Dark Souls's soundtrack, composed by Motoi Sakuraba, is home to a plethora of awe-inspiring, often sinister, boss themes, despite the obvious lack of music for most of your trip throughout the world, something which is repeated to great effect in the sequels, with Sakuraba joined by Yuka Kitamura, who handled most of the III's boss themes, and Tsukasa Saitoh. Unmarked spoilers ahead. Dark Souls
- The main menu theme makes selecting and creating your character very worthwhile.
- "Prologue" is obviously used in the game's opening sequence, introducing you to Lordran's backstory and an epic Action Prologue pitting Gwyn and the other Lord Soul bearers against the Everlasting Dragons.
- "Taurus Demon" plays on your encounter with the game's very first boss, the Asylum Demon, the Undead Burg's titular Taurus Demon and the Firesage Demon. Makes you want to run away for dear life.
- "Firelink Shrine", which is about the only place that you can consider as a safe ground in Lordran, aggro-ing NPCs notwithstanding.
- "Bell Gargoyle", making for a climactic fight against giant, fire-breathing gargoyles atop a church's roof. It also gets remastered in Dark Souls II as part of the Bellfry Gargoyle Bonus Boss fight.
- "Centipede Demon" goes in hand with the dread that will build up on players as they die repeatedly against the Capra Demon and Centipede Demon.
- "Gaping Dragon"; fighting a mutant dragon with nightmarish features has never sounded more epic than when this track plays.
- "Daughters of Chaos", a fragile lullaby that whispers to your ears as you discover Quelaag's sister.
- "Iron Golem", featured in the climactic battle atop Sen's Fortress against the boss of the same name, or the Stray Demon upon your return to the Northern Undead Asylum.
- "Ornstein and Smough" incorporates an entire orchestra and makes an Early-Bird Cameo as a Regional Riff when you finally arrive at Anor Londo. If anything, it's what makes this boss fight so damn fun, even if you die repeatedly to these bastards.
- "Gwynevere, Princess of Sunlight", an epic orchestral piece that captures the radiance of said character's status as the Big Good. Of course, it's a lie.
- "Dark Sun Gwyndolin", an eerie track which features One-Woman Wail after another, reflecting Gwyndolin's enigmatic presence. It is also shared by the Moonlight Butterfly's boss fight."
- "The Ancient Dragon", a stern, foreboding Ethereal Choir which plays as soon as you set foot in the Ash Lake, perhaps symbolizing the Everlasting Dragons' sorrow in their defeat aeons ago.
- "Ceaseless Discharge" plays as soon as you provoke this fiery abomination, unleashing the might of a volcano in the process.
- "Great Grey Wolf Sif", a tragic piece that resonates within every Dark Souls fan, never forgetting the pain that hurt them while battling this righteous Noble Wolf who protected the grave of his late master Artorias.
- "Crossbreed Priscilla", a mysterious track that blends in with Priscilla's Mystical Waif-ish qualities.
- While leaning towards the creepy side of things, "Pinwheel" perfectly conveys the distress of the necromancer Pinwheel, whom the fandom gave a very tragic background.
- "Gravelord Nito", a haunting piece which features an equally foreboding chorus and and eerie wail that imitates the wind.
- "Seath the Scaleless", a bizarre track which reflects the blind dragon's insane state.
- "Four Kings", a nerve-wrecking theme which features a deep male chorus, oppressive brass and panic-inducing violins. It's one of the most nightmarish pieces in the entire soundtrack, which translates into an equally scary boss fight against what are essentially corrupt spectres from beyond.
- "Gwyn, Lord of Cinder", a melancholic piano piece that initially doesn't sound fitting for a Final Boss, but makes sense once you learn about what motivates him still despite his age-long suffering.
- Artorias of the Abyss adds several more boss fights (and they're awesome), all with their unique themes.
- "Sanctuary Guardian" is the first piece you'll hear upon accessing the Downloadable Content. Want to hear the other tracks? Beat this boss first!
- "Knight Artorias", a somber piece alluding to the fallen state you meet the titular knight in.
- "Manus, Father of the Abyss", a chaotic track consisting of oppressive drum beats and chorus, well in tune with his savage nature and Lovecraftian parallels.
- "Black Dragon Kalameet", where the chorus pulls out all the stops and perfectly conveys this boss' nature as The Dreaded.
- Last, but not least, is the "Nameless Song", a soothing One-Woman Wail which congratulates you upon finishing the game.
