We <3 SEGAROCKS Part 1: SEGAROCK Vol. 1

As far as game music cover bands go, SEGAROCKS certainly was not the first officially sanctioned by a developer/publisher. They weren’t even the first for Sega (that honor would go to S.S.T Band, who are worth talking about at a later date). However, SEGAROCKS is an interesting project with a small, but great, discography.

SEGAROCKS’ members were Masanori Koyanagi (production, drums), Luke Takamura (guitar), Shintaro Ito (arrangement, keyboards), Koichi Terasawa (bass), Naoki Watanabe (aka Naobow) (vocals). They released both of their studio albums on the same day (June 9th, 2004). Each album contained 20 tracks. 10 of the tracks were the original songs from the games, and 10 were SEGAROCKS’ covers. On December 15th of that same year, they released a live album (with a DVD) from a show they played in Tokyo, which would be their last release. All three CDs were released on Sega’s Wave Master label.

This retrospective will be broken up into three parts, one for each of the albums. For the two studio albums, I will compare the originals to the cover versions, track by track. The third feature will be impressions of the live show.

Alright, less talk, more SEGAROCK!

SEGAROCK Vol. 1


Track 1: Sega Rally – Go! Go! Sega Rally

Original:

Cover:

A decent album-opener, I definitely prefer the cover to the original. It’s longer, has more parts, and interesting vocal additions.

Track 2: Gain Ground – Origin ~Awaken~

Original:

Cover:

Though not an incredibly well-known title, Gain Ground certainly had some great music. Whether you’re listening to the cool, synthy original or the rocking cover, you’re probably getting some degree of pumped listening to this track.

Track 3: Phantasy Star IV – LAUGHTER

Original:

Cover:

While the guitar and keyboard are awesome in the cover, overall I think I prefer the sinister and moody original.

Track 4: Phantasy Star III – Main Theme

Original:

Cover:

While Phantasy Star III may not be as beloved as the other titles in the original series, its theme is quite good. The cover version starts with a welcome Jim Gillette-esque scream and when the main riff kicks in, I’m not ashamed to say that it gave me chills the first time I heard it.

Track 5: Burning Rangers – Burning Hearts ~ Burning Angel

Original:

Cover:

The theme song for the Yuji Naka produced / Sonic Team developed Burning Rangers is pretty ridiculous and I love it. Both versions are excellent, but if I had to choose, I think I would have to go with the less-rocky original, which sounds like a lost theme to an early 80s anime or super sentai TV series.

Track 6: Ashura – Never to Return

Original:

Cover:

Choosing to cover a track from the Master System title Ashura (which was changed into a Rambo title in the U.S.) is an odd choice, but after hearing the cover, I would say a good one. A rocking track and an improvement over the somewhat plain original.

Track 7: Phantasy Star – Planet Motabia

Original:

Cover:

Yet another Phantasy Star track (I am certainly not complaining!) and another one that is great originally, but an awesome guitar riff elevates the cover. The keyboard parts certainly don’t hurt either. Whichever version you choose to listen to, your ears win.

Track 8: Virtual-On – IN THE BLUE SKY

Original:

Cover:

Giant robots, blue skies, and awesome synth-rock… Video games don’t get much better than this! I would go with the original on this one; it just has a wonderful purity to it that really captures the look and feel of the game.

Track 9: Sega Saturn System Theme – Sega Saturn, Shiro!

Original:

Cover:

The cover is a valiant effort with some additional vocals, but you really can’t improve on the most epic and perfect system theme song ever.

Track 10: Sonic Boom – Name Register

Original:

Cover:

Such an odd choice! Not only is this a a track from a pretty obscure arcade game with very little information on it in English (the best I could find was this magazine scan), but it’s the name register theme to boot! Very impressive how SEGAROCKS could take a short, simple, timid theme and turn it into a four and a half minute jam!

Check out part 2 of the SEGAROCKS feature here!

Album release dates and band member information taken from VGMdb.

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This entry was posted in Ashura, Burning Rangers, Gain Ground, Game music, Phantasy Star, Rambo, Sega Rally, SEGAROCKS, Sonic Boom, Virtual On and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to We <3 SEGAROCKS Part 1: SEGAROCK Vol. 1

  1. Pingback: We <3 SEGAROCKS Part 2: SEGAROCK Vol. 2 |

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