Zombies mode was initially a last-minute addition to Call of Duty: World at War. Looking back more than a decade later, it’s fair to say Zombies is one of the better additions – arguably THE best addition – to a Call of Duty game in recent history.
The basic premise of Zombies is simple: survive. However, there are complex Easter Egg storylines that have taken a life of their own in recent Black Ops games. Along with the storylines, there are also Easter Egg songs which players can find and activate.
With the release of Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War and the thirty-third Zombie map, we look back at the five best songs in the Zombies universe.
5. “Not Ready to Die” Call of Duty: Black Ops
Among the many Zombies maps available in Call of Duty: Black Ops, none was as unexpected as “Call of the Dead.” Instead of playing as the original four characters, players control celebrities from famous horror movies: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Englund, Danny Trejo and Michael Rooker. The map also features George A. Romero as a “boss” zombie of sorts.
Because of the maps’ celebrity-centered theme, it was only right to tap heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold to compose an Easter Egg song. Being fans of the series, Avenged Sevenfold utilized “Damned” – the mode’s quasi-theme – in an interlude in the middle of “Not Ready to Die.”
It’s a fantastic addition to the series’ music, even if it requires some suspension of disbelief.
4. “Rusty Cage” Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Originally by Soundgarden in 1992, Johnny Cash’s cover of “Rusty Cage” is a fine addition to “Mob of the Dead.” Cash’s seasoned voice along with “Mob of the Dead’s” Alcatraz setting just adds a surprising level of levity, especially for a Zombies map.
Considering “Mob of the Dead’s” premise – four convicts trying to escape Alcatraz – and this song makes perfect sense for the map. “Mob of the Dead” was a change of pace for Zombies players but “Rusty Cage” is welcomed, regardless.
Much like “Not Ready to Die,” this song requires some suspension of disbelief but it’s still a great song.
3. “Where Are We Going” Call of Duty: Black Ops II and IV
More subdued than most of the songs in the Zombies world, “Where Are We Going” is contemplative, introspective and somber, comparatively speaking. The choir-heavy track gives a feeling of uncertainty and confusion.
Initially featured in “Mob of the Dead,” the song is expanded in “Blood of the Dead,” which makes sense since the latter is the former map with some upgrades. Even still, “Blood of the Dead” is a great choice, especially for its orchestral feeling.
It’s a surprisingly good song, especially for a mode that has had a bevy of good songs.
2. “Damned” Call of Duty: Black Ops
Composed by Kevin Sherwood for the original Black Ops, “Damned” is strictly an instrumental. Primarily a piano piece, other instruments can be heard throughout the song. Nonetheless, it sets up the tone of Zombies mode well and preps the player for what to expect moving forward.
So well-received was “Damned” that every Black Ops game afterward had the song in some form, be it as a remix or as an arcade tune. Just looking at the numerous comments of joy regarding the latest iteration of “Damned” in Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War makes it clear that this song will forever be intertwined with Zombies.
“Damned” is unsettling, unnerving and chilling. It’s the perfect song for Zombies.
1. “Beauty of Annihilation” Call of Duty: World at War
Another Sherwood composition, “Beauty of Annihilation” starts sinister and after a steady buildup, the song never really lets up. Elena Siegman’s vocal range going from normal to almost demonic at times is a marvel in and of itself.
The easter egg song for “Der Riese” and its subsequent updates, “Beauty” is just the perfect song for killing Zombies. The slow buildup in the beginning mimics early rounds while the rest of the song gets progressively more hectic, much like a typical Zombies session.
If there was such a thing as a perfect combination, “Beauty of Annihilation” and “Der Riese” would be it.
In all, these five songs can be seen as the pinnacle of the Zombies soundtrack. While lists such as this one are always subjective, playing Zombies with these songs will yield a guaranteed good time, and that is why they are the best.