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Tolwyn

Requiem Reimagined Soundtrack Close at Hand...

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My Top 3 favorite Requiem OST tracks are Somewhere Over the Horizon, Lordly Might and Tides of War. There is an epic quality for this soundtrack that has stuck with me after hearing it so many years ago! I'm eagerly anticipating the Requiem Reimagined Soundtrack.

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2 hours ago, Spie812 said:

Awesome. Can't wait to hear the full thing.

That makes two of us.

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I can only remain patient and polite for so long, guys. I'm going to have to invoke a Dark Lord or two if you don't sate my appetite by next week.

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We literally are working every day. I wrote a guitar solo yesterday that is in being worked on presently.

20180315_171527.png

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17 hours ago, Vorpal said:

I can only remain patient and polite for so long, guys. I'm going to have to invoke a Dark Lord or two if you don't sate my appetite by next week.

I'm not sure we'll be able to hit that deadline. I have to learn how to read music this week, in order to play what Tolwyn wants. My spastic improv guitar work wasn't working for the solo, so Tolwyn came up with this... I'm currently investigating the possibility of growing an extra 3 fingers on my left hand to help in playing it.

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Oh the wonders of playing midis on real instruments <3

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@Eris Falling 

 

I am a pianist first, drummer second, and guitarist DEAD last.

 

I write with a piano. So... translating that with a guitar might present some challenges from an arrangement perspective.

 

 

Edited by Tolwyn

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He means "oh the joy of taking MIDI files and reorchestrating them with actual instrumentation".

 

For full context, Eris does it himself. I would do it myself too, but I only know how to play keyboard and I'm a bit shit at performing on that anyway.

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5 hours ago, Tolwyn said:

guitarist DEAD last.

Me too! I've written a lot of stuff (on all instruments really) that's completely unreasonable so I end up spending a lot of time rewriting stuff, mainly with solos, so they're actually playable without losing the spirit of the original. I've been spending a couple of hours a day on one guitar solo for the past week now, it's kinda fun but I do wish that when I'd written some of these I could have known one day I'd be trying to record them :P

 

5 hours ago, Jimmy said:

I'm a bit shit at performing on that anyway.

Also me too! I'm pretty inconsistent tbh and it's only ever the bass guitar where I can expect to get things in one try or at least only a couple of attempts. One of my TNT:R tracks had a guitar solo that took something stupid like 200 recording attempts until I finally got it right >_<

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@JDoyle got me some tracks over the weekend, and I just spent 4 hours working on integrating them as the guitar solo. Like I said earlier, we are working on this every day to get it released soon. It's almost midnight, and I'm old, so I have to go to bed now.

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And today, I sign off on all of MY songs in the project. Now I'm helping getting the remaining songs mixed and mastered.

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All of Jeremy's songs are complete. We have 3 in-process songs, perhaps 2 after today.

The review copy has gone out.

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http://www.tolwyn.com/requiem-reimagined/requiem-soundtrack-review-jimmy/

 

REQUIEM REIMAGINED
Review by James "Jimmy" Paddock

 

The Mighty Music Men of the Doom community's youthful days are all back with a brand new feast for the ears. With the wonders of modern software and mixing techniques, they bring you an album of "reimagined" renditions of tracks they originally penned upwards of two decades ago under the strict limitations of General MIDI. Here, the soundtrack for the classic megaWAD "Requiem" (1997) is given a unique and flavorful retake, but one thing I suppose I should seek to answer is: is it what we're expecting? Does it hold up to the standards of today, and if not, are we willing to look past them and appreciate the original compositions for the simple way they've been reinterpreted by the men who wrote them initially? I will attempt to avoid bias clouding my judgement, but readers should be forewarned that the presentation of musical compositions, while something I hasten to keep in mind, never sits at the forefront of my criticism, and my focus will tend to be on the macro, rather than the micro.

 

Per the request of the musicians who kindly considered me as an advance reviewer, I have labelled each track with a rating out of ten stars.

 

The album, a collaborative effort between David "Tolwyn" Shaw, Mark Klem, Jeremy Doyle, and shredder extraordinaire JD Herrera, opens with the familiar "Barracus Returns". Prefaced with an ominous orchestral hum and various electronic noises, this track certainly serves as an adequate and satisfying taster for what is to come. The descending guitar melody is at the forefront, asserting its dominance firmly as the instrument that will be placed on a pedestal throughout this entire reimagined soundtrack. Those not partial to the "heavy metal" angle when it comes to this project (and many other interpretations by fans) will be urged to turn back here - there is no shortage of chugging, shredding and rocking-out-with-your-shotgun-out here. But as will soon be discovered, that's not all this powerful quartet have up their sleeves. [9*]

 

"Rhythm of Carnage" - a staple Shaw track from the Requiem soundtrack, opens things up proper. At this point the heavy angle has made itself clear, with the thrashing drum roll opening giving way to that iconic and powerful lead melody, and Doyle's guitar here is suitably relentless. Of particular note is the way this track has been restructured, with secondary melodies and key modulations introduced - clearly Shaw did not see it fit to simply throw the MIDI file into his audio workstation and hope for the best. The track is brought to a screeching halt in impressive fashion. Very cool opener. [9*]

 

"Rage" follows - Klem's most well-respected piece in this set, so I believe. As to be expected by now, the lead guitars from Herrera enter in full force and the track pretty much shreds from start to finish. The addition of not one but two guitar solos embellishes the track during its key-modulation-based progression. The track is let down microscopically by the lack of punch in its crash cymbals to clearly delineate its section-based composition, but all considered, this one's damn solid as rock. [9.5*]

 

Up next is Shaw's "Breath of Sin". The mood changes quite dramatically here - gone are the guitars, in are the ambient sounds and fluid basses that almost give the piece a garage/dubstep-ish kind of vibe. The track is not let down by this, of course - why shoehorn in guitars where they didn't exist before, into an already busy track? And busy this rendition is, too - chock-full with electronic textures - something of a far cry from the original's spacious approach to its composition. This difference is not a bad thing, though it may tread the cusp of doing something where fewer elements may work well in simple, uncrowded unison. [8*]

 

"Somewhere Over the Horizon" opens with Klem's familiar dramatic strings in 6/4, but with the addition of an urgent electronic lead melody free-wheeling over the top of the orchestra. Pairing the acoustic-sounding instruments with freely interchangeable electronic equivalents seems to be the approach here. Things really start to shine when the rhythmic guitar enters, though, playing self-harmonising choppy licks to back up the strings and drumkit percussion in an offbeat, galloping fashion, and it's bliss. If I were to split hairs here, it'd be for the woodblock-esque clicking sound that occurs when the otherwise gorgeous percussion drops in, but the number of points I'd deduct would be finer than half an integer, so full score it is. [10*]

 

Shaw's "Mystic's Glance" is a delve into the serious and adventurous territory of choirs, horns, tribal percussion, and distorted noises of uncertain origin. While these instrument choices may not be considered adventurous for the average Doom map, here the tone shift is quite noticeable. Does it pay off? Yes - it's still a fantastic interpretation of the original, and there's a skilful blend of acoustic and artificial here with the instrumental and percussive elements mostly all being paired up with intense reverb and bitcrushing effects. Fans of guitars will still get a treat as a freeform solo from Herrera enters just after the halfway point with masterful major harmonies. This entry gets massive points for atmosphere alone. [9.5*]

