Remember Me Starfighter Volume 1
Released: 2015, Starplanet Records
It’s time for a quick lesson from a guy who has been in the industry for a long, long time. First impressions count. They really do. It might sound like a cliché but it is true. I get music to review. Lots of it. Every. Single. Day. The reality is until this becomes a highly-paid full-time gig (which will never happen) there is limited time to review all the material that that comes in. I don’t speak only for myself, I know many colleagues who feel overwhelmed by the amount of material and the number of requests from publicists to pay attention to the next biggest band in the universe. In fact recently a colleague of mine, author and professor Keith Harris-Khan from the UK, coined the term ‘landfill metal’ for the massive amount of material is good but never stands out. How does a new band in an intensely competitive environment stand out? The answer is a strong first impression. Enter: Galileo’s Ghost. These guys have mastered the art of making a great first impression.
REMEMBER ME STARFIGHTER VOLUME ONE comes a deluxe package with the CD in a fold-out slipcase and a 450 page graphic novel! The design, layout and presentation are top notch. It is all designed to look like a comic book with bright colours, interstellar superheros and little nods to classical literature and art. Including a comic/graphic novel with a CD is quite rare, I an only think of a few bands who have done this (Evergrey, Hammerfall, Alice Cooper etc) so automatically it is more interesting and unique. Everything about this is larger than life. In a bold, brave and audacious move the words ‘The Epic Metal Space Opera’ is actually printed right on the cover! It also comes with a nice big sticker that briefly describes the rock opera.
If you were me, what would you look at first…a CD-R with the bands name spelled (incorrectly) scribbled in black marker on the disc with no package or the ultra-cool book/CD combo I described above? Of course! The answer is obvious. Never discard those hidden gems, those poorly presented CD-R’s…but often they find their way to the bottom the pile.
Having prefaced all that, no matter how much sizzle you sell you have to provide the steak, the content and fortunately Galileo’s Ghost also has quality material enhanced by top-notch presentation. REMEMBER ME STARFIGHTER VOLUME ONE is an old fashioned Space Opera that can stand shoulder to shoulder with Ayreon. The 15-song, 67-minute epic is very elaborate, progressive and experimental all mixed into one. The album is certainly not easy to simply label or categorize.
I hear hints of all sorts of good things, musically speaking, Braindance, Queensryche, Ayreon, Devin Townsend from ultra-mellow and melodic, ambient passages to full-on raging Metal with blast-beats and double kick rums. It seems whatever musical sound they need to create the atmosphere or scene it was used without being restricted to being a ‘X-Metal’ band or a “Y-Metal’ band. There are female vocals, and any number of tempos and tones all across the long album. There are spoken words parts, freaky Sci-fi parts, sound-effects, robot voices, and lots of general weirdness. Perhaps the only part of the whole album I didn’t like are the generic metalcore shouts. There are so many more interesting ways to portray anger and aggression without resorting to the uninspired dry-lung shouting style that so many modern metal bands employ. It’s not heavy and it’s not interesting. I’d much rather hear a black metal hiss or shriek or a Death Metal growl than just shouting. The songs don’t follw any traditional structure of terms of verses and choruses a but wander off into the farthest reaches of the galaxy with a mind of their own but never so lost that you loose sight of them. Some traditional metalists and purists (of which I admit I am one, much of the time) may not fully embrace the modern elements but this is so well executed you can’t help but be impressed. The whole project is the creation of Rookie Allen and some friends, all unknown names in the Metal world as compared to the multi-guest star projects of the Avantasia’s and Ayreon’s of the world.
The lyrics are elaborate and not without a sense of humour as evidence by titles like, ‘Bring Your Knife To The Dogfight’ and ‘ A Good Space Opera Always Ends With a Battle’. The lyrics are unfortunately not on the CD but printed in the graphic novel at the back. I’m not going to delve into the details of the space Opera itself, suffice it is epic, a love story, a war story with rebellious factions, classic conflicts and lots of elements of modern and ancient history all pushed into the transporter at the same time and what comes out on the third moon of Jupiter is an amazing thing to behold.
REMEMBER ME is very much like a soundtrack, a Hollywood production, a whole piece of music rather than a collection of songs. Even though there are ‘songs’ everything is part of a greater whole as the album has ebb and flow and scenes and moods; it is not a fun, casual listen for a day at the beach something. Headphones enhance the experience as does reading the graphic novel in conjunction. The graphic novel is huge, 450+pages with lots of sketches and notes, bonus content, quotes and all presented in a black and white format. It’s adult content but not explicit too violent or vulgar for the sake of simple shock value.
I am so impressed with this package, it shows that there are still dreamers, artists, Sci-Fi geeks and Metal nerds who care enough to make these visions come to life and hopefully others, like myself will be lucky enough to experience it. You can too by checking out REMEMBER ME STARFIGHTER-PART 1 by Galileo’s Ghost.