7 Awesome Video Game Bands You Need To Listen To
A good portion of my music library is comprised of video game music. From OSTs to remixes to tribute bands, I can’t get enough of the stuff and more often than not I prefer it to “normal music”. So, without further ado, I’d like to share with you all a list of video game related artists that you should listen to (If you aren’t already that is.):
Hailing from Tennessee, The Protomen have released two concept albums which (loosely) tell the story of Megaman, Dr. Light and, of course, Protoman who live in a dystopian city controlled by Dr. Wily. Their first album (The Protomen) is a hard-rocking series of songs that chronicle Megaman’s journey to save the city and find out the truth about his brother. The second album (Act II: The Father of Death) is a spaghetti western of sorts that neatly leads into what sounds like a cyberpunk-esque 80’s movie. This is one band you absolutely must see live as the band dresses up as robots and put on one hell of a show. In keeping with their love for the 80’s, they tend to cover one or two songs from movie soundtracks like Rocky, Top Gun, and Highlander.
Video game metal is really common nowadays. However, Armcannon has a distinct feel that sets them apart from the others. The band’s repertoire includes really heavy epics like their nine-minute Zelda tribute (“Dozen Elf Death Gel”), their funky rendition of Crash Man’s stage in Megaman 2 (Mash Crayon), and an amazing cover of the Ghostbusters theme (“Bhost Gusters”). On top of that, they have a surprisingly good mash-up featuring the theme songs of the WWF’s Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels (“I’m A Real Sexy American Boy”) and a bizarre version of Galaxy Man’s theme from Megaman 9 (“Galaxy Man”).
The Adventures of Duane and BrandO is an amazing collaboration that takes classic games and turns them into epic rap/rock songs. Their album, The LP of Devastation, includes tributes to Mario, Final Fantasy, Sonic, and even the infamous Cheetahmen 2 with a few original songs thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, the duo split up some time ago but they continue to work on solo projects in the vein their previous work. Action Adventure World, led by Duane Zuwala, has released tons of singles including tributes to Barkley’s Shut Up and Jam, Millipede, and Comix Zone. The Amazing BrandO, on the other hand, has been gradually releasing content such as a Castlevania III song as well as his episodic tribute to A Link to the Past. Just make sure to shield any virgin ears that may be listening as their lyrics tend to be anything but family-friendly.
In contrast to The Adventures of Duane and BrandO’s foul-mouthed rap/rock songs, the former schoolteacher Mega Ran, A.K.A Random, provides squeaky clean lyrics about Megaman over beats layered on top of tunes from the series. And unlike The Protomen, Mega Ran tells a tale very loosely set in the Megaman universe. He also happens to have non-Megaman related raps on his Nintendo tribute album Forever Famicom including the great Chrono Trigger inspired “Epoch” which sees him incorporating various game titles into the lyrics. However, Mega Ran also has several albums of non-video game related material.
Hailing from New York, this foursome combines live instruments with a specially modified NES that plays music using its sound chip. The result is a chiptune band that rocks just as hard as any other group out there. Aside from their work on the soundtrack for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game, the band sticks to original, non-video game songs such as the high energy “Blackout City” and the very fun “My Skateboard Will Go On”. I recently got the chance to see Anamanaguchi live several months ago and I had an absolute blast, even though I found myself exhausted after the first song.
By far one of the more unique video game bands out there in terms of sound, The One-Ups are a jazz/rock/funk ensemble that takes classic game music and creates a smooth, easy listening vibe. Even though the band covers songs that have already been done a hundred times over, they manage to make each track sound fresh. Notable songs include a jazzy rendition of “Green Hill Zone” from Sonic the Hedgehog to the very sexy sounding “Aquatic Ambience” from Donkey Kong Country.
As stated before, video game metal is pretty common in the video game tribute scene and if you’re looking for the hottest, most brutal one around then look no further than Powerglove. You haven’t heard songs like Final Fantasy VI’s “The Decisive Battle” or “Holy Orders” (Which was already pretty metal) from Guilty Gear XX until you’ve heard them with facemelting guitar solos. Their most recent album, Saturday Morning Apocalypse, is a collection of popular t.v and movies themes ranging from the Pokemon theme song to Winnie the Pooh’s “Heffalumps and Woozles”. As an added bonus, the band wears game inspired costumes on stage similar to GWAR.
Well, I hope at least one of these bands may have piqued your interest if you already aren’t listening to them already. The above-mentioned bands are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the video game cover scene. Hell, I didn’t even get into Nintendocore, acapella groups, or South American Sega metal! What do you think of these bands? Agree with my musical tastes or disagree? Know of any other bands that kick ass? Then discuss and share down in the comments!