 

"Path of Destruction", appearing to be based on Klem's own re-interpretation of it from a few years back, makes itself known with a hard-hitting drum roll driving over some fluctuating acidic bass. The track's ominous outro is a seemingly all-new addition and will certainly linger with you. The synthesized angle for the majority of this track works excellently, and yes, it is backed up with the addition of solo guitars. The drums do feel a smidgeon overcooked in terms of their mix presence, though - the only minor complaint I have here. [9*]

 

"Jacob's Staircase" is a fairly "safe" reimagining of the original, or so it feels - it could be my unfamiliarity with the source material - the track was never a grower for me like "Lordly Might" or "Lamneth's Ground" were - but it would seem that there's very few new additions here aside from the latter half which enters with re-recorded guitars and synth solo. Nonetheless it works well, with sweet keyboards and pleasant guitars. The drumkit has been reworked in places to make for more impactful transitions between sections, too. Solid entry, this. [8*]

 

Klem's "Under Death", as you might expect, is suitably demented. Like the original, pitch-bending and delay are employed to make everything deliciously off-kilter. The celeste by itself is spine-tingling. A guitar noodling away in the high register enters at the transition point, wherein meaty drums make their presence known. The raunchy guitars from Doyle continue to lift the piece to new heights, and while structurally the piece seems identical to its source, there's no denying a huge amount of care went into this interpretation. Very nice. [9*]

 

"The Helix" opens with some distant and reverberant flowing female vocals, offering another tribal, mystic feel. The icicle-like keyboards and pianos offer a huge amount of atmosphere on their own, and together these elements blend gorgeously. Highly-reverbed drums smash their way in at the 3:00 mark. While the heavy guitar-driven interlude from the original is gone, we're instead graced with a long and flavorful couple of solos at the end, and a dancing synth melody plays us off. It's all here - marking this piece high seems a necessity, as here we begin to see genuine fun being had by Shaw - watch out for the interlude in the middle, if there is any watching out for it. [9.5*]

 

"Lordly Might", is again based off a prior Klem reimagining. The chunky slap bass found here was an utter necessity I think, considering the source MIDI - although it is not the focal point, entering for a mere four bars before disappearing again. Herrera's guitar soloing is definitely the high point of this track, exploring all sorts of different harmonic territory. Some freeform/atonal synthesizer melodies play off during the outro, which I am indifferent to - before a slightly abrupt ending. Overall, this one is by no means bad, but I really think the guitar work could've sat more tightly in its surroundings - it definitely needed at least a touch of manual quantising. [6.5*]

 

"Hunter's Lair" is the longest reinterpretation on this album. It paces itself carefully for its entire 9:17 duration, and it may be the highlight for me in terms of overall song and mix quality. Everything is just really nicely balanced and polished. All the original source material is quoted verbatim here, though embellished and lengthened with care. Shiny synths in the high register lift everything up during the refrains, and the unique fills on the drums keep interest and momentum going. We get a fabulous keyboard solo from Dave towards the end, as well. Top marks here. [10*]

 

"Breach of Madness" is an infamously ubiquitous Klem track, if you've spent any length of time playing classic Doom WADs. Gotta say I was waiting for this one. The ominous keyboard instrument sets the stage, then the rhythm guitar-driven opening that promptly follows is brutally in-your-face. The drums are also especially tasty from the get-go. The piece's mood swings and modulations are all present and correct here, with wailing lead guitar and crunchy bass filling out the sonic space neatly. Herrera graces us with a Yngwie-esque guitar solo, and plays us out masterfully with crunchy rhythm guitar madness. Expertly done. [9.5*]

 

"Lamneth's Ground" by Shaw is up next - an understated but (as I understand) highly-rated piece. The minimal piano was an apt choice for the opening here, but don't worry, the iconic rock organ makes an appearance - how could it not? The guitar solo also shows up and is as faithful to the source material as they come. Solid drums in this one, too! The exclusively minor-chord progression that plays out towards the end is a really nice touch - especially on the vibrato-heavy steel guitar - and leads us seamlessly into a cool and memorable outro. [9.5*]

 

Klem's "Devil's Ground" follows - what some might know as my favorite entry in reqmus.wad. The delay-heavy buzzy synths get the party going in true Klem fashion. Herrera has a field day with the guitars in this one, from the buildup to the chromatic solo, and we're treated to some yowling bar-by-bar arpeggios at the end. I do feel like this piece could've been fleshed out a bit more, perhaps to four minutes? It does end a little abruptly - oh, well, no complaints here aside from that - this interpretation definitely does it justice. [9*]

 

"Last Resort", the album's first offering from composer Jeremy Doyle, opens with an undulating synth that may well be what the original MIDI was trying to accomplish, and here it's very cool to see the musicians clearly having fun with the modern tools now at their disposal. I really enjoy the drums - a combination of acoustic and digital, if I'm not mistaken? Slap bass and wah-wah guitar also make an appearance here, transporting me straight to Vice City or some suchlike place. Overall, this one is pretty masterfully done - it almost seems understated compared to the original's unmistakably heavy metal angle, but it uses the material wisely, and certainly hasn't lost its groove. [9*]

 

Doyle's "Tides of War" is next. Its percussion kit and guitar tone would have to be high points for me, but I have a hard time justifying the 7:41 length when the original material is not really explored in great depth. The main melody goes unchanged and unvaried, beyond the guitar counterpoint that plays during the section towards the beginning. I do feel the introductory section may be too lengthy, and while we get an explosively heavy outro that sounds really cool, it really should have come in sooner. Overall I really love what this track does with the ideas it has, but the pacing of those ideas and the trimming of the fat could perhaps have used some seeing to. [7.5*]

 

"Skinny Puppy" certainly didn't open in the way I was expecting - daringly, it's the first track reimagined in a different tempo to its original, kicking off with some tempoless floating chords and frigid textures that certainly pull otherworldly industrial settings to mind. While it gets great points for atmosphere, I'm not so much a fan of its buildup and overall structure. The bass that opened the original enters around the 2:00 mark, no percussion enters until 4:00, and the second familiar bass melody (played on a very fitting TB-303 here) doesn't kick in until around the 6:00 mark. I understand the concept of the slow burner, and certainly an album as substantial as this needs breather tracks, but even so, the original's bouncy, pulsing mood seems to have been foregone here in favor of a very steadily building piece that structures its elements a little too sparingly. Perhaps some key changes would've been welcome - it stays in E minor for the entire 7:12 duration, so maybe swapping to C minor or G minor at opportune points would've been wise. The percussion fadeout also needed a little extra tender loving care, I think. Overall, I was really left wanting more. [7*]

 

Back to Klem with "The Everlasting Negative", and this short-and-sweet waltz of a track from Requiem's long-and-bitter MAP21 is here in full, embellished with appropriate guitars courtesy of Doyle that play in close harmony. Things are nicely balanced here. There's honestly not much to say - it's a straightforward re-recording, keep all the original's elements intact, offering no brand-new material or daring musical detours. I guess a short and simple "interlude"-type song in the midst of all this extended/heavily-remixed music is a welcome detour of its own, but with the track clocking in at only 2:03, I was left wanting so much more again. [7*]

 

