There’s a high chance you’ve not heard from your action role-playing video game loving friends since around Friday, 24th September; the official release date of Diablo II: Resurrected. The master stroke from co-developers Blizzard Entertainment and Vicarious Visions to remaster the iconic hack-and-slash title originally released in 2000 hit fans right in the soft spot of unquenchable nostalgia and an undying hunger for 4k graphics and slick production.
Featuring the title’s 2001 expansion Lord Of Destruction, Diablo II: Resurrected is loaded with all the villainy, all the skin-crawling creep and eye-opening oomph that’s become synonymous with the title in one place.
Throughout the Diablo Guide to Heavy Metal, we’ve explored the bands that soundtrack the original sessions – Titans of this world such as Limp Bizkit, Korn and Deftones, those who carried the spear for the greatest musical movement of all time – Nu Metal. We explored the post-grunge warlords and ladies who embodied the spirit of chaos that filled the atmosphere back in 2000. Now, for the last instalment of the guide, we take a look at the modern day bands who’ll be setting the sonic background radiation to your Diablo II: Resurrected sessions; your bards as you ravage and pillage your way through this hellscape, if you will.
Who will score your soaring victories, and, let’s be honest here, your head-hanging defeats?
Let us open up the ways to hell and take a peak.
With their latest album Wallflowers, Ukrainian purveyors of audible chaos and destruction Jinger have solidified their place as one of the heavy scene’s most brutal, and therefore most listened to bands. It was once thought a myth that chaos could be controlled and contained, the mad ravings of a fevered dream, but throughout the course of the album’s 10 tracks, Jinger don’t just control and contain chaos, they make it do their bidding. Chaos is just another instrument at the behest of Jinger – their weapon of choice.
Songbed aside, the theatrics and drama of Jinger’s music make them a clear and present comparison to the universe of Diablo II: Resurrected. Within the crushing lows and blistering highs of vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk lies stories of betrayal, struggle, upheaval and at least, victory, with plenty of subtleties in between for listeners, and gamers, to discover on their own journeys.
Nestled in a cosy soft spot between those with a penchant for heavy music and those with a love for the dark and gritty, Spiritbox emerged from their studio hibernation this year to begin a campaign for their rightful place at the top of Mount. Heavy Music. Those familiar with the British Columbia troupe – most of us – waited with bated breath for their debut album and when Eternal Blue finally arrived, it brought with it a trail of destruction that rocked the netherworlds. Spiritbox have earned a reputation for the ability to weave intricate and complex heavy music alchemy with but a flick of the wrist; The kind of power you want on your side as you head unflinchingly towards the chambers of Diablo himself.
Such was the impact of the release of Eternal Blue that the album, and the band, found themselves at the sharp, pointy end of most charts the world over, the type of positions normally reserved the the Ed Sheerans of the world. Indeed, not unlike the fiery ruins of Hell breaching the surface of the world and blocking out the sun.
Mystery is at the heart of Sleep Token, and for that reason alone they deserve prime real-estate in your Diablo II: Resurrected playlist – A fitting homage to your journey and the unknown dread that waits behind each and every corner. But there are plenty more reasons to boot. Cinematic and sprawling, Sleep Token have taken the concept of ‘heavy’ to the furthest reaches, and depths, of its universe.
With their latest album This Place Will Become Your Tomb, the band have caught the collective gaze of those yet to behold their wares, bringing about an unnerving hush as we stand back, and watch on from a safe distance to see what they do next. Like a brave warrior – or a cunning demon – Will Sleep Token save us? Or destroy us all? Only time will tell.
It can’t all be sweeping scenes of fire and fury, or maddening dramatics. After all, a big part of Diablo II: Resurrected is, well, fun. And for that reason, we can’t look past DREGG. Instrumentally astute, and rather profound songwriters, DREGG reminds us all that despite the encroaching sense of doom and destruction not to take things too seriously.
For some time now the band have been slowly sharpening their spear, carefully planning their arrival, a day on which the seas will rise and the sun will disappear. Firing what seemed like errant arrows and slings in the form of sporadic singles that shook the earth, the DREGG war machine was already upon us by the time we realised this was their campaign for airwave and headphone domination. With connective tissue to the Nu-Metal bands that scored the Diablo sessions of yesteryear, DREGG and subject matter that invokes stroke imagery of the strange and wonderful time that was the early 2000s, including but not limited to Dragonball Z and tracksuits, DREGG is the rosetta stone of sorts for your Diablo II: Resurrected playlist, one with which we can recall flashbacks to many a late night Diablo II session, while simultaneously pumping us up to do it all again.
Many of the heavy bands that were moving waves in the 2000s have now achieved God-tier status. Icons whose impact on those who listened to them can simply no longer be measured, so it’s a wise assumption that the modern acts, many fresh from the release of their debut albums, are simply in a state of cat-like readiness to make the same impact.
And so, brave raiders of the netherworld, you have your beloved game, your fully modernised 4k resolution and now an inimitable playlist with which to set the scene.