“Hell March” is great, there’s no disputing that. Personally, however, when it comes to Red Alert songs, it’s something else that makes me smile the most, awash in nostalgic vibes and an aggressive stomp.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
Frank Klepacki
“Grinder”

Just merely launching this game was a source of joy, because it meant being greeted with this slice of awesome within the menus. There were times when I’d just let it sit there and do nothing, all so that I could hear the tune in full.

The second game was when the Red Alert series started fully dedicating themselves to being “the campy one” in the C&C lineage, and it struck a tone in that vein which really worked. Patently absurd and B-movie it may have been, but it also still kept up enough of a seriousness of conviction that steered away from being full-on goofy and hammed up.

In that regard, the menu music is so spot-on. It’s got the stupidity of intro-ing with numerous Morse code and radar bleeps stacked atop each other into an urgent wall of sound, and intensely unintelligible chants. WITH YOUR FATHER, WITH YOUR FATHER, WITH YOUR FATHER UGLY FATHER

But through it all, “Grinder” still has the decency to also rock your fucking socks off. And not just rock in any old vague way, but rather with quite the specific industrial metal moves of your friendly neighborhood Rammstein. There are shades of “Du Hast” in particular strewn all about the track, from the power chord mayhem to the beat disco breakdowns, right down to even the demonic choir ahhhhhhhs.

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It’s actually surprising what a good touchstone they turn out to be for a Cold War sci-fi RTS romp. Several years back, when looking up YouTube videos with for RA2, I came across one that used “Sonne”, thereby being my introduction to the song. The natural order of things probably dictates that something like that shouldn’t really fit the game at all!

Yet it instantly clicked for me, batting not even a single eye at the song selection. Because that menu music may very have forced it to fit the game through sheer willpower.


RedStripe Loved Trax—originally from days of Tumblr past—is a series about the music Justin adores, with special emphasis on songs from (or introduced by) video games and anime.