xyzzysqrl: (Sqrl Barbarian)
[personal profile] xyzzysqrl
For the last while, we've had two CDs in our car, both by a metal band called Gloryhammer who have a really impressive and goofy and impressively goofy mythos built up around the band and in the songs. Since we've listened to them on loop for hours at this point, we often discuss said mythos. As such, this post will be intelligible to like five people I know.

In the car this most recent outing, we discussed the end of "Rise of the Chaos Wizards", the great Apocalypse of 1992.

SQRL: "I can't help but feel like this is the big shift after you've bought the expansion pack. Like you've played a campaign and a half as the Forces of Fife and now it's time to pick up Zargothrax's Army of Chaos and just lay waste to all those NPCs you were just playing as."

WOOF: "I see it more like... you had this RPG campaign with the heroes, and you did an RTS game with the big epic battle clash... and then Zargothrax is like a Wizard from Diablo 3, he's just flying around doing damage in the billions and waiting for his portal to open."

SQRL: "All the balance of a Peter Molyneux game. 'Do you ever have to STOP casting fireball?' 'No.' 'I mean like to recharge mana or...' 'No.'"

WOOF: "And then the Hootsman..."

SQRL: "Like a platformer level to get there in time."

WOOF: "All 8-bit, he's just like a big square with wolf-armor ears poking up."

SQRL: "Of course Angus McFife the 13th power-leveled fighting goblins on the Moon and he has all this twinked equipment from his previous character. Including a dragon that AT SOME POINT gained the ability to turn into a spaceship I guess."

WOOF: "In my headcanon..."

SQRL: "Oh boy."

WOOF: "...it could ALWAYS turn into a spaceship because it was always this giant robotic dragon with like... metal scales and claws, and all. It's just that in the old days they didn't really... notice, y'know? It was magic..."

SQRL: "I love this. So the scroll Angus reads in 'Magic Dragon' to bind the dragon, you translate it and it's just "I ACCEPT THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE LICENSE AGREEMENT" and the dragon's like beep boop software registered to McFife, Angus."

WOOF: "Yeah like that."

*silence*

WOOF: "Anyway now you have me thinking of the bonus level which is Zargothrax being chased by this hammer-wielding lunatic who just won't leave him alone."

Gloryhammer are great by the way. Check them out sometime.

(And if y'all have any suggestions for OTHER bands with a Strong Metaplot, let me know.)

Date: 2017-06-07 10:04 pm (UTC)
kjorteo: Screenshot of Doomsday Warrior with a portrait of Amon, a fighter in ostentatious heavy metal attire. (Heavy Metal King)
From: [personal profile] kjorteo
"(And if y'all have any suggestions for OTHER bands with a Strong Metaplot, let me know.)"

If you want one that's strong and comprehensible, you're thinking of Iron Savior and [personal profile] davidn would know more about that.

If you're ready to ride this cart directly off the cliffs of sanity while shouting WHEEEEEEE! all the way down, remind me to talk to you about Blind Guardian's "Beyond the Red Mirror" or pretty much anything by Luca Turilli sometime.

Date: 2017-06-07 10:51 pm (UTC)
kjorteo: Scan from an old Super Mario Bros. comic,, of King Koopa explaining something to his son with an 8U facial expression. (Koopa: 8U)
From: [personal profile] kjorteo
Aww, I like Blind Guardian, and Beyond the Red Mirror is fantastic. Not... easy to understand, but easy to rock out to. Basically it's Hansi Kursch really really really wanting to do his own Dark Tower where fiction is real and he himself is a character and it kind of disappears inside itself but it's GOOD okay.

Ahd, uh, whew. Okay, a primer on Luca Turilli. Names of bands are in ALL CAPS both for emphasis because it's epic and ridiculous, and to help differentiate between Luca Turillli (the guitarist/composer/actual person) and LUCA TURILLI (one of Luca Turilli's numerous solo project bands.)

