ReMix:Doom "Ghosts of Mars" 5:02

By Navi

Arranging the music of one song...

"They're Going to Get You (E2M4)"

Primary Game: Doom (id Software , 1993, DOS), music by Bobby Prince

Posted 2005-08-31, evaluated by the judges panel

Not to be confused with John Carpenter's rather lackluster film of the same name (John, what happened to the days of Big Trouble in Little China and They Live??), Mythril Nazgul, coordinator of the DooM Remix Project, The Dark Side of Phobos, sends in his own contribution to the dual-albumed opus. You know how sometimes, on cheesy songs about caring, sharing, and world peace, they bring in a children's choir to we-are-the-world the point home in true saccharin style? Here Navid uses one to add evil staccato punctuationstuffs to a bed of percussion, mixed strings, myriad atmospheric fx, and a nice breakout section with dramatically panned, liquid chromatic bells that embue the arrangement with a whole nudda mood; it's hectic, and tense, and then becomes rather pensive and exploratory. Not unlike a colonoscopy. Or so I've heard. Moving on, Sam mentioned beautiful virgin sacrifices in HIS decision, and so gets the instant CTRL+C/CTRL+V nod:

"Smooth death-ridden intro. As much as I hate similes, the fast percussion in here sounds like some sort of large one-eyed beast slamming it's hands down on a giant demonic snare drum. Every beat appears to come from the same warped instrument, yet the tone varies enough that it feels as though it's actually being played. Meanwhile, all the virgin sacrifices are dancing around him, singing on occasion. Not sure why they're so enthusiastic about there impending demise, but they help the song, so I wont bother them.

The low pitched vocals and high strings complete things, driving the masterful acceleration into 2:17. Well suited bit of peace and quiet following that frenzied pagan worship section. The entire chorale and strings lead us into one more percussive crescendo where the virgins stop singing in order to prepare themselves for the slaughter. At 4:32, the rite has been concluded and the beautiful virgins are no more. The coroner then shows up with his vinyl meat-wagon to take the corpses away. In other words, I loved it!"

I don't know about all that, but it sure sounded colorful and descriptive to me. If there's one detriment to this very soundtrackish work, it's that it wouldn't be suitable for all contexts - you really have to be in the mood for something dark and tumultuous, otherwise the repeated choral stabs risk becoming a little irritating. But if you're all about the dark descent into the id of id, or simply appreciate a broad, well-wielded percussive palette, then invite the Ghosts of Mars in for a stay and enjoy.



Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2012-10-11 03:21:00

Let me say this first - in the years since the release for The Dark Side of Phobos, I've been able to keep a hold on a good portion of the tracks for being able to create such involving and fitting atmospheres at the time, regardless of any nostalgic connection to the source material. Navi's track was among them, not only having that kind of quality amongst the Doom project's offering, but also doing a complete 180 in regards to how he generally approaches his work. And I have to say that even today, it holds up really strong :)

E2M4 as a source is a difficult one to arrange due to how minimalist and suspenseful it is, but what he did was turned it into something more dynamic and frightening while still maintaining the source's core elements. This is noted with the use of the altered choir melody providing the original's pizzicato line in a slightly modified form, adding some form of hopeful tone, which is later echoed with the glockenspiel at 2:45 with the more minimalist progression sandwiched between the major climaxes of the track. In spite of the melodic components, there's been a lot to express fear with more atonal passages within backing tracks, which appears to be a far cry from the chromatic harmonies of the source material but it still works in providing its atmosphere. I say that in regards to source usage, it isn't exactly outright and can be difficult to pick out at first, but what is there was used wisely for the arrangement's scope.

Even the production held up well over time. Sure, some of the samples like the choir and strings may appear to be showing their age now, but some of the techniques used here, from the subtle high-grated pads, the vinyl bookending it and a lot of the swelled metals managed to contribute something more unique on a technical front at the time of the album's release. The two sharp rises in tempo are two of the most identifiable components of the track for me - that with what's going on with the more organic instrumentation really ends up taking "They're Coming to Get You" to a very literal meaning, and is thus easily bound to grab the attention of the listeners. Considering the track is 7 years old, these tricks sound really impressive and have done a lot to make it stand out among the other tracks on DSoP.

Even today I still have it on my iPod playlist in spite of Navi taking more conventional mixing methods as of late, and that's a testament to how firm it felt to me over the years. If you haven't grabbed DSoP yet, now's a good time - could even be perfect for Halloween! :D

on 2008-03-03 18:05:24

Eerie SFX-laden intro starts things out; I have finally been broken of my condition to shy away from doom mixes (maybe someday I'll learn to love metroid too _ ), thanks to the tireless work of mixers like TO; and Myf further proves me wrong with this track. Ok guys, I was wrong, i'm sorry!

Percussion on this ranges the gamut, and works really well, as it really sets the mood. A lot of it sounds like it could be actual debris found in a blasted-out space station that was picked up and put to more a more musical purpose.

Instruments are a good mix of bells and pads, strings, and some solo orchestral instruments. All are well used, and they convey an eerie, desolate soundscape, without things sounding too minimalist.

The choir is obviously synthetic, I don't think anyone would be fooled by those samples, but it is used in such a way that it sounds very good. Way to play to it's strengths.

If you are a fan of moody and dark soundscapes, it doesn't get much better than this track.

on 2005-12-16 22:14:33

I have to say, this makes good pizza-eating music. Everything in this mix (mmm, mix) sounds crisp and piping hot.

The first 30 seconds or so set the burning atmosphere. There's so many subtle crevices and additions on the surface it's hard to keep track of them all. But they help with the flavor. The staticy intro is the sizzling of the pizza fresh from the oven, the tiny bells are the shiny reflections of the cheese. And of course hell evokes warm colors: reds, oranges, and yellows. Pepperoni pizza (which I'm eating right now) goes by this color scheme too.

