Greetings, audiophiles, and apologies for the delay. It would seem that my bandwidth doesn't appreciate epic gaming metal websites as much as I do. So fair warning, today's featured artist's official website is pretty intense and not for the faint of processing power.
Ever since my Metroid Metal post from way back in July, I've been wanting to find more gaming metal. And after that particular entry I received quite the large response from all the metalhead gaymers lurking about who helped point me in the right direction. And so, once Audio File Friday was back up and running like normal I thought, 'why wait?' and decided to throw it all at you at once. Hence, October was dubbed Metal Month.
The month began with LDVGM who has single-handedly crafted quite the impressive collection of metalalized game tracks covering a wide array of titles and generations.
Then I took a look at Artificial Fear who has combined his thrashing-ways with a decidedly, and appropriately for October, creepy aesthetic.
And last week was all about Megadriver, and through their Sega-centric head-bangers I found myself reminiscing on the company's glory days.
This week Metal Month officially wraps up with a band that without you can't even begin to talk about gaming metal. Don't let memories of the silly peripheral they take their name from fool you, Powerglove is the real deal.
Specializing in both gaming and television metal covers, Powerglove is based out of Boston, MA and is comprised of Guitarist Alex Berkson, Guitarist Chris Marchiel, Bassist Nick Avila, and Drummer Bassil Silver. Now, they say first impressions are everything and a visit to Powerglove's aforementioned official website tells you all you need to know about this band. Before you even listen to a song the vibe is made clear: big, loud, metal, gamers, epic. And really, that's all you need to know.
For a long time their website wasn't even as much a website as it was an actual game, born out of the band's desire to create a unique experience for their fans. While the website as it exists now is more standard fare a remnant of the game still exists, complete with everything from Final Fantasy characters to Ducktales' Huey Dewey and Louie to keep a gamer satisfied and a promise for more game in the future.
From the website to their costumes
nice koopa shell codpiece btw we get it: this is gaming culture and metal culture brought together in the best way imaginable and this meeting of worlds doesn't end with just what they've got to show it's also in what they play; the music is everything you could ask for and more.
It's this complete package, the combination of great music with a great image, that makes Powerglove stand out from the rest of the pack.
Let's look at this Batman track from a couple of places.
Musically it's got all the fixings you'd expect from a hearty metal meal, but it's also used a taste of audio sample from the original title to give it some extra flavor. The chord progression is dynamic, at times digging down and dirty with repetitive drumming and at times speeding up with an almost hopeful rising sound. This is music you can become invested in, music that you can follow a story in even without any words.
Visually the video combines everything the band loves in one entertaining narrative package: the band members are characters in a video game, fighting off hoards of enemies with their music. And there's certainly no shortage of humor here; these guys are having fun and you can tell.
This group isn't afraid to mash up genres either, something I'm always in support of.
In this Transformers cover the band has combined metal with synth with light orchestration and starts the whole thing with some gorgeous acoustic guitar strumming. If this band is anything it certainly isn't one note.
Any band that can do a spectacular cover of the classic Pokemon theme song is already a winner in my book. But more than simply cover the classic they take it in daring new directions while still maintaining the classic melody that people want to hear. It's also their only track with full vocals, a conscious decision to avoid potential silly lyrics that would distract from the music, courtesy of the talented Mr. Tony Kakko.
Check out this Legend of Zelda medley. Here the band plays with pace, really working the original Zelda melodies hard and steady before turning the volume to 11 and jamming through them and then going back into the slow steady progression. These shifts in energy are dynamic, keep the listener guessing and, most importantly make the listener want more. By the time you reach the end and you're hearing the classic Zelda anthem you feel like you've been taken on a journey as epic as Link's and this one was only about six minutes.
Following the release of their first EP, Total Pwnage, Powerglove debuted their first studio album, titled Metal Kombat for the Mortal Man, in 2007. The titular track, a complete overhaul of the legendary Mortal Kombat theme song, is more than worth a listen or two. Despite saving the iconic, 'MORTAL KOMBAT!' yell for the very end, anyone who knows the game will know this song.
This band has everything going for them already, but their real secret weapon is in the surprises they line each song with. I can't think of a single Powerglove track I've heard that didn't have at least one moment that made me smile in shock. Whether it's synth or 8-bit or some clever audio sample, it's the unexpected moments that grab your attention without ever being distracting and are what make this group so exciting to listen to. You really never know what you're going to get, but you do know it'll be dynamic!
Take, for instance, this Sonic the Hedgehog track titles So Sexy Robotnic. Not only do they add some funky guitar strums beneath the heavy hitting guitar wails they even pull in the talented Mr. Simon Jeker for a saxophone solo that is out of this world. I'm a sucker for a sax solo, but the last place I'd expect to hear one is in a metal track. On paper it sounds so wrong, but in action is outstanding!
They've covered all the classics, and of course have the Final Fantasy 7 Battle and Megaman 2 Dr. Wily themes covered
I'm convinced you aren't allowed to make gaming music without doing these two as pre-reqs tbqh but they're not afraid to cover uncharted territory either.
For example, Final Fantasy 4 may be
the best in the series after 9 and maybe 6 a classic title, but it doesn't always get the love it deserves; especially not in music form. Thankfully these guys were sure to spread the love around to the other games in the long running franchise. I don't know about you but hearing the Red Wings theme metal-ized just feels right.
Duck Hunt actually doesn't have any music to speak of, only sound effects. That didn't stop Powerglove from making a song inspired by the the classic Nintendo title, though. Big ups to them for thinking outside of the box. What's the saying? An artist is the one who can see what isn't there? Well in this case Powerglove has heard what wasn't there, and boy is what they heard exciting.
I could sit here and just post every single song Powerglove has ever made, and truth be told I wanted to, but considering the strain that their official website has no doubt already put on your bandwidth
because obviously you all have as bad internet as I do I'll leave you with the samples I've already given.
you've got ears you are anything like me, one song will have already hooked you and you've already stopped reading this in favor of buying their albums. Their newest, Saturday Morning Apocalypse, you can get on both Amazon and iTunes, and while their earlier work is regrettably absent from these channels you can still listen to it all via their last.fm page. or on youtube like you've been doing.
I couldn't think of a better band to send off Metal Month with; Powerglove really is in a league all its own. Be sure to keep up with them via their official website, like them on facebook, and follow them on twitter.
I hope all you audiophiles have enjoyed Metal Month as much as I have. It's been fun focusing on one type of music four weeks straight, perhaps I'll do it again. But which genre to play with?
While I ponder that question, I'll leave you newly baptised metal heads with Powerglove's eargasmic tracks. Let these guys take care of you and I'll catch you right here next week.