In the beginning, there was a band called RHAPSODY, later renamed RHAPSODY OF FIRE. Most of the metaplot story ideas/musical composition/basically the vision for this band came between a collaboration between guitarist Luca Turilli and keyboardist Alex Staropoli. Early RHAPSODY was before Luca Turilli got too weird and then he left later RHAPSODY OF FIRE to devote all his pretentiousness to his own projects instead, so these guys are mostly safe pure straightforward Our D&D Campaign Set To Music. The Warrior of Ice has to find the lost holy Emerald Sword and use it to defeat the Evil Dark Lord and... basically this is the exact fantasy schlock I am like 99% sure Gloryhammer's first album was literally just a direct parody of.

While he was still in RHAPSODY [OF FIRE], Luca Turilli also formed LUCA TURILLI as a side project. They have a "trilogy" of albums that are all unfinished Part 1s of other trilogies--I think they were going for the sort of effect you see in the movie The Fountain since the first was more swords and sorcery and the second (Prophet of the Last Eclipse) was suddenly Warhammer 40K and I actually haven't listened to the other ones so I don't know what comes after that. Something about the indirect connections between them or... basically you can tell this is where Luca Turilli was starting to get Dream Theater-y. Also I am 99% sure Gloryhammer's Space 1992 is a direct parody of Prophet of the Last Eclipse.

In the present day, RHAPSODY OF FIRE decided they should be two bands for some reason, and amicably split to form like divisions of themselves or something. Alex Staropoli is in charge of RHAPSODY OF FIRE and they're still them. Luca Turilli took his half of the members of RHAPSODY OF FIRE, disbanded LUCA TURILLI, and formed LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY.

This is where he hit peak anal exploration, but it's still good listenable music regardless. Listening to a LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY album is kind of like playing Fez: honestly, you can disregard all the deep layers and just enjoy a cute boopy platformer with a neat gimmick, or you can worry about all the secret bullshit.

This is a neat song. It's epic and powerful and you can rock out to it. Does it matter that the lyrics are complete gibberish until you realize it's a Nancy Drew Senior Detective code where you're meant to pay attention to which of each pair of words in the pre-chorus is emphasized in the reprise of it, then convert that to binary to get a letter, and I think it's actually still undiscovered what you're supposed to do with that (it may have something to do with their upcoming album?) Eh. Up to you I guess.

Date: 2017-06-08 12:17 am (UTC)
davidn: (savior)
From: [personal profile] davidn
Between visits to Luca Turilli's site, it is very easy to forget just how much of a wanker he is. It says the binary works out to 81 (which is the letter Q) and it's related to the PERFECTUM NUMERUM QUEM NOVIEM NOVIES MULTIPLICATA COMPONIUNT and God only knows.

But the important thing is that he's such a... justifiable wanker - he really is a phenomenal composer. At first he used that for the pure power metal fantasy Rhapsody albums, but later he was more than able to justify his use of three thousand layered choirs in at least two different languages per song, brass and instruments that haven't even been invented yet. (He still, however, doesn't seem to be know the difference between good and laughably cheesy narration).

I listened to Prophet of the Last Eclipse again recently, and it's amazing just how spot-on Gloryhammer is :)

Date: 2017-06-08 12:29 am (UTC)
kjorteo: Crop from Action Replay box art, of a very cheap imitation bootleg Charizard with a hippo-like giant nose and ear tufts.  Text on the bottom reads "NOT FAKE" (PARizard: NOT FAKE)
From: [personal profile] kjorteo
To be fair, upgrading narrators from someone's just-nerdy-enough-to-dress-up-as-a-druid-and-do-the-video friend from their D&D group to I Can't Believe It's Not Jon St. John actually is a vast improvement. it's still laughably cheesy but I mean by Rhapsody narrator standards this (and the main-side Rhapsody of Fire getting Christopher Lee for a while there) are downright respectable.

(Note: The first video is misleadingly titled--Ancient Forest of Elves is by LUCA TURILLI [side project solo band], not LUCA TURILLI'S RHAPSODY. You can tell because it has Olaf Hayer instead of Alessandro Conti on vocals, and also because it's pure power metal cheese complete with Turilli himself using a magic sword of power to blow up the moon, rather than pretentious masturbatory sci-fi PERFECTUM NUMERUM QUEM NOVIEM NOVIES MULTIPLICATA COMPONIUNT nonsense.)