- For this game's composition, Motoi Sakuraba had assistance from Yuka Kitamura, notable for her Orchestral Bombing in "The Old Dragonslayer" and "Veldstadt, the Royal Aegis". *
- The game's main menu theme makes for a chillingly good Call-Back to Demon's Souls.
- "Majula", the theme of the place you will be often returning to, akin to the Nexus of Demon's Souls and Firelink Shrine from Dark Souls.
- "The Pursuer". which befits the Terminator-like knight who hunts you relentlessly through Drangleic.
- "The Old Dragonslayer" heralds the return of a familiar face who proceeds to engage you in an epic church brawl.
- "Ruins Sentinels", the boss theme for the eponymous bosses and the Smelter Demon. You gotta love when the piece picks up at 1:12 with an epic chorus, raising the stakes for an already hard boss fight.
- "Skeleton Lord", a frenzied track fitting with the numerous enemies you'll be facing during the Skeleton Lords boss fight.
- "Executioner's Chariot" keeps you on the edge as you frantically try to avoid getting crushed by the chariot and its two-headed horse.
- "Old Iron King", an intimidating theme for an intimidating Big Red Devil that makes the Balrog blush.
- "Royal Rat Vanguard", a ridiculously epic track for a fight against... giant rats who Zerg Rush you. note
- "Looking Glass Knight" goes extremely well with the unbelievably awesome Battle in the Rain against King Vendrick's lieutenant.
- "Milfanito" resonates throughout your trip in the Shrine of Amana. It's sung by the eponymous Milfanito shrine maiden, but later in the level you learn it's also a mimicry devised by the Demon of Song, which sports its own creepy theme.
- "Velstadt, the Royal Aegis", a sinister symphonic piece, complete with tragic violin bouts, oppressive brass and a frightful Ethereal Choir; all of these elements lead the player to think Velstadt is protecting an unbelievably dark secret.
- "King Vendrick", an eerie track that goes with the baffling atmosphere when you find what's left of Vendrick, mindlessly strolling around naked and Hollow.
- "The Ancient Dragon", otherwise known as Oh, Crap! in musical form. Jumped in scare after unwittingly provoking the godly Ancient Dragon into a fight? We don't blame you.
- "Darklurker", a dissonant Ethereal Choir which fits with the terrifyingly powerful Humanoid Abomination you find in the depths of the Dark Chasm of Old.
- "Nashandra"; while the 25 first seconds are a gentle piano piece referencing the unused Leitmotif "Queen of Drangleic", it quickly plunges into a sinister chorus worthy of a nightmarish Final Boss.
- Once again, the ending credits reward you with a soothing melody in "Longing". In Scholar of the First Sin, after "Longing", the longer credits are accompanied by a haunting piano piece called "Remains".
- As the first instalment of the Lost Crown Trilogy Downloadable Content, the Crown of the Sunken King adds three goodies to kick start the DLC frenzy:
- "Elana, Squalid Queen". A degenerate and frantic theme that draws parallels to Nashandra's Boss Remix, indicating that this Child of Dark is someone who is far more powerful than the Final Boss we're presented with in the vanilla game. Dissonant as it is, you can make out infrequent soothing lullabies amidst the rest of the song, which can only be described as savage.
- "Sinh, the Slumbering Dragon", incorporating en entire orchestral suite that embodies the grandeur of Shulva's past glory and the creature that the citizen once worshipped.
- "Graverobber, Varg and Cerah", a fast-paced piece that goes well with your mindset for the boss, which means trying to outsmart the terrifying trio of adventurers.
- What little the Crown of the Old Iron King has to offer makes up for brilliant quality.
- "Raime, the Fume Knight". This boss' haunting darkness takes physical shape as the brass and male choir mercilessly oppress you with a frantic beat while you're on the receiving end of a beatdown by the Fallen Hero that springs forward to defend his beloved dark lady.
- "Sir Alonne" is a straight-up display of pride that imperiously calls you forward to duel with the most badass katana user in the Souls franchise. It's frequently considered the most memorable boss song in the game by players thanks to its grandiose Ethereal Choir.
- Crown of the Ivory King concludes the epic adventure that is the Lost Crowns Trilogy by adding three pieces that simply feel foreign and supernatural to Drangleic, the scale of which is far larger than what we are presented with in the base game.
