The most immediately apparent and immediately interesting things about the soundtrack for Hopoo games’ Deadbolt is its style. Rather than picking one musical genre and sticking to it, composer Chris Christodoulou chooses several and merges them together. While the primary genre Christodoulou operates in is electronica, most tracks step into rock, blues, and even funk. The result is a breakbeat-esque experience that feels incredibly cohesive despite the almost jarring nature of the switches in style, which is most notable when comparing the rock tracks and their surrounding songs.
Reaped by Death
Perhaps even more interesting is how successfully the soundtrack manages to set the tone for its game. For those of you unfamiliar with Deadbolt, it is a Hotline Miami-esque action-stealth-puzzle hybrid about a surprisingly fragile grim reaper hunting the undead. The pacing of the gameplay is tense and frenetic, since you die in one hit, while what story there is evokes a feeling of melancholy within the player. In my experience, individual songs from game soundtracks are typically either melancholy or intense, though they can certainly be evocative of other things as well. Much like he merges musical styles, however – indeed, I would say because of the style mixing – Christodoulou merges these feelings within individual songs. Certain tracks such as Reaped by Death or Ashes to Ashes, to Ashes (to Ashes) fall more completely into intense or melancholic territory, respectively, while others simply lean into one or the other more.
Ashes to Ashes, to Ashes (to Ashes)
Because these soundtrack spotlights are hopefully going to be a new regular feature, I want to say that I’m going to end these by saying which track is my favorite and talking a little bit about why. In Deadbolt’s case, the standout track for me is Reaper (and) Blues because it perfectly showcases the mixture of feeling Christodoulou is so good at through a satisfying combination of a bluesy melody and a catchy beat.
Reaper (and) Blues
Deadbolt’s soundtrack has been one of my favorites for quite a while now, to the point of whenever I can’t decide what to listen to it’s the thing I default to. If you’re a fan of cross-genre music, definitely give it a listen sometime.