Unearthing the Metal Underground: The Video Game Cover Scene
Video game music metal covers, that’s what I’ll be reviewing here. For those new to this concept, video games, especially the old school games for NES and SNES, have always had many elements in common with metal. A Simple search on youtube or myspace, will yield plentiful results. Now it seems anyone who plays guitar decent enough is trying to play his or her favorite video game theme, movie theme, or TV show theme. Sadly most of these people are amateurs and don’t spend enough time arranging the music to form an interesting version of the song. Furthermore they usually have sub par recordings done in their bedroom with a drum machine. The bands in this article have been around for a while and put time, money, and a lot of effort into their recordings.
Boston unsigned video game metal band Powerglove are probably the most popular of the band as they have toured with power metal band Dragonforce. Their covers are constructed as progressive power metal songs. The band will be touring the US with Hammerfall in March and continue in April and May with Sonata Arctica and Mutiny Within. The band has three albums worth of covers available. I am really surprised that the band is able to tour with such popular acts, while being unsigned and a band that covers video game music. They’ve done everything from Power Rangers to Final Fantasy VII. Check out some of their covers and upcoming tour dates on their MySpace page.
Powerglove performing Power Rangers in Quebec with the crowd singing the words:
Buffalo, NY's Armcannon, who are also unsigned, delivers their covers in a more traditional metal approach. The band seems to be more about having fun than anything else, which can be heard from their song on myspace entitled, "I’m A Real Sexy American Boy," which is pretty self explanatory. The band, like Powerglove, also covered the Power Rangers theme, which they decided to put vocals on instead of leaving a complete instrumental like Powerglove did. Also contrary to Powerglove, they prefer a crunchy tone over a heavy tone. Other covers that can be heard on their MySpace page are “Still More Fighting,” the boss theme from Final Fantasy VII, Megaman 2’s Wily stage theme, and Chrono Trigger’s Zeal Theme. The band currently has 2 albums with a third on the way and plays local shows and big video game conventions such as MAGfest.
ARMCANNON performing a Zelda Dungeon Medley at Broadway Joes on 5/19/06:
Metroid Metal started as a solo project of guitarist Grant "Stemage" Henry, which has erupted into a full-fledged band. Unlike the other bands mentioned, Metroid Metal focuses on exclusively on the Metroid games. The music is interpreted with a progressive rock meets Meshuggah feel. Their lineup includes members of Armcannon and features 3 guitarists. Read my review of their debut album, "Varia Suite" as a full band here. Check out their renditions of Metroid themes at their website.
Metroid Metal performing the Brinstar and Norfair themes from the Metroid series at the Penny Arcade Expo 2009 in Seattle Washington:
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