Music inspired by Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Gaming

edited September 2006 in Story Games
Over in the weekly threads to watch thread I mentioned Battlelore, an epic metal band from Finland. They dress up in fantasy LARPish costumes, and all of their lyrics are based on The Lord of the Rings.

Here are another two bands I've been listening to a lot recently:

Blind Guardian (German) -- Awesome Epic Metal Band. They did a concept album called Nightfall in Middle-Earth
Summoning (Austrian) -- Has been described as Tolkien Black Metal :) "Mirdautas Vras" off the new Oathbound album is sung completely in the "black language of Mordor". (YES!)

Anyone else listening to bands with a strong fantasy/sci-fi/gamer element to them? :D


  • Bolt Thrower. A death metal band from a while back that was apparently inspired by Warhammer Fantasy and later 40K. In fact, an issue of White Dwarf once came with a free Bolt Thrower CD.
  • edited September 2006

    Interrobang Cartel isn't a fantasy/sci-fi/rpg themeband, but there are a couple songs influenced by such things. Black Pudding Throwing is based loosely on Nethack, or Nethack if it were about punishing the members of Oasis by tossing them into a dungeon and forcing them to fight fantasy monsters. The Robot Song is obviously about a robot holocaust. Captain Marvel's Lament is based on an obscure comic book (or a famous Cat Stevens song.)

    And then there's the cover song, The Final Frontier.

  • In The Nursery, an English electronica duo, did a moody, at times bombastic, soundtrack for the "Engel" PRG. It's mostly instrumental, with the occasional piece of heavy choral work thrown in there.
  • Kraftwerk is science fiction music.

    Matt Howarth produces not only his wonky, psychedelic comics, but music to go with them. Musicians often guest star in the Savage Henry comics, which are really fun.

    Magma is the musical equivalent of the Terran Trade Authority paintings. It's entirely sung in Kobaian, a fictional language.

    I'll be watching this thread for additions to the Shock: mediography.

  • Dude, you're totally in my realm now. Most of the bands I listen to are singing about dragons, spaceships, pirates, Atlantis or existential journeys of self-discovery couched in scifi technobabble. Most of their album covers look like fantasy novel covers too. I mean come on, how could you not love this level of cheese? How about this? Or perhaps dragons are more your interest? I just have a profound amount of love for a genre that can have a successful group that calls itself Dragonforce. ^_^

    Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One is a fantasy-metal supergroup that put out a self-titled rock opera album featuring, among other things, "Intergalactic Space Crusaders." Lucassen's other projects include his band Ayreon, which released The Human Equation, a double-disk rock opera about the victim of a car crash meeting and coming to terms with different aspects of his own personality, followed by The Universal Migrator about someone who "preincarnates" to the beginning of time and experiences the entire history of the universe.

    Fairyland - Of Wars In Osyrhia is about a fantasy kingdom at war.

    Rhapsody - Symphony of Enchanted Lands is a symphony... of enchanted lands.

    Glorious Janitors released a cool song about called Betrayal on the Spanish Main about a pirate, his girlfriend, and her father who wants to keep them apart.

    Symphony X's Odyssey is a rock opera adaptation of Homer's Odyssey. (The part where Odysseus returns to Ithaca has one of the most awesome choruses in the history of awesome.)

    If you want to sample more of this unabashedly nerd-oriented metal, check out Epic Rock Radio.
  • Has anyone mentioned Hawkwind?

  • edited September 2006
    I can't say I listen to them, but I feel obliged to give a shout out to local legends of Mythos-rock The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets. The frontman even published a roleplaying game through Green Ronin.

    An excerpt from the Wikipedia discography:

    "An all-Mythos themed CD produced in association with Wizards of the Coast to promote their new d20 edition of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game. If the CD is played during a roleplaying session, there are rules for die roll modifiers depending on what song is currently playing."
  • Posted By: thwaakBolt Thrower. A death metal band from a while back that was apparently inspired by Warhammer Fantasy and later 40K. In fact, an issue of White Dwarf once came with a free Bolt Thrower CD.
    For those who wish to sample this, their two GW inspired albums are available on Emusic (which has taster snippets).

    Also, I seem to remember Weezer did several songs inspired by gaming...
  • Posted By: talysman

    Has anyone mentioned Hawkwind?

    No, but they were in an issue of Savage Henry, mentioned above.

