Inspired by what I’m about to share with you, I just Googled “best videogame soundtracks”. I was aghast to discover that of the top three results, not one included the original Command & Conquer, or indeed any game from the C&C franchise (although one did recognise Doom 2016, and a hat-tip to GamesRadar for recognising that Final Fantasy VIII is low-key the best FF soundtrack).
Hopefully I’ll get the chance to write our own list and therein give the work of C&C composer Frank Klepacki its due recognition, but in case you need convincing of the importance of this, I refer you to the YouTube clip below.
What you’re about to see is a live performance of music from several Command & Conquer games by Klepacki and his band, the splendidly-named Tiberian Sons, at MAGFest last week (MAGFest stands for Music and Gaming Festival – a celebration of videogames, their music, and the surrounding culture).
The 90-minute set includes such bangers as Act on Instinct, Warfare, No Mercy, Grinder, and all three arrangements of C&C’s best-known track, Hell March. It’s a great recording of what looks like a great performance.
Update: here’s the official MAGFest version, but many thanks to YouTuber dsub9blog for uploading the version we originally found. Helpfully, the songs are timestamped in MAGFest’s description, though for a happy life you should probably just listen to the whole thing. On repeat. Forever.
Klepacki has composed dozens of earworms that meld rock, pop, and electronic styles with a joyous smoothness that, in my view, surpasses the vast majority of mainstream artists who have tried to do the same. Add a bit of rap to some of these tracks and they’d fit snugly on an early Linkin Park album.
With the recent announcement that EA is partnering with some of the original C&C devs – including Klepacki – at Petroglyph studios to remaster Command & Conquer and Red Alert, this is a timely reminder that its music absolutely shreds. What with Doom 2016 composer Mick Gordon seeking a choir of heavy metal screamers for his next project – probably Doom Eternal – it is a damn good time to be a gamer and a hard rock fan.
Klepacki/Gordon collaboration next, please? On a C&C/Doom crossover game? A guy can dream.