Metroid Metal - Varia Suite

Metroid Metal - Varia Suite. Front. Click to zoom.
Metroid Metal - Varia Suite
Covers release: Robbie Player
Composed by Hirokazu Tanaka / Kenji Yamamoto / Kouichi Kyuma / Minako Hamano / Ryoji Yoshitomi
Arranged by Stemage
Published by Silent Uproar Records
Catalog number SUR-006
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 1 CD - 14 tracks
Release date September 8, 2009
Duration 00:50:28
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Metroid Metal has existed for ages, but it wasn't until 2009 that they were finally able to get the rights to release an official album, Varia Suite. Metroid Metal is basically what its name makes it out to be. It's Metroid music set to the metal genre. The band's philosophy and reasoning for that is that the Metroid tunes are just screaming for more energy. I wasn't sure I agreed with that so much at first, but then I took a listen to their music. Metroid Metal takes the best of the best from all Metroid games and accomplishes an extremely difficult task.


Metroid Metal didn't simply take Metroid music and go "Oh hey guys! Let's make metal remixes of Metroid and stuff!" These tracks are extremely thought through and do complete justice to the Metroid name while taking an edgy approach. The instrumentalists are purely professional sounding and know the genre they are dealing with. They do justice to both the Metroid series and the metal genre, but don't get turned off by the fact that it's metal. This is no head banging screaming stuff. As I said, it's extremely thoughtful and the reason they do it is for the energy. Also, if you aren't a hardcore Metroid fan, you may be confused by the album title. Varia Suite is basically a clever play off of Samus' famous orange armor called the "varia suit" and also communicated how this is sort of a varied compilation.

The album starts off with a bang listening to the great "Prelude" from Super Metroid. The first three bass notes in the beginning are extremely well placed. The band initially show a bit of the original style, but then suddenly "whoosh" the metal swoops in. Looking at most tracks, they all have this soft start to them before the adrenaline rush of metal. This is beautifully done for each track. Look at "Lower Norfair" for instance. The intro is incredibly eerie and tense. It gives off the feel of being in Magmar Caverns or Lower Norfair exceptionally. It's even tenser because you are listening to it and just waiting for the metal to swoop in for the kill.

Now the music on this album is simply raw. Try comparing "Phendrana Drifts" on this album to the original recording on their website to really hear the difference. It was recorded live opposed to the previous free tunes on the website. This almost adds an extra sense of atmosphere to the music. Speaking of "Phendrana Drifts", I always though this was one of the beloved classic tracks from the 3D generation of Metroid. Why is it so beloved? Because of its flowing soothing, soft, and very atmospheric winter melody. It was definitely the track that I was most skeptical of when reviewing this album. This track starts out beautifully like the original with a touch of electric guitar. I simply cannot complain as this reoccurs through out the metal of the track. It's an interesting alternative hybrid, though I must say that I liked the original better.

Some tracks are extremely intelligent, like both item tunes, for example. These tracks would normally be filler or novelty tracks that last a couple seconds but the band makes these the most interesting full compositions. I'd definitely take a listen to "Item Room" just to see how far this band will go. Remember the original tune was barebones using one or two instruments. The eerie vocals in the background make this one of the creepiest Metroid tracks I've ever heard. Despite my raving, this is in NO way better than the original. This original tracks had an element of eerie simplicity that made them special in their own rights. This is simply an alternate take. "Item Collect" is like the comic relief of the album. It's happy and takes a simply few second "item get" tune to interesting places.

"Space Pirates" form Metroid Prime was really just a simply rock track in the game. The outerspace and alien sound effects used in this version only raise the tension and make for an amazing track. Of course, we can't forget the beloved "Brinstar" from the oriignal Metroid. This track may not be the most creative, but it's as good as you'd expect. It's a straightforward jam and the second it start, so does the energy. It shines with energy and will make anyone a believer that Metroid music can sound great in the metal genre. There's an amazing acoustic wind-down in the end too. My one disappointment with this album would be the lack of Super Metroid's "Brinstar". The band has performed this arrangement before and it was simply a beautiful take. It was, no doubt, their best. There has been no comment about why it's not on the official CD.


It was very possible for this to just turn into another fan remix album, but the Varia Suite manages to be much more. It is a smart and energetic compilation cover album with surprisingly top-notch production values. It even has some great packaging and a brilliant album cover to go along with it. Nintendo has some great art direction, but I have a feeling that is they made this CD, then we'd just get a picture of Samus posing on the front. Even the typography on the backside with the secret language from Metroid is high quality especially for such an indie band. You will always be able to download these songs for free on the site, but the hard copy CD is limited. If you are interesting in the redone and perfected live version for collection purposes, then get it while you can.


Music in game


Charles Szczygiel

This is a collection of Metroid Metal songs performed by the live group members of the band in a studio setting.  The album was a Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) '09 exclusive before it went sale online just after the convention on CD and via digital download.

The Metroid Metal live band is:
Grant Henry (Stemage): Guitar
Dan Behrens (danimal): Guitar
Michael Molnar (Kirby Pufocia): Guitar
Dan Taylor (chunkstyle): Bass
Kevin Lawrence (Cheddar): Drums

And featuring:
Jason Cox (xoc): Stories
Olivia Bergman (poop): Panic
Album was composed by Hirokazu Tanaka / Kenji Yamamoto / Kouichi Kyuma / Minako Hamano / Ryoji Yoshitomi and was released on September 8, 2009. Soundtrack consists of 14 tracks tracks with duration over about 50 minutes. Album was released by Silent Uproar Records.

CD 1

Prelude (SM)
Lower Norfair (SM)
Brinstar (NES)
Item Room (NES)
Item Collect (NES)
Kraid (NES)
Ridley (NES)
Phendrana Drifts (MP)
Boss Medley (SM)
The Tunnel (M2)
Space Pirates (MP)
Maridia/Escape (SM/NES)
Ending (NES)
Theme (NES)
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