02/10/2021

๐Ÿ’ฟ Dead by Daylight Vinyl | Review | "Michel .F April’s brooding, atmospheric score" ๐Ÿ’ฟ @MichelFApril #VideoGameVinyl #Vinyl

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(https://returntoanalogrecords.com/products/dead-by-daylight-ost-rsd-canada-exclusive?_pos=1&_sid=2c47c8118&_ss=r)

This is the first release I’ve covered from Return to Analog - a label based in Canada - and the contact, support, shipping and packaging were excellent, so it was off to a great start!


Being unfamiliar with the Dead by Daylight game, I went into this album with no prior expectations...but, upon seeing some of the track titles (Being Watched, Suffering, Enduring Torment, Threatening Gloom…) I did wonder if I’d have to listen from behind a tear-absorbent pillow.

The music (by Michel F April and nominated for Best Original Music at the 2016 Canadian Video Game Awards) is taken from Behaviour Interactive’s 2016 asymmetrical horror title, Dead by Daylight. A single record (mine was a blood orange/sunset colour, lovely!) it features over 25 tracks, the vast majority of which clock in at under two minutes. Whilst I’m sure that fans of the game would instantly drop into memories of some extremely tense moments when some of the tracks kicked in, I took to the record as a great slab of wax to put on as a preamble to a horror movie, as the snacks and drinks get poured. It also certainly has an emotional impact - on one occasion, I was listening to the record, making notes for this review and my fiancรฉ asked if we could change the music as it was making her feel frantic and uneasy. GOOD.


The cover art sets the musical tone. Scratchy images of three of the in-game antagonists swathed in darkness take up the top half whilst a stark, white font stating ‘Dead by Daylight’ cuts through the centre. The bottom half of the cover is a survivor hurtling towards possibly transient safety as the familiar logo is carved before him, running rich with blood. Fantastic stuff.


Aside from the opening track - Dead by Daylight (Theme) – which is slower-paced and the longest on song the album -  featuring some seriously down-tuned acoustic guitar with some nice runs overlaid, the majority of the record is pretty pulse-pounding stuff.


From industrial percussion and panicking violins to chugging riffs accompanied by down-tuned basslines that bring to mind the image of someone stumbling through a forest with someone unsavoury in pursuit which is probably EXACTLY what is happening in the game at the point that these tracks are played.


I really do have to say that the soundtrack is extremely effective in building up a tense and unsettling atmosphere. Whilst I tease my fiancรฉ above for asking me to turn the music off, I actually did this myself a few days later when I was listening to the album as I was working and it made me feel so nervous that I had to switch it out for something a bit more mellow.


This isn’t a dig at the album, rather pointing out its success in creating an immersive and oppressive atmosphere that I can imagine would be uber-tense when pumped through headphones as you play the game.


The pressing, colouring and artwork are all of quality and completely in keeping with the tone and content of the game from which the music is taken.

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