As I mentioned last week, it's Metal Month for Audio File Friday. That's right, an entire month dedicated to gaming classics re-imagined as hard hitting metal numbers. And it's the perfect month for it; there's something about October, the start of Fall and with Halloween one of the darkest times of the year, that just fits with this genre superbly.
This week I'll be taking a look at Artifical Fear who combines his metal ballads with an appropriately creepy aesthetic to produce some truly refreshing video game covers.
Refreshing metal: who knew?
From his official website:
Artificial Fear is a music project from the mind of Mat Graham. Artificial Fear's sound can be anything from creepy to hardcore metal. But Artificial Fear is most famous for doing video game covers.
As was the case with LDVGM, the
rather cute Georgia Native known Artificial Fear let's his music do the talking. And boy is he saying something. The guy makes some truly remarkable gaming covers.
I say remarkable because, let's face it, when you're dealing with video game covers sometimes you just end up with the same song played by different instruments. If you're dealing with pillars of the industry like The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy 7 you're especially at risk. Who hasn't done a Song of Storms cover or a FF7 Battle Theme cover? There's plenty of notable ones, some of which have been featured here, and plenty of forgettable ones too.
Thankfully Artificial Fear's covers are all the former. The guy has a knack for taking songs you've no doubt heard covered, remixed, sampled, and who knows what else a million times before and still managing to make them surprising. It's like hearing the song for the first time again.
Take, for example, his cover of The Forest Temple from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Here he's covered the classic number but also injected his own original melodies into the overall piece to create a full song.
And again here, he takes Wind Waker's Dragon Roost Island and manages to give it some new life. I'd love to see what he'd do with Molgera.
Another thing that Artifical Fear does well is taking audio samples from the games he's covering and using them as highlight moments throughout each song. It's a small touch, but one that keeps you in the game world. In this Deku Nut's Palace cover he's taken the original upbeat piece, played over it, and with a little help from Link's own screaming has turned it into a surprisingly good headbanger.
And here he takes the already powerful Mako Reactor from Final Fantasy 7 and manages to make it even more intense, while mostly staying true to the original piece.
Remember that creepy vibe I mentioned? While you get the most creepy out of his original tracks, his cover of Those Chosen by the Planet definitely isn't lacking in the creep-factor.
Neither is his cover of Super Mario World's Castle Theme. Again he's cleverly using audio from the game itself to support the piece.
And before anyone tries to pull the 'he's just playing guitar, nothing special
wah wah my only friends are cats' card, let me stop you right there. This guy's specialty is certainly in his strumming, but as he proves in this Majora's Mask Final Hours cover he's doing it all: guitar, bass, horns, and even vocals.
He's collected the bulk of his music into album-like collections that you can get via his bandcamp. The first is an extensive collection of Legend of Zelda music that covers the entire series.
The second features his Final Fantasy 7 covers.
And the third, Dead at Work, features his own original songs, which are all just as great as his covers. I particularly enjoy the track Blood Dragon Supremecy.
More covers and originals can be found on his official website where you can also find blog posts from Mr. Fear, opportunities to vote for his work (and why wouldn't you) around the web, and of course new music when it gets released. Also be sure to keep up with the official Artificial Fear youtube channel, where he's hidden a few gems like the Super Mario World track that you can't find elsewhere. And last but not least, follow him on twitter.
I'm going to leave you with one last video from Mr. Fear that really shows off some of his skills, both on the electric guitar and on an adorable lute
though sadly not on the adorable boy he's with...ahem.