Paradox CEO Rocks: Lionheart Soundtrack

Reading festival was surprisingly peaceful this year.

As you may know, Paradox are publishing the new game by King Arthur developers Neocore. This is a normal event in games development. However Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester has put his musical skills into play by co-producing a series of femme-vocal pop-metal metal for the soundtrack. This is less normal. We had to talk to him and reveal the tracks, all of which will be available to anyone who pre-orders. For those who are about to click, we salute you…

RPS: First question first – what made you decide to record songs for Lionheart?

Fredrik Wester: We wanted to spice up the Lionheart trailers with some new music. I think people are bored to death with bombastic classical music trying to emulate 1492 from Vangelis, I know I am. People can be divided into two groups: those who love Heavy Metal and those who are yet unaware they love Heavy Metal. This was our basic thoughts when creating the music.

RPS: What made you decide that epic modern rock was the correct sonic mood for Lionheart? Did you consider any other genres? Or is it pop-metal 4 ever?

Fredrik Wester: Our inspirational sources have primarily been 80’s Heavy Metal like Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen and Ozzy Ozbourne, but also modern Metal like Nightwish. Generally I think this kind of music goes well with battle, and it seemed like a natural fit with about half of the team being pretty hardcore metal and hard rock fans. It could change for upcoming titles though, it just seemed especially appropriate with Lionheart..

RPS: People seemed to like the hard-rocking in Stalins Vs Martians – in fact, probably more than the game. Lionheart appears a more serious game than Stalin Vs Martians – though, admittedly, almost anything is a more serious game than SvsM.

Fredrik Wester: Stalin vs Martians was more Russian-inspired Euro-techno while this is old-school Heavy Metal with the traditional band setting: guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Lionheart is indeed a game where we’ve put a lot of effort and should not be mixed up with Stalin vs Martians when it comes to ambition.

RPS: Can you talk about how you got into music?

Fredrik Wester: I played drums for 11 years, three of them in a Death Metal band, when I was younger and have always been into music, mostly Metal. I’m also a big fan of opera, rock and jazz. I always have music in the background when working, normally high paced music, but opera and classical work well for the more administrative type work.

RPS: What was it like recording the songs? Who else is in the band?

Fredrik Wester: My primary task was co-producing, the band is a number of talented musicians from all over the Stockholm area that just formed under the name Echoes in Eternity; we’ll see how the reception is for the songs recorded and after that decide our future plans.

RPS: And are you considering touring? E3 would be a lot more interesting with more CEOs who rocked out.

Fredrik Wester: I’d love to go on tour with the band, from what I’ve seen touring looks much more glamorous than the normal meetings I attend at E3 or GDC. Anyone who’d like to book the band is free to contact me!

RPS: Thanks for your time. Continue rocking out.

Lionheart – Kings’ Crusade will be released in the second quarter of 2010. Also, there is further rocking out here. Which won’t embed for some reason. Go Holyland!


  1. Rich says:

    Pfffft! Sounds like one of those user made trailers you find on youtube. Soulless American pop-metal applied to anything and everything.

  2. Jacques says:

    Lost for words.

  3. CMaster says:

    Have to say that theme sounds depressingly generic, both musically and lyrically. Hell, it even has a token distorted guitar metal sting at some points.

    The thing about classical is that it blends into the background well, hence why popular for these sort of things. Anything with single strong instruments and vocals doesn’t do such a good job.

    That said, it’s not that only classical music has been successful in games. Think of HL/HL2s industrial-electronica, or some of the more upbeat classic 8bit stuff.

    • manveruppd says:

      Interesting argument, it’s true that most orchestral soundtracks are particularly non-intrusive, but they’re composed to be that way in most cases. I’m sure a piece with rock-band instrumentation but without a strong vocal part could blend into the background in the same way.

    • HexagonalBolts says:


      I may be wrong (I haven’t played any of them for a long time) but doesn’t the Red Alert series (& co.) have a fairly unobtrusive metal soundtrack that works alright?

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      *Yeah, like this:

      link to

      Not saying it’s excellent or anything, it just works well.

      I think the music they’ve made for Lionheart is nothing short of appallingly bland and painfully inappropriate.

