Oh, rock operas. Is there nothing truly better? All the heroic beats of pounding drums and hard, spectacular riffs of electric guitars that come with the rock genre plus the immersive and enchanting narratives of opera. I’ve always had a thing for a good story, and who doesn’t love it when a particularly strong melody sends chills through your slouching spine? Rock operas provide for the void in our souls that we so desperately try to fill with pop music and doritos; they feed the avid story junkie in all of us in ways that only hard, soulful music can provide.
It was for these reasons that when I was first introduced to the Nashville, Tennessee based rock opera band, The Protomen, not only were the spinal chills surging throughout my entire being, a void in my heart, a heart devoid of truly inspired music, was being filled past the brim.
This, ladies and gentlemen, readers of Analog Addiction, is why you need to know The Protomen.
The Protomen are, to make things short, a band more or less dedicated to telling their own darker, more tragic and character driven version of Mega Man. Using the narrative format of rock operas, as well as abandoning (at least for their first album) the conventions of having clean music and instead having a grungy, dirtier sound, The Protomen have crafted the tale of a hard working scientist, determined to create robots who would do the most dangerous jobs, such as the mining job that robbed him of his father. Doctor Thomas Light and his college friend, Doctor Albert Wily, worked tirelessly together to create the first functioning artificial intelligence, named Proto Man.
The story goes on to feature Wily’s struggle for power over the common man, Light’s regrets for not being able to stop his friend, and the persecution of Light for his creation, Proto Man, having killed his love, Emily. But that’s just the second album (which was a prequel). The first album, the only one to feature Mega Man, tells the story of how Mega Man came to rally the citizens and go on to defeat his older brother, Proto Man.
I was first introduced to it when I stumbled across a music video on Newgrounds, created by the talented KarmaKimmy7.
After watching that video years ago, it was a long while before I rediscovered the band. They had already released two albums and were working on their third since I last saw them, and after buying both of them and listening to them near endlessly (I still blast it in my car), I can definitely say that I’m hooked.
The powerful chords and poetically deep lyrics are definitely the highlight of the band’s performances, but what really captivates me is how well it tells its story. Just by listening to ‘The Good Doctor” from their second album, the tone of the music and the way each character talks and emotes paints an image in your head with the vigor of a well directed film. The confrontations and arguments of Light and Wily feel so characterized and genuine; Wily is absolutely power starved, ravenous for the chance to take back all that he’s worked for while Light really feels like a heart-on-his-sleeves champion of the common man.
The Protomen have created such a unique piece of modern art that, hopefully, will remain through the rigors of time and society. They certainly deserve it.
If I have failed thus far to convince you that The Protomen not only deserve all of your money, but all of your respect, then I am sorry for my poor writing talent. But I’m even more sorry that you somehow have chosen to remain ignorant of this fabulous band.
I’m not good at talking about music. I prefer to talk about videogames, but dammit, this band is fantastic and deserve to be heard.
If anything, I’ll let the music speak for itself:
In the end, call me a crazy fanboy, but you should really get to know The Protomen. It’s definitely worth your time.
You can check out their official website here. And, yes, they have an album of Queen covers!