Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Top 10 Vocal Tracks in the Metal Gear Series (#10-6)

Earlier this year, I wrote up two top five lists for songs from the Metal Gear series. One was focused on orchestrated tracks, while the other was focused on the series’ vocal tracks. While I still feel the selections I chose for both of those lists are deserving of the rankings that I assigned them, there are other Metal Gear theme songs that I feel deserve mentions. As such, I have crafted a follow-up to the vocal track list – a ‘part two’, if you will. If you missed the original list featuring the top five vocal tracks, you can check it out here.

#10 – The Stains of Time (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance): Though Metal Gear Rising boasted a loud and bombastic soundtrack during its early hours, The Stains of Time is reflective of the way in which the narrative begins to ramp up, and the themes at play head into darker territory. Monsoon is certainly one of the more freakish boss characters Raiden squares off against, having his entire body segemented into small pieces, allowing him to split apart and reform as he makes quick strikes with his octagon sais. The music and battle only become more intense, as Monsoon hurls military vehicles at Raiden, while the cyborg ninja protagonist ultimately embraces his inner demons, letting Jack the Ripper run free in order to inflict greater damage on Monsoon chop him up into even smaller pieces from which he cannot reassemble.

#9 – Rules of Nature (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance): While perhaps not officially the main theme of Metal Gear Rising, Rules of Nature is certainly one of the most popular tracks to come from the game. Rules of Nature accompanies one of Raiden’s first boss battles, against a towering Metal Gear Ray. During the first stage of this fight, Raiden slashes the Metal Gear’s armor off, and uses his cyborg enhancements to hurl it through the air. Later on, the Metal Gear takes a second attempt at besting Raiden, only for the cyborg ninja to jump across the barrage of missiles it fires his way, sprint straight down the side of a crumbling clock tower, and finish the mechanized foe off for good. Rules of Nature is an unapologetic, fast-paced adrenaline rush that perfectly encapsulates this battle, and the overall vibe of Metal Gear Rising.

#8 – Heavens Divide (Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker): Heavens Divide begins softly, not unlike Portable Ops’ main theme of Calling to the Night. But it gradually picks up pace and volume, delivering a message about Snake taking responsibility for his past and present, and his forging his own path toward the future. While Snake Eater was the major turning point whereby Naked Snake lost faith in his home country and government, Peace Walker focuses on Snake’s taking the title of Big Boss to heart, training an organized military and setting forth on a path to finally lay to rest his internal struggles with The Boss’ actions from ten years prior. Heavens Divide weaves a tale of loss and sorrow, resulting in the eventual solidification of Big Boss’ ideals and determination to create a military without a nation.

#7 – A Phantom Pain (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain): A Phantom Pain’s dark atmosphere and synth sounds are a wonderful mash-up for a few reasons. First and foremost, the lyrics are reflect loss, lingering pain, and the self-destructive nature of revenge, themes which affect all of The Phantom Pain’s major players, in some form or another. Secondly, its choice of instrumentation, with heavy emphasis on keyboard and electric guitar, are perfect matches for the game’s 1980s setting, as is one so-close-to-being-cheesy-that-it’s-great saxophone solo. A Phantom Pain deals with the search for oneself after the jarring losses of battle – whether physical or psychological – have been stacked, and the impact that has on someone and their peers.

# 6 – Sins of the Father (Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain): The most thematically appropriate vocal track in the series since Snake Eater’s self-titled theme song, Sins of the Father is a powerful, commanding tune. Its lyrics paint the dark path Punished ‘Venom’ Snake will embark upon, while haunting wails beautifully match the tumultuous backdrops of the Afghanistan desert and the African jungle. Listening to the lyrics after following The Phantom Pain’s story to its conclusion further reveals just how specific to the game’s events Sins of the Father truly is.

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