    • manveruppd says:

      Only ever played the first C&C and that was back in the days of MIDI bleeps :p But yeah, that sort of thing would be fairly unobtrusive while still adding to the action. I think it’s the vocals that make the Lionheart songs too distracting for the action. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to think of any game that has a gameplay soundtrack with singing. Can anyone think of anything? It’d be ok for a menu soundtrack though I guess.

      Mind you, it’s still unusual for a faux-medieval/fantasy game to feature metal, especially after the mockery things like Risen, Sacred 2 and the Dragon Age trailers received in the press.

  4. AndrewC says:

    Is Fredrik implying that Heavy Metal is a more serious genre than Euro-Techno? FIGHT!

    • Jacques says:

      Old men with long hair wearing leather jackets against PLUR kids “tripping” on rat poison.

      That’s a fight I’d like to see.

  5. Dominic White says:

    It sounds like a watered down version of the now-already-watered-down Nightwish. Heavy metal can be completely awesome when it’s used right, but… not here. Definitely not here.

    It’s not bad. It’s just inoffensive, bland and boring.

  6. Alu says:

    OMFG AWESOME! Imagine this with recordings of Troops, battles etc. omfg.
    Thats it, I’ll buy it.

  7. Wolfox says:

    Just heard the song. I agree it’s somewhat generic, but it’s not bad. Not at all. I actually liked it. I’m not too sure about how well it will work in the game, however.

    Not that songs with strong instruments and vocals can’t work with games (or with this particular genre of games) – Rome: Total War ‘s “Forever” (the song in the credits) is one of my favorite songs ever, games or otherwise.

  8. cocorulverde says:

    Didn’t know good ol’ Richard was a headbanger. Keep on rocking in the Arab world, brother!

  9. jokermatt999 says:

    Hmmm, it is kind of generic. Needs something more. More metal, better riffing, something. It could be a good direction to take, but the song doesn’t quite work as is.

    Still, much better than Christopher Lee’s attempt at metal.

    • Jeremy says:

      Haha, I wondered if anyone would mentioned Christopher Lee on this thread. I felt awkward the whole time I listened to it, all I could think of was Saruman rockin out the whole time. Apparently he’s also a Commander in two separate orders? That’s kinda awesome…

  10. getter77 says:

    Ya know, I’m out of the loop Metal wise….REALLY out of the loop(I need to get caught up/further explored one of these days), but, upon clicking the title seeing ‘Metal’ and ‘Lionheart’ while apparently filtering out ‘pop’—I was totally expecting something more along the lines of Therion, Blind Guardian, or Symphony X.

    This…yeah…maybe it wasn’t an ideal one to showcase.

    • manveruppd says:

      Something like this I assume? :)
      link to

      Incidentally, Chrome seems to think the site that the link at the bottom of the article redirects to is dodgy, can anyone confirm that it’s ok? It also asks me to login before showign the video.

    • Dominic White says:

      Much better. Still pretty light and fluffy by metal standards, but Blind Guardian never really did do hard n’ heavy. They’re fun, though – cheesy fantasy stuff.

      Any game featuring vikings (aside from possibly The Lost Vikings) is improved with the addition of an Amon Amarth custom soundtrack, maybe with a little Turisas if you want to add something a little more historical/folksy-sounding into the mix.

    • Helm says:

      Are you sure? Perhaps it’s time to go back to Battalions of Fear and/or Follow the Blind to see how absolutely savage Blind Guardian once were.

      link to

      Before there was europower, there was speed metal. Also check first Helloween album and EP (Walls of Jericho and the Helloween EP, meaning), first couple of Running Wild Efforts, Scanner, Heresy et cetera.

    • Helm says:

      link to

      or this. Man, my day is getting sidetracked.

  11. HexagonalBolts says:

    Fredrik, aye? Must be in the name!

    Fredrik Thordendal:

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      haha. yeah, they should definitely get thordendal to do the soundtrack instead. meshuggah :bow or just buy the I ep and catch33 and throw those in as the soundtrack. perfect.

  12. Resin says:

    I’m sorry that was just bad, I guess you could call it metal……if you call ‘Heart’ metal.
    Seriously just terrible, wanky, crap.

    • Wolfox says:

      Simon Cowell, is that you? Taking shots at Randy Jackson again, huh?


