99 Problems but saving Zelda ain't one - Jay-Z X Link's Awakening mashup mixtape 'Jay-Zelda'

Island beats

Feeling this album way down deep in my bones. I'm very excited to know this album has seen the light of day. When I ran across one of the tracks during another search through SoundCloud for some new tunes for the recent Link's Awakening anniversary, I was lucky enough to find a dusty, but still bumping mix of Jigga and Zelda by Aquma.

Even with my quality googlin' skills, I couldn't find much more on the album save for a handful of tracks floating nebulously about the internet. The best I could assess was that the album was either never released or simply faded into the ether thanks to expired domains and broken html links. 

I was dismayed at the thought of another lost album that I wouldn't get my hands on. A person's artistic endeavor, lost. I know I'm being a tad melodramatic, but the tracks I did hear were pretty damn catchy. Then suddenly. I get a Twitter shout out after my initial post about Aquma's tunes, and later that evening I find out that dude had just posted the album to his SoundCloud. 

The album is a fast paced 11 tracks featuring some of the most memorable themes from the oft forgotten handheld classic The Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening. Sword Search, The Mysterious Woods, Nightmare, hell, even Totaka's Song makes an appearance.

On the flip side, Jay-Z has gotten the mashup treatment plenty of times at this point. There are already two Jigga fusions in my list of favorite mashup albums. Though Jay-Z didn't become Hova for nothing. Even amongst all the other Jay-Z mashups, Aquma manages to find the rhymes less traveled.

That includes the opening theme, Roc Feather, which features the flows of Jay-Z track Roc Boys. Nightmare is another standout track, with the miniboss battle music featuring Rihanna thanks to using Jay-Z's 'Run This Town.'

Hearing a fun or oddball mashup is a grand time, but when I hear an album like this, where it's clear the producer 'gets' the music he is combining, I could almost hear the extra thought that was put in to bring the most of each ingredient, or maybe I just think about the similarities between rap and video games too much. Either way, I'm glad Aquma was awesome enough to oblige. Hopefully he finds time for another mashup mix or two in between programming games.

Jay-Z + Zelda. This is a collection of beats and mashups I made with hip hop drums, Jay-Z raps, and samples from the Game Boy classic The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.

I worked on these off and on between 2009-2012. It was a very personal project that ended up becoming too big for it’s own good. Trying to make a masterpiece became too daunting. I had so many song ideas, things to experiment with, completeness I felt like it needed, production skills I lacked, computers that crashed, and not to mention a life I needed to get going. So I avoided working on it and eventually just abandoned the project completely.

I saw many mashups mixing video game music and Jay-Z raps come and go. Jay-Zelda began to feel kinda trite for me (even though I still rock a T-shirt with the art on it).

Then one summer Saturday, I saw a post from the passionate genoboost at GameMusic4all.com giving “Roc Feather” a shout-out and telling a story about their experience with the game. The writer shared how they got stuck early in the game and explored the world on their own terms. Funny thing is, the same thing happened to me! That memory is what endeared this game, its music, and this project to me so much in the first place.

So I decided to round up the tracks that I made in their rough, poorly mixed glory. The passion is there, though it feels a little uneven at times. Lots of ideas left on the floor. I forgot how much fun I had making these songs. These days, I’d rather spend my time making my own games than revisiting an older project from 8 years ago. But I shouldn’t hoard what I’ve already made if some people who have similar fond memories would really enjoy them.

I thought this thing wouldn’t see the light of day, but fuck it. Here’s the Jay-Zelda lost tape. Enjoy!

Jay-Z Triforce image by Tina Horton (cargocollective.com/tinaharuna)
— Aquma

Nerdcore Emulation Station chapter 1 & chapter 2: Gamecube from 1-UP mini album review

Nerdcore Emulation Station is correct, featuring a who's who of nerdcore over two albums. A few name drops are the likes of Mega Ran, Ill Gill, Sammus, SkyBlew, and perhaps a dozen or more artists from every corner of the nerdcore kingdom. 

Te initial N.E.S. album drops beats from a variety of classic games throughout gaming history. Parappa the Rapper, Metal Gear Solid, Sonic, and Mario are all represented on the album. These are accompanied by flows from 1-UP and the aforementioned litany of amazing emcees.

One of the greatest things about this series, is the overarching storyline nature of the album layout. I think 1-UP explains it best, 

"In the distant future, Emcees live happily across different galaxies providing entertainment and joy through their story telling to their people. 

An evil force plans to put an end to all of that. The imagidrains and their evil leader devise a plan to feed on everyone's imaginations simultaneously through an all out assault on every galaxy at once with stolen abilities. 

The Emcees fight but cannot withstand this onslaught of newly found foes and their powers. A voice appears in their head and transports them all to a new world where they must venture through uncharted territories, learn new skills, and fight new enemies in order to level up. 

Follow 1-UP and many other Emcees as they fight through the worlds of Playstation, Sega Saturn and N64 defeating bosses and freeing them from the Imagidrains mind control, finding new items and leveling up so they can return to their worlds and defeat the imagidrains."

This album is a ridiculous 25 tracks in length, with two or more emcees on every track, you'd be hard pressed to find a bigger collection of new and old nerdcore and hip hop talent.

Despite the eclectic list of artists, the beats help hold the mixtape feel together over the immense amount of tracks. Remixes bring out the catchiest and most memorable parts of the video games they lift from, and keep the adventurous theme in mind as you hear the noble music of Zelda or the get moving beats from Super Mario.

Think that I post the album stream and we are over here? We got a whole second album to discuss.

A few months after the initial launch of the Nerdcore Emulation Station, 1-UP has gathered the emcees of nerdcore for another adventure. He even includes an update about where this adventure stands, 

"Join 1-UP In the second chapter of NES as he and his comrades venture to the Gamecube world in order to free the inhabitants from the Imagidrain army. 

They are currently pumping the planet's resources dry causing the planet to lose it's form and if nothing is done it will implode."

That's right, it looks like the N.E.S. is chilling on the GCN planet for a full album, with remixes of music from Smash Bros. Melee, Metroid Prime and Pikmin, among many others. Sammus even reprises her role alongside Shammers (another one of my personal nerdcore favorites) as her namesake Samus in "Metroid Prime - Stage 7 (Ft Sammus, Shammers and W!SE)." The fusion of styles definitely makes this the stand out track for me.

You can grab both albums for free via the N.E.S. and N.E.S. 2 bandcamp pages.

Jesse Jace Thomas presents remix album Space Pirate Collection I

jesse-jace-thomas-space-pirate-collection-1-vgm-remix-album

An eclectic journey through classic game & movie sounds.