Date: 2017-06-08 12:52 am (UTC)
davidn: (savior)
From: [personal profile] davidn
Hah. Yes, the old Rhapsody narrator (who I until recently thought was just Fabio Leone because I couldn't believe they hired someone separate to do it that badly) really was something - my favourite performance from him is in the beginning of Symphony of Enchanted Lands, where it's difficult to believe this is the real thing and not someone making fun of it. It is no exaggeration to say that I've done better power metal narration than that.

And you touched on something I completely forgot to mention, which is just how absolutely hysterical Rhapsody's videos are - Power of the Dragonflame is perhaps the most unbelievable, looking like the song is just set to found footage run through Windows Movie Maker.

Date: 2017-06-08 01:41 am (UTC)
kjorteo: Laughing Bulbasaur portrait from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. (Bulbasaur: LOL)
From: [personal profile] kjorteo
Oh God, that narrator comes back again toward the end of Symphony of Enchanted Lands (at around 10:38) just in case the opening wasn't hilarious enough, and I swear that section is early developer scratch vocals from some quest-giver in a World of Warcraft clone's alpha.

It seems to have lessened these days (even Rhapsody of Fire got actual production values around the same time they got Christopher Lee,) but there was a period there for a great many years where all power metal videos were required by law to be ridiculous.

Date: 2017-06-08 12:19 am (UTC)
davidn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidn
"PhD in Exploring The Inside Of Your Own Asshole" :D That is a very apt description of Luca Turilli! He is absurdly pretentious, but against all reason, is a good enough composer to justify it. Rhapsody's earlier albums are very storyline-based and much more power metal (akin to Gloryhammer's first album) than his later concept albums where he went completely off the deep end. (If a song has a name like Sanctus Dominus Infernus Ad Astra, it's one of his later works.)

Date: 2017-06-08 12:43 am (UTC)
davidn: (savior)
From: [personal profile] davidn
Iron Savior were my introduction to European power metal, after misclicking when looking at Iron Maiden lyrics, and it was the start of an amazing relationship :) Their first few albums were very explicitly storyline-based with a written introduction to each album and each song then expanding that chapter of the story - the whole thing has been recompiled into a continuous story here. Then Megatropolis was a separate concept album in a slightly different style, followed by a long hiatus and then a revival with a less explicit storyline. The exact meaning of the post-2011 albums hasn't really been explained - perhaps I'll ask him.

Because one of the other things I love about Iron Savior is that the band leader Piet Sielck is just such a great person - he was one of the founders of Helloween and produces what seems like most of Germany's metal output, but still talks to fans on Facebook - and he gave me an overview of how he sets up his massive choir vocals when I asked about it, a far more detailed answer than I had expected :) And in musical approach he's the exact opposite of Luca Turilli, with a very traditionalist guitar-focused approach. It's like Judas Priest in Space.

Date: 2017-06-09 11:14 am (UTC)
davidn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidn
Trust me, we have barely begun :) Did I ever show you the map I made that correlates the Gloryhammer locations with where I grew up? It makes the whole lore even more special to me.

Date: 2017-06-08 12:23 am (UTC)
davidn: (prince)
From: [personal profile] davidn
"All 8-bit, he's just like a big square with wolf-armor ears poking up." - I so want to see this!

Date: 2017-06-08 01:51 am (UTC)
kjorteo: Cheerful, self-satisfied Bulbasaur portrait from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. (Bulbasaur: Yep)
From: [personal profile] kjorteo
Also, I think your headcanon is 100% correct and the power items in the Gloryhammerverse were always like that and back then they just called it magic. I mean in the first album, the Hammer of Glory is a given by the gods and/or passed down by heroes from centuries old, and in the second there's an entire song (which I swear has to be making fun of Rhapsody of Fire's The Myth of the Holy Sword) about how the Hammer of Glory was made by the ancient Starlords and is powered by lasers entwined in a star.

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