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Vangough - Game On! CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.50 | 23 ratings

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Prog Metal Team
3 stars Let's talk a bit more about Vangough!

Although I'm still not sure on how I got my hands on Vangough's debut release, there is really no question about their sophomore release Game On! since I got it as a part of the ProgArchives monthly gift giveaway roughly a year ago! I clearly remember my excitement related to getting this release since I did enjoy the band's debut release and was looking forward to seeing how Clay, Brandon and the new member Corey Mast would build and expand upon their existing sound.

Boy, was I setting myself up for a surprise! Not only was this album a complete deviation of the style on Manikin Parade, but it was a deviation into the world of video game music no less, a world that exists far away from progressive metal music scene! Of course, that latter statement could be considered debatable since Earthbound Papas and Metroid Metal have recently been added under the progressive metal sub-genre here on Progarchives. Still, there is no denying that this was a very unusual deviation for a band that have depicted such a strong lyrical and vocal content on their debut album and then completely abandoning it here in favor of instrumental gaming soundscapes. I mean, how often do we see a band/artist deviate this much from a winning concept in only a matter of a year?

Still, even if I find this shift to be an impressive such, especially considering the strong vocal performance by Clay Withrow on the band's debut album, there is no denying that Game On! becomes a difficult album to recommend to anyone who hasn't been an active member of the late '80s/early '90s gaming scene and the so-called war between Nintendo and Sega (just search for "console wars" on any search engine if you don't know what I'm talking about) . Yes folks, this is one of those gaming albums heavily drained in nostalgia for the console gaming of the past. Fortunately for me, I can share this passion with Clay and the guys since I got my Sega Mega Drive back in the early '90s and it's still the gaming console I hold dearest to my heart! Games like Sonic 1-3, Phantasy Star quadrilogy, Rocket Knight Adventures, Shining Force I-II are all among my all-time favorite games and I can clearly see that Vangough can share some of that retro magic with me!

The downside to an album like Game On! is that it's a neither that progressive (except for the fact that instrumental gaming music does sound like it could be progressive to the unfamiliar ear) nor too appealing to listeners who aren't invested enough in the genre. This is pretty much why my rating for this release cannot be any higher than a good, but non-essential one. Despite the fact that I really enjoy this kind of music nostalgia, there's just no way that I can lie and state that this music is applicable for a non-gaming progressive rock fan.

***** star songs: Green Hill Terror (5:02)

**** star songs: Wily's Castle (3:22) Marine Fortress (3:40) Your Darkest Hour (3:15) Corneria (3:40) The Killer Instinct (5:01) Coral Capers (5:30)

*** star songs: Simon's Revenge (9:25) The Turtle King's Lair (4:16) Torvus Bog (7:14)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |


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