A haunting tribute through a variety of films and video games. Remixes of Metroid and FInal Fantasy VII fit perfectly alongside mashups of the Akira and Star Wars films. The full result is a nostalgic, intense trip through classic fictional worlds. I can definitely see some space pirates blasting this album as they traverse the cold reaches of space in search of their next bounty.

The album opens with a varied rendition of music from the classic Metroid soundtrack. "Ripper Zoomer Zeb" hops between industrial, ambient, and even dubstep. This contrasts sharply with the hard rocking synth sounds of Long Live the Red Falcon, a bass heavy tribute to the music of Contra.

The body of the album features an impressive remix of Akira that will impress fans of the classic anime film, as well as tributes to Life Force and The Guardian Legend. I could never forgive myself for not mentioning the other two Metroid tracks as well. "Red Soil" a remix of music from Super Metroid, is a bass heavy industrial tribute to Kenji Yamamoto's music from the classic SNES soundtrack. On the other hand, "Gamet Geruta Holtz" another remix from the original Metroid, is much more playful, though not without its darker moments.

The final track is the relatively recent game Street Fighter IV. Thomas' remix is a funky take on the SFIV theme 'The Next Door' by Exile combined with a variety of sounds from the Capcom fighting game. This final track ends the album on a much brighter tone than some of the instrumentals haunting segments of the album. This makes for a roller coaster experience as you take in the moods and mashups of the full album.

Grab Space Pirate Collection 1 via Thomas' bandcamp page. I hope that part 2 is already underway.

Arranging a Legend: A review of Cory Johnson's "The Legend of Zelda" tribute album

legend-of-zelda-rock-album-cory-johnson

I actually wrote about this album once before, but that was a couple years ago. They were trying times, what with trying to keep my website from crashing, back when I had to spend much more time focusing on the basic functionality of the site more than the actual content.

It's a new era though, and I am here to give the Legend of Zelda album by Cory Johnson the love and affection it so richly deserves, even if I am a few years late.

Having no formal training in music, I often describe music based on the mood or images it conjures up in my mind. This album would best be described as immense. This album is more an epic to be traversed than an album to toss on in the background while doing homework. Something about Cory Johnson's music grabs me by the ear and forces me to really soak it all in. Well I think two years or so of this album is long enough to get properly soaked, so let's get started.

The album is off to a great start with "Fairy Fountain," my personal favorite song from the entire Legend of Zelda series. Johnson's rendition of the well known menu theme starts off meandering, but don't be impatient as the song closes with an upbeat, drum driven rush of music that will take you back to your own personal favorite Zelda game. This is a good state of mind to be in, since we've got nearly two dozen more songs to go. The next song, "Hyrule Field," is an arrangement that one could imagine a wandering minstrel performing quietly under a tree just outside of town. The song rises and falls and rises again with inspiring waves of sound that create the feeling of an ever building adventure. 

Don't unsheath that sword just yet, perhaps it's time to remember what this adventure is all about, and "Zelda's Lullaby" is just the track for that. The song is less royal, and a little more gritty thanks to the rock arrangement Johnson provides. The track quickly goes from somber to driven as the instruments build and twist around one another. The album moves seamlessly into another theme. This time for Link's noble steed in "Epona's Interlude" which takes on much of the same vibe as the previous arrangement. If I owned a horse, I'd play this song for her every day. At about the halfway mark, I thought I heard everything I needed to hear from this track, but Johnson changes things up just past the two minute mark with a crashing of drums that leads into a sort of aged reprise, finally culminating with a hint of piano. The song gives way to "Zelda's Reprise", which excellently sandwiches the previous track, creating the feeling of a nearly fifteen minute medley of beautifully arranged music.

 

And as if this lengthy review wasn't enough convincing, you can grab the album on a pay any amount you want scale through Cory Johnson's The Legend of Zelda album bandcamp page.

The enemy of all zombies: A review of Earthbound by Cory Johnson

Earthbound-Cory-Johnson

Disturbing, haunting, plaintive, and even hopeful. Definitely Earthbound. Cory Johnson follows up his monumental Zelda album with something more like an audio event than an album. Johnson channels his inner Orson Welles to create a sonic account of the war against Giygas.

Back when the site had recently gone through another torrid upgrade by my hands, Cory Johnson released a one of a kind tribute to the Legend of Zelda. Since then I have been an immense Cory Johnson fan, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I have never had the opportunity to commit many words to paper about this wonderful musician. Coincidentally, as I have revamped this site once again back in July of last year, I run across a brand new collection of music from Cory Johnson, and it appears he has been grinding and leveling up during GM4A's dormancy, because his latest, a tribute to the fantastic, ultimately niche music of Earthbound, is a SMAAAASH!! Homerun.

The introductory tracks paint an ominous picture using dialogue that would sound at home in any 1950's space opera, the audio equivalent of that memorable opening image from Earthbound. The spoken word portions paint a picture which is steadily reinforced by the musical arrangements in an incredible way I haven't heard since some of Jay Tholen's chiptune classics. The tension builds sharply as the actors weave a tale of the chaos raining down from the skies.

It's not until we are well into "Prophecy of Bee" do we start to approach a world far less antagonizing than earlier. "Towns I (Hello World)" runs with that hope and launches it into an upbeat melody of heavy drums and a whirlwind of instruments lead by some evocative guitar playing. The album takes a turn for the somber and beautiful for much of the meat of the album, but don't let that fool you into a fall sense of safety.

"The Cliff That Time Forgot" lays waste to some of the most truly memorable tracks from Earthbound, the type of songs that seemed to be little more than noise in some instances. The trumpet like warbling of Dungeon Man or the pulsing drill sounds that seemed to have no rhythm at all, seem to be best represented by this song. The mood and style of the song vary wildly until we reach the penultimate track.

Penultimate is a great word in this situation, because nothing conveys the grandiosity of the track "I Am the Evil in Your Heart". An 18 minute build up of dramatic speeches and slowly building music that eventually culminates into a stirring finale.

At least, it would, were it not interrupted by the gestating rumble of something completely not of this world. Perhaps not even of this dimension. The music lurches like a lava stream inching it's way forward until we are plunged back into the depths of chaos that the album began with.

Like all great rock albums, this one ends with a reprise like finale. "Town IV (Because I Love You)" is a heartwarming rearrangement of the theme from the bustling town of Fourside.  No tricks here, despite Giygas' greatest efforts, Ness, Paula, Jeff, and Poo have overcome evil and are triumphant in their quest.

Now much like the hope for that day that Mother 3 gets an official US release, I long for the day that Cory Johnson graces the world with another grand tribute to another heralded video game series.

You can grab the Earthbound album for free or name your own price via Cory Johnson's bandcamp album page.