- "Aava, the King's Pet". Solemn and filled with depressing vocals and melancholic violin bouts that would make Shadow of the Colossus proud, this track represents the ice tiger's duty-bound nature as Alsanna's protector, despite knowing that its master, the Ivory King, is gone. The message of this song is clear: you are not welcome in Eleum Loyce, and Alsanna will warn you one last time.
- "Lud and Zallen, the King's Pets". You've been trekking in the Frigid Outskirts for so long that you lost track of where you are headed, and then suddenly you enter an arena where two vicious shadow tigers come down on you, with this song blaring in the background.
- "Burnt Ivory King". From the gates of the Old Chaos, he, the former ruler of Forossa, emerges, carrying with him the hellish inferno of this track's chorus, with a small respite around the 1:15 minute mark before coming back to a ferocious beat.
- "Aldia, Scholar of the First Sin". A melancholic piece, fitting for the finale of your journey, as Aldia himself becomes your final test of courage, allowing you to decide the fate of Drangleic.
- Just the theme of the Main Menu is enough to send chills down many players' spines with the gradual build of its haunting vocals and solemn strings.
- Iudex Gundyr is a perfect theme for the first boss you encounter, capturing the intensity that awaits you beyond him. It also has a somber and tragic feel to it, reflecting Gundyr's failure to protect the world from the Dark, implied to be caused by YOU.
- Vordt of the Boreal Valley, an incredibly bombastic and chaotic theme that perfectly accents Vordt's animalistic and crazed nature with its frantic strings, imposing brass and oppressive choir.
- While the Curse-Rotted Greatwood as a boss is not very memorable, its theme certainly is. It's one of the most intimidating themes in the entire game.
- The Deacons of the Deep may not be the most memorable boss, but their theme certainly is. Ominous Latin Chanting and organ drones abound to fill you with dread as you battle a chorus of regenerating "holy" undead. The chanting only gets stronger in the second phase to herald the Archdeacon's arrival into the battle, creating a truly unnerving piece.
- The Abyss Watchers' theme is a beautiful, sad piece that really hammers in how far the knights have fallen to the Abyss they swore to defeat. The bell heard throughout the theme also hints at their founder, Knight Artorias.
- The oppressive and frightening High Lord Wolnir.
- Pontiff Sulyvahn starts out quiet and slow, but quickly picks up to match the intensity of the fight. The booming and downright majestic sounds of the second half were used to great effect in the Accursed Trailer, where it matched perfectly with the intense visuals and action.
- Aldrich, Devourer of Gods, a terrifying, ethereal theme befitting one of the most vile Eldritch Abominations in Soulsborne history. It also has a somber, haunting feel to it, incorporating elements of Dark Sun's Gwyndolin, perfectly reflecting his Fate Worse than Death.
- Say what you will about the boss fight itself, but the theme of Yhorm the Giant is one of the most grandiose and epic themes featured for the Lords of Cinder. For starters, it comes off as the original track featured in the glorious end of the announcement trailer; then, with an imposing male choir supported by female vocals throughout, intense string motifs and heavy on-and-off brass beats, the fight comes off not as challenging, but as one of the most thematically impressive battles seen in the series.
- Ancient Wyrm, while the boss itself is hugely disappointing, the music certainly lives up to the appereance of a massive drake, being a bombastic battle theme that perfectly represents fighting a huge dragon.
- The Dancer of the Boreal Valley perfectly accents the mysterious nature of the boss and the fight by being composed mostly of a long ethereal One-Woman Wail, accented with hollow beats that sound suspiciously like the Dancer's footsteps. Definitely a change of pace from the normal bombastic orchestral pieces and it absolutely works.
- Oceiros, the Consumed King, a very sad track filled with bizarre melodies and dissonance, perfectly accentuating Oceiros' mental state.
- The Dragonslayer Armour may be a throwaway boss with little lore relevance, but that doesn't stop the battle being a truly amazing spectacle, and the accompanying theme perfectly reflects the dramatic showdown on the bridge.
- The theme for the climactic showdown against the twin princes Lorian and Lothric captures both the nobility and tragedy of the brothers' backstory while still being fast enough for a frantic boss fight that only gets more so when Lothric joins the fight in the second phase.
- The Nameless King: a badass theme song for a badass dragon rider, containing what is possibly the most epic use of a harpsichord in a boss fight theme. The second phase contains hints of Gwyn's theme, which hints at their relation.
- Three piano notes. That's all it takes for the final boss, the Soul of Cinder, to clue you in to exactly who you're fighting, with all the emotional weight it entails for series veterans. But as powerful as that moment is, the first phase perfectly conveys the idea of an epic showdown at the end of the world, with an adversary who is more a final trial than an evil antagonist.
