Friday, June 15, 2018

Music to Game to: The Gate - Island Virus

I listen to a lot of music (over 40 days worth in 2017 according to last.fm) and I find that few things help me keep the mood of a game foregrounded in my mind like a good soundtrack. Plus, I’ve discovered that when I’m playing music to a speaker via Bluetooth, I’m less likely to be on my phone, lest my players hear any stray sounds, letting me better model engagement during a game. To that end, I want to share some of my favorite music to game to; the albums that inspire and inflame my imagination and that I’ve found work well as background music for games as well. I’ll do a mini-review and cover the basics of what mood it helps me set.

THE GATE – ISLAND VIRUS

Right out of the gate, the first track of this album is titled “Black Bird of Death Spewing Death Puke,” to give you an idea of what you’re in for. This is deep, apocalyptic tuba rumbling, backed mostly by double bass and drums. Having been a high school marching band tuba player, I’ve a deep fondness for the instrument, and Dan Peck, who leads the The Gate and blows the horn, uses it to create skull-vibrating and sinister tones. With the double bass and more uptempo drumming, the album draws more on free jazz than doom metal, but it cannot help but be thunderously deep. While many doom jazz albums can tend towards the ethereal and haunting, Island Virus is grounded and sinister. Perfect for any game where unlucky investigators wander foggy seaside towns and face down horrid fish people.


  • Vocals?...No
  • Music Genre(s)…Doom, Tuba, Doom Jazz,
  • Perfect for…Early 20th century horror games, any game where you want to add a rumbling darkness.
  • If you only grab one track, make it... The doleful and deep, “Back to the Sea,” where the tuba functions as a bringer of mysterious doom and gloom like a mammoth reptilian creature plodding back to the oceanic depths.

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