"Stay Awhile and Listen" the latest album from VGM RPG band The World is Square

world-is-square-stay-awhile-listen

There is nothing quite like the release of a VG Rock album. Getting a whole group together in the name of classic game music, well that sir is a thing of beauty. 

The latest album from The World is Square is an album's worth of the finest music Square-Enix could muster in the sixteen bit era.

As an aside, discussing Square and Square-Enix is annoying as hell. Should I call them Square when discussing their rich archive of classic games, or should I call them Square-Enix because that is their name right now? Hell, should I just call them Squaresoft? How about Square EA even?

The world is certainly square in the oldest sense of the word, as these classic songs come from the golden age of Square games (and one Enix game). A time when every game they made seemed to be an instant classic. Final Fantasy VI along with Chronos both Trigger and Cross make strong showings in this album. The band also digs deep for a nice little tune from cult classic Final Fantasy Tactics.

Any time there is a full band arrangement of music from Super Mario RPG, I am all about that. I'll have to remember to play this track on repeat next time I play the game. Then there is the absolutely out of left field Enix produced arrangement from Grandia II, and don't even get me started on what to call Enix. 

After repeated lessons, I have found that my favorite track is the spicy "Damn! That's a Funky Frog! (Frog's Theme) - Chrono Trigger." The catchy cover is so wonderfully upbeat, the perfect song to hear live. Perhaps the world will be more square on the west coast some time soon.

You can grab the full album for $10 in digital or CD form via The World is Square's bandcamp page.

It's big, it's blue, It's Random Encounter's new album, The Big Blue LP

random-encounter-video-game-rock-album-big-blue-LP

This one's for the fans 

If there is one type of album I love, it's the type in which you don't know what genre or style will pop up next. Random Encounter's Big Blue LP definitely sets high marks in that category due to the nature of the album. RE has split up, like inept teens in a horror movie, to go it alone through a variety of both obscure and classic video game themes as chosen by their fans/possible tormentors?.

The Big Blue LP is a thank you to their fans, which makes this gift of music a great album to discuss for my Christmas Day review. I should be thanking RE's fans as well, since they chose a feast of classic VGM for the band to feast upon, giving RE's members the chance to show off their respective musical leanings.

The album kicks off with a kick in the face thanks to Kit's intense heavy metal rendition of the Trigun theme. Unfortunately Trigun never got a video game (it almost did, but then it did not), so moving on. As immediately as the second track, Careless tips the genre needle in the complete opposite direction with his warm, lively, millenial fair appropriate cover of Delightful Spekkio from Chrono Trigger. This is followed by Konami's arrangement of Lively Town from Shining Force II. I have never had the pleasure of playing the second shining force, but I love this track for the Mario Sunshine / Koopa Beach style island vibes.

The stand out track for me was definitely Careless' "Faxanadu." I have never played the game, but have heard the classic music many times, yet I always forget how damn good it is. This piano led adventure of a song rolls quickly forward, with the surrounding instruments lending a haunting tone throughout. I'm glad this song was requested, since this excellent cover is a great reminder of how great Jun Chikuma's game music is.

To close the album, Random Encounter stop futzing around in their dinozords and combine into the Megazord that everyone knows they must. In doing so, the group drops a boss level beast of a rendition of "Clash at the Big Bridge" from Final Fantasy V. In this humble VGM enthusiasts opinion, Clash at the Big Bridge is the best Final Fantasy track ever made, not just in FFV, but all the FFs, that's right, even the spinoffs. Random Encounter nails the spacey intro before tearing into the meat of the song at an intense pace. Unfortunately the song is over before you know it, as Random Encounter apparently decided to make this track a scant two minutes, instead of a reasonable thirty minutes like the extended mix of the Uematsu original I'm listening to on Youtube as I write this.

Though I was saddened to no longer have my face rocked by the sounds of FFV, I was quickly cheered up by the album's title track, and another top ten VGM track, Big Blue. Random Encounter takes an all out approach to both tracks, though Big Blue feels more enthralling, and stands out from other covers due to the ceaseless jumping between instruments and riffs that pull the listener in. 

The final tracks have got me prepped for the next full album from Random Encounter, although, I also wouldn't mind the RE do like the Wu and split off into a bunch of solo albums before reuniting. Enough talk of the future though, you can download Random Encounter's latest album right now, for free, on the Big Blue album Bandcamp page.

Incredible genre spanning VGM remix album Draskon's VGMusic Covers Vol. 1

Draskon-videogame-music-covers

Every so often I come across an album so eclectic I can't simply categorize it into any one genre, since the album itself fails to stick with any genre for too long. Draskon's VGMusic Covers Vol. 1 does precisely this with a tornado of metal, electronic, orchestral, hip hop, and more.

The album kicks off with a damn near endless (in the best way possible) Zelda medley, sending us through some of the deepest darkest moments of the zelda series in the opening track "The Legend of Zelda - Link's Nightmare Suite."

All your fear washes away though, as the hip hop styled "Astral Observatory" gets your head in the right place with a smooth beat and catchy sampling that I would kill to hear someone lay some bars over. Don't let the hip hop nature of the beat fool you though, as a searing solo burns up the track around the midway point.

I can't forget the utterly incredible rendition of "Vampire Killer", one of my favorite songs from one of the best game soundtracks ever made, Castlevania for the NES. Draskon does this song every bit of justice as he flies through sizzling riffs and intense solos.

You can grab this album for $12 via Draskon's bandcamp page.

The Returners can't stop rocking in their debut album 'Immune to Silence'

VGMetal doesn't get classier than this. 

As I've mentioned before, The holidays present a cavalcade of new VGM into my ears and mind, so it pains me sorely to not get to dig into this album deeper at the moment. Perhaps The Returners would be kind enough to do an interview sometime next year...

The debut release by The Returners, Immune to Silence, is wonderful in it's entirety. Today I am going to key in on a block of songs placed in the center of the album. Tracks 4-6 are absolutely ripe, and have quickly dug themselves into my heart. The group of songs begins with a stirring Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past medley "The Master Sword Awaits." The Returners put on their pegasus boots and sprint through several classic themes from Link to the Past. The defining moment of the track for me, the first strains of the Kakariko Village theme that emerge on piano. As the other instruments drop in, the warmth of the music easily shines through. It's easy to imagine all the highlights of Link's journey through Hyrule and the dark world as each portion plays.

As evidenced by many of the things about me as a person, I love the Zelda series, so clearly this arrangement was exactly my jam. Shockingly though, my favorite track on Immune to Silence is not Zelda, but the a track I have no nostalgia for at all. I've never played the game that track five is based on. Despite that obvious handicap, Ecco The Tides of Time tribute "Songs of Strange Creatures in the Sea" is just so damn enthralling. The track opens with the darkness of the deep ocean, as a spiraling flute and crashing drum march over a deathly slow beat.