- Champion's Gravetender & Greatwolf: An epic choir of chanting, that heralds a fun, if visually uninspired fight, which later picks up pace to be a frantic overtune reflecting the savagery of the greatwolf.
- The main boss theme of the DLC Ashes of Ariandel: Father Ariandel and Sister Friede. It starts very calmly for the first phase with Sister Friede alone, with a beautiful touch of piano, reflecting the relatively peaceful area with the snow. Then at the second phase, it really bumps up when Father Ariandel joining the fight when they will give all they're got to kill the Ashen One, with epic violins and ominous chants, reflecting one again the boss arena which is now covered with fire by Father Ariandel. The second phase theme will restart at the third phase with Blackflame Friede (yes, there is third phase for this boss) who will be even more frantic than the preceding phases and will not stop until the Ashen One is dead.
- While it's a brief fight, Halflight, Spear of the Church starts with low, quiet organ tones as Judicator Argo scolds you for trespassing on the Ringed City's darkest secrets, and its second half explodes in a booming Orchestral Bombing as the boss himself enters.
- Ladies and gents, we present you the very last boss theme in the Dark Souls series: Slave Knight Gael. 9 minutes of pure, unlimited, seamless glory, which not only has a sense of sadness and finality, but also befits the situation. And since Gael is a three-phase boss, the music only grows even more powerful with each phase. Fitting that the final battle of the series culminates in a duel against a man that has become the very embodiment of the Dark Soul itself.
- Finally, there's Epilogue, which plays during the end credits. As if mirroring the tragedies in its storyline and characters, the farewell to Dark Souls, like the last two games, is lonely singing amidst an overbearingly beautiful backdrop of sad music. Epilogue became even more haunting and beautiful with an updated version patched in alongside the pre-patch for The Ringed City, adding a piano that complements the singing perfectly.
- This stunning unused track manages to cycle between sounding nightmarish and hauntingly angelic, would have been perfect for a tragic, desperate boss fight.
- The Ringed City also gives us Darkeater Midir for the boss of the same name. Starting with mournful violins reflecting the Fallen Hero you are trying to Mercy Kill before he is fully consumed by the Dark, it captures the sadness of the battle perfectly before bursting into ominous chanting as Midir embraces the darkness and uses its power against you. The piece perfectly captures both Midir's nobility and the terrifying experience of facing an archdragon in its prime.
- Dark Souls's marketing campaign featured a few noteworthy songs which quickly grew with the fandom.
- The Lordvessel Song, performed by fan artist Tanooki Suit, truly embraces the lore of Dark Souls as a whole.
"I will march through the dark. Like the hero before me."
- Solaire's Sun, a jaunty song about everyone's favorite Sunbro and the benefits of jolly co-operation. From the same author, A Hollow's Home, an uplifting, heartstring-tugging song in honor of all those who have endured the hellish trials of Lordran.
- Dark Souls II showcased even more awesome trailers before its launch, namely:
- The debut trailer "Of Masks and Dragons".
"You are of the undead. Forever without hope. Forever without light."
- The "I am undone" trailer by Nitzer Ebb (full song here), and the very first one to feature Dark Souls II's signature Tag Line, "Go Beyond Death".
- The "Cursed" trailer actually uses some scenes of the game's prologue.
"Your wings will burn in anguish. Time after time. For that is your fate. The fate of the cursed."
- The "Locomotive Breath" trailer uses the eponymous Jethro Tull song to superb effect.
- The "Aching Bones" trailer, the title of which suggests the pain you will go through in playing the game, but the song by Nadine Shah used by the trailer actually, almost hauntingly, echoes the in-game relationship between King Vendrick and Nashandra.
"You were a fine man, to all a king. Your pride was washed up, in suffering.
Now she's the one who's left to regret. You can be happy, she can't forget."
- The debut trailer "Of Masks and Dragons".
- Dark Souls III has a cover of the 80s hit "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper. remixed with a sinister beginning that builds to an intense gothic theme. The lyrics seem made for the tragic, doomed world of Dark Souls, emphasizing a refusal to give up despite overwhelming adversity.
"You with the sad eyes, don't be discouraged Oh I realize, Its hard to take courage, in a world full of people, you can lose sight of it all, And the darkness inside you, can make you feel so small But I see your true colors, shining through I see your true colors And that's why I love you So don't be afraid to let them show Your true colors, True colors, are beautiful...
