ReMix: Guild Wars 2 "The End of Madness"
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- Game: Guild Wars 2 (NCsoft, 2012, WIN)
- ReMixer(s): DusK
- Composer(s): Jeremy Soule, Keenan Sieg, Lena Chappelle, Maclaine Diemer, Matthew Moore, Stan LePard
- Song(s): "Battle on the Breachmaker"
- Posted: 2015-10-20, evaluated by the judges
- Terms (BETA): aggressive electric-guitar rock synth timesig-4-4
Our first ReMix from Guild Wars 2 comes in the form of an aggressive, biting rock arrangement of "Battle on the Breachmaker" from DusK (Dustin Branscum) - the source, by Lena Chappelle, is from the March 2014 Season 1 release Battle for Lion's Arch... Dustin writes:
"BOSS FIGHT! The idea behind this one was to create a sort of modern-style boss music for Scarlet Briar (one of the big bads in GW2) utilizing her actual final boss music, but in a genre completely different from the source. Along the way, I ended up incorporating elements from "The Nightmare Within," which never actually appeared in-game but was used in the trailer for a content release. This was a lot of fun to do, as Lena and Maclaine's music usually is (I'm up to 7 released covers of their music right now), because it's quite a bit more melodic than many of Soule's works for the series. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this piece. Under-repped VGM fo lyfe! #WeMissYouMokram"
The heavy intro with synth arpeggio reminds me of Muse quite a bit; while judges focused on the heavy use of compression w/ regards to production, I actually feel like this is one of DusK's cleaner, more defined ReMixes to date, and I didn't have any problems making out the details while enjoying the energy & momentum. Emunator writes:
"Wow, excellent source tune. I'm always worried when I see a submission with a 5+ minute source tune that I'm unfamiliar with, but I really enjoyed listening to the original. The source usage in your track is surprisingly straightforward and easy to pick up on, the string patterns in the original translate really nicely to rhyhtm guitars."
Judges were on board with the arrangement & performance and it really did come down to overcompression, for some, but I weighed in with my own two cents as per the above, and Palpable corroborated:
"I think I've softened a bit on overcompression the past year or two. Maybe overcompression won the loudness war and now I'm just used to it, lol. I can hear the degradation in quality, and yes, I WANT it to be less compressed, but the arrangement is great. Like Dave said, I can still make out everything in this easily, so I don't really see anything preventing a pass."
The thing that muddies the waters of the so-called loudness war a bit is that extensive use of compression, instead of JUST being a means of maximizing decibels, also confers its own aesthetic, which can be a very intentional & desired choice on the part of artists. In this case I agree that Dustin could & should have dialed it back, but it's not so egregious as to prevent my enjoyment OR clear identification of each component, which is my personal litmus test. Arrangement is actually a pretty conservative genre adaptation - it keeps the source very recognizable but repurposes instrumentation & tone for something edgier, making smart decisions about what to include/exclude and running with the concept from there. The primary source here is an epic, beautiful piece of "large-scale battle" scoring that you should check out if you're unfamiliar - thanks to DusK for bringing it to our attention AND for putting together a unique, assertive, & rockin' take on it!