I’ll admit that my interest in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has dropped off in recent months. There not being a lot of major updates is the main reason, but also because I love when they announce new music kits. Just when I thought Valve was basically saving 2017 to be the “year of CS:GO,” they drop a bomb on us:
A bunch of gloves that are rare as a god damn knife, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about those darn music kit!
I know this whole project sounds silly, but I’m always interested in what musicians Valve can cajole into this project. This time, it’s all lumped into a $7 case called “The Radicals Box”, and they’re all “StatTrak” versions so any time you get an MVP in a competitive match, your teammates and enemies will know how awesome you are.
This time, we got seven more music kits. Three of them are from bands from Red Bull Records, which I covered previously, while three more are from a different record label, Hopeless Records, the band that notably had artists like Taking Back Sunday, Sum 41 and Yellowcard. Sadly those bands aren’t featured here, but instead we get the B-tier bands on their catalog. The last remaining kit is from a returning musician, and it fits with the theme of rock and metal. (Hint: It’s not Daniel Sadowski.)
Like before, I’ll link to a YouTube page and the CS:GO Stash page so you can listen along. That being said, let’s get rocking.
DESCRIPTION: Beartooth is back for round two. This new music kit hits harder and is even more aggressive. We’ve also made the MVP anthem extra heavy so your opponents feel really bad after they’ve lost to you.
Our first returning act, Beartooth has another pack based on their newest album, Aggressive. Their last music kit was one of those that took a while to warm up to, but this one’s actually damn good. All the tracks are various cuts from the album, in instrumental form. “Loser” highlights as the main menu track, and their other singles “Aggressive,” “Always Dead” and “Hated” contribute to various parts of the kit from action cues to bomb timers. But they even went for album cuts for the remaining sections, such as “Censored” being one of the round/action cue timers.
Since these are the instrumentals, they really do highlight the rocking metal feel of the tracks without someone screeching over them. This also didn’t take long for me to like it, compared to “Disgusting”, which took a while for me to warm up to.
VERDICT: Recommended. A lot less harsh than Disgusting, and is quite catchy in spots.
Blitz Kids, The Good Youth
British Pop/Punk band Blitz Kids brings you the perfect music kit for rushing B while thinking about those night drives you had with your friends in High School. This kit is for going fast and feeling young.
Another Red Bull Records contributor, Blitz Kids’ appearance here is a bit of an odd one. An alternative rock band, the music kit name and the songs are all from their second and final album, and their sole one with Red Bull Records.
Notice I said “second and final album.” Yeah, Blitz Kids disbanded in late 2015. I seriously hope that the disbanded band members are getting royalties from this kit, otherwise it’d be pretty scummy to make money off a band that’s no longer active.
The kit itself features “Run for Cover” as the main menu track, and much like the Beartooth kit above, Red Bull Records opted for lots of album cuts to round out the kit, such as “On my Own” being the bomb timer, “Sometimes” as the Choose Teamcue, and “Keep Swinging” being one of the action cues.
I like this kit because it’s got that nice alt-rock feel, with occasional synthesizer breaks and string sections, giving it a nice, grandiose feel to the music. Though, using the same song, “The Soul of a Lost Generation” as both the Win and Lose Round cues seem a bit off since they sound too similar. It’s not a deal breaker, but certainly weird.
Again, I hope Red Bull Records vetted this with the previous band members, otherwise they might be in legal trouble. It would be funny for a music kit to become “contraband” like gun skins did, though…
VERDICT: Like alternative rock? Want something a bit lighter than the harsher metal fare? This will work. Recommended.
DESCRIPTION: Hundredth is bringing heavy to the world with their unique take on melodic hardcore. Break free or return to Dust with this perfect soundtrack for fragging the unworthy.
Our first collaborator from Hopeless Records, Hundredth is who you’d expect: Hard riffs, fast pacing, screeching vocals. If these guys were around just five years earlier, I’d see them being prime Rock Band Network candidates.
Now, at this point I’ve been lauding Red Bull Records and their PR/mixer guy using the entire album for various tracks in their music kits. I wish I could say the same about these guys.
First, no instrumentals, so these are the first music kits where we having singing and actual lyrics. Second, only three songs encompass the entire music kit, and they’re all album singles, and finally, lots and lots of awkward choices for tracks because they’re not instrumentals.
“Break Free,” “Unravel,” and “Inside Out” are the three songs used here, and they just seem so chopped together that they sound awful. It doesn’t help the “screechy heavy metal” is not my kind of genre, so this is one I have a hard time recommending to anyone, unless you’re familiar with the band itself. At least the MVP Anthem is probably enough to annoy people.
VERDICT: So lazily put together. Screeching vocals ruining good music, and using three songs to mash up into 6 minutes of music feels slapdash. Not recommended.
Neck Deep, Life’s Not Out to Get You
DESCRIPTION: Sometimes you just need some Pop Punk to get you through the day. Whether it is dealing with campers or losing a massive kill streak, Neck Deep is here to prove that Life’s Not Out To Get You, but the other team still is.
The second Hopeless Records collaboration, Neck Deep is a pop punk band that I’m unfortunately not familiar with, like a lot of the musicians featured here. It’s nice, catchy stuff, reminds me of a lot of early 2000s era punk/alternative rock.
All the songs featured here come from their second album Life’s Not Out to Get You, and much like the Hundredth kit above, three of the album’s singles are chopped up and put together to form the music kit: “Serpents,” “Can’t Kick Up the Roots,” and “Gold Steps.”