- Ashelyn Summers' professional singing brings us "The End". Like Tanooki Suit before her, her lyrics encompass the Cursed Undead's epic struggle against fate in Drangleic.
"Will I be released? From this prison of eternity? Is it all in vain? Or will I live to see... The End?"
- Miracle of sound has made at least one song for each Dark Souls game.
- YOU DIED is the one he made for the first one. It is a perfect representation of what happens to most players within the first hours they spend playing.
"Your journey it began because YOU DIED. Out of your cell you ran and then YOU DIED. You pause to catch your breath and die another gruesome death, so now you creep around each corner terrified!"
- And Fires Far is the one he made for the second one. This one does a good job of giving the viewer an idea of Dark Souls II's lore, and is an awesome tribute.
"Fires far. Journeys not remembered now. Tired, scarred. Kneel among the embers now. Breathe life into this hollowed vessel of rebirth. Over and over be denied the peaceful earth, to light the Fires Far."
- Fires Fade, for Dark Souls III, is an epic orchestral send-off to the franchise.
"Fires fade, the dimming of the embers. Wake from your sleep again. Fires fade, wills of steel to temper. Come reignite this hopeful flame."
- Lastly, Forever Flame, also for Dark Souls III, which delves deeper into the lore of the game and what is, ultimately, the end of the world itself.
"And I fall, forever follow in the flame. I give all, forever follow in the flame. Winding 'round, over and over again. Fated to wander. Strike me down, over and over again. To come back stronger."
- YOU DIED is the one he made for the first one. It is a perfect representation of what happens to most players within the first hours they spend playing.
- Inspired by fans' pleas to make a secret boss in Dark Souls, HellkiteDrake replaced Artorias with the Legend, Father of the Giants, complete with his customized boss theme (in turn inspired from Excision's memetic "Bass Cannon").
- Games We Play created "Don't Wanna Go Down To Blighttown" as a homage to the biggest That One Level in the franchise. It lays out in great detail why Blighttown is so infamous. (NSFW Lyrics)
"Come to the city past the Depths, kiss your ass goodbye,
'Cause this is our town, Blighttown, GET READY TO DIE!"
- Alex Roe, the man responsible for Undone by the Blood, created notable melancholic remixes of boss themes and an entire album based on Bloodborne's own soundtrack. Kodoku is a Dark Souls II remix of one of the Old Iron King DLC's boss themes. In this case, the Leitmotif of the Samurai-esque knight, Sir Alonne. This remix gives a more eastern vibe and fits him quite nicely.
- The music in the announcement trailer for Dark Souls III is quite gorgeous, as is the music from the second trailer, which was later used as the main menu music for the network stress test demo. The game's soundtrack upon release has received overwhelming praise, with many calling it the best soundtrack in a Soulsborne game period.
- Kingdom Fall by Claire Wyndham, used in the trailer for DSIII of the same name, is absolutely stunning and can definitely be applied to the situation of most of the Lords of Cinder.
- This Epic Rock Remix of "Gwyn, Lord of Cinder" by LittleVMills manages to make it even more tragic. His Epic Metal Cover of the Dark Souls 3 Theme, however, sounds suitable for a boss battle.
- Smooth McGroove's Abyss Watchers Acapella perfectly captures the solemn feel of the original piece. Smooth's voice is hauntingly effective, and it really drives home the sheer tragedy of the fight against Abyss Watchers.
- I Had A Name, a remix of the Nameless Song, which captures the sheer sadness and tragedy of the Chosen Undead.
- Journey's End. By the flames it is a fitting end theme to the series. How? Well, it is basically a remix of every game that is a part of the Souls series... and Gwyn's theme is in there as well.
- The Fire Fades trailer, using a remix of Agnes Obel's 'Familiar' to deliver a chilling view of the entire Dark Souls 3 experience.
- Fading Light by Aviators. A chilling and tearjerking summation of the horrible cycle of death, rebirth and death again that has defined the entire Age of Fire and the Dark Souls series. From the discovery of the First Flame, to the Undead Asylum to the Ashen One's duel with Gael at the end of time.
- We Are The Souls by thepruld on YouTube, which uses Christina Perri's I Believe to magnificent effect, truly encompassing the driving force of this series; hope, and the determination to shove forward through all the pain and death inflicted upon you.
- Let There Be Fire, by Aviators and Miracle of Sound. It is symphonic rock, and it is meaningful and epic from start to finish.