As an aside, it's about time I got a new Ecco II track to listen to, in a quick search, turns out This Place is Haunted's moody 13 minute ode to Ecco is over five years old at the time of The Returners' album release. I'm not sure if any other bands have performed music from Ecco II in the interim, but I would certainly like to know.

As for The Returners' Ecco The Tides of Time medley, the music shifts into some adventurous metal and synth work and funky riffs. This medley spans the darkest to the most fun (at least until some cartoons play) moments on the album in the span of five minutes.

The final piece of this juicy block of music, and perhaps the crown jewel of the album is "The Best is Yet to Come." Any Metal Gear Solid fans will be damn near moved to tears with this arrangement. 

The rest of the album contains a variety of other one of a kind arrangements and medleys paying tribute to Final Fantasy VI, StarCraft, Lufia, Phantasy Star, Star Ocean, and even a saturday morning cartoon medley. 

Though this is The Returners' first studio album, the group has been around the VGM scene for a few years now, and it is great to see their potential so fully realized in their debut.

Grab the debut album for $10 download, or go the classy physical CD route for $15 on the Immune to Silence Bandcamp page.

Looking upon a 'World of Ruin' from Year 200X

year-200x-world-ruin-video-game-metal

Album review of the latest heavy metal retrogaming intensity of Y2X.

The opener is "Intro." Fair enough. It gives the album a humble beginning, like the slow rise from the ashes, creating the dawn of a new era.

...and then we're playing mother fuckin' Wizards & Warriors. This song has never sounded better. I love many iterations of the classic theme to Wizards & Warriors, but Year 200X completely rips it apart. That is probably why it gets the long winded title of "Wizards and Warriors (Forest - Wind Elemental - Outside Castle Ironspire)."

At this point I have to admit that I am not only nostalgic about the games that are being covered, but I am actually nostalgic for the last time a Year 200X album came out. It really has been a while, and I am simply elated that this album exists. It feels like a crime that I wasn't alerted to this album a little sooner, since it probably would have forced this site out of dormancy a few months earlier. 

To drive this point home, Year 200X ditches the magic spells and wizard robes, and heads right into the robotic apocalyptic future with an out of control cover of "Mega Man X (Spark Mandrill - Opening Stage)." The song doesn't let up for a moment, not even after the climbing solo midway through. I never even got a moment to form thoughts about the song until well into the next track. It was only halfway through "Twin Cobra (Level 1 - Level 2)" that I realize that I'm already rocking out to the next song instead of thinking about the last one. Twin Cobra has much of the same pedal to the metal action of the previous song. Together they create the driving metal underbelly of the album before the head of this beast is revealed in the final two tracks on World of Ruin.

Perhaps the most revered song by one of the most well regarded composers in video game history. Yasunori Mitsuda's Chrono Cross soundtrack was phenomenal, despite the divided opinions about the actual game. World of Ruin does this song justice by including a variety of guests on this track, including the ever present rocker Amanda Lepre, flute player Lauren Liebowitz and more to create the rich soundscape of "Chrono Cross (Star Stealing Girl)."

As the soft orchestrations finally give way, the song never loses the adventurous and uplifting tone. Guitars soar alongside flutes and keys. A final somber moment before the finale of World of Ruin.

When I began to play this album, I didn't initially look at what songs were on it, I simply hit play. As the last track finally came about, I had already long been thinking about how impressive the closing track to We Are Error was. The six minute Zelda II track was an incredible song, and would be the finale of Year 200X albums for some years. 

As the notes slowly came to me, I realized this was FFVI, and Y2X had chosen this as their grand finale. "Final Fantasy VI (Dancing Mad)" is the perfect descent into the World of Ruin mentioned in the title. 

The album quickly plunges into chaos and darkness over ten minutes of ever growing, deathly ominous chants, double pedals, and wailing guitars. You can hear the madness in every note until near the very end, as the guitars twist into an epic solo that may or may not have been enough to save the world.

Like some bands these days, Year 200X has made their album available to purchase via loudr starting at $5.00, though for $10 you can get the original We Are Error album as well.

Continuum Kingdom releases 16-bit inspired album 'Fantastic Revenge'

Retro synthwave post-rock inspired by 16-bit video games.

The duo of Glen Walker and Travis Thomas, better known as Continuum Kingdom, return. Their latest album, Fantastic Revenge, is more of that ominous adventuring feel that I loved so much on their debut album Adventure Forever.  Unlike their debut album, which I described as something akin to sailing over an 8-bit ocean, Fantastic Revenge takes a more entombing tone.

Fantastic Revenge lands somewhere between the haunting musical spectrums of the more dissonant sounds of classic Castlevania and the Mother/Earthbound series. The foreboding mood rarely leaves the album, creating an ambient yet imposing mood, as if being walled in from all sides. This gives the majority of the album an adventurous, dungeon-crawling vibe.

Tracks like "Golden River" and "Pyramid Subterannea" really drive the cave raiding mood home. The former sounds like the emotions one would have when finding an underground oasis / save point deep inside the earth. My personal favorite track is the deep and ominous theme "Dark Rider." This track just seems to step a bit heavier than the rest of the album, which really captures the energetic drums and synths as they rise and fall. If CK performs live, this is the song I need to see happen.

The album closes with the lengthy "Never Ending," a track that kicks off like a distant doomsday warning before fading out in a wave of fuzz that reveals the instrumentals full form. A spacey, soaring track that is thematically very different from much of the claustrophobia inducing album. Does this song signal a death, or even a rebirth for the unnamed adventurer this album is about? Maybe this song just sounded best at the end of the album, because it most certainly does. A final blare of synth sirens announce the close of this track, and the album.

Make sure you have some quality headphones (honestly, a requisite if you subscribe to this blog), or crank that surround sound up, because Fantastic Revenge holds some surprising nuance within the glitches and fuzz that permeate the edges of the album. If you enjoy classic RPG soundtracks, synthwave, and/or chill ambient electronic rock, then grab Fantastic Revenge free (or name-your-price) from the Continuum Kingdom bandcamp page.

H.A. Sedda pays tribute to Koji Kondo & Motoi Sakuraba in new album 'Chosen Giants'

Guitarist's original album influenced by the Legend of Zelda and Tales of series.

Sedda has quickly returned to the studio for a follow up to his impressive VG tribute EP Vignettes from Millennia. In his latest, he continues his fusion of influences. This time, not just in tribute to two particular games, but two incredible pantheons of games, the niche RPG series Tales of, which began with one of my personal favorite games, Tales of Phantasia for the SNES. The second title is about as far from niche as a game could get, of course I'm talking about the wildly acclaimed and beloved Legend of Zelda.

