Hello, and welcome to the first ever installment of “Jredd’s Jewel Case”. Much like my Hidden Gems series, here we take a look at some up and coming talent. However, instead of looking at a few songs by different artists, this time we will focus on a single album entitled ‘Hard Reset‘ by General Offensive and Mrsonic699.
Before we get started, I’d like to direct your attention to an interview of these guys featured on this episode of Retro Obscura Podcast. You’ll note that their experiences growing up with consoles in Romania is quite different from most, and yet the appeal of chip music for them is surprisingly quite similar to any one of us. Now that you have had the chance to get to know them a little better, let us discuss why I have chosen to highlight them.
You see, I’ve been friends with Mr.Sonic699 A.K.A “Teodor” for a couple of years now. As such, I’ve watched him grow and mature as an artist. We instantly clicked musically due to the fact that we both have a strong love for the Sega Genesis sound chip and I had the pleasure of helping him get acquainted with VGMM tracker. So naturally, when he came to me with a demo of an album that he and his guitar shredding buddy Alex were creating together, I was instantly sold.
If the idea of combining gritty Sega Genesis FM with screaming guitars and progressively powerful drums sounds awesome to you, that’s because it is! Imagine influences from iconic titles such as Sonic The Hedgehog 3, Comix Zone, and Shinobi fused with the heavier side of Progressive/Grunge Metal from bands like Alice In Chains, Kyuss, and maybe even a splash of Dream Theater and you’ve got yourself one heck of a combination.
Even in it’s demo stages the album was so good that when I heard a sample of it I just had to jump into the mix and help with a track as a special guest so that I could say I had a small part in this wonderful masterpiece. I mean come on, Sega Genesis and metal? It’s got me written all over it.
Right from the start the album opens up with the beautiful “Insert Cartridge”. It is a short but powerful intro that sets the bar rather high, but that’s okay because it only gets better from here and leads perfectly into the next track appropriately titled “Turbo Computing”. Something about those aggressive guitars paired with that classic Sonic 3 “Go” sample makes me smile bigger than should be humanly possible. If the combination of chugging guitars and FM Synth stabs don’t draw you in, the menacing Sega Master System PSG sirens will. Pair that with drums that cut through the mix and really sound live despite being programed in, it is easy to see you’re in for a real treat.
Speaking of Sonic, the next track ‘Dimension’ feels like the perfect melding of classic Genesis music and something akin to the rock motifs of the Sonic Adventure series, and I am totally fine with that. This track somehow manages to be gritty and lighthearted at the same time. In fact, I would say the entire album pulls this off beautifully. It has a hard hitting yet hopeful sound to it. It is empowering! As if you are facing impossible odds, yet you have the skills to conquer them! I get vivid mental images of racing down a snowy mountain, while explosions melt the ice behind me and cause an avalanche. Rather than screaming in terror, I just flash a cocky 90’s kid smirk and manage to pull off a few tricks while running for my life.
Following that, ‘We Rock These Streets’ is exactly what it sounds like. If I were to pick a tune that screams rock anthem it would be this one. The first half sounds like someone walking into a dusty bar with a self-assured air. Tall boots step fearlessly inside, and all attention is on the stranger ordering the strongest drink on the menu. He’s minding his own business, but his confidence offends the resident drunk, and all hell breaks loose.
By the time we reach about the minute and a half mark, we have our fight scene. Guns blazing, bottles shattering, and
a sucker punch or two round out the action. Of course, our hero walks away without a scratch. He sets a bag of gold on what’s left of the counter top, as he’s leaving the place to continue his journey. It’s just another day for him. The bartender looks on in shock as he struggles to assess what just happened. Fortunately for him, most of his customers had bounties on their heads, so he stands to collect a hefty reward once the fuzz shows up to clean up the mess.
Next, we have ‘Whiskey Gloves’, a tune that Teodor and I worked on together and I can say it’s just like old times. Our collaborations have always been a blast. Look through either of our Soundclouds and you’ll see we feature each other quite a bit. This time it’s even cooler because now we have a guitar player which is kind of like adding bacon to bacon, It only makes a good thing even better.
What’s really impressive to me here is that I thought I had pulled out all the stops: weird time signature shifts, sound design tricks, and of course solos in every place I could fit them. Yet, not only did Tudd blend with me perfectly (as he always does), but he managed to improve my sound design and continue my solos as if they were an extension of himself. Not to be outdone, Alex proceeded to lay down solid guitar tracks that sound as if they had always been there. In the end, the collaboration couldn’t have gone smoother and I can’t help but grin every time I listen to it.
Finally, ‘Resolution’ is also exactly what it sounds like in that it’s the perfect way to end an amazing album
. This one here is a bit of a ballad. The phase “Peace is restored” comes to mind. A warm feeling of accomplishment swells within the listener as the credits to an epic adventure roll by.
Swapping out the grittier rhythm guitar for a cleaner acoustic style, it really pairs wonderfully with the serine FM bells. Now, there is an electric lead guitar that comes in but this time it has some hauntingly beautiful reverb that melds with the atmosphere of the track effortlessly. What can I say? This is a solid album that I by all means highly recommend.
Oh right, you guys probably want to know about the secret songs too huh? Well, I guess you’ll just have to donate and support these guys to listen to the hidden bonus tracks! Why? Here’s the deal, not only do you get 2 extra unreleased tracks but you also get the tracker file for ‘Whiskey Gloves’ by Tudd and I. You can feel free to study our work and go on to make your very own Sega Genesis music!
So, are you excited yet? What are you waiting for, grab this album! Go, go, go!