As far as we're concerned, there is nothing more awesome than dragons. Sure, they're often portrayed poorly by high fantasy nerds hell-bent on making everything inaccessible and overtly nerdy, but no matter how you cut it, dragons are breathtaking creatures that need better name recognition. Good thing we've got two albums today from two of Colorado's dragon-related acts, both available for free.
For his part, Hunter Dragon gives us the first part of his proposed three-part EP set, How the Crow Flows Pt. 1 (officially being released on Saturday, April 16, at Rhinoceropolis). In what's quickly becoming traditional Hunter Dragon fashion, the EP showcases his growth as a musician and songwriter. He's also been prolific as all hell, so if you've had a hard time keeping track of his releases, it's for good reason.
There isn't anything utterly surprising on How the Crow Flows Pt. 1, it's still the reverb-drenched acoustic Hunter Dragon we've grown used to. There is a bit less experimentation here, something we've seen Dragon shying away from on recent releases. Instead, he's concentrating on more traditional songwriting.
It's not all acoustic, though; "My French" layers a repeating organ sound underneath the pitter-patter of a subtle drum and tosses in a few harmonies for good measure. There is, of course, a bit of French spread out through the middle, but since we don't speak French, we haven't a clue what is being said. The song dissolves into a noisy mess by the end, juxtaposing Dragon's roots with his newfound love of conventional song craft.
The tracks on How the Crow Flows are still just as messy and convoluted as Dragon's older work, but they're also more concentrated. They're certainly raw, but they're far more filtered then we've seen from him before.
In contrast, Rainbowdragoneyes has released The Primordial Booze on 8 Bit Peoples. While certainly rooted in chiptune, it's not exactly a complete description of what Rainbowdragoneyes does.
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It's probably better to imagine The Primordial Booze as what would happen if the Faint started covering Manowar on Gameboys. Erik Brown's vocals fall right in line with the Faint's monotone dance diatribes, but mixed in with that are epic death-metal screams and songs that sound straight out of Manowar's catalogue.
The highlight of the record probably comes in the album's last track, "Rape Castle," a track that manages to capture everything that makes Rainbowdragoneyes interesting. For chiptune purists, "Rape Castle" isn't going to work for them, but for the rest of humanity, it functions as an entry point from a variety of genres. The reason is because it's not made entirely on old Gameboys, which makes aficionados a little weary; we get a song filled with vocals and fast-paced drumbeats, not just the blips and bloops. While venturing away from tradition, it still manages to sound exactly like what you'd imagine escaping from a pixel castle would sound like circa 1989.
The record, as a whole, is as schizophrenic as you'd expect considering the above-mentioned influences, but if you can deal with the schizophrenia, there is a lot to enjoy here. The type of sound is certainly more reminiscent of the likes of Mr. Pacman's genre mash-ups then vanilla chiptune, but for fans of raucous party music, you'll find a lot to enjoy here.
Having just moved here from Nashville, Tennessee, Rainbowdragoneyes hasn't cut its teeth too deeply in the Colorado music circuit, but plenty of upcoming shows should help change that.