Quake (original soundtrack)

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The rusted metal "Q" logo for the Quake video game series
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedJune 22, 1996 (1996-06-22)
Labelid Software (album included on game disc)
ProducerTrent Reznor
Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails chronology
Further Down the Spiral
The Fragile

Quake is the soundtrack album to the 1996 id Software video game of the same name, composed by Trent Reznor and his industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails.[1] Originally pressed on the same disc as the game, Quake was otherwise commercially unavailable until its release on vinyl in September of 2020.[2] Reznor also provided sound effects for the game.[3]

Recording and release[edit]

The collaboration between Nine Inch Nails and id Software occurred strictly due to a mutual admiration for each other's work; Reznor provided his services to Quake completely free of charge.[4]

A vinyl LP edition of the soundtrack was released in 2020.[5]

Composition and content[edit]

Aside from the first relatively driving track, Quake is a predominantly ambient soundtrack,[6] and was Reznor's first experimentation with the genre.[3] He would later go on to win an Academy Award for his ambient soundtrack work.[6] The music on Quake has been described as dark, immersive, and intended to accentuate the game's oppressive tone.[7] The music is often called "subtle", "disturbing", and "hair-raising".[8][9] About the soundtrack, Reznor said, "it is not music, it's textures and ambiences and whirling machine noises and stuff. We tried to make the most sinister, depressive, scary, frightening kind of thing [...] It's been fun."[10]

Critical reception[edit]

The Quake official soundtrack received positive reception, with many appreciating how the music builds upon the game's atmosphere. In his 1996 review of the game for GameSpot, Trent Ward wrote, "Simply put, this is the best soundtrack ever created for a computer game." Ward went on to write about how the eerie sounds and unsettling background noises heighten the game's already tense atmosphere.[11] Major Mike of GamePro said that "With harsh, rockin' guitar riffs, and creepy low-key synthesizers, the music goes perfectly with each level and thoroughly enhances the overall atmosphere."[12] Writing for Destructoid, Peter Glagowski said, "Not only did it show that the industry was moving beyond being targeted solely at children, but it pushed the action of its game into overdrive."[13]

Track listing[edit]

All music written and performed by Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails.

CD track listing[edit]

2."Quake Theme"5:08
4."The Hall of Souls"8:20
5."It Is Raped"6:05
6."Parallel Dimensions"7:24
11."The Reaction"5:15
Total length:58:56

Vinyl release track listing[edit]

Side A
1."Quake Theme"5:08
3."The Hall of Souls"8:20
Side B
1."It Is Raped"6:05
2."Parallel Dimensions"7:24
Side C
4."The Reaction"5:15


  • Because the soundtrack is pressed onto the same disc as the game itself, track one is relegated to game data.[3]
  • Quake's original packaging provided no official song titles.[14] Some fans came up with unofficial titles, most of the time linking the song to the name of the level in which it first appears.[3] The titles seen above are taken from the 2020 vinyl re-issue, in which the official titles of the songs were finally revealed. [15]


Credits adapted from the 2020 vinyl release.


  1. ^ "Quake OST 1XLP". Nine Inch Nails. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  2. ^ "Quake OST vinyl availability announcement". Nine Inch Nails. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Davison, John. "Original Nine Inch Nails 'Quake' Soundtrack Getting Vinyl Release". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  4. ^ "The Nine Inch Nails Connection". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 14. Emap International Limited. December 1996. p. 7.
  5. ^ Beschizza, Rob (September 17, 2020). "Nine Inch Nails' Quake Soundtrack Released on Vinyl". BoingBoing. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Fingas, Jon. "Trent Reznor blows dust off the 'Quake' score for vinyl reissue". Engadget. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  7. ^ McDonald, Glenn. "A History of Video Game Music". GameSpot. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  8. ^ House, Matthew. "Quake Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on December 10, 2014. Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  9. ^ Denby, Lewis. "Quake (PC) review". Honest Gamers. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  10. ^ "More Pictures". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (2): 126–7. November 1995.
  11. ^ Ward, Trent. "Quake Review". GameSpot. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  12. ^ "PC GamePro Review: Quake". GamePro. No. 98. IDG. November 1996. p. 82.
  13. ^ Glagowski, Peter. "This Quake vinyl could be the perfect drug". Destructoid. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  14. ^ Quake (CD liner notes). Trent Reznor. GT Interactive. 1996. VFB21769. Retrieved April 5, 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
  15. ^ "QUAKE REMASTERED 2XLP". Nine Inch Nails. Retrieved September 17, 2020.