Vince DiCola & Kenny Meriedeth – “Saturday Morning RPG” Soundtrack Review

Saturday night RPG Cover

Saturday night RPG Cover

Saturday Morning kids TV. There’s something beautiful and bountiful about its energy, power and gusto. This is something that’s captured perfectly in the game Saturday Morning RPG and it’s music which is composed by Vince DiCola and Kenny Meriedeth.

The soundtrack opens with a “Tune In for Saturday Morning RPG” power rock intro, much like a Power Ranger theme where kids rock and crunching power chords are order of the day. You can imagine the freeze frame high kicks. “Saved By the Bell” is a bright piano and synth led track that feels like a power ballad in waiting. The intricate four-minute track never repeats itself and features a synth solo, epic tom drums and everything you could want in a tear jerking early 90’s track (think Bryan Adams). “What Was That?” switches into dramatic rock with a heavy emphasis on bass line hooks and Z.O.E. styled sneaky tension building layoffs. I love how clear all the instruments sound when they push together. “Something’s Wrong” continues to lay on the tension with a synth murmur before “I’m Going In” explodes into a 65 second frenzy where the percussive way every instrument is smashed really pounds your heart at gets it racing. This leads beautifully to “Battle Scene” which forms an electronic synth rock symphony sound. There’s some great interplay as the guitar and strings bounce off each other and the track constantly feels alive and fluid. It’s one of the better battle tracks I’ve heard for an RPG in a good while.

 

Bringing back the 90s!

Bringing back the 90s!

“Dream Big” drifts into an ethereal ambience as shimmering lights and celestial keyboards drop down from above. There’s a whale-like sound in the first half that sounds like stars are literally falling out the sky. The second half is a harp and piano led section. “Dawn of a New Day” is so gung-ho with its power chords and cheesy brass sections it’s like a victory theme that’s drunk too much energy drink – love it! “Power Plant” then goes for a jazzy and smoky laid back theme with some very smooth electric guitar. Think late 80’s soul and you’re almost there. The genre’s covered in the soundtrack is impressive. “What Once Was Lost” is more dramatic with rolling piano arpeggios and metallic keyboard synths leading the way over rasping brass and strings. Continuing to raise your pulse the hard rock “Trust – Badbots Theme” is both perfect for a mosh pit and for air guitar too.

“Meanwhile…” is an ambient pause for breath before the percussive “Trouble Abounds” pounds the drums over an increasingly more menacing grizzly white noiz and string arrangement. “Fallen Angel” hands you more rock induced riffs that evoke memories of 90’s TV shows before “Red Horizon” lets you back off for a quieter Metal Gear Solid slow creep theme. It feels dark and gloomy but heavy with atmosphere too. “Sterner Stuff” then ups the ante of the previous track by adding more percussive dribbles and more bass lines to it. All the sneaking prepares you for the enlightening “Castle of the Gods” which after two dark and moody tracks, beams it’s synth solos and new age style keyboards in such smiles, it makes you smile. It’s also quite abstract with its instrumentation at times which helps.

“We Need To Talk” takes a moment for an emotive and spacious piano track before “Determination” brings out the whole orchestra for a rousing theme. It even features spooky choir voices that reminds me of the gothic levels from LittleBigPlanet where it sounds not quite a choir, not quite just a single lady. “Beast” then gives you a huge orchestral build up like an opera before “Overdrive” then explodes all the building into an organ led rock track. There’s wah guitars, an organ solo and a buzzing bass line that sounds suspiciously 8-bit but it comes together beautifully. “Escape” then continues the high drama with a brooding sci-fi orchestrated rock track that packs every drum in the world into it. The percussion must have been a real pain to put together in this soundtrack!

“Legacy” then takes you back for six minutes of pure awesomeness showcasing everything that made late 80’s and early 90’s TV show themes superb. There’s the mega overproduction on every instrument, the fact every instrument is there and that a guitar is simply not enough – there’s a following synth doing the same thing as well. Not to mention the theme is as catchy as hell. If you ever listen to this track and you’re in a sombre mood, this will lift your spirit guaranteed. If you are able to get the physical CD you’ll get some additional bonus tracks (some of which are also on the digital version too). “No Risk No Glory” is literally a classic 90’s pop rock anthem born 20 years late. Robert Reynolds has a voice that reminds me of Sting as he cries the lyrics over the jangling guitars. It’s an amazing track. “Christmas Adventure” (physical CD only) is the whole eight minute cheese fest of the Christmas single which I reviewed previously and is awesome. There is also a fun variation of “Castle of the Gods” which is more dramatic and rock focused, “Dawn of a New Day” also gets a remix from Stemage and C-Jeff (whose latest album is also amazing) which manages to make every single chord and note sound like you are being given a new breath of life. It also pushes an element of chiptune into the rock track too and that’s no bad thing. Lastly “Saturday Morning Arcade Shooter (virt)” brings elements of the soundtrack into a 16-bit style arrangement and it brings a smile to the listeners face that regardless of ow the tracks are arranged, they sound amazing regardless.

Vince DiCola and Kenny Meriedeth have crafted something that harks back to the children’s TV of yesteryear but it feels fresh and new. So much of today’s game music feels like it’s playing second fiddle to the voice, the ambience or have become a bit too cinematic to be standalone. This is a soundtrack that does all the above but gives it heart and that’s a soundtrack I wholeheartedly recommend.

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Categories: composer, game music, guitar, indie, music, review, synth, synth rock, VGM

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