Gamer Music Spotlight: 10 Years of the Protomen
There are some bands that truly stand out from others. When a band is capable of not only writing amazing tunes but putting on an amazing show in the process, they become an auditory force to be reckoned with. If you take those elements and mix them with Mega Man, you get a band known as the Protomen.
The Protomen write music that is (loosely) based on the Mega Man universe. It's what happens when you take the NES games and mix them with the writings of George Orwell or Aldous Huxley.
The band is celebrating their tenth anniversary this year. In the last decade, they have put out three great albums: their self-titled debut (also known as Act I), Act II: the Father of Death, and The Protomen Present: A Night of Queen.
Act I is about Dr. Light's fight to take down the despotic ruler Dr. Wily and free humanity by creating Protoman. After he is destroyed, Dr. Light creates Mega Man, but tries to dissuade him from following in his brother's footsteps. I won't spoil it for you because the story is interesting to hear unfold, but I will give you these two tasty tunes from the first album:
"Hope Rides Alone" sets the stage for the first act.
"The Will of One" is about Mega Man defying his father's wishes.
Act II: the Father of Death is a prequel. It tells the story of partners Dr. Light and Dr. Wily who team up to create labor robots to save humanity from having to work dangerous jobs, like Light's father who died as a coal miner. Without giving too much away, you can hazard a guess that the two parties come to a disagreement (to say the least) since Wily is a tyrant in control of the city in the first album.
You evil bastard, you.
Act I has a very rough feeling to it. The production quality is raw and it does a great job at matching the mood of the album. The songs feature some catchy melodies, memorable lines, cinematic choral work, some excellent chord progressions, and some of the best incorporation of 8-bit sounds I have ever heard. It's a mix of chiptunes, guitar driven hard rock, and theatrical rock opera.
Act II is a lot different in sound. Production wise, it's much cleaner. It is varied a bit more musically, but it definitely has a distinct 80s sound that is partially explained by the band working with Meatloaf producer Alan Shacklock. It is much more theatrical and a bit more mature in its sound. This maturity does cost it some of the edge that the first act had. Nevertheless, both albums are fantastic in their right.
Their latest album, The Protomen Present: a Night of Queen, features some exceptionally well done Queen covers. While it's quite possible no one will ever be able to stand up to Freddie Mercury and the rest of Queen, the Protomen put up an amazing effort. Their website's main page features their cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody." It is definitely worth a listen, if not several listens.
Act III is still in the works and no release date has been announced as of yet. However, they have begun performing one of the new songs at live shows, tentatively titled "Hold Back the Night."
The majority of the fan speculation surrounding this thinks that Gambler, the female lead in the song, is playing the part of Roll. This has yet to be confirmed or denied by the actual band. We will just have to wait until Act III to find out.
If you are unsure of whether or not the Protomen warrant a purchase, you can check out their music on Spotify. You can buy their albums online through their website, although they do encourage fans to buy physical copies.
If you are already a fan of the Protomen, what is your favorite song? Mine used to be "Light Up the Night”, but without a doubt, it is now "the Sons of Fate". Everything about that song is amazing.