On their intricate new album Floppy Disk Overdrive, Italy’s MIDI-based metal artist Master Boot Record have crafted a dizzyingly ambitious combination of energetic, video-game-style, chiptune music, machinated drum hits, and frenzied blasts of thrashing guitar riffing, all of which the project’s mastermind brings together via electronically orchestrated samples.
The first track on this record features classic, thrash-metal-esque blasts of electronica-accompanied, heavy guitar riffs that repeat with a gradually more energetic-feeling intensity. The synths in the mix feel chilly but not frigid in the sense that they have a very brazenly technology-oriented feel to them. In the style of the era when synths first emerged, listeners clearly know what they’re partaking of—but here, the energetic pulses have been enveloped into a fist-pumping, orchestrally dramatic, metal cacophony.
While energetic and captivating, that thrash metal feel is far from where this album ends. “FDISK.EXE,” for example, features a glistening, sometimes danceable blend of pulsing electronics and intermingled blasts of death metal-esque guitars that follow along with the same sorts of rhythms that are established in the electronica-laced moments.
The classical and more somber, baroque atmospheric elements that are also intermingled in the mix throughout the whole album take these songs to an even more dramatically blood-pumping space via the rays of dramatically swinging, dynamic energy that those orchestral strings provide. The orchestral-feeling hugeness seems quite fitting alongside the mix’s other, already dramatic elements.
By “CHKDSK.EXE,” the music actually feels dramatic enough to be a soundtrack to some kind of horror cinema, but it remains strangely grounded-feeling, nonetheless. That particular song’s leaping barrages of piercing synth tones alongside the also pummeling barrages of isolated, machinated guitar blasts unroll quickly enough and with enough uneasy dynamic intensity that there’s a sense of coming upon something threatening yet captivating amidst the music’s obvious adventurousness. Meanwhile, “RAMDRIVE.SYS” features compelling crescendos, and “DBLSPACE.EXE” features swaggering blasts of groove.
It’s jarring to hear the blasts of traditional guitar that have been funneled through the same patterns as the electronica elements that might otherwise feel disparate and disconnected from the slightly more tangible experience of guitar performance. Here, the elements have all been united in an adventurous-feeling creation. It’s like the sonic encapsulation of the experience of some kind of dramatic video game that has been carried over into the real world. The raw energy of thrash and death metal guitars that would not sound out of place from some Big Four-worshipping metal band have gotten twisted into a punching, dramatic, musical adventure.