Next up is "Elegant Tension", a track by Doyle that didn't see inclusion in Requiem, but has since seen use by the community since he put the original MIDI up for grabs. An unexpected but intriguing addition to this roster. I do have a problem with the synth usage here, though. The delay-heavy main synth sounds a little bit too "retro" - almost like a downgrade of sorts! Also not a fan of the drums and effects here at all, I'm afraid - they're just too noisy - I have to reach for the volume dial at 3:38 every time. Once it picks up beyond that point, though, the individual elements seem to gel together a little better. Things strip away slightly before the 4:30 mark, and elements such as warm pads and harps are introduced - I wager this would've been a brilliant basis for more of the track! Overall I can't say I'm a fan. Sorry, Jeremy! [6*]

 

I feel foolish for nearly forgetting about "Bucket of Fear" - another file from Doyle's late-nineties cutting room floor. I mean, it's not a track I would associate with Doom, for sure, if anything a piece of performance art - listening, I can easily picture a New Simplicity artist performing "Music for Metal Bucket in D Minor". Jokes aside, this one took me a little while to get into due to its repetitive introduction and the cartoony nature of its percussive sounds, but I really dug it in the end, especially the bouncy groove that it's got going on both rhythmically and melodically. The heavy guitars come out of left field, but I am very glad they do. The effervescing acid bass is also a fine addition - this plus the shuffling heavy drums give me "Command and Conquer" vibes. A very strong piece, overall. [8.5*]

 

Closing the album with a moment of levity is the curiously self-deprecatory "Lounge of Carnage (Live)" - a piano interpretation of Shaw's "Rhythm of Carnage", presented as an intermission piece in a crowded lounge/bar setting, ambience (and audience) provided. As one of the booing wankers in this track, I can assure that the opinions vocalised herein do not reflect the opinions of any real persons.

 

Overall album rating: [8*]

 

To quickly recap: The compositions have been shown decent care and attention by their original creators - to be expected, of course. Our three core composers are clearly showcasing undeniably that they've Still Got It. Mark Klem and David Shaw are still having a lot of fun with the extensions and extra flourishes they've added. We see Jeremy Doyle showing no small amount of manpower in his guitar playing on tracks like "Rhythm of Carnage" and "Rage". Across the board JD Herrera's contributions are second-to-none and his guitar and bass tones fat and juicy - a fine addition to the veteran crew behind these pieces, lifting every track he features on with masterfully fluid playing and the odd creative flair. They plainly make an excellent team.

 

In only a few cases was I "disappointed" (too strong a word, that, really) by material that seemed out of place, or mix quality, which seems to vary dramatically piece by piece. But I reckon I can look past these. Fun was obviously had, as I'm sure was done two decades prior, and honestly, that's the thing I seek out more than anything, in my own work, and in that of others. It wouldn't be fair of me to make scientifically-precise comments on each individual track when the project as a whole is clearly born out of an undying love for the game, and for the art - twenty years later, no less.

 

This album is by no means flawless, but all the same I would have to recommend it as required listening if you have any fondness for the classic megawad soundtracks at all - which you should. Judge it on your own merits - there's assuredly at least something for everyone in this package.

 

That's Jimmy signing off for now. Many many thanks to these guys for considering me as an advance reviewer, and for continuing to contribute to the community all this time later. I'm certainly looking forward to the proper release, and what you guys plan to do with "Reason For Nothing", "Dry Rot", "Take All (I Have More)", and "Slider".

 

:)

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http://www.tolwyn.com/requiem-reimagined/requiem-soundtrack-review-alfonzo/

 

REQUIEM REIMAGINED

Reviewed by: Augustus “Alfonzo” Knezevich

 

At almost 25 years of age, Doom's community has had plenty of time to reflect upon the years that gave us Memento Mori, Hell Revealed, Requiem... the widely regarded classics of WAD history. In that same time, the original soundtracks for those titles have continued to enjoy use across all emerging disciplines of level design, with tracks like Give In (With Pleasure) and 'Blood Will Spill jostling for position against even the most celebrated music from commercial games. And is it any wonder? These guys knew how to make MIDIs! Now, finally, in 2018, they've shown they know how to “reimagine” them, as well...

 

Requiem Reimagined marks the return of the old guard: David Shaw, Mark Klem and Jeremy Doyle alongside guitarist JD Herrera. It comprises high-production adaptations of all tracks composed for the set and brings to bear all the skills (and equipment!) at the musicians' disposal. To say nothing of how the album fares when all is said and done; it's an excellent initiative and a monumental undertaking–the total running time pulling up a little short of two hours. No doubt the normally reserved members of Doomworld will come clamouring over the top of each other to stick their ears in this one.

 

So, how does it hold up?

 

The challenges faced by an album of this calibre are in some ways familiar and in other ways unusual (it's not like there are many studio adaptations for twenty-year-old high-profile MIDIs in circulation, these days). Aside from the weight of expectation, transitioning away from the original format and game context forces the kinds of creative decision-making you wouldn't have to contend with elsewhere. Hasn't every player who's tread the mines of Requiem's Reactor or Dens of Iniquity developed their own ideas as to how these tracks could sound–or should sound–given the treatment they deserve? My guilty ass had to suppress two decades of built-up biases before hitting play on some of these numbers. This, on top of the need to turn perfectly fitting game tracks into something you can appreciate in isolation, divorced from old, ASHWALL towns and glacial bases...; it's admirable the way in which creative license has been used to embellish structurally, for sound and for length, to the extent that it has.

 

That said, Doom has half of its musical roots buried deep in metal–heavy metal–and a good portion of what's on offer in Reimagined was just waiting to be grabbed by the scruff of the neck and shoved into overdrive. Klem's original body of work in particular is detailed and percussively diverse enough that discovering a unique path of production for each track can only have been easy. Or is that... Destruction? As with tracks like the foreboding Under Death or the fast and loose Rage, it's an example of one that trusts completely in the shape of the original, allowing the handiwork of Herrera to give that extra lick of polish to an otherwise well-rounded piece. No problems there, just quietly: JD has already amassed an impressive body of work performing awesome covers of tracks by the same musicians. His presence here is resounding.

 

While Klem's tracks do occasionally speed off the trail into more risky territory (Lordly Might incorporates several stylistic deviations that make the whole sound a little loose and misdirected), it's the work of Shaw and Doyle that's the most removed in some way or other... and which through risk offers the most reward, potentially. If you can get over the shock to the system you're likely to experience with The Helix, for instance, a track which has been partly disappeared beneath some eighties inspiration, you may be better positioned to enjoy the more seemly changes to a track like Hunter's Lair, which has had its transitional highlights consolidated to create something more fluid and evocative.

