Welcome to the first of many music album reviews coming to the XBL Party Podcast website! Got a suggestion for an album/soundtrack you would like us cover? Leave a comment and we will do our best to check them out!
Mania Mode is the debut album of DiscoCactus featuring tracks covering such awesome video games as Sonic Mania, Hollow Knight, Final Fantasy and more! If you have never heard of DiscoCactus let me get you upto speed. DiscoCactus was established in 2014 and is a collective of composers, performers and arrangers that play awesome video game music. Each of its members are world-class performers and have studied at some of the world’s top conservatories, written music for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, toured the world with Video Games Live, and more. You’ve heard some of them in games like Celeste, Destiny 2, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, and Final Fantasy XV. You’ve heard SEVERAL of them in Anew: The Distant Light and Mortal Kombat 11. These talented individuals have become fan favourites on the convention scene and are now levelling up with their debut album release! You can find out more about the individual band members HERE.
Now there's probably not a better way to explain what this album is all about than what the band officially state. "This album is a celebration of our passion for videogame music," notes the band. "We love digging into our favorite musical themes, taking them apart and seeing what makes them tick, and then reinterpreting that material in a new way. We utilize a variety of styles and genres in our arrangements to reflect our experiences with the games, and bring them to life with the help of the many talented performers with whom we collaborate!"
The full track list is as follows:
1. Victory Storm (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time / Final Fantasy VII)
2. You're Lost (The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening)
3. Greentrail (Hollow Knight)
4. RAID (Crosscode)
5. Kaine's Salvation (NieR)
6. Please No Steppe (Final Fantasy XIV)
7. Rage Keeps You Alive (Gods Will Be Watching)
8. Chaos Queen (DELTRARUNE)
9. Busted Dreams (DELTARUNE)
10. Stupidopolis (Sonic Mania)
11. I Was Born For This (Journey)
12. Last Surprise (Persona 5)
The album kicks off with a combination of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and all time classic Final Fantasy VII. Victory Storm is a fantastic blend of both games themes and is the perfect start to get you in the mood for this epic video game music journey you're about to take part in. You will experience upbeat tracks full of energy, more sombre slow paced songs and even epic tracks that move you. Its not just instruments at work here either, there are some amazing vocals to be found on a selection of the tracks. In particular the vocals of Laura Intravia on the tracks Kaine Salvation (Nier) and I Was Born For This (Journey) are absolutely outstanding.
The highlight of the album for me personally was track 10. Stupidopolis, a cover of the theme for the Studiopolis Zone from Sonic Mania. As a fan of classic Sonic titles hearing this funky, upbeat, jazzy track filled with brass instruments and electric guitars just gets my music juices flowing. It's a fantastic cover and I was left wanting to play Sonic all over again.
Mania Mode is a great collection of video game music that takes you an a fantastic journey from start to finish. The fact that the tracks cover such a variety of games and include a selection of lesser known indie darlings like Crosscode make it stand out to me even more. I'm sorry to say that I hadn't heard of DiscoCactus until I checked this album out, but I loved it and will be following them closely moving forward so I can keep upto date with their future releases. If you're a video game lover then I highly recommend checking this album out, it introduces you to a selection of games and musical styles you may never have had the pleasure of experiencing before and gives you a huge urge to check out more fantastic video game covers!
TOTAL SCORE 8.5/10
Mania Mode can be listened to and purchased on a variety of platforms including Itunes, Spotify and Amazon! Click the link HERE to find a full list and more information.