Diablo II: Lord of Destruction
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Diablo II: LOD MP3s

Ice Caves "Ice Caves" - Liner Notes - June 4, 2002

Though I was hoping for a combination of some of my favorite moments from Bernard Herrmann's "Vertigo" and a sequence in Orff's "Trionfo di Afrodite" with this one, I ended up with a rather frustrating product which really didn't work as well as either of my two models. The jarring breaks between the hypnotic harp ostinato and the brass hits succeeded more in breaking a consistent mood than creating one. If I were to step back into the time machine and rewrite this one, I would try to keep the pacing away from the extremes used here, and would have also used a bit more of the electronic and choral textures which I consciously avoided in these sessions. What remains after too much editing only goes half of the way there - a bit of a shame seeing as how interesting an enviroment like "ice caves" should be.

- Matt Uelmen









Halls "Halls" - Liner Notes - May 31, 2002

If one were to break down the structure of the levels of Diablo 2 into a flowchart, you would make the surprising discovery that some areas, often including some excellent unique background art, are able to be ignored without impeding completion of the act. Though it might seem strange to "waste" perfectly good content, I have always like the idea that the player can either choose to rampage through the level or can opt for the scenic route, letting no miniboss escape their wrath. On my end, this structure creates a different set of demands from pieces located in different places in the structure of the act. Tunes like this one, featured in a "sidequest", have much more freedom to explore different musical elements than music which the player will face inevitably and repeatedly, like the songs featured in the town or opening fight sequence. I attempted to take advantage of this freedom with this track, pushing the elements of the horror soundtrack - clusters, atonality, glissandi, sudden hits - as much as possible. I was quite happy with the way this worked in the game, and felt it did the job as a backdrop to the nefarious plans of Nihlathak.

- Matt Uelmen









Central Europe
An ambient shot of central Europe captured by Scott Petersen.
Earlier this year, a composer and crew from Blizzard North went to Bratislava, Slovakia to record the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction score with the Slovak Radio Philharmonic. Kirk Trevor of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra conducted and "Ancients" is one of the tracks that resulted from these sessions.

"Ancients" - Liner Notes - October 1, 2001

This track, heard in the final showdown with Baal, is in many ways the omega to the alpha that was the original Diablo® theme. Most of this track is structured around the core motives heard throughout the Diablo series, fleshed out in as bombastic as way as possible. The transformation from the gentle but menacing guitar and flute of the original Tristram is now complete, though the melodic structure still remains. During a pleasant lunch at the cafe in the Slovak Radio building, Maestro Kirk Trevor related how he had spent his early teenage years immersed in the world of Wagner's Ring. Perhaps because of the familiarity of these Wagnerian textures to the Maestro and the players, this track was easily the most pleasant and quickest to record of all of the tunes that week. Though Tolkein is the more obvious and common reference for the fantasy genre, I find Der Ring der Nibelungen to be the final word in the genre which Diablo and other sword-and-sorcery titles inhabit. Siegfrieds Tod is either used directly or strongly referenced in films like Excalibur and Gladiator for good reason - nothing captures the struggles of mortals amongst gods quite like the original recipe.

Score in Hand Matt Uelmen watches as the score in his hands comes to life on stage. Liner Notes by Matt Uelmen,
Score Composer / Blizzard North:









Control Room
Matt Uelmen in the control room with Emil Niznansky and Hubert Geschwandter at the board.
Earlier this year, a composer and crew from Blizzard North went to Bratislava, Slovakia to record the Diablo II: Lord of Destruction score with the Slovak Radio Philharmonic. Kirk Trevor of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra conducted and "Siege" is one of the tracks that resulted from these sessions.

"Siege" - Liner Notes - September 19, 2001

"This roots of this piece go back to a tune dubbed "March of the Sparkies" in the hazy, distant days of 1995, when the first musical sketches for Diablo were being written. I was attempting to get the sound of a big orchestral march from a somewhat skimpy library of samples without much of a result. Though I stubbornly refused to give up in my quest to get the proper sound, ending up with a decent march as the opening theme for the original Diablo (and a not-quite-so-decent leftover used in "Hellfire"), it was not until this was recorded in February 2001 that I felt I had realized the proper formula. Of course, having the help of ninety or so skilled musicians often helps in situations like these.

This one was an absolute bear to record, largely due to my amateur notation of time values and a high violin part, but it ended up being the single track which I am most proud of from the sessions recorded in Bratislava. I felt like I was employing every other musician in Slovakia on the day of this recording, as we called for an extra set of percussionists to handle the snare part, which I insisted needed to be at least tripled. Though classic marches like Ravel's "Bolero" or Holst's "Mars" call for only one snare drum, I was aiming for the more Hollywood drum chorus effect, best shown in soundtrack patriarch Alfred Newman's original Fox theme."

Symphony
Ninety of Slovakia's finest do what they do best.

Liner Notes by Matt Uelmen,
Score Composer / Blizzard North:

Download "Siege"(6:48):

Download Site [6.38 MB]

Estimated Download Time for 28.8 kbps data transfer: 30 minutes.

In order to listen to a sample in MP3 format, you will need an MP3 Player.









Fortress "Fortress" - Liner Notes - March 27, 2001

"This track invites the player into the snowy, violent world of our expansion pack. The barbarians and their endless war against the forces of evil required something that explored the lyrical side of the orchestra without becoming too feminine or frilly. Though people here at the office teased me with tortured renditions of Luke Skywalker monologues while mixing this one down, the direct influences on this were a bit more highfalutin'. A variety of operatic scores provided inspiration for the textures and pacing which I hoped to achieve in the all-important "town" theme. The use of pentatonic themes in Debussy's Peleas and Melisande deserves a special mention as a nice model for what I wanted to do harmonically. The pentatonic scale (the black keys on a piano) was the ideal sound for the barbarians, as it suggests all of the qualities we associate with the classic image of a warrior--primitive but grounded and not prone to emotional extremes. This simple melodic framework provides a nice contrast to the chromatic writing found in the unpredictable world that awaits our heroes later on in the quest to destroy Baal and his nasty minions. Conductor Kirk Trevor and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra hit this one out of the park, with the violins and horns making good use of the spotlight."

- Matt Uelmen, Composer

Download "Fortress":

Download Site [4.52 MB] - PC Only
Download Site [4.54 MB] - Mac Only

Estimated Download Time for 28.8 kbps data transfer: 24 minutes.

In order to listen to a sample in MP3 format, you will need an MP3 Player.



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