 

Here's a run-down of each track in review. Scores are out of ten: **Note that a number of tracks are still wrapped up in production as of this writing and have been omitted**

 

***

 

Barracus Returns

In vanilla Doom, you had a solid ten-or-so seconds before the title screen melted away to reveal some demo of a dude playing badly. Title tracks were short and ultra-detailed as a result, with Barracus being no exception–whoever he is. Dicing up such an iconic flourish would have been a bad move, probably, so the team has opted instead to have it preceded by a spooky-cool signal-finding: the album getting ready to unleash on the listener. Simple enough, and it goes without further comment. [7]

 

Rhythm of Carnage

A rip-roaring introduction that's one among Shaw's more conservative reimaginings in the album. Extended just enough to allow for more structural complexity and some fresh guitar-work by Doyle, it compliments the whole album listening experience before it satisfies on an individual level... but this is more a point in retrospect, considering some of the more demanding entries further down. It's sure to get the blood pumping. [8]

 

Rage

Rage gets into lane early and steps on the gas. It's true to the form of the original but finds the time and space to allow Herrera off the hook with some distinct solos–grafted seamlessly so that I had to double check to make sure they weren't in the MIDI to begin with. At times I felt the percussion was perhaps not leading into the transitions as tightly as deserved, though it's a negligible point: the right amount of energy is invested between sections even as the whole carries a cooler, looser quality than expected. Head-bopping stuff. [8]

 

Breath of Sin

One of the more understated tracks for Requiem despite the icy setting of the map in which it's featured... it makes sense that Shaw would try and adapt the few elements that set the track apart from other heavier numbers like Carnage and Rage before it–to give it more character. Results are mixed, with details that overcrowd the limited structure in pursuit of a sifting, steely beat, resulting in something that feels less than the sum of its parts. Thematically, it's an interesting move (the mobile bass and horns of the MIDI version certainly open the door for a fuller-sounding rendition) but I'd like to have heard more done in isolating unique points of the structure in lieu of those extra elements. [6]

 

Somewhere Over the Horizon

Horizon is an evocative enough track to begin with that the team could have been forgiven for embracing the forlorn, orchestral build wholesale, along with the effective transition in the second half, without much in the way of compromise. In contrast to many of Klem's tracks in the album, however, which take slighter liberties within an already working space, it has had its existing qualities emboldened with obvious distinction. And it's amazing. The weight and timbre of the strings are here partnered by synth that pitches and soars over the arrangement. When the rhythmic guitar breaks the mould it capitalises to full effect, flicking into gear to sustain one of the most engaging minutes in the album (~4:30). An already wonderful piece of work made better in Reimagined. [10]

 

Mystic's Glance

It's hard to discern intention from limitation with MIDI, at times, and if Breath of Sin needed something more precisely complicating to help elevate it into the lands of high production value, Mystic's Glance is a track that is best-served by remaining understated. Here, however, Shaw has introduced a number of additional components to resound in crashing waves throughout the track; an evocation of deep open spaces and jangling bone chimes. The sort of scenes you might find in a Conan film. Does it work? It's certainly inspired and well-directed, even granted the almost intrusive onset of Herrera's solo–ultimately a tasteful addition to the track, when it gets going. Perhaps slightly overburdened once more, though my nostalgia appears to have survived intact. Handle With Care. [7]

 

Path of Destruction

As noted, this one carries itself with confidence. The bass which had in the MIDI thundered right up the spine of the track is here synthesised and upstaged by an all-powerful, air-shaking barrage of snares. Delicious and rich! Like with later tracks Skinny Puppy and Devil's Ground, the intricacies of Klem's beats, plus other elements, allows the team to reach deep into the genre toolbox and pull out all the sounds that best realise its potential. Love the new outro... but you're bloody lucky I don't dock marks for ditching the sax. Retsnom latigid a s'tI. [9]

 

Jacob's Staircase

Too much love and care has gone into this project for any one track to seem “by the numbers,” so I won't be levelling that criticism at Jacob's Staircase. It's a well-done piece, softened by the slightly more open-sounding production quality of the mixing and instrumentation. Unlikely to be making the line-up for the Requiem Reimagined World Tour, though. [7]

 

Under Death

It won't get points like Horizon does for attempting something different; but it will make almost all of them up with slick execution. Everything works to a tee, here. You loved the MIDI with its satanic toy box-turned-engine of destruction; you'll get down on your knees for the reimagined Under Death. [9]

 

The Helix

If you don't know Helix like the back of your hand then prepare to get thrown for a loop. Actually, scratch that–you'll get blind-sided anyway. The team exercises full artistic license here to deliver something nostalgic, almost charmingly self-indulgent, and totally in keeping with the established trend of guiding Shaw's game-fit soundtracks into interesting new spaces. Very few of the original track's limited motifs are employed in the way you'd expect, instead being incarnated with a kind of night-life vibrancy; carried along by a delicate-sounding keyboard, haunting vocals and smooth bass. The vast majority of those recognisable bits are ousted altogether, in fact, including the calamitous interlude, which has been replaced by something even more ambitious. Not bad on the solo front either, guys. [9]

 

Lordly Might

...And then, unfortunately, a bit of a misfire. Many of the twists are too deviant given the available material, and although you can sense the fun being had by Herrera, the whole doesn't quite come together. A shame, as the rolling storm of slap bass, brass and percussion in the original is what many will have hoped to connect with (I've noticed the lack of brass as well, Klem. Don't think I'm not on to you). [5]

 

Hunter's Lair

...And we're back up to speed! At nearly ten minutes, Hunter's Lair is the longest and most tempered of Shaw's tracks. It's also among the very best. The slow burn of strings leading suddenly into what some consider to be Requiem's crowning melody has been built-up and smoothed over with measured, mellow tones, layered guitar work, and enough space to allow some more progressive parts to take flight. Like with Helix, there's an undercurrent of nostalgia beyond the obvious associations with the source material. It's the sort of product that only could have resulted granted the twenty-odd years between drinks. An excellent piece of work. [10]

 

Breach of Madness

No holds barred. Breach of Madness is a track that's packed with blistering energy and makes no pretense about where it's headed. Read: fever pitch. As is the case with most of Klem's work covered here, the resemblance remains true more or less throughout, but there's also a surprising amount of additional effort placed into paving the ascent. Of particular note are the anguished guitars that help sustain the intensity for the first half, as well as the ultimate solo and Herrera's bass, which really makes the most of those spotlight measures (~2:40). These little fills and rolls are what makes the piece a stand-out.

 

To give you an idea of how turbulent this track is: I almost got seasick. [9]

 

Lamneth's Ground

A personal favourite from Requiem, delivered here with a traditional lean. Shaw must have either cashed in all his chips with Helix or given this one the slip, because it survives more or less one-for-one with the original incarnation... and thank goodness! Even the sky-high guitar solo–the most iconic in Requiem?–is happy to man its station dutifully until the outro. I'm in two minds about the mixing in some places, which is a treatment sounding similar to the one given to Jacob's Staircase, but which here dampens the clarity of sound in moments where a delicate tone is required. A fine track, all the same. [8]

 

Devil's Ground

Devil's Nightclub is definitely the correct interpretation. The strobing waves of synth, saw and square signalled precisely this outcome. In the interest of advancing the music beyond its Doom origins, those eight simple bars of distortion guitar have been spiked and let loose on the dance floor, where Herrera is waiting to sling it over his shoulder and run it roughshod through the mix like a drunkard. Excellent! Are you having fun, yet? [8]

 

Last Resort

If you somehow manage to miss the urbanized Resort through all that swaggering bass, chill keyboard and Doylosian phasing (this involves the frequent “cutting into” of a sustained note's volume levels), then rest assured: you can eventually hear it crossing over the room upstairs and slapping together the next segment. It's a reimagining that's not totally surprising granted the advanced techniques used by Doyle that, like with Klem's work, allow for clarity in inspiration, but it's still quite far removed from what the original sounds like. It's also very good. [8]

 

Tides of War

An interesting consistency across two of Doyle's remaining tracks in Reimagined is the percussive sounds–the tribal or subcontinental thrums and taps that are coupled with synth-heavy effects, in keeping with the overall tone of the album. Again, like with Resort, it makes sense granted the prevalence of stylistic traits and how reliant the MIDI version is upon them for distinction. The arrangement, dominated here as it was previously by a disquieting, almost brooding tone–typical of Doyle's earlier work–is preserved and appreciated... and repeated, moreover, more than is needed in a track of this length. Without any significant departure in the way it's is structured, the listener's attention must be carried across on waves of variation. A tough ask, and one that Tides doesn't quite respond to convincingly.