This is also probably the first music kit which actually has someone audibly say “fuck.” Well, at least Counter-Strike: Global Offensive now has a proper M rating…
I still have to give flak to whoever at Hopeless Records just chopping up the album singles without using instrumental versions, or even deep album cuts, to awkwardly make the music kit. It’s a shame, because the songs used are really good here, they’re just chopped up and don’t have a lot of flow outside of simple matching. It’s still a good kit, in spite of that.
VERDICT: The chopping up of only three songs makes it an awkward-sounding kit in spots, but it’s better than hearing more metal. Lightly recommended, get it on the Steam marketplace.
Roam delivers fast, straight-forward Pop Punk that gets crowd and players alike moving. Prove you have a Backbone with this perfect soundtrack for rushing in and obliterating the other team before they even realize they’re deadweight.
The third and final Hopeless Records collaboration, thank god. Roam is another Pop Punk band, a fairly new one as the songs used here come from their debut album Backbone.
You probably know what to expect at this point: Only three songs, all album singles, awkwardly chopped together to form the music kit. “Deadweight” forms as the Main Menu track but it’s chopped together as the Win Round cue and an action/round cue. “Bloodline” does most of the heavy lifting, not only being an action/round cue, but it’s the Choose Team cue, the bomb timer cue, both 10 second timer cues… it’s a mess.
The music itself isn’t bad, much like Neck Deep above, it reminds me of 2000s era pop punk. It’s not bad, though the lead singer’s voice grates on me a little. The rest is good stuff, but since it’s just… lazily put together, it ruins it from being a really solid kit.
VERDICT: Worth a try if you’re willing to live past the awkward cuts. Lightly recommended, get it on Steam marketplace.
DESCRIPTION: Skog is back with a third crushing metal kit. This time with an electro-organic twist to the music, combining massive guitar riffs with equally massive drops, loop elements and drones.
Remember when I mentioned we’d have a returning artist? Yeah, I wasn’t kidding. Jocke Skog makes his third appearance on CS:GO’s soundtrack, with a music kit that’s a fitting reference to Quake III Arena.
This kit is wholly original music, which is a bit weird for me to cover at this point. But the name being an homage to one of the best action shooters ever made is not just a clever name. A lot of the cues, such as the Bomb Timer cue, hit that electronic noise feeling that’s very reminiscent of the Front Line Assembly and Sonic Mayhem tracks that littered Q3A. It’s great, and a drastic difference from the previous two kits Skog has made.
Though don’t be disappointed if you wanted more of his hard rockin’ riffs, because those are still here. The Main Menu is an amazing kick-ass track that’s a whopping four minutes of rock mixed with a little choir for flavor. Even incidental music like the round win music is triumphant as hell.
This makes me hope that one day we’ll get stuff from Sonic Mayhem. Hell, I bet even Mick Gordon would be down if you asked. But for now, if you want something like this, you can’t go wrong with this one.
VERDICT: Highly recommended if you loved the electronic-rock sound that Quake III Arena had and wanted a version of that for CS:GO.
Twin Atlantic, GLA
DESCRIPTION: Heavier, rowdier, and louder than ever, Twin Atlantic comes to CS:GO ready to help you melt the faces with the firepower of Scottish rock.
Twin Atlantic is a rock band from Scotland and are probably the longest-lasting band in this set. It’s also the third (and final) Red Bull Records collaboration for this set of kits, so we’re past the mediocrity and straight back into awesome.
“No Sleep” is the Main Menu track, and it’s got that nice rocking feel to it, while also having nice, chill breakdown parts in the middle. One of my favorite tracks ended up being the second round cue, which comes from “The Chaser.” I liked it because it had an awesome sounding riff to it.
Even the bomb timer, which uses the song “I Am Alive,” has the right amount of rocking to it. It might be hard to rock out while making sure Counter-Terrorists don’t defuse your bomb, it’s that good.
I have never heard of this band before this kit, but I might have become a fan. This is good stuff.
VERDICT: Great music, great kit, highly recommended.
That’s all for now. Honestly these being locked away in a crate is a bit lame, but it’s honestly better than paying the $5-7 for an individual kit. I expect most of these to drop in price soon after release, even if they’re StatTrak variants.
I’m surprised how much weight Valve’s showing towards notable bands. I mean, even DOTA2 only got stuff by JJ Lin and deadmau5, so it’s clear they’re willing to get as many bands to support their games as possible.
Speaking of deadmau5, when’s he getting a CS:GO kit?
PERSONAL FAVORITES: Aggressive, The Good Life, GLA, III-Arena
Check out the previous CS:GO music kits here:
– “Series 1” is the initial set of nine music kits, released on October 10, 2014. Featuring a varied group of musicians from game composers Austin Wintory, Daniel Sadowski and Sean Murray, to EDM artists like Feed Me and Sasha, to hard metal from Jocke Skog.
– “Series 2“, released on February 12, 2015, added kits featuring the soundtracks to Hotline Miami and The Talos Principle, as well as new kits from Mateo Messina, Matt Lange and returning contributor Daniel Sadowski. This also covers the Christmas-themed Midnight Riders pack released in December.
– “Series 3“, released on September 24, 2015, added 14 new kits, featuring return musicians Jocke Skog and Daniel Sadowski alongside Red Bull Records bands like AWOLNATION, Beartooth and New Beat Fund; and from other TV and film composers such as Michael Bross, Ian Hultquist and Lennie Moore.
– “Series 5“, released on April 16, 2020, introduced the “Masterminds Music Box,” featuring many return composers like Austin Wintory, Dren McDonald, and Daniel Sadowski; alongside newcomers Sam Marshall, Tim Huling and Tree Adams & Ben Bromfield. This also covers the loose music kits released in the interim between the Radicals and Masterminds Music Boxes, such as music from Scarlxrd, and Halo and Half-Life: Alyx themed music kits.