Darkest Dungeon by Stuart Chatwood
“Ruin has come to our family.”
Delve deep under the family manor this week with Darkest Dungeon by Stuart Chatwood. Pressed on black and transparent red vinyl by Ghost Ramp, this haunting soundtrack to Red Hook Studios’ hit dungeon crawling roguelike is here to chill you to your literal bones. Gather your party and venture forth if you dare… this one is not for the faint of heart.
House of Ruin
Stuart Chatwood is an award-winning artist, composer, and producer based out of Vancouver, British Columbia. Best known as the bass guitarist and keyboardist for the experimental rock band The Tea Party, Stuart has also built a household name for himself in the video game music industry for his work on the Prince of Persia series and most recently Darkest Dungeon. Stuart's eclectic and unique background in music has paved the way for him to create one of the most unique, and dynamic horror soundtracks in the indie game music scene to date. Darkest Dungeon is just one of those albums that defines a career, and what it represents is the total embodiment of Stuart as a musician.
Town in Chaos
Relentless is the word I would use to describe this soundtrack. Around every corner is a synth-laden orchestration of heart-pounding percussion, twinkling strings, and blasting horns that will leave you looking over your shoulder at every climactic beat. Hauntingly Baroque in its style, Darkest Dungeon is just sheer brilliance. From classical strings to synthetic whirring it's how Stuart plays in this symphonic playground that will haunt you long after this album finishes spinning. The incredible mixture of electronic music with the Gothic chants and pulsing percussion makes this one of the most adrenaline-pumping albums I have ever listened to. As the backdrop to one of the darkest games ever made, what Stuart has achieved here is stunning, not only as a soundtrack but as a stand-alone experience outside of the game. Every bellowing track transported me back to those harrowing, almost masochistic playthroughs that have stuck with me for some time. How the music hovers in its own ambient cathedral of darkened tones makes this one of the most unique and spooky experiences I have ever had with a video game music vinyl.
Bloodletting of the Crimson Court
Based out of Los Angeles, California, Ghost Ramp has often been the home to some of the best electronic and alternative rock music in the scene. With a heavy emphasis on games and the culture that surrounds it, Ghost Ramp has harbored an environment that blends these two universes into a diverse and unique platform that constantly delivers solid products and soundtracks from some of the industries hit indie gems. As one of my first pick-ups from Ghost Ramp, Darkest Dungeon is an absolute banger. Taking a more minimalist approach with this album’s design, what this elegant packaging holds inside is one of the darkest and most brooding adventures I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in quite some time. As far as design goes, the minimal approach in illustrating the dark and drab world that Red Hook Studios and Stuart have helped create is impeccable. I absolutely love the gloss spot finishing to the black elements of the design work here, and it goes a long way in making this feel like a classy release to a dark and dilapidated score. Included with this album is a liner note insert from composer Stuart Chatwood himself and is such a welcome addition to the packaging. The mastering is great, and the noise floor is super quiet allowing for all the intricacies of Stuart’s score to come through beautifully on these awesome wax discs. The color choice of black and transparent red fits the Darkest Dungeon universe so well, the transparent red is just gorgeously bright! The only downside I feel with this release’s design is the lack of elements on the spine. There isn't an album title, artist name, or catalog number present, which in turn, makes it difficult to catalog it with other albums in a collection. Therefore, when shelved and standing along-side others, it's just plain boring. Overall I feel like this is a solid release, and one of the best sounding albums Ghost Ramp has released to date!
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Where to buy?
Unfortunately, this album was released in early 2018 and has since sold out. As one of the finest horror records in my collection, it sorely deserves another pressing and I hope in the future Ghost Ramp & Mr. Chatwood consider making more of these. As one of the best indie-games of this generation this game has garnered quite a loyal fanbase that I am sure are clamoring to own this incredible piece of this game’s history! If you’d like to see this album get pressed again drop a line with Ghost Ramp or Stuart Chatwood expressing your interest in seeing this wonderful album return to vinyl! Maybe we could even see added an LP for the amazing DLC tracks!