Doom the Roguelike: The Album

Album track listing

No.Track TitleTimeRelease DateDownload Links
Album Cover Art Front Back Disc
01Doom the Roguelike Theme1:262010-11-06 MP3 OGG FLAC
02Rounds of Hell, part 11:442011-09-12 MP3 OGG FLAC
03Rounds of Hell, part 21:442011-09-12 MP3 OGG FLAC
04Rounds of Hell, part 31:442011-09-12 MP3 OGG FLAC
05Rage!5:102012-10-05 MP3 OGG FLAC
06Hell's Weapons3:202011-02-11 MP3 OGG FLAC
07The Brick Song4:162011-12-30 MP3 OGG FLAC
08Of Skull And Bone2:432011-07-21 MP3 OGG FLAC
09Unholy Cathedral2:442011-01-05 MP3 OGG FLAC
10Dark Secrets4:432012-03-18 MP3 OGG FLAC
11Something Wicked3:042011-06-28 MP3 OGG FLAC
12Too Hot Down Here3:322011-03-27 MP3 OGG FLAC
13Final Showdown1:222011-01-19 MP3 OGG FLAC
Full Album Download37:322014-10-16MP3 OGG FLAC

Discussion about the album was historically held on a ChaosForge.org forum topic. Installation instructions for the high-quality renderings could also be found there.

As a special feature, the source MIDI files are available here as a separate download.

The tracks are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license.

If you remix those tracks, play them live or record them in a studio, do let me know. The perfectionist in me would like to see my work becoming more awesome than it already is, more than it is in my power. Make it so, and you will win my deepest appreciation and many, many cookies1.

Author's notes

A game you truly like is one you are willing to do things for. In this case, the game is Doom the Roguelike or DoomRL in short.

The Album began as a single track that could replace the utterly unimpressive into sequence of the original Doom (and, by extension, DoomRL) — with all due respect to Robert Prince, whose work inspired many of the tracks included here, that intro sequence is one place where he really dropped the ball. Little did i know where it would eventually take me.

Tracks below are listed in order of composition.

Doom the Roguelike Theme — 1:26"

The first track i wrote for DoomRL. Originally it wasn't as interesting, though there were some finds i was eventually going to reuse in later works. I wasn't planning to continue writing any more music, but the community feedback was generally positive. The track saw two major revisions: one, when i switched from Timidity++ to FluidSynth, greatly improving the quality of the rendered tracks and another one when i stumbled upon a way to make it less bland.

Among influences for this track was Running From Evil from Doom II (oh, the irony), which you can hear in the drum and rhythm parts.

The inclusion of this track into DoomRL is its own story. For a long time Kornel would keep saying "No, it's good, really! And I like it, really! It just doesn't quite fit my ideas of the title music for DoomRL." Eventually, however, he gave in and included it with the first graphics version of DoomRL. Perhaps it grew on him, who knows.

Unholy Cathedral — 2:44"

This track began as an experiment with the church organ MIDI instrument and evolved from there. Every one of my tracks, starting from this one, features new tricks i learned while working on music and struggling to make it suck less. Here, the tricks are the combination of distortion guitars and church organ, the drum rolls and the crescendos, of which i am especially proud.

If you examine it closely, you'll find that the track is made of several major parts, each corresponding to a phase in the level for which it is intended, and which together tell a complete story. First, you would see the walls and doors of the cathedral, lit by eerie lava glow, accompanied by an ominous organ melody; Then, after opening the large doors you would get assaulted by lost souls, diving at you from the ceiling and from behind pillars; This part is well-fit by more-or-less traditional rhythm guitar sounds, pierced halfway with the already-familiar organ riff, denoting the approach of a second wave; Then, after opening the second doors, you would get charged by demons trying to chomp your head off, accompanied by a hard drum roll and a more aggressive guitar riff; Then, you would reach the third door, hiding a great evil, denoted by crescendos; Then, a big hand-to-hand battle would ensue, accompanied by a fast guitar solo with shreds in the end of every phrase; Then, should you win, the cathedral would begin to collapse (a second crescendo) and then — silence... With distant organ after-sounds.

