144: The Black Mages
   

I can count all the greatest musical experiences I've ever had individually, and finding out about The Black Mages was one of them.  It's like the universe asked itself, "If we were to create music specifically FOR KEVIN, what would it be?"  How about my favorite game composer forming a rock band to play HIS OWN GODDAMN GAME MUSIC.  To anyone who hasn't heard Final Fantasy music before, The Black Mages just sound like an awesome progressive metal band.  But to anyone who HAS heard Final Fantasy music before, they sound like an awesome progressive metal band playing Final Fantasy music.  Check out their cover of "Those Who Fight Further" from Final Fantasy VII, and then watch them performing at one of their live shows in this video.  Nobuo Uematsu is the one who speaks at the beginning of the scond video.  All six of the band members were full-time employees at Square Enix, Final Fantasy's developer.  The Black Mages recorded three albums (they are amazing), but have since disbanded.  The majority of the band, including Uematsu, went on to form the band Earthbound Papas, who play similar music but are no longer constrained by copyright laws to Square Enix.

Want to hear more awesome metal bands?  I'll assume you said yes, because otherwise I'd be a jerk for providing THIS LINK!  This is a power metal band called Gamma Ray, which was founded by Kai Hansen, who was once the lead guitarist for the band Helloween.  Thanks to Mo from Germany for THAT LINK!  The next link today goes to yet another epic battle/Lord-of-the-Rings-inspired band, introducing Blind Guardian.  This is an acoustic song called The Bard's Song.  If you're a native English speaker, you might find the singer's accent a bit funny (I does), but it's still a good song, and I love the changing time signatures.  Thanks to Antony from WALK!  MORDOR!  CAN'T!  for my first introduction to them.  Before signing off, Logan from Illinois gets a big shoutout from me for all his site suggestions, and so does Gary from New Zealand once again, for a bucketload of links to great Kiwi rock bands.  Thanks a bunch, both of you!

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