Doom is practically synonymous with pounding metal soundtracks, and the latest title is no exception. Composed by Mick Gordon, who previously wrote the music for Doom (2016), the official soundtrack for Doom Eternal released yesterday: but instead of providing the ultra-high quality listeners wanted, it’s come under fire for sounding a bit off – and Gordon has distanced himself from the final mix. Talk about a bad rip followed by tears.
The discussion was prompted by audio blogger and Ruff Audio founder Reace “thatACDCguy” Niles, who highlighted problems with Doom Eternal’s mixing. He noted the soundtrack’s wavelengths look much flatter compared to the music of Doom (2016). As explained by Niles, this corresponds to reduced dynamic range between the instruments within the track, with the instruments “compressed to the point where they are all playing at the same volume”. In essence, it creates a poorer sound as none of the instruments are given breathing room – and instead fight against each other.
“Mick Gordon is a far more talented audio engineer than me, it’s not even close and that’s what makes this especially frustrating,” Niles said. “I expect much better from him.”
This prompted a response from Gordon, who suggested he didn’t have an extensive role in mixing the official soundtrack.
“I didn’t mix those and wouldn’t have done that,” he said. “You’ll be able to spot the small handful of tracks I mixed (Meathook, Command and Control, etc…).”
Here’s a comparison between the original BFG Division from Doom 2016’s official soundtrack (left) vs. the BFG 2020 remix on Eternal’s soundtrack from today (right).
Notice how the wavelengths in BFG 2020 form a nearly perfectly straight bar vs. the original with more definition pic.twitter.com/TCJRdOe1Yf
— Doominal Crossing: Eternal Horizons ? (@thatACDCguy) April 19, 2020
Following this tweet, fans also highlighted a comment Gordon had made a few months back on a fan cover of The Only Thing They Fear Is You. “All those stupid ‘time signature changes’ are a result of someone from marketing piecing this track together without any musical knowledge”, he wrote. Further stoking the flames, one Reddit user posted a screenshot appearing to show a recent Instagram conversation with Gordon in which he said he doubted he’d work with id Software again – although this is yet to be fully verified.
Eurogamer got in touch with Gordon, but he was unable to offer further comment on the matter. Eurogamer also contacted Bethesda for comment.
It all seems a bit of a mess, with Gordon expressing frustration over creative decisions that were outside of his control. It’s unclear exactly what’s been going on, or why Gordon seemingly had a reduced role in the mixing of the soundtrack, but it’s certainly a shame the OST seems to have suffered as a result.
This isn’t the first time Bethesda has faced backlash over Doom Eternal’s music: a TV spot advert back in February received 70k downvotes on YouTube for using rap music instead of Gordon’s soundtrack. The reason the soundtrack was released yesterday, meanwhile, is due to a delay which meant it didn’t make Doom Eternal’s release date of 20th March. Was it still worth the wait? Possibly not, if you’re an audiophile.