There are many games where music plays a big role. These include Guitar Hero, The World Ends with You, Elite Beat Agents, Brutal Legend, and many others. There are also the opposite examples - bands that draw inspiration from games, singing about boss battles, gamer brotherhood, and favorite heroes. They use audio chips of old computers, sounds of retro consoles (there's a whole genre of Nintendocore for a reason), and electronics.
In this article, we've collected some of the brightest such bands. Read on and enrich your playlists!
Swedish metal band Machinae Supremacy (or simply MaSu) is a prime example of a band whose songs have game themes from the very beginning. In the band's sound, you can hear elements of power metal, heavy metal, alternative rock, and chiptune. For the last one, SID is responsible - an audio chip from the legendary Commodore 64 computer, based on which the band created the SID Station instrument (MaSu even call their music as SID-metal).
The band's discography includes seven studio albums (the most recent is Into The Night World) and The Beat Of Our Decay Collection. The penultimate record Phantom Shadow (2014) is a concept album. It is based on a story about the near future, where powerful corporations turn people into fighting machines, and they fight for freedom and return to normal life. Just recently the single Pendulum was released, which means that a new longplay is just around the corner.
Machinae Supremacy have also left their mark directly on the gaming industry. Their music can be heard in the scrolling shooter Jets'n'Guns, the platform games Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, and Cortex Command.
MaSu is one of the bands that are impossible to confuse with others. Partly because of SID, partly because of leader Robert's vocals. At first, it may seem specific, but after a good "listening" to the works of Machinae Supremacy, you get used to it. What also distinguishes the band is their Scandinavian striving for quality. It is difficult to find at least one "passable" release - on each album the band gives their all.
Like Machinae Supremacy, Americans Anamanaguchi uses chiptunes, but their sound is neither heavy nor "metal." It's a vivacious mix of pop-rock, electropop, and Nintendocore. Instead of SID, they use NES and Gameboy. The musicians themselves say that they were most influenced by "Tim and Eric (the American comedy duo), all those absurd comedy shows and Japanese music and video games."
Anamanaguchi's EP Power Supply and three LPs - Dawn Metropolis, Endless Fantasy, and [USA] - are under their belt. The band's main contribution to the industry is a full-fledged game Capsule Silence XXIV, a first-person game filled with team tracks and "Easter eggs" like funny photos. The second best is the soundtrack to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game, a game based on the iconic comic book by Canadian Brian Lee O'Malley.
I Fight Dragons
Anamanaguchi is ideologically close to I Fight Dragons from Chicago - they also play a mix of rock and electronics, incorporating into their sound the sounds of classic Nintendo consoles and peripherals. In its early years, the team attracted the attention of major label Atlantic Records, after which it began to appear on MTV and went on tour with more famous bands (e.g., Cobra Starship).
At the moment, I Fight Dragons have two EPs (Cool Is Just a Number and Welcome to the Breakdown) and three record albums (KABOOM!, The Near Future, and CANON EYES). The band also planned to release Project Atma (an album accompanied by a graphic novel), but it remained a project on Kickstarter.
Smash Into Pieces
Sweden again! Smash Into Pieces play electronically rich alternative rock with elements of other heavy genres. They've released six full-length albums under (New Horizon was released this year). Like Machinae Supremacy, the band creates their own musical universe. Their last two albums share a common story: the struggle between the inhabitants of the video game Arcadia and the supercomputer S4Y.
Smash Into Pieces experiments with the images of the band members. One of them is named The Apocalypse DJ and hides his face under the mask with the band's logo. In 2016, he replaced drummer Isak Snow and bassist Victor Windlund, who left the band, becoming the band's mascot.
Pop-punk/pop-rock - the Philly-based band is a bit of an outlier. To be clear, not all of their music is tied to gaming themes, but there's a reason Superweaks made it into this article. Together with indie studio Team Lazerbeam, they made Teenage Blob's first-ever music-game split about a young bubble boy going to a concert.
The player's task is to help Blob earn money for a ticket and cool clothes, which would not be ashamed to show up at the club. Playing there, of course, the Superweaks themselves!
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