The Dark Ages ever Rip and Tear without the music of Mick Gordon?


Metal Heads, DOOM fans, music producers, and sound designers all understand just how influential the genius of Mick Gordon’s career has been. His repertoire includes DOOM 2016 and DOOM Eternal, Wolfenstein 1 and 2, Mirrors Edge, and Atomic Heart, to name just a few. However, after he released a multi-page expose of his treatment during the production of DOOM Eternal, he is no longer behind the production desk for the franchise. Can DOOM: The Dark Ages ever be quite the same without the diabolical music production of Mick Gordon and Is there a replacement?

The might of Mick Gordon

Mick brought something to the table that DOOM hadn’t had before and what has certainly defined the franchise since its reboot. The dynamic music employed by Mick Gordon in DOOM and DOOM Eternal gave the rhythm shooter a tempo and atmosphere that was incredibly addictive, sucking players into the colourful, frame-perfect mayhem, providing a readable music element to the destruction.

Doom The Dark Ages Music
Image: PC Invasion

Dynamic music

By employing a technique known as dynamic music, first introduced in Frogger, Mick Gordon was able to have his synth-laced metal move with the action playing out on the screen. Despite the songs, if played on the OST, being complete, they were, in fact, multi-part compositions. DOOM feels and sounds so good because as the intensity of gameplay increases, so does the music.

A Composer forged in the fires of Hell

The music produced by Mick Gordon for the DOOM franchise slaps regardless of the technical wizardry behind its implementation. Listening to a track like BFG Division takes you on a journey down the corpse-laden driveway of hell, kicks you through the gates, and then drops you straight into Satan’s gore laden microwave over the course of eight and a half minutes. I challenge anyone, from a nun to a newborn baby, to listen to that song and immediately want to start bench-pressing a car.

Mick’s control of synth, guitar, and drums, among many other instruments, combines to create something uniquely his. There are other composers in the same thread, but they all have their own style and aren’t quite ‘Him’. The sound that has become so closely linked with the first two Doom reboots, especially the first, belongs to one man only.

Why he walked away

During the production of DOOM Eternal, there were some internal issues with Mick, ID, and Bethesda that caused a serious rift between the music producer and the studios. Due to many internal arguments, Mick and ID were unable to see eye to eye on a huge number of issues, including the mix, the time needed to produce the soundtrack, the presales of the OST, treatment in the workplace and a panoply of other issues.

Music Of Doom The Dark Ages
Image: Steam

The whole story of why the DOOM Eternal breakup happened can be found on this Reddit thread, in which Marty Stratton, the Executive Producer of DOOM Eternal, breaks down why Mick left. However, you can also find Mick’s biblical-length response, clapping back with a resounding boom. If you care to spend an evening reading it, the complex mess of what went wrong is all laid out for individual interpretation.

What it really boils down to is a creative producer feeling rushed, harried, and unfairly treated while the exec moneymen want to push the game out on time for eager fans. What resulted was a soundtrack that simply didn’t live up to the previous games due to unfinished mixes and tweaks, and ID Software no longer having a giant in the music production game ever willing to work with them again.

Either way, there is a huge pair of shoes left to fill, and I don’t envy whoever is about to step into them. The DOOM sountracks are a very sensitive point for fans of the game and the genre both.

Doom The Dark Ages Mick
Image: Steam

Is there an alternative DOOM: The Dark Ages music producer?

Stepping up the plate and playing the soundtrack to the underworld is not a task that can be undertaken lightly. However, there are certainly a few prospective producers on the horizon who could just about shoulder the weight of DOOM: The Dark Ages music soundtrack after Mick Gordon.

Andrew Hulshult

Andrew Hulshult is rumoured to be one of the most likely candidates for the role. His most notable piece of videogame work is for the smash indie hit DUSK, which sits at a reputable 10/10 on Steam with 19,000+ reviews. Its success is in no small part due to the meaty soundtrack provided by Hulshult. Listening to his music is certainly reminiscent of the gritty, bass-laden chug of Mick Gordon, but certainly carries a much lighter and more vocal element in parts.

Robert Slump

This producer’s music does anything but slump. It swaggers and struts through heavy, synth-laden stabs and sub-drops. It is easy to see the firey pits of hell and the head-popping action of DOOM: The Dark Ages when listening to his music. Neo Jupiter by Slump could have easily been pulled from DOOM 2016 with its running riffs mechanically pulled into chugging drum rolls and thunderous bass.


Taking a listen to the Hellscape album by Andromida just stinks of the sulphur and brimstone found in Mick Gordon’s DOOM soundtracks and could be the perfect match for DOOM: The Dark Ages. What Andromida bring to the table differs from the deep, bass-heavy thud of Gordon’s music, but what it brings is still cataclysmic. With a much higher tone, and a slightly heavier influence of the crunching, swooshing synths, Andromida would be noticeably different, but in all the right ways. Don’t imitate; make it your own.

Mick Gordon Doom
Image: Steam

As it stands, it is looking to be Andrew Hulshult stepping up to the board when it comes to the music of DOOM: The Dark Ages, and this is no bad thing. His support of indie titles and working with smaller studios has set him up well to work with a megacorporation like Bethesda. With a huge budget and high-end team, I have no doubt the soundtrack will have all the gravitas it needs. I just hope he doesn’t try to emulate Mick and instead embraces the places he shines.

Will DOOM: The Dark Ages soundtrack still slap?

I have faith in Hushult as the new music producer. I don’t know many pieces of music from video games that get me quite as pumped as the DOOM 201 soundtrack, but I am willing to open my ears and let some of that sweet nectar of Hell into my ears.

With the right amount of time, direction, and vision, I think DOOM: The Dark Ages could have a soundtrack that contends with the best for the year. The franchise itself is perfectly suited to the exciting and unique dynamic music that has been so well implemented before. As long as Hulshult, who is a remarkably talented producer, isn’t kettled and restricted the way Mick Gordon claims he was, DOOM: The Dark Ages should be released with another OST that has your grandmother lighting Molotovs.

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