Review Summary: Far better than it has any right to be.
The term 'video game music' can easily be ridiculed. Whether it's referring to chiptunes in the background of games, or full-fledged albums centered around a given franchise, there's often little depth, and in most cases, they make for an easy target. In many instances, it's a fair point, as most productions are gimmicky, relying solely on the driving force of the series from which it originates. Enter Pentakill: a virtual band consisting of character from the popular video game League of Legends. They fully embody this gimmicky nature and are fairly generic as far as genuine musicianship goes. In spite of this, there is still a somewhat enjoyable album to be found here.
The album is decently varied, dipping into the general vicinity of power metal as well as progressive metal. While it doesn't truly root itself deeply enough to be definitively labeled as either, it is at least a commendable effort, and helps to give the album some flavor. There are some moments where the album can catch one's attention with a somewhat catchy section that may hook you in momentarily. These moments are fleeting in most cases, however, in tracks such as Deathfire Grasp
, it can help the album out greatly in drawing power.
Some familiar sounds can be heard on the album, specifically in the vocalist department. Jorn Lande of Masterplan, and ZP Theart, formerly of DragonForce, can each be heard contributing vocals to two songs each on the album. Therefore, the vocal performance is actually fairly strong, at least if one were to compare it to the actual voice of Karthus, the deathly lich meant to be portrayed as the actual vocalist of the group. The overall session musicians come together in a manner not unexpected, but nevertheless satisfying, and each track is at least interesting enough for a listen or two.
The novelty factor is undeniable. Many of the small things about the album would fall upon deaf ears if shown to those outside of the League of Legends fanbase. For example, all but one track on the album is named in reference to various items which appear in the game, and at some points, such as in the mechanical-sounding The Hex Core
, sound effects from the game itself may be heard in the background. It's small bells and whistles like these that will boost the appeal of the album for diehard fans of the game.
It's cheesy. It's lame. It's nowhere near perfect. All of that being said, there is a certain novelty charm to Smite and Ignite
, which is definitely not hurt by the fact that it could actually stand its own if compared to a typical power metal album in the saturated market nowadays. It won't be for everyone, and some folks will fervently detest it, but simply checking out a few tracks definitely couldn't hurt.