EP Review: Got Item – Got Item (Self Released)

Do you like your music to be a little “different”? Do you love video games and heavy metal? Do you wish there was a way to satisfy your need for both at the same time? Well good news if you answered yes to all three of those questions – this may just be what you’re looking for.

Got Item is the title of the debut EP by the band of the same name, Got Item. The EP was released on the 22nd of July 2015.

It is predominantly a one man project, brought to you by Steven Dunn of Sacramento, California but with additional music provided by Jacob Martinez and Zachary Fravel and additional group vocals provided by Anthony Bruno, Zachary Bruno and Matt Perez. Anthony Bruno is also credited for the tracking, engineering and mastering of the record.
Musically, it sits very comfortably within the Nintendocore genre of metal which, for those unaware, is a genre of music initially similar to metalcore/hardcore but that also involves the use of 8-bit music tracks (for example, Super Mario Bros theme) as a little nod to those great video games of old that many of us grew up with.

Nintendocore
Before I start reviewing, I am by no means an expert in this genre of music but I am a music fan and this album will be reviewed purely on the musical impression it leaves on me.

There are 6 tracks on the EP in total and it weighs in at around 14 minutes long altogether.
 
Track number 1 is called Mario Party Foul and is just over a minute long in total. It kicks straight in with a long brooding riff over the spaced out thump of a drum. A quick blast of drums kicks the pace up and there is a real chugging, industrial sounding riff over some excellent drums. Of course the electronic music plays over the metal, almost acting as the lead guitar. In fact, and to my surprise, there are points where you become involved enough in the track that you forget it isn’t actually a lead guitar. The track itself is pure instrumental but the balance between the digital and instrumental is perfect. It’s a really solid start to an album.

Track 2 is called Personally, I Prefer the Air and is a full length track at 3 minutes and 17 seconds. It starts off with that industrial style chugging riff but this time the electronics are much more prominent here acting almost as the bass line throughout the first section of the song. I must admit, at the beginning I felt the electronic track was actually a little too much and was taking away from the song as a whole but that balance clicked back in nicely when the vocals start. The singer, Steven Dunn, has a real strength to his voice and his lyrics are spat out at an angry pace and sound similar to the style I would expect from one of my favourite genres, melodic death metal. The group vocals also make an appearance here and you get a few different tones of furious vocals at the same time which is an excellent sound. Like dual lead guitars we get a dual electronic solo which has a slightly faded and less vicious set of lyrics sang along with it but when the second verse kicks in the instruments seem more prominent. The whole track is blisteringly heavy and ends with a slow head banging riff over an electronic line which takes over as the instruments fade out. I like this track and, being the first time I have got to hear the vocals, I am really pleased with the strength of them although there are points in this track where I felt the electronics were a little too much.

Next up we have Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy which is just under 3 mins long. The intro is really great. Lead guitars blaze away backed up by the 8-bit and together they sound really good and are balanced well. As the song progresses the lead fades a little to let the rest of the instruments shine. The whole song is played at a fast pace and when the vocals join in, they add a bit more of a steady rhythm to the track as a whole. There is some fantastic guitar work going on here and the drums, which unfortunately get lost a little in the early parts of the song, are blisteringly good in the background. At the half way point there is a section of brutal vocals over just an 8 bit line which cleverly stops the track being repetitive and while I am not 100% sure I enjoy those moments, I find them intriguing which isn’t a bad thing at all. When the song jumps back into the lead guitars it is quite epic and the pace of the song, the lyrics and the drums increases to a quite astonishing speed. It ends with another switch in rhythm to an even more vicious growl from the group singers over some proper death metal through to close. Probably my favourite so far.

The 4th track is less than a minute long and is called Cinnabar. It is predominantly just electronic lines over a steady, muffled drum beat and feels like a little interlude which is much more on the Nintendo side of Nintendocore. Presumably a nod to Pokémon, it is nice enough and interesting enough but doesn’t stand up much to the other tracks so far. Still, being a kind of interlude, that is probably to be expected.

The 5th track is called Friendly Fire and is just under 3 mins long. Again it starts with mainly just a drum beat played under a low toned 8-bit track. At around the 30 second mark, the song explodes into life with viciously spat lyrics, heavy guitars and thumping drums. Make no mistake, this is a heavy song. Group vocals add even more “death metal” styling to the song as it progresses. A lead line is provided by a higher pitched electronic line over those angry vocals again giving that melodic death metal feel. The song kicks up another notch in pace for the second verse which eventually breaks down into a groove metal, slow head banging section. The song plays out to another change in pace with the speed picking up to a whole new level. Instruments blend into each other and it becomes a wall of metal, with a sprinkling of 8-bit. A real showcase for the genre but for me, just a really good metal song as well.

The final track on the EP, and the longest one on the album at 3 minutes and 19 seconds, is called No Sanctuary and jumps straight in with a more rhythmic but still furious vocal pace. The electronics and guitars blend brilliantly throughout and there is some amazing drumming going on again in the background. The guitars drop a tone or two every now and then to keep the song fresh and keep some separation between song sections. Intermittent shouted lyrics over just drums also add some real freshness to the song but all in all it is pretty relentless throughout. For me this is the best track on the album. The electronic line adds loads but never takes over. Everything just blends nicely together to create a really heavy, really interesting song. Great job.

In truth, within the realms of the genre, I imagine this is worthy of a 9 or 9.5 out of 10 but to just a metal fan who tends to avoid most electronics, I did feel a little lost in the 8-bit a few times. It is extremely clear that the man behind this album are immensely talented though and I really enjoyed most of what I heard throughout the album. A few of the tracks, especially No Sanctuary are truly excellent. If you are not a fan of the genre, I would definitely encourage you to check this EP out as I am sure it will surprise you. If you are a fan, well you should already have this in your library. Importantly for me, musically, it is actually just some really solid metal and the vocals are particularly impressive.

I will be picking up a copy of this EP myself off the back of hearing it and look forward to showing it to a few friends as well. Great effort.

Check out the band on Facebook at the link below.

Got Item on Facebook

Got Item on Bandcamp

Got Item – Got Item (Self Released)
  • 7.5/10
    The Final Score - 7.5/10
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