Among the influences for this track was At Doom's Gate from the original Doom — remember the shreds?

The community reactions for this track were so ecstatic, that i had no choice but to keep writing more and more music, thus becoming the de-facto and, eventually, the official composer of the game.

Final Showdown — 1:22"

One of my personal favourite tracks to date. For the Most Certainly Secret Final Boss i had to make something unquestionably evil, so evil that it would drive fear into the heart of the foolish @ who reaches his lair. Right off the bat, this track blasts you with orchestra and guitar riffs and shreds, and doesn't let go until the very end. In fact, so imposing this track sounded, it could, reportedly, be listened to on repeat for thirty minutes straight without getting bored.

This track introduced the left and right panned shredding guitars, which were then back-ported to Doom the Roguelike Theme, and the string and brass ensembles joint performance, later re-used in Something Wicked, where it also fit pretty well.

Hell's Weapons — 3:20"

The first full-length track i composed for DoomRL, it is also one of my favourites. Written for the Hell Armory special level, it features a mechanic-sounding percussive track (including a long streak of 1/16 fill hi-hat lasting several minutes, which would be impossible for a human to play!) and a saw synth wave riff reminiscent of Into The Beast's Belly from TNT Evilution; Also there is some pretty sweet call-and-response between the two lead guitars, which makes me tear up every time i hear it. This track best shows my chief principle in music composition: "If i'm not excited to listen to it, then i'm redoing it until i am." Oh, and did i mention the awesome rhythm guitar part?

This one was actually rather difficult to make, practically stalling halfway through completion until i was suggested to listen to the aforementioned track from TNT, which was said to fit; After following that advice, everything fell into place and i was inspired, finishing the track within 24 hours.

Too Hot Down Here — 3:32"

This track (nicknamed "Bats" by my wife) was my original take on the more ambient and tense genre and commonly thought to be the weakest of my works. You see, by the time i wrote this track, the community was already used to having their minds blown and their souls torn to shreds by my music, that listening to this one was almost disappointing. However, it is a complete work that is incredibly difficult to add to; Moreover, the ambient and tense mood fits the mood of the intended level rather well. Among new finds in this track are the "ghostly guitar wails" and the speed changes near the end of the track.

The influences for this track include the cave theme from the original Diablo, which was, coincidentally, also remade by Kornel, with a lot of help from my other good friend, Anastasia Melnikova.

Something Wicked — 3:04"

Returning to the realm of the epic and frightening, this track draws influence from Josh Whelchel's Sanctus Inferno from the Gun Girl 2 Soundtrack.

When i was working on the track i suddenly felt a tingle of doubt. The track sounded a little too bright for the level for which it was intended. What's more, when looking for ideas i had the recklessness to listen to Sonic Mayhem's Descent Into Cerberon from the Quake II Soundtrack, which fit the level slightly better. It was too late to remake the track, however, as it already had a distinct theme and feel and would not take corrections easily. This realization almost made me give up composing; Luckily, i decided to go through with it and accept whatever came to me.

Time showed i was right in this decision.

Of Skull And Bone — 2:43"

For this track i decided to return to the slow, ambient sounding, this time adding a more distinct percussive pattern. Somehow it grew into a very interesting bass line and the leads "battling" between themselves add much character to the track.

A feature not present in other tracks is the "channel alternating dead notes" near the end of every verse, making the piece very flavourful.

By the time i finished the track, it was barely over 1:40, much too short for a normal special level. I couldn't simply make the track repeat — that would have been boring. Instead, i made it transform halfway into a fast-paced, hectic piece with a few shreds in-between, that would build on the previous material and complete it.

Rounds of Hell, part 1 — 1:44"

This track took a while to compose. While the bass, drum and rhythm parts were relatively straightforward, i had difficulty imagining a fitting lead; I couldn't make any progress until i i realized that i had picked the wrong key for the song, and, indeed, after changing the key from E to G, three semitones higher, it rolled quite easily, soon coming to a satisfying conclusion.

