[Album Review] NateWantsToBattle 'Five Nights At Freddy's Ultimate Collection'

As we wait for the upcoming Five Nights at Freddy’s film, as well as rumored console ports of the entire FNAF game series, one medium that is very much active in its coverage of Freddy Fazbear and Co. is music. While there aren’t many mainstream acts touching the subject matter of the brainchild of Scott Cawthon, a number of independent musicians have penned songs about or relating to the haunted pizzeria.

YouTube musician Nathan Sharp, known as NateWantsToBattle, has been active in the independent music scene since his channel’s inception in 2012. Among the most popular of his music is his original songs based on Five Nights at Freddy’s. His 2015 EP Mangled was his first official release, which would later lead to Sharp founding Give Heart Records, his own record label. Give Heart features artists including Shawn Christmas, who has produced much of Sharp’s music as well, and Ghost Fight. Through collaborations, covers, and original video game-inspired music and parodies, Sharp has amassed a following topping 1.4 million YouTube subscribers, with his videos totaling over 450 million views on his main channel.

The Five Nights at Freddy’s Ultimate Collection dropped this past Friday, May 10th, and it brings together 16 tracks in total, including four acoustic versions and three unreleased tunes. The core of the compilation is alternative hard rock, with flavors of symphonic rock, metalcore, and post-hardcore sprinkled throughout.

Personal highlights of this compilation for me include “Mangled,” originally released to coincide with the second installment in the FNAF franchise. Its opening riff, with its slightly off-kilter drum pattern and djenty open-note chugging, creates an easy to bop (or bang) your head kind of tune that will stick in your head. For a track lasting just over two and a half minutes, it is a hell of an opener, even if it came second chronologically.

“This is the End” rips in with dueling death growls and a sound very reminiscent of 2000s metalcore. The chorus is epic and grand, with a driving drum beat and Nate’s soaring vocals. Growls are not something to get used to in NateWantsToBattle’s catalog, but the occasional use here, and throughout the rest of the compilation, further drives the dread and monstrous quality of the antagonistic animatronics, and does so to great effect.

“One Way Ticket,” one of the new tracks, has a very bouncy, almost nu metal feel. The intro feels like the kind of thing to get a mosh pit bouncing up and down, would the song ever be played be live. It’s an energetic, fire you up kind of song, pun completely intended (peep the line: “Now this fire has ignited, and you’ll burn as well / Cuz you and I, we’ve got a one way ticket to hell”).

With guitar-centered tracks, multiple nuances and flavors of hard rock, and his tenor voice, NateWantsToBattle has pulled together a rocking soundtrack inspired by the Five Nights at Freddy’s saga. The attention to lyrical detail and the commitment to his own modern sound are just a couple of reasons why Nathan Sharp is at the forefront of the YouTube/independent rock scene.


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