  • This thread has become all sorts of awesome!
    Symphony X's Odyssey is a rock opera adaptation of Homer's Odyssey. (The part where Odysseus returns to Ithaca has one of the most awesome choruses in the history of awesome.)
    They opened for Blind Guardian during their last concert in Toronto! Amazing guitar playing, and Accolade II is one of my favourite epic metal songs.

    Thanks for the link to Epic Rock Radio, and if you like cheese/fantasy metal cover art -- check out Hammerfall:

    cov2274.jpg (!!!)
    I'll be watching this thread for additions to the Shock: mediography.

    Check out all the "Futurepop" bands
    Apoptygma Berzerk
    VNV Nation
    Theatre of Tragedy (Musique + Assembly in particular)
  • edited September 2006


    The Art of Noise is much like Kraftwerk in its futurism. The very title of the band is taken from a Futurist manifesto calling for music that was not based on the sounds of nature, but on the sounds of machines. Total science fiction music.

  • Not all fantasy-inspired music is heavy metal, and not all science-fiction-themed music is electronic. Jon Anderson of the legendary prog-rock band Yes did a solo album called Olias of Sunhillow, which although science-fiction themed is also inspired in part by Tolkien's work.
  • Dieselboy has some tasty drum n bass on his Dungeon Masters Guide album

    Dickie Davis Eyes by Half Man Half Biscuit also has some RPG related goodness
    "If you mention the Lord of the Rings one more time I'll more than likely kill you..."

    My favorite RPG inspired song is by Three Inches of Blood "Destroy the Orcs!" used to be online for free but I can't find the link.
  • Oh, and of course who can deny the pulpy space opera awesome that is Queen's Flash Gordon soundtrack?
  • I like how actual dialog is in the soundtrack, not just the music, so in between choruses of, "Flash! Ah-ahhhh! He'll save every one of us!" you get Dale saying, "Flash, I love you...but we only have 24 hours to save the Earth!" And Ming saying "Fire the Death Ray!"

    Damnit, Daniel beat me to the Thickets. I particularly like the lyrics to "Big Robot Dinosaur" and "One-Gilled Girl."

    "She's a Pale Shade of Green..."

  • I just remembered that "Soulforged" by Blind Guardian is about Raistlin from the Dragonlance books.
    "And through the hour glass // Everything's grey, everyone's pale"
  • The Art of Noise was actually formed by Yes' engineer, and I've been told that you can even hear some of Yes' licks on AoN albums. Yes' album covers certainly qualify as science fiction art.

  • If you're looking for something lighter, Suzanna Reeves has available [free downloads on Amazon] some tracks inspired by fantasy novels. (I have her "Dance of the Sidhe" and "Arcane Chant" on one of my fantasy game mixes.)
  • edited September 2006
    Joshua A.C. - that's Trevor Horn, who joined Yes for their 1980 album Drama and then produced their big hit album 90125 (and its follow-up Big Generator), from which he took a number of samples to use in various Art of Noise tracks. The repeated refrain "dum, dum / dum-dum-dum dum-dum dum / dum, dum, dum" (in "Close to the Edit" for example, but it crops up all over their music) uses a single pitch-modulated "dum" from "Leave It", for instance. Also, before joining Yes, Trevor Horn formed the Buggles (with Geoff Downes, later of Asia), and their album The Age of Plastic is full of world-weary sci-fi goodness. (Edit: oh, and of course, Asia certainly used consistent sci-fi imagery in their album covers at least, not so sure about the music though.)

    On a completely different note, Hum are noted for sci-fi imagery in their admittedly-obscure lyrics. Downward Is Heavenward is an excellent album full of sci-fi hints and suggestions.
  • Nobody has mentioned Wizard Rock yet? Basically like Harry Potter fanfic - but with music.

    It started in 2002 when two teenage brothers hosted a concert in their back shed, and six audience members turned up but no bands. In the space of half an hour, they sat down and wrote a number of songs about Harry Potter. They then performed them, and Harry and the Potters, the first wizard rock band, was born. Their tagline is "We sing songs about books", and they frequently perform in libraries, dressed as Harry Potter (Year 4) and Harry Potter (Year 7). They now have three CDs out: a self-titled debut, "Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock", and a Christmas album with other wizard rock bands.