Motoi Sakuraba and Koji Kondo have been the foremost composers for their respective series, and it's clear that H.A. Sedda has worked hard to provide music worthy of these influences.

Chosen Giants starts softly with "Melomakarono" (which Wikipedia tells me, is a type of Greek dessert). The song quickly spirals into a fusion of genres, including glitch, jazz, rock, and more. Once the song kicks into the closing half, the gentle tones give way to a foreboding shift in mood. The guitars cackle out riffs as the drums and deep bash push forward unrelentingly. This track goes from 'resting at an inn' to 'boss battle' in under four minutes, like a medley of songs from a game that never existed.

At this point I can't help but think of a few of my favorite scenes from Tales of Phantasia, such as the snow falling as Mint and Cless have a conversation outside an inn, or dropping to the depths of the ocean to find a now destroyed ancient civilization (as many RPGs do).

'Klutz Nicolette' follows. This theme takes on a much more positive tone, though no less adventurous. That's not to say that Sedda doesn't fill the song with his brand of eclectic instrumentation and mood. The songs finale builds, as if a great strength is enveloping the hero as the track comes to a close.

Title theme, Chosen Giants, brings the EP to a close. The guitar work on this track is vibrant, and ever flowing. It's easy to get drawn in, making this my favorite track of the clearly too short album. The final track evokes some of that deep dark dungeon exploring that is at the heart of so many classic adventure games and RPGs. It's easy to imagine descending deeper and deeper into the depths of the earth as the song pushed forward. This, of course, includes the requisite dungeon boss battle. The struggle builds and builds, with a single final note deciding the fate of the album. and possibly some grand mission by a group of ragtag adventurers.

The constant shifts of mood in each song create a varied and emotional trek through his music, surprisingly reminiscent of the games S.A. Sedda is influenced by. Thanks to this, he has quickly rose through the ranks of my favorite VG inspired guitarists. Now, I hope Sedda can find the time to nail down a full album. I can't imagine how many influences he could muster in a full 45 minutes.

No matter what musical endeavor H.A. Sedda takes on next, at least he can rest assured that Zelda fans are a patient breed thanks to Nintendo and game delays.

Download the album by naming your own price on the Chosen Giants bandcamp album page, or stream the full EP below.

Enter 2 Mello's 'The 3-6 Chambers' - Final Fantasy vs Wu-Tang mashup album

The-3-6-chambers-Wu-Tang-Final-Fantasy-mashup-album-2-Mello

Release day review of the free-to-download mashup adventure.

The 2 Mello mashup trilogy comes to a close with The 3-6 Chambers, available to download or stream now over at Scrub Club Records. Seems Mello saved the most intense for last, a 14 track collection of mashups featuring the music from Nobuo Uematsu's Final Fantasy VI soundtrack, remixed and remastered beneath the eclectic flows of classic Wu-Tang Clan.

2 Mello's story-based mashups (as well as other artists like Tovarisch) have forced me to find a new term for this combination of videogame based hip hop storytelling. Henceforth, albums of this caliber will be known as mashup adventure albums. This term means that the album not only collects a variety of catchy tunes and hot vocals, but that attention is also payed to the original meaning of the source material, and becomes remixed and mashed up to convey the heart and mind of the original artists.

Mello sums up the idea of a mashup adventure album well in his own liner notes

The Wu-Tang Clan, the legendary kings of rap, espers buried deep within their 36th chamber of skill, come forth into a land on the brink of destruction. The evil magic-abusing warlord Kefka holds legions of rappers and producers under his iron grip, using his Slave Crowns to make us work for him. The Wu-Tang are able to free me, but I still have to prove my skills in remixing if I am to join them in battle.

This attention to storytelling is something I love in video games and hip hop, and evidently I also crave in my video game hip hop, no matter the source material. 

As a hip hop head, living in Southern California put me at quite the disadvantage in hearing much Wu-Tang in my youth. This means I'm not nostalgic for classic Wu-Tang in quite the same way as when I heard Jay-Z and Nas, both of whom were featured in Mello's previous mashup collections. This means I not only get the chance to hear a brand new collection of head bobbing Mello mashups, but can also up my hip hop game by getting more familiar with the Wu. 

The album dropped this morning, and I am giving it my first listen as I type up these words, so instead of a full review, for now I'll give my initial impressions. On first play through, the album is surprisingly laid back, likely due to the beat choices, which juxtaposes the playful, endless grassy field imagery of classic RPGs with the big city New York rap style of Wu Tang.

On first play through, stand out tracks are currently the opening and closing tracks, "Magic Ruins Everything Around Me", and "The Crew is Back" respectively. Of course there is plenty of meat sandwiched in between.

I have to admit I didn't give the album a straight play through as planned, thanks to "Got Your Treasure" a mixture of ODB and The Veldt (Wild West). I had to hit rewind quite a few times, and really take in the mood of Final Fantasy within the lyrical context of Dirt McGirt. The song takes on the mood of a cocky adventurer busting into caves and dungeons and getting that money.

Catchiest track award has to go to "Da Mystery of Shadow-Boxin'" for the beautiful fusion of the somber Shadow's theme with Da Mystery of Chessboxin.' Headbanger award definitely goes to "Battle Pit." which combines the hard hitting sounds of Gravel Pit with FFVI's main battle theme. It's the FFVI equivalent to Team Teamwork's classic FFVII mashup of M.O.P.

I hope to have a fuller collection of thoughts on the album sometime in the future. I now live in a world in which a mashup album could be one of the most layered and deep albums of the year for me. Isn't that something? Enter The 3-6 Chambers for free via the Scrub Club Records album page. You can also follow 2 Mello's Twitter

Some day, there will be an RPG in which the battles really will have rap music about fighting. That is my dream. A hip hop Persona, or urban Earthbound...

Get Infected: A review of Infection #03, an album of VG Metal by Pokérus

Pokerus-VGM-Infection-03

I originally discovered Chilean artist Pokérus about a year ago when I discovered some impressive remixes via the PokérusVGM youtube. Shortly afterward this website went into decay, keeping me from properly keeping up with the heavy metal sounds of Pokerus. Now, with this brand new album release, I am finally able to share a fuller range of thoughts about the music of Pokérus.

The album starts off with PS2 cult classic RPG Tales of the Abyss, and surprisingly, starts off incredibly somber thanks to the vocals of guest singer Mari. Little did I know that "Tears of the Abyss Pt. 1" isn't simply an odd intro for a metal album, but fantastic foreshadowing of the breadth of styles this album actually encompasses. The intro track melds perfectly into the hard hitting metal you are here to hear in "Necromancer Approaching," a cover of music from long running PC game Ragnarok Online

At this point I have to commend Pokerus on the niche games he decided to include in this album, which is best represented in this cover of music from the best fighting game series ever (absolutely no hyperbole). The intro song to Rival Schools United by Fate is given a blodd pumping, heavy metal facelift, Besides the grand musical arrangement, "Atsui Kodou" also benefits greatly from the vocal work of featured singer Iris. 

After a kick in the face with so much hard rocking, things get relaxed for a moment with the acoustic vibe of "Wood Wheels," a lovely, guitar driven rearrangement of the Rainbow Road theme from Mario Kart 64. Sticking with the Nintendo train, the following track sets us right on that metal path with a fusion of music, sound effects, and banging instruments in "Dungeons to Explore", a remix of my beloved dungeon music from Legend of Zelda A Link to the Past.

An engrossing Chrono Trigger cover follows, with a long, windtorn piece. This is followed up with the freflowing mixture of violin and guitar in the oft overlooked Final Fantasy IV. Also included on the album are covers of Phoenix Wright, Sonic The Hedgehog, Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, and Pokemon Emerald. Each one just as good as the few I had the chance to cover. 

I wish I had the time to take on each track one by one, but time is limited since I want to get this review up and spread the word on this album (not to mention my most verbose reviews can reach well over 2K words, which is something I am trying to avoid these days). I hope to do in the future as one off posts, so keep following GM4A for future Pokérus

I would be completely in the wrong though if I failed to mention the closing track on this album, the fifteen minute medley paying tribute to the Masahiro Sakurai directed Kirby Super Star for the SNES. The track starts with a slow burn, but it is worth the wait as ir morphs into a dark rendition of the already dark "Marx' theme". The medley slowly morphs into a slowed down jazz rendition of music from Gourmet Race before switching things up again with a panoply of drums that swings us right back to the boss battle theme we started with. From there the song further breaks down into an incredible mess of Kirby tracks and the foreboding voice of Marx himself as he is taken down by the spherical pink hero. This song absolutely encapsulates the sheer threat of Marx on the world of Popstar, as well as my own fear of him from back when I fought him as a kid.

Download the album free over on the Pokérus bandcamp album page. Also be sure to check out the impressive full album artwork by Mikoto-Chan.

A trip through Team Teamwork's Katamari Da-Emcee with the prince of all hip hop

katamaridaemcee-teamteamwork

Let's just get the track listing out of the way first. Feel free to look up the lyrics, and track down the original sound versions if you must. Then follow a new story of the prince of all hip hop.

katamari-da-emcee-tracklist

It's clear from the over-the-top opening, Can't Tell Me Anything, that this prince is from the streets of all cosmos. The aggressive energy of the intro track bleeds into a surprisingly laid back remix of Busta Rhymes and the memorable piano driven "The Moon and the Prince."

The third track, "I'll" really sets the tone for the album with the glitchy tones of Blue Orb highlighting Danny Brown's lyrics from I Will. Probably one of my favorite songs on the album, too bad I can't sing along with it in public.

One thing I love about mashups is the fact that I can learn to love a lot of songs I originally disliked or just didn't give the time of day to. More Than Twenty Questions is a great example of that, since I spent a few years thinking 50 cent was beyond wack. Toss down some of his lines over the dreamy sounds of Katamari Stars and I love this track. 50 cent is okay.

The love is over quickly and it's time for a young prince to move that katamari. Wonder how the King of all Cosmos got so powerful, maybe "Move Drugs" provides a hint. If you got high on some intergalactic kush thanks to the last song, then you'll really feel the follow up song, Tachyon, a nice anthem track to get you pumped for the final stretch of the album. 

So far it has been difficult for me to decide what I like better, the thug prince of some tracks, or the surprisingly forward suave lover of a prince, but if the track Butts Everywhere could be lumped into a broad definition of 'romance,' then the sauve prince wins by a hundred miles. I'm sorry but I think songs where the chorus is a catchy reference to asses and possibly what asses can do, then I love it. So if you want a great album review from me, then have a song about butts on your album, and make it catchy.

The penultimate track is the one I was most excited for when the tracklist dropped. It didn't matter which Katamari song it got paired with, I knew DMX' vocal track from "X Gon' Give it to Ya" would be a definite highlight of the album. Even with all my expectations I didn't expect "X Will Give it to You" to be this catchy. I can only picture DMX in a suit performing live with a big band in a high class casino.

Ever since falling in love with the ending track from Team Teamwork's Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis album, I've payed close attention to the way this man ends albums. This one does not disappoint. "International Anthem for Players" is a perfect ending to both the game and the album. Teamwork deftly mixes in the original vocals from "Katamari of Love." Though those vocals by Shigeru Matsuzaki (and lyrics by Yoshihito Sano) are in his native Japanese, I'm sure he' s dropping some real pimp game.

Metroid Metal - Expansion Pack EP release

Metroid Metal - Expansion Pack
Metroid Metal - Expansion Pack

I am not even sure where to begin with this post. As soon as I fired this album up I was blasted with such incredible energy and fantastic musicianship that it's been a challenge to simply write this article rather than just rock out and air guitar for the entirety of this album. Unfortunately there isn't an onomatopoeia for 'headbang' yet, so I actually have to write about this album with only the vocabulary at hand.

From their humble beginnings Metroid Metal has become an incredible live force to be reckoned with, having played to thousands of fans at the Penny Arcade Expo and MAGFest and releasing one of the best albums of last year. Looks like they aren't satisfied though, as they aim to have the greatest album of this year as well. The group has recently announced the release of six newly recorded tracks from the whole band, and called that release, Expansion Pack.

For those who have not had the chance to see them live at PAX or MAGFest, you have been missing out. I had the good fortune of getting to see them perform earlier this year at PAX East and was simply blown away. It can be difficult for a group without a lead singer to gain traction with folks, but Metroid Metal had a stage presence all their own. You would be hard pressed to turn your attention away from them at any part of their live set. Luckily for the folks who could not travel out to Metroid Metal sanctioned events, the group has taken several songs that they have been performing live, and gone into the studio to create Expansion Pack. This EP is freely available to download via Metroid Metal's bandcamp page. Now don't consider this a mere extra to their amazing debut album though, as we have half an hour of incredible arrangements starting with the highly memorable theme to Metroid Prime to kick this album right into high gear.

This album is definitely more than a simple expansion, boasting six songs and clocking in at half an hour. Leading from the amazing opener, we also hear incredible music from one of my personal favorite games, Super Metroid, with the themes to Brinstar and Criteria. Brinstar's ominous beeps are transformed into full on guitar and the effect is incredible. It's hard to imagine that these songs were ever written any other way. In the same vein, Crateria's fiery depths are also recreated brilliantly by the group. Keeping the same dangerous atmosphere of the original while still creating a head banging wall of music to rock out to.

