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American McGee's Alice Original Music Score

Welcome to the music review at RPG! Our goal is help people see the soundtracks they listen to in a better light as well as help the RPG music lovers out there know what to get and know what crap they should stay the hell away from before they're stuck listening to something so bad, they'll want to drive ice picks into their ears to relieve the pain.

To view our previous reviews, check out the archives

One of my recent purchases, and a very decent one at that. Chris Vrenna of Nine-Inch Nails fame handles this soundtrack and shapes it up to be as twisted as the game itself. Instead of using synthesizers or electric guitars, Chris chose to do his music in the most unusual/unexpected fashion : He had spent several months on eBay buying musical and mechanical toys which would be the main soundscape of the soundtrack. Xylophones, clocks, bells, a cuckoo clock and more is what brings his melodies to life... and yet he managed to give the music an evil/sinister/twisted flair to it with such an odd choice of instruments.

The first track that really made an impact for me was "Village of the Doomed", just the odd sound effects, the violin/cello, the ticking clock in the background, the eerie voice samples, it all worked as a whole to plunge the listener in the diabolical rendition of Wonderland. A slightly sinister, and unsettling aura simply makes this track stand out for me.

It gets even more interesting with "Wonderland Woods". While the xylphone, toy crank, and violin/cello make up the melody, some "thumping" effect keeps on showing here and there, which adds to the general sinister feel of the track. It's easy to imagine yourself in such a hellish place with this sort of theme. "The Funhouse" is especially interesting as it contains a few pre-samples sounds, like a cat's snarl, a voice yelling out, more thumping sounds, and the electronic effects also help depict a fun place gone mad... literally.

"Time to die" is another winner in my book. Though here the violin, bells and cuckoo clock have the main part of the theme; they are backed up by haunting creaking effects, a clock ticking and the ever-present voice sample. The melody itself almost sounds childish, yet retains the feel of horror.

"Taking Tea is Dreamland" is another standout, through most of the piece, there is a toy crank going off constantly and you hear teacups hitting each other. Not long into the piece, the violin shows up and plays the sad melody, accompanied by the vocal sample. All of that is also backed up by a haunting howl the entire time.

"The Centipede" sounds like a boss theme, but instead of being a pumped up battle theme, it's very subtle. It starts off by a ticking clock, and a repetitive, yet entrancing melody is played out. At times, you'll hear Alice literally crying, which adds more effect to the track.

The last track I'm going to describe is "Flying on the Wings of Steam". The vocal samples create a feel of despair while the xylophone helps in bringing a slight sense of mischief to the theme. The violin returns once more and augments the feel of despair. Overall, an excellent piece of music that still brings out the theme of madness which is presented throughout the entire soundtrack.

In my opinion, the entire soundtrack is nothing short of a work of genious. While not exactly as unsetting as the Silent Hill soundtracks or Baroque, it still ranks as one of the more experimental horror game soundtracks released as of late. We can only hope Chris Vrenna will compose another oddity like this in the near future. In my opinion, it's definitely worth buying, for 15$ at Amazon, you really can't go wrong with this unless you absolutely hate scary or experimental music.