In the name of Hades! Olympus, we accept this soundtrack.
Hades has been a true masterpiece for us and thousands of players, standing out as one of the finest Roguelite video games ever developed — “the Olympus” of a video game genre that never fails to astound and delight.
Just think about how Supergiant Games expertly handled Greek Mythology in the game, the individual myths, storylines, subplots, but also its infinite replayability, its exceptional fast-paced combat, and the cutting-edge mechanics have kept it at the forefront of indie gaming since its original release, making it one of the most stunning and comprehensive experiences of recent times.
However, today, we’re not here to talk about that. There’s one thing we simply cannot overlook or fail to mention, and that’s the remarkable and exquisite OST composed by the musical genius Darren Korb: an American songwriter, composer, and voice actor of extraordinary talent (providing the voices of Hades and Skelly in-game), who also serves as the Audio Director for Hades. His monumental work has further enriched the perfect atmosphere of Supergiant Games’ masterpiece.
So, what better moment than this to present and analyze together what we believe to be the top 5 tracks of the Hades soundtrack?
As we eagerly await the release of Hades II and the chance to take on the role of the new protagonist, Melinoë (whom you can learn more about right here), in the quest to save Hades from the tyrant Chronos, let’s revisit some of the most iconic and emotionally charged musical moments from Zagreus’ adventure in the Underworld.
Oh, and please readers, as you proceed further, be cautious. Potential spoilers ahead. So, don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Out of Tartarus – The Glorious Path of the Chosen One
“I’m leaving. Try and stop me.”
In ancient Greece, Tartarus is the epitome of darkness, horror, and fear. Derived from the Greek Τάρταρος, it is an otherworldly realm located on the fringes of the Underworld, where Zeus condemned the defeated Titans. The abode of lost souls and forgotten warriors, Tartarus is a forbidding and treacherous place, posing a threat even to the most valiant heroes. It serves as the initial dungeon area in Zagreus’s daring escape quest, filled with deadly traps meticulously set by Hades himself.
Will you come out of it all in one piece? You’ll have to, if you want to find a way out of the Underworld.
Out of Tartarus is the classic music you would expect to find in Hades. It sets the perfect ambient atmosphere and energizes you as you pummel the souls of the Underworld. In short, it’s perfect for any situation. Masterfully composed, this track begins with a soft and melodic first part, graced with sweet notes and arpeggios that flawlessly complement your moments of well-being. Then, it transitions into an extraordinary ascending climax in heavy metal style that will make your blood boil, perfect for Hades’ ultra-fast-paced combat. You will love it, just as you will love the entire game.
It stands as one of the most splendid and skillfully crafted musical compositions in the entire collection of Supergiant Games’ work. It finds itself towards the bottom of our ranking, not due to any shortcomings of its own, but simply because it is surrounded by other true musical masterpieces.
God of the Dead – Symphony of Death
“The fear of death keeps mortals well in check. You’d best learn to fear something yourself, you hear me, boy?”
In ancient Greek, οἶκος means family, home. Strong values on which the entire lineage of Hades, God of the Dead and Ruler of the Underworld, is based. And sometimes, it is also necessary to confront bonds, even the dearest ones, to uncover the truth.
This is the final step that the brave Zagreus must take – facing his father, his strict and unwavering protector, the ultimate Judge of the Realm of the Dead. A symbolic moment where the circle is definitively closed, heightened by the awe-inspiring “God of the Dead” a piece that oozes epicity and adrenaline from every pore.
It consists of “two phases” (exactly like the boss fight itself), characterized by a different and more hardcore arrangement of the main theme “No Escape,” emphasizing the high stakes of this duel. It’s an excellent metal piece with outstanding electric guitar riffs and intriguing psychedelic nuances, perfect for the atmosphere created during the boss fight.
Can you feel the terror when Hades disappears into nothingness, uttering “Darkness”? It’s no coincidence that we named this track “Symphony of Death.” We’ve heard it countless times, far too many, during our thousand attempts to escape.
Lament of Orpheus – The Pain of Love
“Pray tell me something, Zagreus. How is she lately, hm? Eurydice, I mean. Her hair, fall colors, or full bloom? Her poise, as proud and supple as the oak?”
