Friday, July 12, 2013

Wicked Basement 101

Obscure heavy metal plays in the background as you rifle through hundreds of old NES games, seated on a limited edition Pee-Wee Herman "Chairy" chair, covered in comic books like The Tick and Conan The King. A laptop in the corner is paused in the middle of some new revivalist 8-bit platformer, hooked up to a USB gamepad that harkens back to your first time destroying Dr. Wily. Your host insists that Electric Wizard's Dopethrone is the "album that saved his life" and as he flips you a copy of  SEGA's Desert Strike, you realize you have arrived. This is a Wicked fucking Basement. Fully equipped with the dark wonders of your childhood while completely aware of the evolving culture that surrounds classic gaming, transcendent metallum, and the music of 8bit legends that kept us up until dawn. 

Titles like Super Meat Boy, Megaman 9, Super House of Dead Ninjas, and plenty more have reshaped what gaming means for audiences. A return to the classic platform gives hope to a market flooded with ultra-graphic first person shooter masturbations and MMORPG soul-eaters. The goal? Give games back to the developers. A market for fun, evocative games that are the heart of creative gameplay reemerges. A new environment is created from the bones of the old world.

Similarly, the United States and Canada experience a wave of music in the early-to-mid 2000's that reignites a genre: Black Metal. A genre rife with theatrics, BM music was an extreme music genre that combined the cold, lonesome sounds of the frozen north with mind melting tremolo riffs and ultra Satanic symbolism. It was an answer to rampant Christianity and a protest of a church and state union which trampled on the pagan cultures in Scandinavia.  Flash forward to 2005: Metalcore and Nu-metal have destroyed heavy music culture. Much like the games market of the time, metal has been turned into a homogenized, overproduced nightmare. 

However deep in the forests of Cascadia, bands like Echtra, Fauna, Wolves in the Throne Room and Threnos are reigniting the flames of old with a new brand of metal which breaks free of the mindless consumer culture surrounding the genre at the time. A return to the black sounds of Norway, with a new message that reflects an almost spiritual communion with the Pacific North West. Cascadian Black Metal and it's contemporaries are emerging. In the coming years, the Cascadian style spreads across the US and Canada, birthing new bands in new areas. Bands like DeafHeaven, Slashpine, Ash Borer and many more take cues from the early Black Metal recipe and create a new environment for music.

Wicked Basement is dedicated to these ideas. It seems like culture lost it's way at the turn of the millennium. It's like we got so excited about Y2K and what the "future" was supposed to be that we forgot about what made the present so great. I'm not saying that every game from here on out should be an 8-bit platformer, re-imagined with smoother controls and modern(fkingawesome) programing sense; or that all music needs to reflect a melancholy yearning for the lush mountain forests of the Pacific North West and the Occult...But here in the Wicked Basement, every bit of that will be appreciated to the fullest. It's why you came down here, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment