HeOwO!!! Your fine boi Sephi here on this great Friday of music releases.
Those nightkids that know me personally or maybe have followed me for the decade and a half I have worked and performed in rave and fandom may be used to my love and attention for AnimEDM; however, I am just as much a fan of many things that my experiences attending anime conventions and EDM events would eventually collide, and that includes metal-rock music and video games. I have been a big fan of video games and have been a gamer in some form since as far as I can remember at 4 years old, possibly even younger; furthermore, I am part of a generation that cherishes the 90s and have found myself purchasing a Nintendo Switch, XBox One X, and Playstation 4 Pro just to play classics like The Legend of Zelda, Solar Jetman, and Secret of Mana (ok the remake) respectively. Before I completely entered the dance music fray, I tuned my ears to lots of alternative rock and eventually found my place in Japanese rock and metal. The 1990s and the early 2000s were my cherished years where I can find the fun in video games and rock music without having to worry about complexities, being sold a bill of goods on gotchas, or needing to dig deep in internet forums to find a good show. For the last 5 years, I’ve been following an absolute unit of a band that has delivered incredible showcases whenever I’ve seen them at anime and gaming conventions and after seeing them for the first time at Mini-Mini Con in 2015, I was made a total believer of what I call the “Vidya Task Force” known as Bitforce; and now, I review what seems like a new beginning of an incredible saga with their self-titled album which has released today as of this writing.
Bitforce’s new album is the answer that I’ve been looking for in an instant masterpiece as far as what makes such an album be magnificent. Full disclosure, I am personal friends with guitarist Joey Devine, otherwise known as Banta; however, I do not know nor have I asked Joey or the other members Toph (Shiden) or Marc (Ryokuen) any other information nor their intentions regarding this latest release so my review is based purely on subjective assumptions and constructive technical feedback. If I were to explain why I was incredibly impressed after listening this album, it is because these 8 songs seem to tell me a complete story. When I put together electronic music sets for events that I mix as a DJ, I make sure to walk my crowd through some kind of story using tempo, key, and genre; however, it has been a while since I heard an album from start to finish that isn’t just a catalog of tunes. The first song, Open the Rift, was something that I would expect after I pop the cartridge into the game system and hit the power button, the synth pads guiding my welcome until I hear the synth melody and guitars approach and bring the wall of sound as it waits for me to press the START button. Maybe I can just wait to let the music play through while the variation of the next section brings my imagination to see a wall of text describing the backstory followed by an animation of circumstance that explains how and and why we end up in the adventure we are about to embark. It’s not all apocalypse and war as Wild Firefox begins my adventure with happy pulse sounds with a metal accompaniment, allowing me to enjoy the first steps in my game while firing me up with power. As with all town exploration and item shopping, things eventually need to get serious as I enter Gjallerhorn. Perhaps I stumbled onto a situation that I need to resolve or escape, or maybe I encountered a boss and this song is letting me know not to dismiss this as just another stage in the play. As this gets to the breakdown, I’ve felt I was running towards something that I needed to reach very quickly like many lives would depend on it; that I would run forward and away hoping I reach my goal and looking back at the village that I left hoping it would still be there when I finally do the thing, whatever that could be that thing. Dendrosicyos is the first song in the album to feature vocals, an illustrious singing performance by Charlotte Carian. I am a sucker for female vocals in Trance music and I remember how much I love powerful female vocals in metal, much akin to singing found in bands like Nightwish and Skillet. Carian’s singing was fierce but carried my experience gently as after escaping what could be an urgent situation, I became more focused on continuing my adventure. No matter how challenging or how lonely my journey would become, I was still carried gently through the might of this song knowing that it would make me stronger after completing Leg Day at the gym. Press Start to Continue featuring Nerdcore legends Mega Ran and Professor Shyguy is the best friend or coach that needed to give me a hand when my play became absolutely overwhelming. I don’t want to give too much away but this song is the pick-me-up that I need to shake off the soreness in my mind and body and give me the might and mind to say that I am going to beat what’s ahead of me and complete this game, 100%. Path for the Force featuring Kobey Lange and Fran Acevedo brings a sweet transition back to the reality that is set in front of me. The vocals remind me of the singing styles that I have heard in DJ Ferret’s mixes or songs from Aurelio Voltaire, bringing those sweet yet dark sounds to boil my nerves like a frog before finally going all screams to unlock the rage in me to falcon punch the giant bolder rolling down my direction before I V-trigger the final boss in the knee in the only way I’d want to say “Hello”. By then I have approached the climax at Power of the Pose featuring the vocals of Richard Evans, the change of tone to a rapid-fire power song signals the final fight yet I’ve felt here that I’ve got all the momentum in the world now. For my video game music composers out there, try to play games that you know has good music with the sound muted, then play it with the sound on and see how much better you feel when you engage your “big baddie boi”. This is the song that made me know that I can finish the game as swiftly as I would like, but I chose my moves carefully to set the best gameplay fitting for a story worthy of the final slash that I deliver, which then I would turn away while that “big baddie boi” explodes in glorious flames. I would then feel the finish line crossing at Dissolve the Rift. The evil is defeated, the problem is supposedly resolved, and then without rhyme or reason, I go on my merry way, but what now after that? Has this experience changed me? Why are sounds getting heavy again? Maybe after all that, a legacy was left as I have imagined walking out into the sunset and disappearing on the horizon while the guitar still cuts through, the drums beat the reminder of an absolute unit’s legacy, and the bass letting us feel the legacy in every synapse; finally ending with that soft breakdown knowing that you’re approaching the end of the credits that will say “Thank You”. Believe me when I say after hearing something that has taken me across a journey I haven’t traveled in years, allow me to say, “No sirs, Thank You!”
Bitforce’s album is now out on their website, bitforceband.com, which you are able to purchase the digital album for $6 or order the physical album and have the ability to hold the adventure in your hand for $10. Enjoy this saga for yourself and be sure to check out Bitforce’s other tunes at bitforceband.com.