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Awesome Music / Dark Souls

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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

Dark Souls II

  • 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.
  • "Fire Keepers" is a peaceful and cozy serenade befitting a harmless starting area for the game.
  • "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 Last Giant" is a hell of a start for the boss themes, being imposing and threatening even when the Giant is the Last of His Kind. This theme was so good that you can hear it twice, specifically when you fight his past self known as the Giant Lord later on.
  • "The Pursuer". which befits the Terminator-like knight who hunts you relentlessly through Drangleic.
  • "The Dragonrider" is a hectic theme filled with many "Psycho" Strings, suiting one of the most physically imposing knights in the whole game.
  • "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 Authority". Yes, really - a track for an empire of killer rats is one of the most ominous and sinister themes in the game, complete with choir and a slow drum beat.
  • "The Duke's Dear Freja" begins slowly, before turning into a reprise of Dragonrider's theme with extra quiet interludes, sounding even better than last time with how even more menacing it sounds.
  • "The Lost Sinner" is a freakishly evil track with a menacing choir and faint "Psycho" Strings, perfectly summing up how wicked this boss' titular sins must have been.
  • "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.
  • "Guardian Dragon" is among one of the most threatening tracks in the game, with oppressive drums and blaring horns that are best suited for such a mighty dragon.
  • "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.
  • "Throne Defender, Throne Watcher" has an ethereal and tense feel to it, but nonetheless stacks up to other threatening tunes in the game very well and suits the Dual Boss fantastically.
  • "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". In regards to "Longing", as one YouTube comment aptly put it: "60 hours of hell for 6 minutes of heaven".
  • 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.

Dark Souls III

  • 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.
  • 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 also be rather unremarkable of a boss, yet their theme is absolutely bonechilling. 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 song features a One-Woman Wail by Kokia that's akin to a lone wolf's howl, as well as the sporadic bell ringing that hints at their founder, Knight Artorias.
  • The oppressive and frightening High Lord Wolnir, brimming with horror and evil that only suits an absolutely gigantic skeleton king.
  • 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 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 Wyvern, 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 Old Demon King gets a rather bombastic, albeit also very ominous, terrifying piece that perfectly suits his role as a demonic warlord; and yet also has a demented piano section accompanied by ethereal chorus, signaling that the poor king is also one of the very Last of His Kind. It even has a case of Book Ends, incorporating a snippet of "Bed of Chaos"!
  • 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, fast-paced if somewhat more simple 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 and a haunting wail by Kitamura herself, 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 a 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.
  • The Demon Prince begins frantic and sinister, albeit tragic and pained which perfectly symbolizes how these are the last demons of Dark Souls. A long One-Woman Wail erupts between phases, and the track becomes downright epic for the second phase. The demons may be doomed to extinction, but their Prince will try their damnedest to take the Ashen One with them.
  • 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. 5 minutes and 39 seconds 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; the first phase is slow yet triumphant, as if it's congratulating the player that you've reached the end, the second phase comes roaring with mighty chorus and intense orchestra, befitting Gael's amazing new form, and the third phase dials everything up, becoming a desperate and tragic, yet even more epic finale cementing that you're now a hair's breadth away from victory or death. 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.
  • For the dark soul, a melancholic piano rearrangement of Slave Knight Gael's 3rd phase only heard in the Transitory Lands PS4 dyanmic theme. Though unused in the game, it is symbolically the final song in the entire series before Epilogue, and it fully encapsulates that feeling, being the polar opposite of Gwyn's theme. After all your struggles throughout the series, you've finally reached the end. And at the end of all things, there is nothing. There is no fire. There is no light. Only emptiness. Only darkness.

Trailers and fanworks

  • 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:
  • 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...
  • The Fire Fades trailer, using a heavily Mickey Moused remix of Agnes Obel's 'Familiar' to deliver a chilling view of the entire Dark Souls 3 experience, which, again, features incredibly appropriate lyrics.
    We took a walk to the summit at night, you and I
    To burn a hole in the old grip of the familiar, you and I
    And the dark was opening wide, do or die
  • Ash Seeketh Embers features none other than Hozier’s “In The Woods Somewhere,” infamous for his blend of Nightmare Fuel set to folk-inspired music.
  • 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."
    • 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."
    • Dark Souls: Remastered inspired Embers Rise, with the general theme of always coming back despite repeated failure.
      "But I won't be kept down! I'll just keep on rising. Failure ever fading... growth in every pain. I won't be kept down. Embers keep igniting. Suns will sink to shade... but always rise again!"
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Incandescent by Aviators. An uplifting synthpop tribute to Solaire of Astora and all the other Warriors of Sunlight who followed in his footsteps to aid newcomers and veterans in dire straits alike. With a chorus sung by over 70 people, this song informs the listener that no challenge - even in Dark Souls - is too tough to bear with the help of a shining comrade or two.
  • Angel of the Dark by Aviators. Another haunting piece, carrying the tired yet resolute voice of Sister Friede.
  • The Red Hood by Aviators. An ominous but uplifting symphonic rock song sung from Slave Knight Gael's perspective reflecting on his past and reaffirming his purpose before his final battle with the Ashen One.
  • Summon in the Sunlight by Jameserton, the Leitmotif of the fan video Happy Souls, is a perfect fit for the most hilarious and relatable depiction of the Dark Souls 2 co-op experience. (It's also instrumentally based off "Living in the Sunlight, Loving in the Moonlight" by Tiny Tim.)
  • Undead Lullaby by JT Music is sung from the player character's point of view about how he always comes back from the grave, no matter what's thrown at him.

Alternative Title(s): Dark Souls III