This is a new one to me: a soundtrack album

inspired by a video game that hasn't come out yet -- and the music's not in the game, just inspired by it. Welcome to Batman: Arkham City -- The Album, a largely goth collection of songs that match the grim and gritty feel of how the Batman: Arkham City game looks and plays.

If you were wondering, neither Batman nor the other characters from the game are mentioned directly on the songs here (except from a dialogue sample used in Panic! at the Disco's "Mercenary"). Instead, the soundtrack is about obsession, rivalry, the darkness of the city, madness, etc. It's not exactly cheerful.

Fortunately, the artists here are skilled at making music out of dark themes, whether it's punk loudness (The Damned Things' "Losing You") or almost acoustic intensity (Serj Tankin's "Total Paranoia"). Many of the bands here are new to me, though I have heard music from Panic! at the Disco, Coheed and Cambria, and Daughtry before.

My main issue with Batman: Arkham City -- the Album isn't with the songs (which are all solid), but with the concept. The game may have inspired the music, but you could just as easily remove all traces of Batman and Arkham City, call it an alternative collection, and no one would notice any difference.

Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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