Music for War! (Warhammer, that is.)
June 9, 2010 11:05 AM   Subscribe

I want to make a soundtrack for the Warhammer 40K universe. Maybe you can help.

Based on a thread from a number of months ago about Dan Abnett, I picked up some Warhammer 40K books. They're nothing too deep, but they're easy to read and fun and I've kind of been gobbling through them like a bucket of popcorn. I think I've read... 18? 19? of them since March.

Anyway, I like the mood and theme of the whole "deal" - the deal that can be summed up by foreword in most of these books - "To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable. These are the tales of those times. Forget the power of technology and science, for so much has been forgotten, never to be re-learned. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim dark future there is only war. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods."

I want music that evokes this mood. Mostly I listen to angsty pop and rock, and nothing seems to fit the bill for me. I don't care about genre - I'm OK with going well outside my comfort zone. I don't care if it's death metal or choral singing or what - but I'd like to expose myself to some new music (or maybe even some old music) that evokes the thematic elements of the Warhammer 40K universe.

So, if anything comes to mind, perhaps you will share it with me, and I will go and listen to it, and that will be awesome.
posted by kbanas to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
(My friends play Warhammer. I do not, so some of my terminology might will be off.)

If you're playing Orcs, Finntroll is going to be your jam. Laibach for the marine-types. DJ Teebee for those alien-guys. Third Eye Foundatiom for the zombies (wait, are there zombies? I don't remember.)
posted by griphus at 11:12 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think The Cr├╝xshadows, at least some of their tracks have a bit of the Warhammer feel. Although they don't really do enough shouting.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:13 AM on June 9, 2010

Response by poster: If it matters, and it may or may not, I'm not playing (and have never played) the game - I just like to read Space Marine novels (or, well, novels about the Imperium in general).
posted by kbanas at 11:14 AM on June 9, 2010

Well, there's Bolt Thrower, a Warhammer-inspired metal band.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:17 AM on June 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

I actually don't know if it's any good, but you could try the soundtrack from Dawn of War II.
posted by ecurtz at 11:25 AM on June 9, 2010

Dawn of War II is pure awesome, and therefore anything associated with it must also be awesome. I dont know about the soundtrack, but the sounds in the game are fantastic, hearing a dreadnaught stomp across the screen as your assualt marines jump into combat and the chainswords get going while your force commander calls in orbital strikes, its goooood.
posted by BobbyDigital at 11:36 AM on June 9, 2010

Any time you're dealing with Chaos or the Warp, MASTODON is the way to go. I mean, jesus, their last album was called Crack the Skye.
posted by Oktober at 11:36 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd also throw in anything by Tool, as well as Mars Volta's album Bedlam in Goliath. FOR THE EMPEROR
posted by Oktober at 11:37 AM on June 9, 2010

Heh, I actually have a play list in my collection called Dawn of War II - the music I listen to while playing the game.

Here is the list, sorted by artist:
VNV Nation: Kingdom (Restoration), Further, Nemesis (SAM Remix), Savior (Vox), Fragments (Splinter), Tomorrow Never Comes, Art of Conflict, Interceptor, Ascension, Procession, Fragments, Anthem, Outreamer, Honor 2003, Entropy
Dissidia OST: Chaos (Last Battle)
Mr Anobe: Lost in the Electronic Jungle (Chaos)
Apoptygma Berzerk: Electronic Warfare
KMFDM: Urban Monkey Warfare, Superpower, Looking for Strange, Los Ninos Del Parque, Fait Accompli, Bumaye, Saft Und Kraft, Not In My Name
Crushadows - Sophia
Deine Lakaien - Where you are

Particularly, the VNV Nation stuff is the best fit for the Warhammer 40k universe.
posted by strixus at 12:05 PM on June 9, 2010

20 GOTO 10
posted by Shepherd at 12:06 PM on June 9, 2010

Response by poster: Just to reiterate what others have said: Dawn of War 2 is fantastic. Chaos Rising even more so.
posted by kbanas at 12:28 PM on June 9, 2010

As many have said, the Dawn of War soundtracks are a great place to start.

Classical music with heavy ominous overtones would work as well, but I'm horrible at remembering composers and particular pieces. I'd suggest something with lots of string instruments, and the occasional brass -- it depends on whether you're trying to riddle the air with bullets at that particular moment or not. Church music or Gregorian chant might cover the religious-zealot aspect with the Ecclesiarchy.

Other video game soundtracks work well, particularly MASS EFFECT. (I'm addicted to the series, and the music is frankly amazing. Start off with 'Suicide Mission' from ME2 and you'll understand.)

Sidenote: If you haven't read anything by Dan Abnett yet, you haven't really read 40k fiction.

The 40k universe is very Grimdark, yes, but there's also some good that happens in it. Don't be afraid to listen to something that promises hope -- after all, that's what the Imperium is trying to do for its citizens, yes?
posted by Heretical at 1:50 PM on June 9, 2010

Everybody immediately goes with metal but I'm glad someone pointed out the various gregorian and classical music composers that would be very applicable to this world.

Personally though, some evil drum and bass could be good for the various battles.

And seconding Heretical's comment about Abnett. Go read his stuff now. And if you are at all interested in getting a look at the universe from a deeper perspective that space marines don't typically offer, check out Eisenhorn. Many will argue it is the best piece of literature in the entire black library and I would agree.
posted by Elminster24 at 5:59 PM on June 9, 2010

Every orchestral sci-fi soundtrack ever rips of Holst's The Planets, so you might as well get that.

Me, I'd go Industrial: Frontline Assembly, Meat Beat Manifesto, Front 242 (06:21:03:11 Up Evil and 05:22:09:12 Off), maybe throw in that new thing that Trent Reznor is doing.
posted by Artw at 9:41 PM on June 9, 2010

If you want dramatic instrumental music, Godspeed You Black Emperor should do the trick. Here's Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls, parts 1 and 2.
posted by Kattullus at 10:01 PM on June 9, 2010

The soundtrack to Alien and the synth/choral Popol Vuh track from Aguirre, Wrath of God are great for the more claustrophobic aspects of 40k (genestealer-infested space hulks, wandering through the underlevels of a hive, etc).
posted by inire at 3:26 AM on June 11, 2010

I'm going to recommend ministry, possibly just because all my high school memories of playing the game are pretty well linked with listening to Psalm 69 over and over (also, drugs and ramen), but i do think it fits the mood pretty well.
posted by St. Sorryass at 5:31 PM on June 11, 2010

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