Dead Beats: “BFG Division” by Mick Gordon
This track from 2016’s DOOM is so damn good you’ll want to cook with gas.
By Jay Gervais
Mick Gordon just might be a vicious Baron of Hell, a beast cleverly disguised inside a human body who ripped and tore his way into this world with blood-red skin and huge horns, all the while strumming a ridiculously-awesome nine-string guitar. His immediate primal instinct simply was to find and kill the Doom Slayer using whatever means necessary, perhaps by way of aggressively pummeling him into a pool of lava and tearing his limbs off one-by-one. The only thing that would be standing in his way is the other guy’s wits and bad attitude. Not to mention he’s also equipped with a very big fucking gun.
Gordon has had quite an illustrious career in the video game music industry thus far, and rightfully so, considering he’s shown himself to be a capable musician who is up to any challenge. His award-winning music for 2013’s Killer Instinct was one of his first big breaks that helped put him on people’s radars and is without a doubt a phenomenal soundtrack putting on display a level of skill that only masters of their craft can adequately display. His successes would continue with providing additional music for 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, along with its prequel, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, the following year.
For many of us, though, it’s safer to say our first encounter with Gordon’s talents was with 2016’s DOOM, which was a reboot of the classic first-person shooter series that has been nothing short of an enormous success since its inception way back in 1993. The series certainly has had its fair share of controversies, such as practically glorifying violence and having our main character, the Doom Slayer (aka Doomguy), using a vast of array of weaponry to brutally take out his enemies. Not to mention the nightmare-inducing satanic imagery scattered throughout the series, which is notably on full display for the reboot and the upcoming DOOM Eternal, much to the dismay of some religious believers.
Whoever decided to hire Mick Gordon for DOOM made the right call and deserved a lucrative pay increase or promotion, because “BFG Division” is basically the epitome of epic that left our jaws dropped in astonishment. It wastes no time and begins with a thumping rhythm, which would closely resemble our pulse rate if we were strapped into a heart monitor machine, before exploding into a heavy-hitting verse that probably feels like getting roundhouse-kicked in the face and having a massive dose of adrenaline injected directly into the bloodstream.
There’s a bunch of fascinating technical stuff going on here too, such as Gordon’s eight-string guitar providing the threatening, in-your-face sections that are sure to be the direct cause of neck pain as a result of some major headbanging. In order to give “BFG Division” its electronic identity, he wired together dozens of cables into a vast array of analog equipment to help break down sounds to their bare-bones qualities before expertly weaving together these primitive-but-effective noises within the track. Even aged cassette tapes and players were used in production, including a reel-to-reel audio tape recording device, which warped sounds in various unique and pleasing ways.
This track, among many other memorable ones in this game, fits perfectly into the gameplay of DOOM. While not necessarily a flaw, playing DOOM and listening to its soundtrack in-game was at times difficult to distinguish track-from-track, which is due to interactive game mechanics and the music changing to reflect what the player decides to do next. If anything, Gordon made a soundtrack that feels like a bunch of puzzle pieces that eventually all connect to complete this musical journey. The music, as presented on the soundtrack album, is a cohesive and highly-enjoyable experience that is able to stand well on its own.
All in all, if there was heavy metal concert hosted in Hell itself, we’re confident it would sound exactly like Mick Gordon’s soundtrack to DOOM. Just remember, before you pull the trigger and secure your seat, pack some really big guns and, most importantly, be ready to rip and tear!