‘Dead Island 10th Anniversary’ by Giles Lamb

Giles Lamb is someone who should be a household name. Not only has his work gone on to be featured in a slew of television series, but he’s earned himself quite the hefty sum of awards in doing so, taking home even the Golden Lion from the Cannes festival! For that last award, it was for something a little more unique than just television — forever tied to the video game Dead Island’s announcement trailer, Lamb’s compositional work soundtracks a zombie attack on a vacation resort island as a variety of characters attempt to escape their ill-suited fate.

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Lamb’s uncanny musical ear instills the scenario with deeply human sorrow, drawing zero humor or bite from the idea of a zombie apocalypse as it plays out onscreen. The genius moment to have the song work as a forward-moving ticking clock, hardly changing its tone to become even a shred more objective in its presentation of the events is what gave the piece the power to take home an award as incredible as the Golden Lion, and that very same reason is why fans still remember the track a decade later.

To celebrate ten years of the theme, Giles Lamb’s back with a new recording of the same song most gamers have come to know and love; the DNA of the song is identical to its original form, with the new video released segueing from being that of a zombie tragedy instead to the orchestra simply playing the song, almost as a statement of their own on what the music means to them. The soft piano combats the strings perfectly as it plays throughout the song with passive intent, and the video showcases Lamb’s patient playing style. There’s a real knack to the playing style from Lamb on full display, and the rest of the orchestra does incredible work maintaining the core integrity of the original version while allowing the performance to feel fresh and revitalized all the same. Ten years ago, it felt like gaming as a medium wasn’t taken nearly as seriously as it is today, so seeing the comeuppance in favor of someone as talented and deserving as Lamb is a well-earned victory lap.


The fact that video games can contain multitudes ranging from basic entertainment to wholly revolutionary life-altering experiences is a thing people only seem to be coming to terms with now; through the help of collaboration with artists such as Giles Lamb, using their artistry to give life and shape to new video game epics in ways most wouldn’t expect, there’s simply no telling where the world of gaming goes from here.

It’s ten years after the fact and fans are still enjoying the Dead Island theme to the fullest, taking the original composition and molding it into their playlists and moods, which says an absolute metric ton towards the forward-moving industry that is gaming. There’s no telling what the evolution of video games will even look like in the next ten years, but if one thing is certain, it’s that Lamb’s Dead Island piece will still be getting plenty of airtime worldwide.

Patrick Orr