Album Review: Super Guitar Bros – Ocarina of Time

Super Guitar Bros are a guitar infused duo, with Steven Poissant on Steel String Guitar and Sam Griffin on Nylon String Guitar, the pair blend classical and acoustic to create sensational music. I recently reviewed an album they made alongside Dan Avidan (of Ninja Sex Party and Game Grumps fame) which you can check out here and was inspired to check out more of their discography. Today, I will be reviewing their album ‘Ocarina of Time’ which is based on the music from the Legend of Zelda game of the same name. 

‘Title’ opens with a soft, percussive styled plucking which evokes the beat of hooves, and instantly makes me think of just riding around on Epona. The actual track is so soft, a gentle lilting melody that is richly textured by the two different guitars blending together. Coming to this fresh off the album with Dan I’m even more impressed by their phenomenal skills.

‘Deku Tree’ has a little more weight to it, a subtle depth formed through heavier notes and sustained chords, counterpointed with lighter plucking to create a really interesting but brief melody.

‘Fairy Flying’ captures the energy perfectly, a frenzied blend of strings, the heavier ones overlaid over the lighter ones to make something tremendous. 

‘House’ is fun and a little funky, I love how they capture the overall feel and melody of the track while adding much more to it. They also manage to make something that doesn’t sound flat. It’s not just one note being played, they structure tracks in such a way that they work and overlap with one another. 

‘Kokiri Forest’ has a nice little percussive burst throughout, that adds to the quicker guitar playing by giving us a nice stabilising element from which they can sort of work around. 

‘Lost Woods’ is perhaps my favourite Legend of Zelda theme, much like the Underground theme from Super Mario Bros. It is iconic, and the Super Guitar Bros really do it justice, bringing in the perfect amount of frenetic energy and layering to make it really pop. I have to say it’s by this point that I’m just falling in love with their music. I love the balance between the two styles of playing and how the instruments which are similar can produce such a varied and distinctive sound. 

‘Fairy Fountain’ is another iconic track, and they recreate it so richly and honestly that it just touches my heart. I love that they manage to make their own tracks that have been recorded and tweaked and remixed for more than two decades now. 

‘Kaepora Gaebora’ has some incredible flourishes, and man you just get caught up in it, the classical guitar fusion just really works for me. I especially liked the pause just before the minute mark before exploding forward, it really captures you unawares. 

‘Hyrule Field’ also has a nice balance between the two styles, sometimes they seem to be working together, and other times they are almost battling, and you get the energy and intensity of the original track coming through in all it’s glory through not just what they are playing but how they are playing it as well. 

‘Market’ has what I touched on in the previous track, one where both guitars work in perfect conjunction to create something broader and more punchy than the original track. 

‘Shop’ is fun and quirky and you just get caught up in the melody, I like how it seems deceptively simple at first but they build upon it subtly creating something that’s got all the playfulness and possibility and whimsy that make Zelda games so fun. 

‘Shooting Gallery’ starts off slow and builds, and you get to really take in the sumptuous talent of their playing, backed up by subtle percussive bursts but honestly the precision, energy and power behind the playing is just amazing. 

‘Kakariko Village’ is soft again, meshing together the two guitars and the two unique styles of playing to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts. I’m so glad that the Super Guitar Bros found each other because it’s people with talent like this working together that makes me glad I did this in the first place. 

‘Song of Storms’ opens with a more acoustic thread, with the classical guitar adding in more depth, and again just subtle percussive beats to add a little more weight to the track. You just get caught up in the melody, the softness to it, the delicate nature of some of the chords and then the brighter notes on top. I don’t want to keep repeating myself but seriously, it’s amazing how they manage to just take the basic melody of the Ocarina of Time soundtrack and add so much to it. 

‘Lon Lon Ranch’ always makes me think of bed time, it’s not like it’s the only slower soothing track in the original game but something about it always had that soft, lilting and melodic flow to it, like a lullaby. I like that they keep that feel to it, while obviously adding to it. But nothing that removes the track too far from its original setting. 

‘Horse Race’ is explosive after the last track, a whole lot more energy, and I like that one of the guitars provides a relatively consistent and high paced melody while the other adds on a more varied, but still high paced element of their own to really give the track something else.

‘Zora’s Domain’ is another in an album full of wonderful collaborative efforts where they mesh perfectly, the two guitars just working in tandem, building on one another. I have a hard time deciding whether they work better in these slower numbers or in the more high energy, and honestly while I prefer slower songs I think in either regard it gives them another chance to show off their depth of skill. I could really just listen to this track all day. 

‘Gerudo Valley’ is another high energy number, it has an almost spanish style to it, which is super cool, and you just get caught up in the potency of the track, and how one guitarist works to support the other.

‘Potion Shop’ opens with a heavy percussive beat that is met with sustained guitar notes which harness the Middle Eastern inspired melody of the original track while still making it their own. 

‘Koume and Kotake’ shakes things up again, as we hear two very distinct guitar elements played after one another before blending together into a very tight and back and forth melody. It’s really impressive. I think after having listened to the whole album a few times, this might be my favourite, but honestly it’s very close. 

‘Ganon’ builds suspense and danger through the discordant, and sustained notes, especially as they build right before the end. 

‘Final Battle’ kind of picks up where the last one left off, with the same sustained notes that give the impression of something coming closer and building, before it explodes onwards, a wild and frantic, high energy delivery that just hammers into you.

‘Temple of Time’ is another slower, more melodic track and as we close in on the final few it’s very welcome, it has an almost haunting quality to it. I think it’s because it’s not soft and slow, it’s more determined, like each note has something else behind it, and it builds on that, gaining energy and momentum as the track goes on. I mentioned that ‘Koume and Kotake’ takes the top slot for my personal favourite on this album, but this is a very close second. 

‘Sheik’ I’ve mentioned before that they do well in cooperation and in melding their sounds but I like ones like this where they have sections where it’s just one of them playing for the most part, it shows the strength of them individually. 

‘Zelda’ was a truly beautiful way to end what has been a beautiful album, I almost forgot these were covers because the Super Guitar Bros have made these songs their own, through their tremendous and unique blend of guitars. 

So that’s what I thought of the Super Guitar Bros album ‘Ocarina of Time’ and if you want to check that out for yourself then head on over to Spotify. Additionally, you can support the Super Guitar Bros by checking out their YouTube channel, and by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/


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