 

I liked Tides to begin with, though, so it would have taken more than this to sink it. [7]

 

Skinny Puppy

Skinny Puppy has a significantly reduced tempo versus the MIDI version and a far longer runtime, verging almost on trance with its highly phased layering and soft pinging; a drowsy, crystalline quality that wraps around the familiar bass and covers most of the piece. What little structuring there was before has more or less been shunted in favour of maximising the potential from this decision, and it probably fares better than Tides, which trusted in the original sequence of transitions for the extended running time. The bass break, featured twice in the original, is used just once here around the 6:00 mark. [7]

 

The Everlasting Negative

There's a lot to be getting on with in Everlasting's two minutes, so a dutiful rendition was to be expected, especially granted the playful, sprightly energy that gives this piece its distinction. The guitar work is tempered and bold, perhaps lacking just a little definition without those ornamental frills. Slightly languid, but does the job well enough. It's a neat little piece! [8]

 

Elegant Tension

Here we have the first of two unused Requiem tracks, both by Doyle, which remained unheard and unreleased until 2015 (they've already been pilfered by the Doomworld crowd for use in their latest WADs and Mods!). As a MIDI it's quite a spooky and ethereal piece, light on percussion, warping constantly with details and effects typical of Doyle's style. The reimagining doesn't veer too far from the framing of the original but does swap in a number of significant components including a decidedly... well, inelegant beat; a stiff, robotic slamming with jittering synth; a metallic growl that phases over the middle part of the track. It all brings to mind the image of magnetic horrors being summoned up from the depths of a dust-blown junk yard in Hell. It's different, but I like it. [8]

 

Bucket of Fear

Correction: that clanging you hear at the start of the track isn't one of the tribal instruments mentioned in the Tides of War review. It's actually a bucket. A bucket of... angry, pent-up rage. Don't spill it!

 

Doyle's second unused MIDI is almost like a distillation of his style's most identifiable traits into one angry track, and the album version is only too happy to build upon what's provided with massive surges of savage energy. What fun! Riding the sense of anticipation between those moments of release is a much easier ask in this piece versus Tides, also, with plenty of character bestowed upon each iteration of the central, galloping lead-in. The controlled demolition nearing the end of the track is brilliantly done. [9]

 

***

 

Time has diminished neither the talent nor the creative vision of Doom's Mightiest Music Men. Though it's perhaps inevitable that some listeners' expectations will be left stranded after twenty years of nurtured imaginings; this would only occasionally be resulting from, say, the musicians' over-eagerness to engage with tools that weren't available for use at the time. Removed from all comparison with the source material, we still find ourselves in possession of an album boasting an excellent display of skill, craftsmanship and attention to detail, and which is surprisingly if not totally well-rounded for its length. Even if you're one of the unlucky few to have never known Requiem or heard any of its music: do yourself a favor!

 

And oh, play some god damn Doom, while you're at it.

 

TOTAL SCORE: 8/10

Edited by Alfonzo : Linked review is now up to date!

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JD Herrera? ((O.o))

 

Haven't seen anything on his channel for years, figured he was sick of us

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Big thank you to @Jimmy and @Alfonzo

 

Also, @Vorpal we stole him for this project.

 

Also @Alfonzo

Quote

"you can eventually hear it crossing over the room upstairs and slapping together the next segment"

 

I just got it. Brilliant.

Edited by Tolwyn

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Wow, this is great stuff. I just wanted to say how much I love your work in Requiem. It was one of the first custom wads and still to this day it's an amazing wad to play through. The music was amazing with a number of tracks I always enjoyed. I can't wait to listen to this. 

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While I'm here, can I ask @JDoyle where his two unused tracks (Elegant Tension and Bucket of Fear) might be officially located in their original MIDI form? I know they're on YouTube, but if links to the MIDI files were posted, I'm afraid I missed 'em. D:

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I think I must have posted them some time back in 2015. Didn't you and Alfonzo use Elegant Tension on a speedmap? :)

I should probably add links to MIDIs on my YouTube videos, that's a good idea! But in the meantime:

 

Elegant Tension (AKA REQ-JD12.MID) https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B79YBwbj0yrTMDVJaUNIbDYwYTg

 

Bucket of Fear (AKA REQ-JD08.MID) https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B79YBwbj0yrTczNGTlVQdlZYVUU

 

And while I'm posting, I'd really like to thank you and Alfonzo for taking the time to write up these reviews! I'm very excited for everyone to hear what we've been working on for almost two years now! 

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Awesome stuff, Jeremy. :D Thanks to you and the rest of the crew behind this album again for considering me as an advance reviewer. :) Your hard work will assuredly pay off.

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It's done.

:)

 

We're just finalizing and signing off on all the normal tidbits.

Over 2 hours and 10 minutes. Woah.

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Is it true some reviewer person accidentally delayed the release of this by a couple of days? :(

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Yes, but he's a wonderful person from the UK that doesn't understand that TUESDAY IS THE RELEASE DAY IN THE US!!!

 

But seriously, we really need to sign off on the nitty-gritty (spelling errors, id3 tag errors, etc.).

 

You are off the hook.

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It's a big one!

http://www.tolwyn.com/requiem-reimagined/requiem-soundtrack-review-tristan/

 

 

REQUIEM REIMAGINED

Review by Tristan “Eris Falling” Clark

 

I regret to say that while I have seen many PWADs in the six years since I got hold of the PC versions of the Doom series, there are only a small number that I have properly played to completion or at least finished most of the maps. Alas, Requiem is not one of them, but don’t write off this review just yet!

 

Requiem was released in early July 1997 (an excellent month, I must say) and its original soundtrack - by Mark Klem, David “Tolwyn” Shaw and Jeremy Doyle - joined the two Memento Moris to become quintessential classics within the world of Doom music, and even today it seems rare to find a megawad or community project that doesn’t use at least one MIDI from these WADs, and with opinions on what makes a Good Doom Map becoming steadily more polarised, the classic WADs aren’t looked back on as fondly now as they might have been ten years ago. In short, it’s the music that has truly stood the test of time.


So with that in mind, Requiem’s 21st anniversary is fast approaching, so what better way of celebrating it with the return of the musical triad, who over the last two years have put together a new rendition of the entire soundtrack, recorded with high quality VSTs and real guitars and bass. The veterans are back, and they want us newer musicians off their lawn!

 

In general, I love this kind of concept. MIDIs to me are never just MIDIs - I often wonder about how something would sound if it were given this kind of treatment. While I may not have the years of nostalgia tied to these compositions, I do know a bit about remaking MIDIs like this, so here we go!

