It’s been a little more than a month since blackened death metallers Hath unleashed their first full-length, Of Rot and Ruin. On the album, the New Jersey quartet explore the fantasy world of the Dark Souls video games. Seeing as video games can get pretty brutal, Decibel caught up with Hath about their picks for the five most-metal video games.
The Dark Souls series is an easy choice. It’s an action RPG that’s known for being “tough but fair,” but it’s the themes as well as the gameplay that drew us to it. Like most metal songs, the subject matter of this series is dark and bleak but grand. There are demons, dragons, hydras, giants and undead abound. The game’s setting is a world coming to the end of a life cycle known as the “age of fire,” while a spreading curse prevents people from staying dead, and living gods and primordial serpents try to sway your undead character toward either continuing the current age or ushering in an “age of dark.” The ultimate irony is that regardless of your choice, the cycle of ages continues. The fire always comes back, and always dies out.
The series is about disparity at its core; life and death, light and dark, concepts that metal music is overflowing with. We have a few songs on our album Of Rot And Ruin that are inspired by the series, primarily “Usurpation,” which is about one path you can follow in the games, choosing to abandon the cycle and take the power of flame for themself, after countless others failing to do so. The bells ringing at the beginning and end of the album are a reference to something in the first game, as well.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
If the subject matter of the Dark Souls games was an analog to black metal, Skyrim would be its power metal counterpart. If you are a living person, you’ve likely heard of this game. You play a prisoner destined for greatness and all the prophecies speak of your coming. With the blood of dragons flowing through you, you’ll battle undead, serve demon princes, become a vampire hunter, powerful archmage, legendary thief and master assassin, slay and befriend dragons, eventually saving the world. Every power metal song is unintentionally about this game.
God of War
The God of War series is basically a cross between every Deicide album and a classic greek tragedy. Spoilers ahead, so beware. These games are about a son of Zeus named Kratos who struck a deal with the Greek god of war to become an unstoppable killing machine. He killed countless people before being tricked into slaughtering his own family, so what does he do? He kills the entire Greek pantheon in the most gruesome ways. I can’t overstate how brutally he does it, it’s downright over the top and more epic than almost any other game. You get to climb titans and kill them from the inside. It’s insane. The latest entry in the series has the character taking on Norse legends, but I won’t spoil it because it’s still kind of new. These games are the definition of badass. There was even an EP released with God of War 3 that featured some metal bands.
This game is a little bit of a deep cut, but it’s awesome. It was an arcade game first but then was ported to every console of the time. It’s a mid-90s fighting game a la Mortal Kombat, gory finishers and all, except you play as massive primordial beasts or dinosaurs, fighting to see who will rule over the surviving humans in a post-apocalyptic earth. These puny humans are in the background of each level and you can even eat them from time to time. Not much else to say about this game except when you lose your heart and brain explode. WHO WILL RULE THE NEW URTH?
Doom is probably the most influential first person shooter to have existed. There are countless clones and it basically kickstarted the absolute craze over the genre. You’re a tough SOB space marine on Mars. Suddenly portals to Hell open up and out flow all manner of demonic beings. Armed with only a pistol, of course the only solution is to take out everything, venture into the abyss yourself and prove that you’re “too tough for Hell to contain.” Eventually Earth falls victim to an invasion and you have to remind the demons who they’re fucking with. Every game is basically the same formula, but who cares? It’s undeniably metal, super violent and fun as hell. It also didn’t hurt that the soundtrack was basically rip-off Metallica and Pantera songs.