Expansion Pack also boasts two songs from the NES days with Norfair, a driving, intense, track that builds into an epic boss fighting and destroying end. Then we have the incredible rendition of Tourian/Mother Brain, which pushes forward just as hard as the other tracks. With stomping guitar riffs and spiraling out of control solos. The group took another amazingly ambient Metroid piece and made it feel like it was only ever intended to be an immense metal song.

To close out this amazing EP is a medley of Prime 3 Theme/Bryyo. This track starts out hard, but slowly morphs into an atmospheric rock anthem. This final track alone is incredible and varied enough to leave any Metroid fan happy, not to mention exhausted from all the headbanging that will be done. So grow your hair out and get ready to head bang by downloading Expansion Pack right now.

Hylian Lemon & friends - Essence of Lime compilation release and review

A few months back, An amazing album was organized and released by VG remixer Hylian Lemon. Along with a few folks from the video game remix, and cover community, they organized an expansive tribute to the music from the often overlooked Game Boy Color game The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages. That album is available now for free download as Essence of Lime.

Essence of Lime is a well put together album of over 40 remixed tracks covering the entire library of music from Oracle of Ages. Hylian Lemon takes the forefront of the album, remixing and contributing to nearly half the songs, which makes sense, as this was originally set to be a solo project. The other half of the album is composed of many other enthusiastic Zelda fans and musicians who, once hearing about the project, jumped on board to be part of it. Essence of Lime coming together in this way gives the album a novel, cohesive feel.

The album kicks off with the orchestral fanfare of title track Essence of Lime by Hylian Lemon. The mood starts out somber and reverent, but quickly fades into a funky adventurer's beat, with great use of sound effects that don't become distracting. Not Bad for a Diva shows Hylian Lemon take a different approach, creating a soothing piano movement that starts washed out, before leading into a slightly more ominous jazzy affair. Moving forward a few tracks, we hear from ProtoDome with one of my favorite tracks on the album, the amazing chiptune styled funk of Past, Present and Future Perfect.We hear vibrant effects and piano swirling together to create an upbeat foot tapping rendition of the well known Zelda field theme.

Bound Across Time is another stand out piece, arranged by Chickenwarlord and Hylian Lemon. The track starts out with a soft lilt of piano, then leads into a driving piano fronted piece that is equal parts catchy and foreboding. With its fading instruments and great piano work, the track really has a distinct feel. But just when you have a grip on it, you are shoved through the ages again and we are met with a comfortable melody of strings which gently lead us to the end of this piece.

At this point it gets tough deciding which tracks to decide to pinpoint in this short review, as many of them are quite good. The tracks are well produced and solid. The arrangements themselves are interesting, and add a new flair to some older Zelda tunes that have seen their fair share of remixes. The website also boasts plenty of great Zelda inspired artwork for the album, including alternate album art and wallpapers. I must admit that I am most partial to the main album art by Maverickk though, He has done a fantastic job capturing the playfulness of the Zelda series in his art, and I think it stands out as some of the best artwork I have yet seen for any album this year.

Back to the music though, we hear from Hylian Lemon again with a worldly piece simply called Really Big Tree. The track combines synths, percussion, and piano into a marching tune across the land, even paying homage to classic Zelda as the song comes to a close, resonating with the sounds of a lone piano. Things don't stay low key for long thanks to the industrial sounds of TheKrow and his arrangement Tombstone Factory which is quickly followed up by Sockpuppet's first of two tracks on the compilation, Ganon's League of Evil, a tension building fusion of violin and metal.

Cart Track Switch Back kicks off with the best track intro on the album, this quickly transitions into the rushed and hunted mood of the main track. Chickenwarlord and Hylian Lemon bring together a ton of ideas for this song, created a varied piece which still transitions smoothly through the environments and textures of the track. DJ Mokram steps in with his track Gimme Some Hearts Fairy!, a moody synth track that shifts around in an increasing panic until the maddening close.

Hylian Lemon teams up again, this time with the prophet to create Eyes in the Deep, an amazing glitched out electronic jazz piece that has a lot of layers, all appropriate to a Zelda game. The trumpet and piano slide drearily along as the percussion and effects add great variety to the piece. As we approach the end of this album, we hear Hylian Lemon going solo again in Endless Eclipse, a track with some great drum work, and an amazing ominous arrangement, continually pushed further to the edge of a great abyss (in a good, Zelda way) by the percussion.

Things take a turn for the unstable in CopiousX's contribution to the album, Horses Eat High, a swirling, psychedelic trashy effect laden rave tune that wavers in and out of consciousness before fading away into the next track. That next track is Enter The Ganon by Dj Mokram and NintenJoe 64, another guitar drenched track, which recreates the intense final battle within the world of Oracle of Ages.

Waves of nostalgia hit us thanks to Sockpuppet, and his track Linking the Legends the genre blending fusion gliding song through a classic Zelda theme. This is another stand out track on the album, and well worth the wait. The finale is an amazing rock epic, Essence of Melon by none other than Girlz Melon. He lays down another one of his well known blistering guitar tracks, paying homage to another classic Zelda tune. Girlz Melon invokes a kind of Hyrulian anthem mood with the tracks marching like drums and crashing cymbals. With a smash of drums and a bit of feedback and this album has come to an end.

I am sad to say that I did not have the chance to listen to this amazing album the moment it appeared online, which is what prompted me to do a review on it now. Hylian Lemon has culled a great stable of musicians to work with, and has created an immense, cohesive album thanks to them, as well as his mastery over several genres and styles. The album was also able to maintain the mood of the game, and the tracks, which is something that can sometimes be lost in rearranging music. Though I may not be as big a fan of the Oracle of Ages game as Hylian Lemon appears to be, this album has definitely made me a bigger fan than I was before. Diving into this sometimes overlooked classic and recreating the amazing soundtrack definitely brings the game into a grander perspective that belies the tiny Gameboy game. Once again, Essence of Lime is available free, so download it, and let the sour sounds of limes and lemons fill your ears.

Also, because I love the artwork for this album so much, here is a picture of the also amazing second disc cover art!

Jay Tholen - The Great Hylian Revival EP release and mini review

Often times you will hear a music writer spill some words about a band or artist that "defies categorization" and "transcends genres" or what have you. Usually it doesn't mean much, as they all fall into fairly broad genres none the less. For me though, I can finally use such cliche language in one of my own music reviews. I am referring to the latest album by one of my favorite musicians in and outside of chiptunes, Jay Tholen.