 

TRACK BY TRACK

Like the other reviewers, I’ll be rating each track out of ten. Two songs, both by Klem, are not present in my review copy so I can’t review them! (oops: this became untrue while I was writing this and forgot about it)

 

Barracus Returns (Intro/Intermission)

The music for the title screen and intermissions has tripled in length from 13 to 40 seconds for this rendition. Most of the extra length comes from a new introductory build up featuring some wacky frequency modulations and low hums before it launches into a pretty heavy rendition of the original riff which frankly blows the MIDI version out of the water. I’m flicking back and forth between the two as I write this and the MIDI just sounds mellow now! I think this does great as a prelude to the main album, though I do wish the transition from the ambient-like opening to the heavy riff hit me in the face just a little harder, there’s potential for more impact. 9/10

 

The Rhythm of Carnage (MAP01/26)

As I recall, there was a version of this from earlier in production that was shown publicly before the project was formally announced, and I had a number of gripes that I quietly passed on to Jeremy. Happily, I can say that the things I had complaints about are no longer present here. Similar to Barracus Returns, real metal knocks MIDI metal out of the park here. Right from the start we’re treated to some very loud and punchy drums before launching into some excellent rhythm guitar chugging from Mr. Doyle. The lead guitar sounds great, and the song loops for a second run to extend the track from its modest original length of 90 seconds, with the second pass featuring some additional flourishes on the lead guitar. Simple, effective and awesome, just how I like my opening tracks. 9/10

 

Rage (MAP02/27)

Sweet. See, this is why I like to imagine what MIDIs could be like when done this way. This is a song I’m not familiar with, and I listened to the original MIDI first and honestly, it’s a six or a seven out of ten for me. This version though is amazing! JD Herrera has done a fine job with the guitar and bass here and the mixing is pretty on point too. Overall it feels slightly faster than the MIDI although it might be just me. The half-time section that comes in around two minutes sounds absolutely awesome, a real headbanger of a riff that’s followed by a nifty synth solo and then an excellent guitar solo straight after that, both of which feel like they should have been in the MIDI to begin with. There’s even a second guitar solo towards the end of the piece, featuring a slightly cleaner and very beautiful tone. Excellent work. 10/10

 

Breath of Sin (MAP03/28)

Here we see a change of musical style - Breath of Sin sat very much in line with Bobby Prince’s darker-sounding compositions for the original Doom games with its classic twelve-bar-blues structure and lack of heavy guitars. The drift away from hard rock and heavy metal was to be expected here, though I was not expecting this reimagination to take things in a more electronic direction, with a lot of background synth work throughout and synthetic drums - including a snare drum that’s just a bit too loud for my liking. Although this doesn’t play into my musical preferences like the last two tracks, it’s still a well-crafted reimagination, and an interesting one, no doubt. 7/10

 

Somewhere Over the Horizon (MAP04)

The second Klem song in the album is arguably one of the best known pieces from Requiem, one of those that has gone on to see extensive use by mappers since. A Klem Klassic, you could say. It may be fair to say then that a lot of attention will be directed towards this piece, so it better be a good interpretation!

The song starts out with the ominous string arrangements that many of us are familiar with, though now a synth lead is introduced at around the 50 second mark, an unexpected addition, but I feel it’s a nice one. The percussion sounds great when it kicks in, and when the guitar is initially introduced, it stays at the back of the mix and let’s the orchestra stay in the foreground until its time is up, just like it did in the MIDI. The guitar is still very cool when it does take centre stage, but for me the orchestra-driven parts of this are by far the highlights for me. Substituting the staccato double basses for what sounds like a bassoon struck me as an odd choice though, nitpicky as it may sound. Very good overall. 9/10

 

Mystic’s Glance (MAP05)

I can’t recall anything about Requiem MAP05, but I do know this song from elsewhere; a really, really dark map in fact where that low celesta melody perfectly sets the mood of knowing there are many monsters hiding in the shadows, patiently waiting for their cues to rip you a new one. So that’s what I associate this track with, granted it’s less of a solid base for reviewing this than if I were instead associating it with the map it first appeared on. Coming in at nearly seven minutes, Mystic’s Glance is one of the longer recordings on the album, and at first the initial celesta melody is nowhere to be seen, with the track starting off with an ominous choir instead before the main motifs show up. There’s a lot of “explosive” percussion elements present here, replacing the standard drum kit of the original song, and  these work pretty well. Herrera comes in with a well-played guitar solo after the 4-minute mark, though its inclusion feels a bit out of place to me, and the synth solo that follows fits in a bit better. Overall it’s pretty good, but it is admittedly one I had to listen to a few times until I was sure of how I felt about it. 7.5/10

 

Path of Destruction (MAP06)

A very loud interpretation of another Klem Klassic here. The sweeping synths that fill up the background really add a new dimension to this piece. For the first two minutes or so I honestly wasn’t sure about the overall mix here, it felt like it was lacking substantially in the lower frequencies, but when the bass guitar finally kicks in it really makes its presence known - that tone is freaking beautiful. From there on out I love it, for pretty much the same reasons as Rage; an excellent bit of hard rock riffage, and also that ending is fantastic. 9/10

 

Jacob’s Staircase (MAP07)

Since the original has a length south of two minutes, Jacob’s Staircase gets a second run through its structure here so it’s not over as soon as it begins. It’s a pretty faithful reinterpretation, where there aren’t really any additions to the song until it’s well into its second pass, where we get some overdriven guitars added to the background, and a synth taking over the lead melody. There’s not a whole lot else to say about this one, there’s nothing actually wrong with it, but unless you loved the original, it’s not likely to be your highlight of the album. 8/10

 

Under Death (MAP08/30)

I love Under Death, so going in to this my expectations are high, and my expectations are met. The harp at the beginning sets the same dark and mysterious tone that the MIDI executed so well, and the rest of the orchestra-focused half of the song stays on par. New additions are limited, but among them is some smooth guitar tapping from Doyle around the two minute mark, which bounces around the stereo space a bit before disappearing again.  True to its original structure, the song changes from its ominous orchestral beginnings into a mid-tempo rock piece with Doyle returning to provide some neat rhythm guitars. The overall mix is great - an excellent rendition of an already great track, what more could you want? 10/10

 

The Helix (MAP09/29)

Tolwyn’s Helix is the second longest track on the album, coming in at eight-and-a-half minutes. The atmosphere has really been cranked up a notch for this rendition with the pounding percussion and bright tones of the piano swimming in reverb and all the background elements blend together fantastically well with a gradual build-up in this extended introduction. Things don’t really take off until about three minutes in when the main drum kit enters. That too is mixed well, the snare isn’t dissimilar to the explosive nature of General MIDI’s power kit, and it’s a very fitting sound for this track, even though the original MIDI didn’t actually use the power kit.

At around the midpoint of the track comes a completely unexpected turn - it threw me off the first time I heard it but upon a repeat listen I was able to appreciate that it really is pretty well executed and it’s actually not even out of place, though I’m not sure how die-hard fans of Helix will react to it. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that someone likes Phil Collins, heh. When that part is over, we get a fairly long guitar solo with some harmonising for colour, followed by an equally long synth solo, very well played and kept quite simple, complementing its smooth tone, and then a long outro brings the eight-minute behemoth to a gradual fade-out finish.

