Doujin, Game Music, Reviews

Six Surefire, Face-Melting Missiles: Metroid Metal’s Expansion Pack (Review)

August 25, 2010 | | 4 Comments Share thison Facebook Six Surefire, Face-Melting Missiles: Metroid Metal’s Expansion Pack (Review)on Twitter

I was having a nice, quiet, peaceful day, when all of a sudden, Metroid Metal decides to drop a 6-track EP on the VGM community. In 0.28 seconds, my face was officially melted. Third degree burns EVERYWHERE. It was a mess of hyperbolic proportions. Because, you know, I tend to dwell in the realm of hyperbole.

We at OSV have talked about Metroid Metal before: album reviews and a concert report, to be specific. We’re kinda sorta into them, because they happen to be amazing performers. You’ve never, ever heard Metroid music quite like this.

The Expansion Pack EP is set for physical and digital release on September 4th, 2010. We got our hands on the full 6-track mayhem ahead of time so we could tell you about it. The details come after the jump.This is, in short, the perfect companion piece to the Varia Suite album. Most of the songs on here are songs that the band has been playing at live shows, and with a lot of performance comes some incredible ad-libbing on solos and a great synchronized sound for the whole band.

The EP opens with the “Prime Theme” from Metroid Prime. It is without question my favorite of the six tracks on the EP. It has an in-your-face kind of start, and over 4 minutes, it hardly lets up. The irregular time signatures are a Metroid Metal signature, and whenever they randomly insert an extra beat or two in a measure, I get a little giddy. Those drum fills rule. Every time. Total ruling. And the lead guitar part with the single-note tremolo (32nd-note action!) will blow your mind.

Track 2: Brinstar, from Super Metroid. This is the first of four tracks that long-time MM fans will know, because early demo versions of them exist floating around the ‘net. This one is a favorite of mine mostly because the source material is so excellent. The new super-polished recording, though, takes things to a hyper-awesome level. I love the soft breakdowns in MM arrangements, one of which you’ll find at the 3 minute mark here. You know what makes them great? When you’re expecting the song to be over, and then the whole band kicks in with renewed energy. Instant win. And let’s face it, anytime you have a common time signature that’s broken into 3/3/2 (total 8 beats) and you experiment on that? You just can’t go wrong.

The 3rd track? It’s Norfair, from the original Metroid. I love the soft opening measures before the grungy distorted guitar takes the spotlight. It’s such an unexpected opener. But what really makes this arrangement great is the insane use of irregular time signature. It’s all over the place. Between that and the melodic guitar line rising and falling, you have an instant winner here.

If you were looking for a piece that really showcases the full band’s talent, I recommend Crateria, from Super Metroid. Everyone gets their 15 seconds of fame in this arrangement. It’s definitely something special, and frankly, something I’m surprised they left off of Varia Suite in the first place. You can really dig deep into this one.

Now, I know I’ll be unpopular for saying this, but my least favorite track is track 5: Tourian / Mother Brain from the first Metroid on NES. A lot of people love those rolling diminished chords, but not me. This has everything to do with the source material. There just isn’t enough meat here. The MM crew did some really creative stuff with the “Item Room” and “Item Collect” tracks from the first game. But this stuff? While it’s consistent with the rest of their arrangements, it just isn’t as cool as the rest of the music they’ve made.

The final track of the EP really helps round up their sound in one lengthy, powerful medley. It’s all from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The medley includes the “Theme” song, as well as the music for the planet Bryyo. You can, if you want to, soak up this sound with your ears and then let it just sink into your brain. There are soft sections and loud sections. There are awesome drum fills. There are great full-band breaks and hits. And at over 6 minutes, it’s one that you can leave on repeat for about 5 loops without remembering the start and end points of the piece. Someday, I’d like to see this arrangement expanded to include some Dark Samus theme and maybe another track from MP3 to make some ridiculous 10 minute medley. But the Bryyo part alone is enough to keep me begging for more.

Well, that’s it. In total, the EP comes in at nearly 30 minutes. It’s absolutely worth having, as is the original Varia Suite album. Just come prepared for some face-melting. You may not like every track, and hey, you may not like all of Varia Suite. So tailor your own playlist and you’ll be well off.

Feel free to leave comments. Have you seen these guys live? Will you see them at PAX? Do you already know which of these six tracks will resonate best with you (and/or melt your face off the most?). Tell us about it!

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