The music in the Doom series features a wide variety of genres, mostly contrasting the fast-paced action and/or the atmospheric environments. The original game's soundtrack made by Bobby Prince was popularly associated with heavy metal, a novelty for videogames at the time, but also approached other styles for specific tracks. Over the years, many composers added their own musical interpretation to the series.
All of the music in Doom and Doom II was created by Bobby Prince. Initially, John Romero gave a couple of heavy metal records and told him to create something similar for Doom. Prince created the rock-oriented tunes and also composed some more ambient tracks since he felt that heavy metal might not be appropriate for the entire game. Many of these songs were inspired by or closely mirror popular rock and metal songs from groups such as Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, AC/DC, Alice in Chains, and Black Sabbath .
In Final Doom, the new music for TNT: Evilution was created by Jonathan El-Bizri, Josh Martel, Tom Mustaine, and L.A. Sieben. The Plutonia Experiment reused Doom and Doom II music and featured no new composition.
The music in Doom and Final Doom for Sony PlayStation, and in Doom 64 for the Nintendo 64, was composed by Aubrey Hodges and differs greatly from the original PC songs. More focused on sound textures than regular songwriting, Hodges composed a soundtrack of eerie and atonal ambiences meant to go along with the darker style of these games and increase a sense of fear with the player. When Quake was released for the Nintendo 64, it featured music identical in style to that of Doom 64, going so far as to use the same samples. The version of Doom for the Sega Saturn additionally reuses Hodges' PlayStation soundtrack.
The music for Doom 3 was initially planned by Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails, who was to create the main song and handle the overall sound design. But after an initial input, he had to decline his role due to time constraints and bad management. The in-game main musical theme was composed by Chris Vrenna and Clint Walsh from Tweaker and released via band's website as a single track. However, the in-game environments are more focused on silence and short ambient sequences.
The music for Doom (2016) was composed by Mick Gordon and consists of a set of different pieces that changes dynamically according to the gameplay, blending together several elements of heavy metal, electronic music and obscure sounds from tape-machines and analog patches. It was released as a cohesive soundtrack on September 28, 2016, featuring 31 tracks and a total play time of 128 minutes.
- Virtually all of the music in Doom and Doom II follows the Twelve-bar blues structure.
- The music inside the Doom engine's IWAD files is not stored as MIDIs, but as MUS, a format similar to MIDI created by Paul Radek for DMX. However, PWADs may contain actual MIDI files since the Doom engine obtained MIDI file support in v1.5. In addition, all source ports support MIDI natively and have to convert MUS lumps back to MIDI.
- Although most gamers at the time had more affordable FM OPL based AdLib or Sound Blaster sound cards, Doom and Doom II was composed on the Roland SC-55 sound module. Support in the engine exists for OPL2-based and Gravis Ultrasound cards, in addition to generic General MIDI output. Native Sound Blaster AWE32 support was added in 1.4.
- Doom & Doom II music, remixes and information at Doomworld
- Heavy metal references on Doom's soundtrack
- Doom Covers at Doomworld
- Doom Video Discography
- Aubrey Hodges interview (archived 🏛)
- Mick Gordon interview I II
- DMX driver fix project