 

I know a lot of people are looking forward to neo-Helix - while only the first half is the song you remember, the second half is prog rock at its best and a definite highlight of the album, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

10/10

 

Lordly Might (MAP10)

Quite different to the original MIDI - I mostly like this but I feel like there’s something a bit off about it, and while I struggle to place it myself, others have noted that this track was not Herrera’s tightest guitar-playing, so I assume that’s it. The solos are very good though, no complaints there. This was good but had potential to be better. 7/10

 

Hunter’s Lair (MAP11)

Lordly Might barely gives you time to catch your breath after the 8-minute Helix takes the #2 spot in track length, and now the #1 spot is eaten up by another Tolwyn piece, a nine-minute rendition of Hunter’s Lair, so basically it’s nearly tripled in length. Now you’re on my lawn, Tolwyn!

 

This version of Hunter’s Lair starts off by sticking pretty faithfully to the original, with the drumkit limited to just the hi-hats, and the deep bass line playing the slow variant of the gallop rhythm - reminds me a bit of Iron Maiden’s proggier side. At around 2:30, the original MIDI moves to a new segment that it ends on, but this version instead introduces some guitar layers - with Doyle on electric and Tolwyn himself on acoustic - before the drums come in fully. The compression on the drums is a bit much for me at first, but this is in part down to the fact it’s mainly just the drums on their own with the bass guitar at first, and it sounds gradually better as the rest of the instruments are added on top of them. From around the four-minute mark onwards the song sticks mainly to the ending segment I mentioned earlier, and that ending segment can itself be split down further into two smaller segments - both of which are extended. That first one really cements the Maiden parallels to me, and the song reaches its full arrangement on the second loop. The acoustic guitar proves itself to be an excellent addition at this point, it fits in perfectly.

 

From the six-minute mark we get the second half of the original track’s ending, with that lovely melancholic guitar melody and strings backing up the end of each line in a bit of a power ballad-esque way. The song wanders off into solo territory after this - the keyboard goes first, but it’s Doyle’s guitar solo that will grab your attention. A reprise of that iconic melody rounds off this rendition, with some nice harmonies added to the guitar before the song cuts to just percussion instruments in a long fade-out ending. I think comparisons to Helix may be inevitable considering they are both the titans of the set, and whilst they total up to over quarter of an hour, both are worth every minute. 10/10

 

Breach of Madness (MAP12/31/story texts)

The song you may also know as “Mesmarine” is another part of Requiem’s soundtrack that still enjoys relatively frequent use in Doom levels today. It’s a similar composition to Under Death (also by Klem) with its eerie yet immediately recognisable opening segments before becoming more rock-oriented later on.

In this reimagination, no time is wasted in getting to the heavier part, with a start-to-overdriven-guitar score of ten seconds. I do feel it’s a bit of a shame that the eeriness of that keyboard melody, the most iconic part of the song (for me at least) isn’t really allowed to flourish here, but beyond that it’s a pretty well-executed remake and, intro notwithstanding, the structure is faithful to the original as well, but maybe this time that’s not such a good thing because due to that intro, the pacing now feels a little off to me. Towards the end of the track we are graced with an excellent guitar solo from Herrera - this one has got a fair bit of speed to it! Very good outro sequence too. 8/10

 

Lamneth’s Ground (MAP13)

The introductory piano is new to this reimagining, and lifts Lamneth’s Ground to over seven minutes. It’s officially a big one now! It’s a welcome addition too as it sets a tone that is different from every song up to this point. The original arrangement kicks in just before the first minute’s up, and for me the Hammond organ is of particular note here - it has a more fitting tone for its purpose compared to the MIDI, I feel.

Overall it sticks close to the source material, with some minor arrangement changes, the organ sticks around longer, its brighter, cleaner tone contributing a nice layer even places where it didn’t play originally, whereas the choir from around the midpoint of the track is very faint, you have to really listen for it. Then comes the guitar solo, and it’s very close to the original, excellent stuff there although it would seem no one actually played guitar here.

Once again, solid ending, gotta love vi-i. 9/10

 

Devil’s Grounds (MAP14)

The Devil has more grounds than Lamneth, that’s for sure. (Sorry, had to!)

 

A shorter offering here, not an unwelcome change as too many long epics back to back can be a bit tiring. This was a very synth-heavy piece to begin with and that doesn’t change in this rendition - although the panning of the individual elements feels a bit extreme here. The song is ultimately building up to a guitar solo from Herrera which kicks in at 2:54, and it’s great… until it kicks straight back out again at 3:06. Twelve seconds!? It does return shortly afterward, but the shredding it seemed like we were in for doesn’t show, instead there’s some layered harmonising which leads the track to its abrupt ending.

I know I said it was nice to have a shorter track after the string of longer pieces, but I feel this could have had significantly more to it than it ultimately does. 6/10

 

Last Resort (MAP15)

Last Resort is the first track on the album to be composed by Jeremy Doyle. Already we’ve seen him do a fine job with some of Klem’s tracks, how will he approach one of his own? Well, naturally there’s more artistic freedom when it’s your own track - you’re allowed to call the shots with regards to changing things, and I think that shows in what Doyle’s done here.

 

The original song made prominent use of synths, and here things go a step further, adding lots of filter effects over the original bass line and melodies. The drums sound a bit more electronic, and that suits the synth-heavy sound well. My favourite part of this track was always the second half, where the guitar joins in, and the same is true for this version, although the song has been proportionally stretched to double its original length - the original MIDI will have finished playing by the time you get to the second half here. The transition is well-paced, giving time for the bass player to walk into the room, prepare the equipment and then launch into some super-funky slap bass. The original heavy guitar riff does show later, but here its appearance is split up by a reprise of the slap bass section, this time accompanied by a guitar with a wah-effect. It’s certainly a different direction, but the back and forth between the familiar arrangement and the new one is a nice touch, and keeps things interesting. When everything is twice as long, that’s a necessity really. 8/10

 

Reason for Nothing (MAP16/22)

This, I believe, was the last song to be finished for the album. I’m writing this with days (hours?) until the album launches, and Jeremy sent it over today as we were talking about playing bass - particularly playing fast - and ironically that’s something he decided not to do here, letting a software instrument take over instead, though when we’re talking solid 16th notes at this kind of tempo and the fact that this song is in the unfriendly key of F, you can’t blame him for not wanting to play it. The software bass has a nice bright tone that sounds great though, so it’s not a detriment to the track at all.

 

There isn’t really a whole lot else to talk about here, the arrangement of this song is exactly as it was in the original, down to the last note. Whilst conceptually I think it’s perfectly fine to do that - this wasn’t an ambitious track to begin with, and sticking so rigidly to the original when more adventurous remakes are chockablock on this album means it feels a bit lacklustre. It’s good for what it is though. 7/10

 

Tides of War (MAP17/32)

Two-minute MIDI becomes the third-longest track on the album, rounding up to eight minutes. I’m suspicious!

 

The first 80 seconds consists solely of the percussion that the original MIDI started with, but with some different instrument choices, it has a more tribal feel to it now and there’s a nice sense of a build-up with a background noise that gradually evolves from a distant rumble to a harsh, mid-range hiss, at which point the main drum kit enters, with a low synth, later followed by the clean guitar part from the original. Shortly before the 3:00 mark overdriven guitars are introduced - a new addition for this version. They later retreat, as do the drums, leaving the tribal percussion and the synths to do the work for most of the song’s remainder, though the guitar and drums return for the last minute and a half or so.