Those virgin sacrifices sound like they're singing "HOT... HOT, HOT..." Their ecstatic high notes around 2:09 - 2:13 feels like a burn on the roof of the mouth, or at least a mouthful. I guess the drums (they're deceptively varied) would be the crust on the bottom in its subtle brown hues, or the big pepperoni slices. I have no idea what the pizzicato strings would be on pizza, but they fit. (Wait... "pizzicato"... "pizza"... hmmm...) The heavy percussion at 4:04 and elsewhere reminds me of cheese, maybe because of the grating action.

And back it goes at the end to its previous state, a continuing stretch of a delicious desert [sic]. Time for another slice!

on 2005-11-09 22:12:27

For me, this is very hard to get into. Perhaps it's because I'm not familiar with the source material. Anyway, I'll comment on this based as a stand-alone track. I can easily appreciate the effort put forth into this mix, as it's obviously very well done. I suppose it's just not my cup of tea.. though I must say I love the percussion in this. What turns me off, for whatever reason, is the usage of the choral samples. Also, I'm not much of a fan of that section from 2:20-3:40 with the xylophone taking the lead; it just plods along. 4:06-4:34 is probably my favorite part of the ReMix - I think that part is really cool.

Anyway, I'm a fan of your other OCRs, so I should probably comment on those sometime instead of releasing negativity like I did on this one. :)

on 2005-11-08 11:02:48

A great addition to the doom soundtrack, it has really caught my ear the first time I heard it.

Glad to hear a track that actually stays loyal to the original song.

on 2005-11-06 00:02:04

Wow, I just listened to this again today and really enjoyed it. Tons of emotions, suspense, and creative/refreshing sounds all over.

I must have been having really bad ear/headphone problems a few months ago... or something (???). This sounds great and is very captivating.

on 2005-09-15 13:32:35

Nice observation! And you are correct to boot.

This track was greatly influenced by the soundtrack to both Akira and the Ghost in the Shell series, thus the original choice for the name ("Ghosts In The Lab"). Eventually, it morphed into "Ghosts of Mars" - which, by coincidence, is a very fun sci fi movie.

The instrumentation is specifically based on a couple of tracks from the Ghost in the Shell: Innocence soundtrack, the Parade scene and the Dollhouse theme.

on 2005-09-15 12:53:33

Anyone familiar with the Akira soundtrack? the song called "Doll's Symphony" and other similar Akira songs remind me of the intro here, with the freaky children's choir.

on 2005-09-06 13:00:13

Oh yes, this one I wouldn't mind having in Doom 4 (if there'd be one). I can only hope that the game holds the same quality as this song : )

on 2005-09-02 13:09:41

This mix reminds me of 'Machina Anesthesia'. So I think it´s clearly some New Age stuff. I´m not familiar with the original source tune. Also, I listened few mixes of the Mythril. But here, it is a great effort. I noticed he started working on this song at October of the last year and finished that in July, now. Then I found 9 months on the transition of this mix. Very pleasant and powerful work.

on 2005-09-01 16:04:28

I can easily see that a lot of work was put into this. This isn't exactly the kind of song that I would listen to, but it's good nevertheless. The vocals just sounded kind of weak and without suppprt.

RimFrost the Tourianist
on 2005-09-01 00:40:45

Another quality Doom remix for that project that succeded quite well.

The ambience is great throughout. And the break in pace at 2:20 was very neccessery as to one not losing interrest listening till the end. I liked every second of this. Also some quite nice little chimes mixed in.

Solid work MN 8)

on 2005-08-31 20:58:58

I'm not really into this mix. The production seems kind of cheezy to me (choirs blaring too loudly, same effects being reused, ideas dragging on for too long, grating violin usage, lack of enough textures within the background and atmosphere to keep things interesting and full where they could be). There's some nice light and unique touches in places, and I enjoy how some sections sort of creep up on you, but I believe that alot more could have been done to provoke feeling here, like adding a more noticable bassline in places, having some ambient noise or screaming at around 2:50 to give those uneventful bells some life, taking volumes of certain notes up gradually, playing around with wind sounds or low frequency effects at 3:39, bringing out the plucked strings and cycling harps more clearly, doing something entirely different than the twinkling at 4:38 before the static loops back to the start to keep things fresh, etc. I don't have enough desire to make a detailed list of suggestions, though; this song just seems much too lacking to me for what it is.

I really liked your other version of E2L4 though (atleast in it's more raw, psychotic WIP stages - that clean version with the intro/outro feels more mundane).

on 2005-08-31 08:20:48

The percussion is all over the place, the low male choir is hot, and the chromatic stuff is amazingly haunting; this has Doom written all over it. Great work man.


Ice Cube says: "Ya'll foos betta love this mix betta than ya'll liked my movie"

on 2005-08-31 06:03:39

I instantly fell in love with this piece when I first heard it as a WIP. This is just my kinda stuff.

The ambience is the key here. The overall sound canvas is just so capturing. To me, this is a moviesong. And to me, that is a very good thing indeed.

If we´d made a trailer for DSOP (as they did in Chrono Symphonic - such a cool idea) this would be the song in the beginning. (Then at its climax, when the action starts, it would off course burst into violent dose of Hangarmageddon. :D)

Anyways I really love this. It brings visual images in my mind and really takes the listener to its world. I would love to see a movie that has this playing on the background of its opening credits.

Take me to the desert baby! I wanna get nasty!

Sources Arranged (1 Song)

Primary Game:
Doom (id Software , 1993, DOS)
Music by Bobby Prince
"They're Going to Get You (E2M4)"

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