The Protomen are best known for composing original rock concept albums loosely based on the popular video game series Mega Man. The Protomen have achieved a cult following thanks to an active and vocal internet fan base, intensely theatrical live performances, and a heavy touring regimen.
Musical Styles & Influences
The group has cited the influence of "artists like Syd Mead, films like Eddie and the Cruisers and Streets of Fire, books like 1984 and Atlas Shrugged... those are the pretty obvious ones you can pull out of Acts I and II. But what you might not realize is that we own every Ernest movie ever made. And we watch them all the time." Apart from previously mentioned, the band also draws inspiration from a huge array of other diverse sources, including Sergio Leone's films, the song The Mexican and musical groups Radiohead, Styx, Toto, Queen and Alabama.
Concepts and Themes
The group members refer to themselves as storytellers, creating a "rock and roll fable"...Mega Man has an existing storyline; however, The Protomen have concocted a dark and dystopian version of the game's underlying world. The group has stated they intend to make a three-part story. Two of the parts are complete. The third is currently in outline form. The overall story as envisioned by the group is tragic, and they "don't really expect it to end well for humanity."
Act I (The Protomen)
In Act I, the band's first album, Dr. Wily is represented as an Orwellian ruler over a dystopic city, full of humans who are too scared to stand up to his control. Dr. Light creates a "perfect man, an unbeatable machine", Proto Man, to fight to free the City, but Proto Man is destroyed by the overwhelming power of Wily's armies. Defeated and despairing, Dr. Light then creates a second son, Mega Man, whom he attempts to dissuade from battle. Mega Man runs away from home and confronts his brother in an apocalyptic concluding battle. The album has been described by the band as "the sound of the end of the world" and straddles the line between chiptune and hard rock, with heavier focus on distorted 8-bit synthesizers and electronic instrumentation.
Act II (The Father of Death)
For the band's second album the group, working with Meat Loaf producer Alan Shacklock, devised a prequel storyline to Act I. The second act details the rise of Albert Wily to power, the rivalry between himself and Thomas Light, and the tragic events which brought the City under Wily's control. The band states that Act II was designed to sound cleaner, reflecting a time "before the bomb dropped". Accordingly, the second album reflects a much broader range of musical styles and more lyrical instrumentation, embracing references from Ennio Morricone to Bruce Springsteen to Shacklock's own Babe Ruth. The album was mastered by Richard Dodd, a Grammy-winning recording engineer.
The band performs a variety of '70s & '80s cover songs along very specific themes in live performances, usually related to the band's preferred motifs of heroism, struggle, and self-determination. They released a full length of Queen covers, recorded live in Nashville, TN during a Queen/Black Sabbath tribute concert on December 10th, 2010.
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