    There are now a lot of these, most of them also teenagers. A number of the bands have followed the same naming approach: Draco and the Malfoys (who sing Harry-mocking songs like "My Dad Is Rich and Your Dad Is Dead" and "I've Got a Broomstick Better Than Yours"), Ginny and the Weasleys, Cho and the Changs, even Lordy and the Voldemorts. (The plural is often deceptive; many of the "bands" have only one member.) Some range a little wider for name inspiration: The Hermione Crookshanks Experience, Siriusly Black, Huffle My Puffle, the Giant Squidstravaganza. More recent bands are starting to run out of characters and are naming themselves after other features of the Harry Potter books: The Wands, the Dark Markers, Advanced Potion Making, the Quiddich Pitch Incident, Hollow Godric. A punk band called the Switchblade Kittens (because they play modified basses distorted to sound like other instruments) have also recorded as the Weird Sisters, after the only named wizard band in the books.
    Most of the bands named after characters stick to the viewpoint of that character when writing their songs. (Exceptions include the Remus Lupins and Dobby and the House Elves.) When performing live they will often, like Harry and the Potters, dress as the characters as well.
    Don't be misled by the term "rock". Harry and the Potters and the Weird Sisters are punk, Hollow Godric acoustic, Dobby and the House Elves electronica (House, naturally); there are also folk, emo and metal bands.
    Of course, ninety percent of it is crap. As Theodore Sturgeon said, though, when that remark was made about science fiction, ninety percent of everything is crap. But the remaining ten percent is actually quite good. And hey, they have a lot of fun and do no harm. A lot of the lyrics are humourous, or at least light-hearted, though some are quite poignant (Hollow Godric's, for example).

    There's a list of bands at:
  • I tend to listen to drum-and-bass during gaming sessions (Adam F, the ARTCORE compilations, etc), or occassionally classical if anything at all. Anything with words is simply too distracting.

    However, I found Steve Roach (like The Perfect Void album) great when going for something "spacey". I frequently listen to the Hearts of Space weekly program (free at ) to get an idea of funky ethereal music to possibly use at some point.

  • I just saw (though did not hear) a soundtrack published by a roleplaying company, for a roleplaying game; Sleep within sleep is about 60 minutes worth of ambient soundtrack for the sci-fi RPG Heimot (only in Finnish, unfortunately). Even if they only took 50 copies of the CD, it's still pretty cool.

    The content is something akin to these.
  • Voivod's Outer Limits features a bunch of post-modern metal (they called themselves a cyberthrash band) inspired by classic sci-fi stories and TV shows. The pinnacle was Jack Luminous, this seventeen-minute epic about an alien who tries to warn us Earthlings about an impending attack. Themes of time travel, alien contact, and the supernatural show up in most of their albums, actually.

    -- Rafael
  • edited November 2006
    Yellow Magic Orchestra, Japan, 1978:

    [link] [/link]

    [link] [/link]

    Bootsy Collins, Party on Plastic:
    [link] [/link]

    Timelords / KLF, Doctorin' the Tardis
    [link] [/link]
  • Y motherf---in' MO. Wow, Curly is the second person in the world who has heard of them! :-)

    Also, holy crap Rafael's involvement in this thread totally just reminded me that he produced a concept album which distributed with DREAD: The First Book of Pandemonium. Mostly rap-rock via an "evil rapping voice", but some of it was pretty fun. Raf, any of that album online by any chance?

  • Hahaha--


    I have toyed with the idea of re-releasing it, but I cringe every time I hear it. Painful, painful. I did, however, record a new album's worth of material for the Unrated Edition of Dread, but I just don't know if it's worth releasing. Since I'm using a different distribution model (Lulu), I can't "bundle" the CD for free, and I'm not sure anyone would want to pay for it. Might just upload it somewhere, I guess...

    Mmm, thought of another band that does a lot of genre music: Anthrax. They've done songs about Judge Dredd ("I Am The Law"), Stephen King novels ("Among The Living", "A Skeleton In The Closet", and "Misery Loves Company"), and mythological monsters ("Medusa").

    -- Rafael
  • 'Twelve Sided Dice' by the Dream Warriors.
  • Got 36 minutes and a high speed connection?
    This Sun Ra documentary is stupendous.

    All I can say is "The Spirit of the Century".
  • Posted By: DanielSolis
    Rhapsody - Symphony of Enchanted Landsis a symphony... of enchanted lands.
    Eh... a wee bit kitch, also :)

    They're italian (like me), and IMO it shows in that their lyrics are often... embarassing :)

    ...for the king,
    for the land
    fooor the moooountaaains... :)
  • Spaaaace is the plaaaaaace....

  • Demons & Wizards is the band of Jon Schaffer of Iced Earth and Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian. It combines the power of Iced Earth with the chanting from Blind Guardian. They have two albums, both fantastic, you should check them out if you like heavy metal.