 

There’s one flaw with this though: It’s all done on that one motif. That same chord progression repeats over and over again, and whilst the changes to the arrangement are well-executed and do their best to keep things interesting and varied, I don’t believe the song needed to be approaching eight minutes to do what it does. There’s some interesting stuff that shows up in the second half, but I feel it could’ve been worked into the first half quite easily and things wouldn’t feel as drawn out. 7/10

 

Dry Rot (MAP18/23)

Well this one is just nuts. Herrera plays guitar and bass on this track, and whilst I wouldn’t say it’s his tightest playing on the album (though I’m not sure, it’s hard to tell when this song already had some odd rhythm stuff going on in the first place), Dry Rot sounds to me like it was a total bitch of a song to play, just check out those ascending bass arpeggios at 1:33! There’s so much going on in this track that it’ll probably take a few listens to make sure you’ve heard everything, and apart from the drums it’s all recorded. Impressive stuff, and probably safe to say it’s the most “technical” piece here. 9/10

 

Skinny Puppy (MAP19)

The original MIDI lies somewhere outside of my musical tastes, so I was a bit apprehensive when loading up a seven-minute reimagination, but this one starts off very differently. The original opening synth bass is still present, but here it’s slower, and it pushed to the background, running underneath dreamy synthesised strings that bring a pleasant atmospheric feel. Stylistically, I prefer this ambient section to the electronic feel of the original, but as with Tides of War, there’s pacing issues here: The ambient introduction, pleasant as it may be at first, takes up the first four minutes of the song. It’s a bit much! The track finally gets going after the four minute mark has passed, introducing electronic drums that go further away from my musical tastes than the MIDI, and while the dreamy strings are retained, you start hearing elements from the original track start to crop up in the closing stages.

Eh, sorry Jeremy, I’ve tried to avoid genre bias as best I can with some of the more electronic oriented pieces here, but with that and the fact that the pacing issues make the track much longer than it really needs to be, I can’t say I liked this one all that much. 5/10

(Small addendum: It probably goes without saying, but as I said, genre bias affected my view of this track more than any other on the album. If electronic music is your thing already, you'll probably like this more than my review indicates)

 

Take All (I Have More) (MAP20/25)

Interestingly, this one is a different key to the original, having been lowered from G# minor to E minor, a pretty big jump. Like the original, the song repeats its simple, jam-like main riff, but where you’re expecting the brass section to come in, instead there’s a guitar solo, which starts off quite simple, but Herrera can’t resist his speedy scales! After the solo, the track starts to deviate a bit from the original structure, and considering this is a pretty rock-focused album, and that the instrument in question has already been heard in previous songs, 2:47 gives us the one thing I was still waiting for: a Hammond solo! It’s an interesting one, not entirely sure if I’m hearing two organs or one rapidly bouncing from left to right in the mix, but regardless I’m glad of its presence. 8/10

 

The Everlasting Negative (MAP21)

Hey, I helped with this one! Sort of. Jeremy sent me an early version of this not long after the album was publicly announced. I’m not sure if I advised on anything other than the tone of the harp, but oh well, that harp sure sounds lovely :)

In all seriousness, I like orchestral pieces but MIDI can struggle with them at times, and that’s not meant to sound like it’s bashing Mark’s original, but my initial statement of “MIDIs are never just MIDIs” is something I feel applies to orchestral work even more than the rock and the metal. The bassoon and cello complement each other well, especially in the lower notes.

 

The structure is true to the original, although when the guitars kick in, the orchestral instruments are pushed further back than they were in the MIDI, which makes them seem a little drowned but it’s not a huge complaint. If anything I wish we got to hear more of the orchestra on its own, while the piece as a whole is great, at just two minutes, I want MORE! 8/10

 

Slider (MAP24)

Klem’s Slider is the last of the “main tracks” on the album. The intro of the original was certainly unlike anything else in Requiem, and the weird sound effects have been recreated with surprising accuracy, barring the improvements over the MIDI sounds, of course. It’s uniqueness is perhaps less pronounced now what with other tracks opting for additional atmospheric elements, but still, everything sounds pretty great here: the guitars are well played and overall it’s probably one of the best tracks in terms of mix quality. 9/10

 

Elegant Tension

The name certainly rolls off the tongue better than REQ-JD12.mid. Elegant Tension, along with Bucket of Fear after it, is an unused music track that Jeremy Doyle wrote for Requiem, and it wasn’t heard publicly until Doyle returned to the Doom community in 2015. Both tracks were reimagined and titled for inclusion as bonus tracks at the end of the album.

 

If you’ve never heard it, the original Elegant Tension is certainly worth a listen, a well-made, albeit short piece with a dark tone. Better than one might be expecting given it comes with the “unused” label. Straight up, I don’t think this rendition does the track justice, particularly the drums, which I don’t feel are a good match for the darker sound the song aims for. The song begins its ending sequence at around the 4:30 mark, and the inclusion of the harp there feels like a nod to the original nature of the track. While I like that, it’s also teasing me with what could have been. 6/10

 

Bucket of Fear

The second unused Doyle track is Bucket of Fear, also known by the catchy title of REQ-JD08.mid. Like Elegant Tension, the original track is perfectly fine, and once again I’m left wondering why it didn’t see use, considering several tracks in Requiem appeared more than once.

 

The eponymous bucket makes an appearance in this recording, playing a terrifying major role in the percussion section for the first two minutes. It’s joined by other elements to keep things interesting, though it still goes on for a bit longer than I’d like it to, but no worries, heavy guitars to the rescue! The riff is killer, and the stabby synth introduced at around 3:35 makes a good transition back to a quieter part of the song, though the guitars later return to finish things off. Pretty good overall. 8/10

 

Lounge of Carnage

get off, you’re shit <3  x/10

 

SUMMARY

This was an ambitious undertaking, and one that was two years in the making, but I’m glad to say the hard work that was put into this has paid off without a shadow of a doubt. There are a couple of misfires, but they’re outnumbered by the hits.

Klem’s tracks play things pretty safe and stick close to their original counterparts, whilst Tolwyn’s and Doyle’s tend to be a bit more adventurous, and there are examples of both approaches working well and not working so well.

 

Coming in at over two hours, the album is by no means a short listen, but even if, like me, you aren’t as familiar with Requiem as some people, I’d highly recommend giving this a listen. You know, Requiem has its name for a reason. It was supposed to be the last hurrah of the Doom modding scene before the world moved on to fancier things like Quake. The fact that this album - a celebratory work put together 20 years later - even exists is truly remarkable, and if you read through the liner notes included with the album as a PDF (a very nice touch I must say), it seems clear to me that the guys feel the same about that.

 

The album is officially finished as I write this conclusion, so of course, I’d like to say great work to everyone involved and congratulations on completing this project. I know redoing even just one track like this can prove to be a challenge, and so the amount of love, care and effort that has gone into doing twenty-six tracks is not lost on me. Special thanks to Jeremy Doyle for approaching me to write this review, sorry it turned out so huge!

 

I’m still not getting off your lawn though, Tolwyn :v

 

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

Track-by-track average score: 8.14

 

Edited by Eris Falling : *All* songs were in my review eventually

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On 3/9/2018 at 8:18 PM, Ex Oblivione said:

My Top 3 favorite Requiem OST tracks are Somewhere Over the Horizon, Lordly Might and Tides of War. There is an epic quality for this soundtrack that has stuck with me after hearing it so many years ago! I'm eagerly anticipating the Requiem Reimagined Soundtrack.

 

Did it still stick with you after all these years and this release?

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