Attention former RuneScape preteens: You owe it to yourselves to hear this official metal cover of the RuneScape theme

A pixelated imagining of a desktop showing the Old School RuneScape login screen, surrounded by RuneScape and metal iconography.
(Image credit: Jagex)

I like to think I'm above the influence of nostalgia. Did I spend hundreds—maybe thousands—of my preteen hours playing Old School Runescape back when it was just Current School Runescape, painstakingly fishing lobsters so I might one day piece together enough gold for my own set of rune armor? Yes. But that doesn't mean I'm an easy mark. Surely, age has sharpened my tastes. Surely, it'd take more than a licensed, professionally-produced metal cover of the RuneScape theme to impress me— 

RuneScape Metal Mixtape - Beats to 'Scape/game to - YouTube RuneScape Metal Mixtape - Beats to 'Scape/game to - YouTube
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Ah, nevermind. This shit rules.

Last week, Jagex revealed RuneScape: Battleaxes and Ballads, an officially-licensed metal cover album of Old School RuneScape music. I'm pleased to report, as a journalist and critic, that it's sick. The RuneScape theme, or "Scape Main" as it's officially titled, already went unreasonably hard in its original form, considering it was something that I'd only hear while waiting for my chunky Windows XP desktop to let me login in 2005. But the Battleaxes and Ballads metal cover sounds like how the memory of the original theme felt to my 12-year-old self. That's an achievement.

Featuring other OSRS bangers like Sea Shanty 2 (shoutout to Port Sarim), the album's remixes from composer Mykel Dunn are classified by the press release as "battle metal." I assume that's like a non-denominational cousin of viking metal? Presumably with less droning? I'm not an expert.

Produced in partnership with Laced Records, a game soundtrack record label that's worked on special edition album releases with Bandai Namco, From Software, Capcom, and more, Runescape: Battleaxes and Ballads is also available for preorder as a vinyl LP. Once it ships in October, you'll be able to listen to Old School RuneScape remixes on an intentionally old school format, because money lets you do all kinds of things. Also, it's red, because why would you make an LP if it wasn't going to be a fun color? Like I said before: Age has sharpened my tastes.

If you're unswayed by the crimson record, you're still free to listen to the full album on YouTube. RuneScape: Battleaxes and Ballads is also available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud, leaving you with plenty of options for a heavy metal recasting of your memories of Barbarianism, the music from Barbarian Village. That's the RuneScape village where the barbarians were. Sometimes they'd drop chaos runes. Great stuff. 

Lincoln Carpenter

Lincoln spent his formative years in World of Warcraft, and hopes to someday recover from the experience. Having earned a Creative Writing degree by convincing professors to accept his papers about Dwarf Fortress, he leverages that expertise in his most important work: judging a video game’s lore purely on the quality of its proper nouns. With writing at Waypoint and Fanbyte, Lincoln started freelancing for PC Gamer in Fall of 2021, and will take any excuse to insist that games are storytelling toolkits—whether we’re shaping those stories for ourselves, or sharing them with others. Or to gush about Monster Hunter.