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Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare by Bill Elm & Woody Jackson (Review)

posted Jan 12, 2011, 6:19 PM by Kaya Savas

Okay so I know this review is a bit late, but I actually honestly didn't know Rockstar released a whole separate album for the expansion titled Undead Nightmare. The musical history of this amazing game franchise is that in the first game the entire score was tracked with classic western scores from Morricone and a few other iconic composers. They actually used the scores from the films as a score. It was amazing. For Red Dead Redemption Bill Elm & Woody Jackson composed what I take to be one of the best modern western scores. In my original review I stated that the music sounded like Morricone's music had a baby with Nick Cave & Warren Ellis' music and it was raised by Quentin Tarantino. So now here comes Undead Nightmare.

Last Halloween Rockstar turned its western game into a plague invested nightmare where the dead walk the plains and open country of the wild west. It's the very definition of genre meshing. The game itself was a pure western. Now horror is introduced. The gameplay changed from attacking gang hideouts and a story of vengeance to a survival horror world. The music had to reflect that. The score is marvelous. If you listened at all the original then you'll appreciate how the score plays with different conventions from both genres.

The style may remind you a bit of what Robert Rodriguez did with his score to Planet Terror. In fact the last track reminded me a lot of Desperado, which was done by Los Lobos. It borrows heavy on electronics to give it a modern gritty feel but still retains the western elements. This is still part of the Red Dead Redemption universe so it doesn't feel foreign to us. Oh, and it's a hell of a lot of fun. I highly recommend this release, but of course you must own the first score or know the game inside and out to really appreciate it. This is a rare example of how well genre meshing can work.