BKM (Björn Kirchhoff) debuted back in 2016 with our first (and still our only) featured ReMix of Pony Island, which was not only a memorable arrangement but also a learning/growing experience, at least for me. He returns, with thebitterroost on drums, for an inspired metal arrangement of Half-Life 2 (our first from an artist other than Redg) - he writes:
"This is our submission of "Into the Cold Light," a Half-Life 2 metal remix. This is a downtuned seven-string metal remix of the track "Triage at Dawn" from the Half-Life 2 OST. This tune plays just as Gordon leaves the haunting, dark location of Ravenholm and re-emerges into the cold light of City 17, where the Combine give him a lead-fueled welcome. It always hit me as a very powerful moment - after the constant tension of Ravenholm, the player get this very brief glimmer of hope and calmness accompanied by the source track to this remix, just to be thrown back into the thick of the civil war in the next second.
I created a first version of this arrangement in 2015 and uploaded it to YouTube, but never sent it to OC ReMix because the production quality was subpar. In 2019, I decided to redo it completely and was lucky enough to get thebitterroost on board to lay down some drums, allowing me to do away with the sampler that I used in the original version. To finish things off, I included Artur Stawski for stem mastering.
In January of 2021, I've completely remade the remix again. I believe this version addresses a lot of the criticism, in particular with regards to the lackluster mixing. The recorded drums are now replaced with a drum computer partly adapted from thebitterroost's performance! I wasn't able to make the recordings work in a satisfying way. With regards to punch, clarity, and crispness, the mix is completely transformed."
Sounds fantastic to me, and while things do get dense, I love the additional synth/textural details Björn has added to an otherwise straight-up metal adaptation; captures a bit of a sci-fi vibe, and makes the whole piece more interesting. Highlights/examples include the CHONKY bass at 1'13" (and killer guitar riff over top), 1'53" filter/unmask dial-in build, and the weird feedback-style FX at 2'22" - the artist does an excellent job mixing up rhythm & emphasis while augmenting the traditional metal bones with orchestral & synthetic components, which is good since the core melodic motif sees some repetition. Rexy writes:
"This arrangement is another example of the source material having so little to work with and yet getting plenty of mileage. It's also all about the textural variations - it starts with referencing the same piano and brass writing as the source, then going straight into metal-city from 0:37 onwards. From that point, I can flick anywhere in the track and recognize melody use on the guitar, melody in the background during a guitar solo or the chord progression - dominant yet the varied rhythm guitar and drum writing helps keep everything fresh."
Björn could have altered the main melody a little more, here & there, but the real interpretation & alteration is indeed in the backing, which provides several different contexts for the theme. It's true that you can jump around and hear the core melody throughout, but also true that in each instance, there's a different rhythmic emphasis, cadence, or combination of timbres making it distinct. The revisions that the artist has gone through have paid off, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute - the expanded sound palette & accompaniment variation really elevate the piece, and even without either, it's a rock-solid metal take on a sparse, frigid melody. Fantastic to see BKM back, cool that he was able to use the note data from TBR's drum recording, and nice to see some HL2, as well - enjoy!
Sources Arranged (1 Song)
- Metal, Rock
- Electric Guitar, Piano, Strings, Synth
- Effects > Distortion
Origin > Collaboration
- 6,748,406 bytes
- Size: 6,748,406 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 719ff2afd9e6f4b605bdce9c71efbd25
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