Game Music: Metroid Metal

Varia Suite OST CoverThis week’s soundtrack is actually an album and an EP composed of tracks taken from one of the longest-running franchises in video game history, “re-recorded and ‘redone a bit'” for live performance. Covering almost three decades of the Metroid series, it’s Metroid Metal.

The Metroid series began in 1986 with the eponymous “Metroid” and changed the face of console game. With sprawling, free-roaming environments, non-linear gameplay, revolutionary use of vertical spaces and – shock! – having to start by moving to the right Metroid was unlike anything that had been seen before. If you’re at all interested in the history or design of Metroid I highly recommend you read the fascinating The Anatomy of Metroid.

Like many NES games, Metroid made good use of the console’s audio hardware to produce a memorable and incredibly atmospheric soundtrack, slow alien instrumentals building on the feeling of complete isolation, a woman alone on a distant and hostile world.

Metroid Metal began life in 2003 with Stemage (Grant Henry) recreating the Metroid Soundtrack. Over time more members joined and the band recorded more and more of the Metroid series before erupting onto the gaming scene at PAX 2009 (potted history cribbed shamelessly from their ‘about’ page).

Their superbly named album “Varia Suite” and the equally cunningly named “Expansion Pack” EP are available on Bandcamp, and a selection of songs not included on the albums can be streamed or downloaded from the band’s website.

Harmony of a Hunter CoverIf this isn’t enough Metroid for you, download the wonderful Haromy of a Hunter, worth it for the track ‘Caves of Brinstar’ alone.

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