The Myth of Orpheus and Eurydice certainly doesn’t need any introductions, right? It’s one of the most poignant and iconic tales in all of Greek Mythology, narrating the beautiful yet sorrowful love story between the poet and musician Orpheus and the lovely, radiant nymph Eurydice.
A “fatal love” that transcends beyond the metaphysical dimension and moves towards a symbolic and allegorical realm, embodying the true concept of love that extends beyond the tangible and reaches the otherworldly.
Even in Hades, the story of the two lovers is filled with drama and pain. Confined to different places in the Underworld, Orpheus in the House of Hades and Eurydice in her own private corner of Asphodel. I won’t go into details to avoid major spoilers of their storyline, but it’s a truly unique adaptation by Supergiant Games, effectively paying homage to one of the most exquisite myths of Ancient Greece.
Furthermore, astonishing is the heart-rending love poem and song, “Lament of Orpheus,” a true love dedication to his beloved, brimming with anguish, resentment, and despair. The piece resonates like a desperate, poetic, and melancholy lament, characterized by Orpheus’s soft and tearful voice (performed entirely by Darren Korb) and the sweet notes of his lyre.
Even more symbolic is how this splendid piece comes to an end: “Don’t look back,” Orpheus sadly concludes. A clear reference to Orpheus’s humanity and innocence. Those familiar with the myth know exactly what I’m referring to…
Good Riddance – Safe from all Harm
“Orpheus said all that, huh? Tell you what, the next time you run into him, you ask him about the time that he came all this way to try and save me, even through I was already dead. Can you guess how that turned out?”
In her enchanting and cozy dwelling in Asphodel, amidst the warmth of the river Phlegethon, cooking delicious meals and singing beautiful and melancholic songs, resides the splendid and inspiring Muse, Eurydice.
After forever losing her beloved, the musician Orpheus, and embracing the gift of death, the nymph decided to spend her eternity confined amidst the blazing flames of Asphodel, far from her one true love. It is here, during the first encounter with Zagreus, that we hear her singing the heartrending notes of Eurydice’s melody, “Good Riddance.”
A stunning, sweet, and moving song, its lyrics propose a different perspective on the concept of death for Eurydice. She clarifies that death should not be seen as an end or eternal punishment, nor something to fear, but as something to be accepted. It allows us to free ourselves from all earthly pains, bidding farewell to burdens, worries, and the weight humans carry on their backs throughout life, leading towards a more serene eternity.
Composed by Darren Korb and performed excellently by the beautiful voice of Ashley Lynn Barrett, Eurydice’s singing voice-over (Francesca Hogan is the speaking voice actress), “Good Riddance” is undoubtedly one of the most symbolic and touching pieces you’ll have the privilege to listen to in Hades. It truly stands as a musical masterpiece in every sense.
In the Blood – Love, Family, Unity
“Wait, isn’t this…Eurydice and Orpheus?”
Can we say it, right? All of us, in this precise moment, have shed a tear, or at least been deeply moved. This is where Supergiant Games’ masterpiece reaches its peak, its most symbolic and heart-stirring moment.
The crossing of the Styx, also known as the Underworld River of Hatred in Greek mythology, marks the return of Persephone to the House of Hades. From its cold shores, the soul-ferryman Charon carries the young Prince of the Underworld and his biological mother from the welcoming mansion of the Goddess in Greece to their true Home.
It is here that the rift between Hades and the Goddess of Harvest is healed, and the complex father-son relationship between Hades and Zagreus. What reassembles is what we can truly call the essence of family (οἶκος) – unity and love, the genuine missing element in the Lord of the Underworld’s Palace. The family is reunited. Zagreus’ mission is finally fulfilled.
And it is during the fateful and iconic crossing through the Styx that we can witness the magnificent diversity and colors of the landscapes and habitats of the Underworld and hear that wonderful intertwining of harmonious melodies between Darren Korb and Ashley Lynn Barrett, the pivotal moment when the voices of Orpheus and Eurydice reunite, giving birth to the most delicate and enchanting harmony ever heard.
After all, sometimes it is true that our destiny is “in the blood.”