Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Frank Klepacki & The Tiberian Sons "Frank Klepacki & The Tiberian Sons" (2020)

Alongside the remastered music of Command & Conquer, soundtrack composer Frank Klepacki has teamed up with VGM tribute band The Tiberian Sons to deliver twenty two performances of his iconic music as a Metal band. Its undoubtedly a treat in this exciting and nostalgic time for the game and its fans. Haven listened to it back to back over the last few days, I find myself reaching a more "objective" take on the music, going beyond my adoration and feverish enjoyment hearing these favorite songs of mine through a new lens.

Most, if not all, of the original music is stripped out. The synths hold onto the original tones in many a place but much of the nuance and detail is lost to the band performance. With crisp, high fidelity modernized production, the music has a spacious vacuum where the crystal clear punch of each drum strike, plucked bass line and rattle of distortion guitar tend not to cross paths where some much needed "mud" would give it density. Its a case of being a little to clean for its own good.

I say all this with a grain of salt, its an enjoyable project but I can't help but hear all the missing elements where layers of synths colliding now feel sparse as minimal synth carry things forward with some compensating guitar riffs laid underneath. It all ebbs and flows, some songs carry this burden more than others and leave a listener desiring the richness of the originals. Prepare For Battle being a great example where the song goes through utterly bare sections of just bass and drums alone.

When the band deviate from the purity of original songs, it rarely gives more. The Primus inspired slap bass licks, guitar shredding solos and drum fill barrages to send off songs don't sound particularly fresh or exciting, just that typical theatrical Rock thing to do. On the flip side these distortion guitars shine bright. The crisp and bold tone resonates well and brings a lot to compliment the original compositions.

The non metallic cover of Dusk Hour is a reminder of just how many games Frank wrote great music for. Some tracks from Red Alert 2 make it in with a pair of medley songs adding elements from further along in the franchise I was unfamiliar with. Overall its a huge treat to enjoy but for the most part I'll be continuing with the remastered songs as only a handful of songs here elevate the original music.

Rating: 6/10