister ambiance that pushes the listener further and further into the shadows. It’s not a happy-go-lucky fun track to listen to, but it does spark the imagination in interesting ways, which is why I included it.
If this track is any indication, the Warden isn’t messing around. Right out of the gate it slams into your eardrums with a cacophony of percussion, strings, and guitar. Gradually, this song becomes kind of a heroic action cue that might accompany an alternate universe sheriff.
“The Gruesome Harvest”
We’ll go out on a much more western-sounding track. The Gruesome Harvest isn’t much for variety; the whole track more or less loops the same repetitive march while only slightly weaving in a melody here and there. Does it work better in-game? Probably. It would have to.