    Therion's album, Secret of the Runes is the best music I've ever heard in the theme of nordic myths. Definitely worth your time.

    Oh, and Rhapsody just recently changed its name to Rhapsody of Fire.
  • Mad props to Demons & Wizards. What a band. Even if Jon Schaffer quiet being metal to work for the Dept. of Homeland Security.

    Blind Guardian has an older song called The Lord of the Rings, which has a terrific sing-along chorus, which sounds amazing coming from a giant audiance of drunken Germans:

    I'll keep the ring full of sorrow!
    I'll keep the ring 'til I die!
    Slow now as I sail on the river!
    Slow now as I walk to the hills!

    You have not lived until Dragonforce has told you how they were born in the fire and flames. Likewise with other unmentioned fantasy-friendly power metal: Sonata Arctica, Noctural Rites, Stradivarius (before their recent, crappy album), Masterplan. And then stuff like freakin' Mastadon:


    Oh yeah, and 3 Inches of Blood:

  • Wow, some amazing love of metal on this thread. It's great to see that strong metal power still reigns in the hearts of metal dragon warriors across the earth.

    I guess I'll throw out Iron Maiden, just because it must be said. They've done all kinds of songs about knights and dragons, futuristic mercenaries, ghosts and withcraft, and Frank Herbert's Dune. Also, they quote Lovecraft on the cover art for Live After Death.

    -- Rafael
  • Yeah, seriously, looking at the title of this thread I just thought, "um, all of metal?"

    And yet: Bloodhag. "The sooner you go deaf, the more time you'll have to read." \m/
  • edited November 2006

    In the Middle of Earth
    In the Land of Shire
    Lives a brave little hobbit whom we all admire

    With his long clay pipe
    Thick, wooly toes
    Lives in a hobbit hole and everybody knows



    Bilbo Baggins!

    Bravest little hobbit of them all!



    Bilbo Baggins!

    Only three feet tall!

  • The CONET Project: The scariest sounds I have ever heard. Your choice: Cold war awesomeness, a future boot stamping your future face, or a schizophrenic's interior monologue via shortwave. I own and love the Irdial boxed set.
  • Re: White Dwarf music-are our memories so short that we have forgotten Sabbat?
  • No one mentioned Iron Savior?
  • CONET is my new favorite thing in the universe.

  • Yeah, Numbers Stations creep me out at some very fundamental level. Like, I'd probably feel more comfortable listening to broadcasts of extraterrestrials announcing the immanent conquest of the planet; at least the intent would be clear and unambiguous. Cool collection.
  • Posted By: Joshua A.C. NewmanTerran Trade Authoritypaintings.
    Oh my fucking GOD! JOSH! Do you have ANY IDEA how long I've been searching for these books?! I had the first one when I was 6-7, and it was lost in a move that I made - I've NEVER SEEN IT AGAIN. I've occassionally seen paintings that were done in the same style, but the search never came to anything ... UNTIL NOW! It's been almost 20 YEARS!

  • Posted By: KumaPosted By: Joshua A.C. NewmanTerran Trade Authoritypaintings.
    Oh my fucking GOD! JOSH! Do you have ANY IDEA how long I've been searching for these books?! I had the first one when I was 6-7, and it was lost in a move that I made - I've NEVER SEEN IT AGAIN. I've occassionally seen paintings that were done in the same style, but the search never came to anything ... UNTIL NOW! It's been almost 20 YEARS!


    My public library had one of these books when I was a kid, I think. I remember the Proxima War future history and all that.
  • I've got most of these books, including the apocrypha. I think I'm missing one of them. Larry, you remember the Proxima War history? That's amazing! Because it doesn't make any sense!

    The new releases have the art redone digitally, which I guess is OK. The Sentinel painting is missing the Ford Model A getting blown up, replacing it with a jeep, if I recall and other little details like that are different. I believe they've also cleaned up the writing so it makes more sense.

    These show up on Ebay pretty frequently. Search for the titles. I think Morrigan has them all on the docket, so you can find all the titles with relative ease.

  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarTheCONET Project: The scariest sounds I have ever heard.
    YES. I don't know what it is exactly, but that stuff freaks me out. A friend of mine at work got the recordings. If I were the one making John Harper's "44" concept into a game, I'd probably incorporate the idea of numbers stations into the game somehow.
  • Jeff Buckley's War of the Worlds does it for me. The sound of the Martians still freaks me out.

    I'm glad Brian found his books.

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