Alpha Squad Soundtrack, Stemage, 2011
Observing a talented artist who made their name in the game music arrangement scene as they embark on their first original soundtrack is an exciting occasion for listeners. However, for the musician in question, it will no doubt be a daunting prospect. No longer able to rely on other composers’ works, can the new material still meet heightened expectations? This was the challenge that composer and guitarist Stemage, founder of metal band Metroid Metal, faced when taking on composing duties for the Alpha Squad soundtrack.
The game was a deliberate throwback to top-down arcade-style shooters from the 80s and early 90s. Stemage’s metal chops certainly marked him as a fitting candidate to score the action-filled mayhem. Developer Dragon Divide had acknowledged that much when they contacted Stemage to write music for Alpha Squad. At the same time, his soundtrack would need to strike a significantly more upbeat note than his Metroid Metal output to match the game’s tongue-in-cheek approach and no-frills gameplay.