[Photo by: Jimmy Hubbard]

DC’s Dark Nights: Death Metal was already one of this year’s must-read comics. The Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo-helmed seven-issue series follows Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman as they grapple with foes from the Dark Multiverse, including the nefarious Batman Who Laughs.

As its title would suggest, the story is dark, intense and utterly metal. Now, DC Comics and Loma Vista Recordings have announced something huge: the Dark Nights: Death Metal soundtrack. It’s a first-of-its-kind collection of original songs inspired by the comic, adding an exciting dimension to the DC universe and expanding it into a new realm of storytelling.

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What artists are releasing brand-new music on the soundtrack, you ask? Oh, you might recognize one or two names. There’s Rise Against, Chelsea Wolfe, Denzel Curry, Slayer’s Dave Lombardo, Chester Bennington’s pre-Linkin Park project Grey Daze, Mastodon, Chino Moreno from Deftones… And in their first-ever musical collaboration, Maria Brink from In This Moment teams up with Andy Biersack from Black Veil Brides. Yeah, it’s that good.

The soundtrack comes out digitally June 18 and physically July 16. You’ll find the full tracklist below:

  1. Mastodon – “Forged By Neron”
  2. Chelsea Wolfe – “Diana”
  3. HEALTH, Tyler Bates – “ANTI-LIFE” (feat. Chino Moreno)
  4. Maria Brink, Tyler Bates – “Meet Me In Fire” (feat. Andy Biersack)
  5. Grey Daze – “Anything, Anything”
  6. Rise Against – “Broken Dreams, Inc.”
  7. Manchester Orchestra – “Never Ending”
  8. Denzel Curry, PlayThatBoiZay – “Bad Luck”
  9. Carach Angren – “Skull With A Forked Tongue”
  10. Starcrawler – “Good Time Girl”
  11. GUNSHIP, Tyler Bates – “Berserker” (feat. Dave Lombardo)
  12. Greg Puciato, Tyler Bates, Gil Sharone – “Now You’ve Really Done It”
  13. Show Me the Body – “Stone Cold Earth”
  14. IDLES – “Sodium”
  15. Soccer Mommy – “Kissing In The Rain”

Can’t wait until next month to start listening? You’re in luck—Rise Against’s “Broken Dreams, Inc.” has been out since September, and the album-opening track “Forged By Neron” from Grammy-winning metallers Mastodon just dropped today. The new song’s title references a demon lord of hell who appears throughout the series, and somehow that’s not even the heaviest thing about the song. Check it out here:

If you did a double take at the part about new music from the late Bennington’s Grey Daze, we can explain. The band have already released a cover of Dramarama’s 1985 track “Anything, Anything,” one that resonated deeply with Loma Vista president Tom Whalley. In fact, Whalley went out of his way to request that the song be included on the Dark Nights: Death Metal soundtrack, so Grey Daze headed into the studio to work on a new version. But don’t worry: They kept Bennington’s original vocals.

For all of you collectors out there, DC is also releasing other content: special editions of Dark Nights: Death Metal issues 1-3 featuring Rise Against, Grey Daze and Curry on the covers, which will be released alongside each artist’s respective flexi disc singles. And frankly, they look pretty sick:

 

As impressive as the lineup of artists is, none of this could have happened without the vision of a mastermind: composer and executive producer Tyler Bates, the man behind the music for movies such as 300, Watchmen, John Wick and Guardians Of The Galaxy. He originally recruited a number of the soundtrack’s artists for their help in creating the animated showcase of the comic, Sonic Metalverse, in which the visuals of Dark Nights: Death Metal are brought to life with cinematic sounds and top-notch voice acting.

You can watch it for free right now on YouTube, and it’s worth checking out for the all-star cast alone: Chelsea Wolfe plays Wonder Woman, Andy Biersack plays Batman and the legendary David Hasselhoff himself plays Superman. Even Curry and Tim McIlrath from Rise Against give voice acting a shot, playing Darkseid Batman and Lobo, respectively.

With so many talented musicians collaborating on Sonic Metalverse, it was inevitable that original music would emerge—especially because so many of them are fans of comics. Curry, Biersack and Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra brought perhaps the deepest DC knowledge to the table, and Bates has joked that Curry in particular knew even more about Dark Nights than he did.

McIlrath grew up reading comics as well, and he believes that there’s a fundamental similarity between writing about superheroes and making music, a common mission that brought the whole project together: “In the end, all of us—musicians, comic book artists, writers—we’re all just storytellers,” he told us last year. “Everyone is telling a story… and within that story are themes about how they feel about humanity and the world around them and power and powerlessness and struggle. So there’s important stuff happening even in the pages of a Batman comic, just like there’s important stuff happening on the airwaves of the radio.”

Operating within the Dark Nights: Death Metal universe makes perfect sense for a socially and politically conscious artist like McIlrath. Writer Scott Snyder and illustrator Greg Capullo have created a fiction that intelligently mirrors reality, a point of view that’s also reflected in the companion tracks. “We are in a time where conspiracies and cults have become more influential than facts and truth,” Bates says. “The myriad concepts we now process daily—good vs. evil, truth vs. untruth, power vs. altruism, etc.—are baked into every note of music on this record. This is art imitating life.”

If you’re as psyched about this soundtrack as we are, it’s now available to preorder on digital download, CD and 2xLP—along with exclusive Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman vinyl variant covers, 11 limited-edition character trading cards and more. Whether you’re a fan of superheroes, heavy music or both, this is one album you won’t want to miss.