I knew i did something right when i realized that the track got stuck in my head one evening.

This track reuses a few ideas that were introduced in Doom the Roguelike Theme and Unholy Cathedral, as well as bits from an old, obscure track i once wrote for a different project (they fit better here than there anyway). In particular, the entire lead part is a variation of the theme song itself.

The length of the track was a relatively minor concern here because two other distinct parts were planned, which would, when combined, make this the longest track in the album. The last of my concerns vanished completely when i remembered that many good NES titles got away with music loops about half as long.

Rounds of Hell, part 2 — 1:44"

A variation on the same theme, but bigger and harder. This track follows the themes of the first part, taking it to a new level. Of course, the resolution of the first part makes a spectacular return as a reprise.

Rounds of Hell, part 3 — 1:44"

The ultimate variation of Rounds of Hell; This part hits you even harder than the second part, and, as a bonus, signs off with a 1/16 arpeggio spanning over four octaves which, while isn't impossible, would still be tricky to play on a real guitar, requiring a certain degree of skill.

All three variations were released together as a batch, intended to be used during different stages of a single special level, Hell's Arena.

The Brick Song — 4:16"

For this track, the choice was obvious. Since the intended level for this track is alluding to Pink Floyd, it seemed only natural for me to do so as well, picking a few elements from their key album and mixing them with my own, creating a rather tense, but still pleasing piece.

This track took the most effort to create compared to others so far. By the time it reached release candidate stage i already had 52 draft versions of it lying around; By a strange coincidence, the track was released on the 52nd week of the year, just in time for New Year — and DoomRL's 0.9.9.5 release, which, independently, through unrelated work on monster AI, made the level fit the song better.

Dark Secrets — 4:43"

This track is peculiar in that it was mostly written while taking a break from writing another track, and in that i wasn't quite sure it was complete even at the time of release.

It starts with a slow, ambient intro with a slightly dissonant guitar harmonics lead, gradually develops into a tense, ominous orchestral part with a strong drum track (a feature frequently requested by listeners), fades back into ambiance, then returns for a second round. Contrary to my tendencies so far, it contains very little electric guitar. Among influences for this track is the orchestral variation of Crossfire from the Moment of Glory album by the Scorpions — a band i appreciate very, very much.

An updated version was eventually released, addressing an issue left over from the limitations of the previous music composition software, also making the track a bit shorter, as it was originally intended.

Rage! — 5:10"

This track shows some influence from Sonic Mayhem.

Unlike the previous song, which contained very little electric guitar, this one is ALL about electric guitars. It also makes use of a rare trick, first attempted in the first edition of Doom the Roguelike Theme — two instruments superimposed one over another, creating an instrument that's not in the MIDI specification, but which fits my specific needs for the time.

The percussion for this track was the hardest to write — it would either lack depth, complexity, or refuse to fit the song's mood. It took a lot of trial and error and some extensive reading to finally clobber it into submission. In fact, about halfway through i became so unsatisfied with the results so far that i silenced every track except the percussion, bass and rhythm and kept working on them until the they sounded good on their own, inadvertently making them central to the composition in the process.

Curiously, over the course of its composition the song slowly but surely drifted towards greater repetition, causing several large chunks to be cut out from the middle and the end. Then, near the end of production, i decided against splitting the track into two, one for each variation of it's intended special level, instead focusing on producing a complete, self-sufficient album version, which also happens to loop pretty well.

Originally, i entertained myself with the idea of inserting the sound of a chainsaw start, followed by a few seconds of psychotic murderous screams in the beginning of the song, but decided against it in the end. Perhaps the music video will do that, if someone takes the challenge.

This was the final track released before other obligations consumed my time almost completely. After a while, i decided to give up the pretense that i'm going to finish this "someday" and release the album as-is (this decision became especially relevant because people have already began distributing bootleg copies of it by the time).


Notes

1 The cookies might not in fact be real.