If you head over to his website right now, you will be greeted with the download link for his latest effort, an odd mixture of personalized lyrics, remixed VGM, and religious currents that weave an amazing, and infectious ten minutes of music. Starting appropriately enough with Song of Creation, a relaxing ballad to the heavens. The short song starts with a recognizable Zelda theme, quickly building on it with inspired lyrics and a calm atmosphere. From there we are met with the memorable menu music from the Zelda series, along with notes of chiptunes and lilting bass in the song Fountain Drinking. The song builds a slightly more tense mood than the intro, with crunching effects and warbling back up notes, creating a more enclosed, darker atmosphere that is reinforced by the forlorn lyrics and driving rhythms.

A cacophony of sound effects rise up above a simple movement in The Spirit Descends on Kakariko Village, a relaxed, atmospheric piece that is over too soon. This leads right into my favorite track on the album, the funky, bass laden, analog tinged Windmill Stomp. Taking the memorable Song of Storms and laying down additional instruments and vocals to create a catchy, yet eerie piece of music that defines this album. Tholen reaches past the nostalgic tug of VGM and warps this track into a simple, inspiring piece of art in his own right.

As we come to the last leg of the album, I have to mention that this album is from a completely different plane than most VGM. Jay Tholen's influences, both musical and not, shine through at almost every step. Lullaby starts acoustically, as we hear strings build and fade like ripples on a pond. As the bass comes in, the music moves fluidly like brush strokes, slowly building up to a softly sung chorus at the center of this piece. As the song slowly fades away, we hear a delicate clattering of instruments fall around the melody. After this relaxing piece things suddenly get amped up for the straight ahead rendition of Saria's Song, bringing the album to an upbeat, yet odd close.

This album plays with VGM as merely a starting point along the way to a larger picture, and I feel it succeeds. The minimalist lyrics even feel like they would belong in the silent, unspoken world of Link and Zelda. It's quite easy to imagine these songs performed by a travelling musician in the world of Hyrule just as easily as envisioning it at a small church basement in our own world.

To reiterate: Jay Tholen released an album available free here. Go download that album, and be amazed once again by the versatility of Jay Tholen.

Konjak - Legend of Princess indie game soundtrack release

Thanks to the ever vigilant folks over at Nobuooo I recently learned of both an awesome soundtrack and game by the name of Legend of Princess. What we have here is a simple, but fun Zelda inspired side scrolling platformer created by Joakim Sandberg AKA Konjak. Both the game and soundtrack are available via the appropriate page on his website. What sets this PC title apart from other 2D platformers is the interesting use of weapons and how they shape the difficulty and layout of the stage, so even though the game is quite short, the replay value is huge.

As you start the game, you will be asked to choose two secondary weapons of varying difficulty. You can see the Zelda influences in the items as well, such as bombs, arrows, and a feather for jumping. Each item even has it's own difficulty rating, from the beginners boomerang to the noble chicken. Now if you are anything like me, you will gladly be taking different weapon combinations into the game to see what changes and what stays the same throughout the level.

Then there is the graphics, which I definitely found myself enjoying as I explored. The art of the game is a clear homage to SNES era graphics, and specifically Link to the Past, but adds it's own artistic flair through it's more stylized sprites and movements. I could go on about this game at some length, but you can simply experience it yourself, as the game is free to download. Today we are focusing on the (also free to download) soundtrack for the game.

The Legend of Princess soundtrack kicks off with a pompous introduction, which leads to a somber piano track to set the mood for the game. As the Title fades out, we get a catchy refrain for the Menu which really hints at the Zelda influence in the opening notes. The Stage theme has some more enchanting call backs to classic Zelda compositions, but still maintains a wholly original air about it as you fight and jump your way through the level.

A funky battle cry is heard as we reach the Miniboss, a catchy eastern piece that gets the heart racing and ready for combat. Though I may be mistaken, I believe we hear some more SNES inspired influences as well in the desolate and extravagant Battle Themes 1 & 2 respectively.

The album comes to a close, portraying the result of the only two outcomes of any game. We hear the Death jingle first, a short reprise of piano for a fallen hero. Afterwards we hear the lively grooves of the Saved music. This track ends the soundtrack with a catchy theme like movement that definitely remains in your head well after the notes have ended.

I was pleasantly surprised to find this game recently, and have been enjoying both the game and soundtrack since. If you haven't yet, head over to Konjak.org and grab both right now! I do expect to hear more from this fellow in the future too, as it looks like his game Noitu Love 2: Devolution was just recently picked up by Golgoth Studios to be released on WiiWare. I hope to be writing about that game soon as well, since, if the trailer is to be believed, it is going to be something amazing.

Yes, Mayhem self titled album release

Yes, Mayhem
Yes, Mayhem

It's not often that I post music that is so far removed from video games, but there are always those few rare instances, of which I believe this is one. Considering that the musicians involved in this album were so heavily influenced by video games in their other endeavors, this site would be doing a disservice to readers and music lovers everywhere to not write about the debut self titled album by Yes, Mayhem.

Created by Dan 'Chunkstyle' Taylor and boasting all stars of VG Rock such as XoC, Danimal of Armcannon, Ryan8Bit, Stemage of Metroid Metal and several more, Yes, Mayhem definitely has it's roots firmly planted in the VG music culture. The album sounds like a love letter to the 90's rock radio that played during those sessions of Donkey Kong Country and Sonic The Hedgehog. Yes, Mayhem displays a mood of grunge metal rock stylings that tread across classic styles, borrowing the best of each in the process. Yes, Mayhem is a great listen for anyone that grew up listening to the music of that era like these folks and I did. That's not to say that the album doesn't cross new ground though, as Chunkstyle and friends incoporate synths, samples, and interesting lyrics to keep things fresh throughout.

Through out the album your ears will be assaulted by a ton of various genres and styles, starting with the slow heavy mood of Release, on through the laid back calm of Take 2. Not to mention pieces like the accordion tinged rock of Whore Shoes, with it's aged guitars and chanting vocals. I believe my favorite track on the album though, is the hard rocking synth infused sounds of Fevered Egos. This track kicks off hard, and only gets harder from there, throwing down an awesome to the point of almost absurd keyboard solo just to start the song. Not to mention the funky bass lines weaving into the song add a nice groove to the intense rocking.

As I have kept repeating through this short write up, this album is a fantastic debut, and I hope to hear more from Chunkstyle and friends in this vein in the future. I am sure you will as well once you grab the album, which is available to download free or for donation over at yesmayhem.com and I highly recommend giving it a listen. It may not be the VG music you know and love, but it comes from some of the most talented folks in the VG inspired music community, and will definitely satisfy that urge for a great new rock album.