  13. Morti says:

    I like it. Then again, I like anything metal with female vocals on it, so… biased point of view is biased

  14. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Didn’t click for me, even though metal + medieval is far from unusual in the grand scheme of things. It’s a bunch of people dressed in literal metal hitting each other with metal things. That’s pretty metal. \m/>_<\m/

    But a more in-the-background metal with less vocals and maybe some calm-before-the-metal-storm bits would be more appropriate for a strategy game.

  15. Helm says:

    Bad europower isn’t something for me to love, so their attempt to ‘metallize’ their soundtrack falls flat. I live and breathe Heavy Metal so I would be their target audience with such a move, but…. failure.

  16. Stijn says:

    If this is supposed to be in-game music, which it apparently is, I’m intrigued about how they’re gonna pull that off. I’d imagine that vocal music gets repetitive really fast, because it’s so much more prominent than the ambient music that is currently ubiquitous in games.

    Also, how will it mix with the vocal cues most games have? “Your base is under attack!”, “Building a sentry!”, dialogue, et cetera. I’m interested about how they’ll deal with that.

  17. sfury says:

    Can we get some Led Zeppelin – Battle of Evermore instead?

    link to

    btw I’ve always fantasized about a Crusades game with an ISIS soundtrack, preferably Holy Tears – http://www

    :) \m/

  18. golden_worm says:

    This is so weird. Just yesterday I hit upon the idea of a website for corporate metal. CEOs of major corporations and other business types, who also happen to like heavy metal, could use it as a forum to discus business and power chords. I thought the cultural dissonance was interesting but probably lacked a potential user base needed to be worthwhile. How wrong I have been proven to be.

    The influence of gaming culture in big business has carried a parasitic set of influences into the boardroom. Successful technology companies in general seem to be led by people with a bit more counter in their culture.

    It works the other way around though. I guess business success has also influenced a great many maverick artists into a more market friendly state of mind.

    Anyway back on topic, all that matters is “does it rock?”. Personally I think it does. Others may disagree. But if, in any given game, I don’t think the music suits the mood, I usually just turn it off in the options and play something better instead. No need to shout down the guy for wanting to have a crack at the soundtrack. He’s just digging the fantasy, man.

  19. Resin says:

    Yeah I guess if Neocore are actually three guys living in their Mom’s basement, then more power to them for recording their own soundtrack. in that case, they still should have begged someone else to produce their music.

    It’s just that bad.

    I have a feeling that Wester was holding paychecks in one hand and pink slips in the other when he asked people what they thought of his new soundtrack, if he asked at all.

    alright I guess I should qualify my idea of metal:

    link to
    link to
    link to

  20. destroy.all.monsters says:

    I suppose that I was expecting this to be horrible but it’s not that bad. Could’ve been a lot worse. Very much in the Nightwish meets Power Metal vein. Still, probably the best song by a CEO in a game ever.

    Also – yay for metal on RPS. About time.

  21. Manfromtheweb says:

    “I think people are bored to death with bombastic classical music trying to emulate 1492 from Vangelis”


  22. M.P. says:

    1492 was pretty recent, it was Excalibur that really established bombastic classical music as a soundtrack for medieval movies.

  23. innokenti says:


    Good Metal can be very very good, I’ve heard a few examples, good metal can be good in a game when appropriately used and set.

    This is none of the above. It doesn’t sounds like anything particularly mind-blowing and doesn’t really sound like it would fit with the game.

    I mean, if you’re going to adopt a somewhat… er… uninspired attitude (everyone loves or will love metal! 80s metal, yeah, let’s go with that) then you’re not going to get anything good. Why not try and make Medieval Metal? Why not imagine how King Richard would have liked to hear a metal band? Why not think about what sort of stuff Barbarossa might rock out to? Why not attempt to recreate metal using medieval instruments as your base? Etc etc etc.

    Generico-metal is generic. No surprise there.

  24. UK_John says:

    Didn’t Bioware do this with Dragon Age and then after being bombard by gamers ended up with regular music? I fully expect the same thing here. Kids into this music are console much more than they are PC. Wouldn’t be surprised if the average age for King Arthur Roleplaying Wargame customrs was over 30!!

  25. Dominic White says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Why not try and make Medieval Metal?

    Done by plenty of bands.

    Or, in that case, it’s more iron age metal.

    • UK_John says:

      A group called Focus was doing that back in the 70’s and had big success doing it!

      The You Tube video below has been viewed over 4 million times, for example!

      I still say the game music will be more typical of games.