Greek musician, producer, director and label owner of Symmetric Records, Bob Katsionis is widely known by his 15 years keyboard and guitar duty with Firewind, 5 albums with Amor/Hard rockers Outloud, 2 albums with German power metallers Serious Black, co-writer for Kamelot and producer for more than 50 albums and 160 video clips since 2002.
After his 5 instrumental solo albums, and following his departure from Firewind, he comes back with something… completely different: a retro soundtrack to a fictional 16-bit video game that could have been released in the glorious days of Amiga, Sega Master System, Commodore 64 and Nintendo days!
“Amadeus Street Warrior” was conceived, performed, and recorded by Bob on six days (!) during the holiday season of 2019.
According to Bob Katsionis:
2019 Christmas’ period was kinda rough for me. I was struggling with myself to find answers regarding my future with Firewind, renovating my house, and looking for a place to build my new studio while my father was at the hospital. For once more, I found shelter to the place I always do: Making Music.
Ever since I started making my solo albums, I kept having fans and friends telling me the very same thing: that my music would easily fit a video game and that I should one day make a game soundtrack. And it made absolute sense because my first contact with music, even before Heavy Metal, was through the shivering soundtracks of games like Turican, Another World, Shadow Of The Beast, Agony and many more.
I worked using a VST plug-in called “Koji” by the Finnish developers Ugritone and remained faithful to the spirit of the ’90s by only recording via MIDI and limited to 16 channels and sounds per song.
As the story was developing in my head, so did the music. I structured the album like a video-game, divided to Levels, Boss Fights, and Main/End title themes.
After completing both music and game concept/story, I contacted art director and illustrator Kostas Tsiakos with whom we worked together recently for the re-release of the Validor album. Being a fan of retro aesthetics and a gamer himself, he captured the whole feeling of the album and game and presented me with a cover artwork that I’m more than happy!
While it’s not a Heavy Metal album by any means, it’s also not a typical retrowave/chiptune/8-bit album at all.
For me, it’s a 100% Bob Katsionis solo album, but without all the technical passages that people expect from me and with a completely different sound and arrangement choices. I feel that it will trigger different emotions to people coming from any genre of music, maybe not even metal-heads either gamers. Maybe both, who knows?
The story of this fictional game takes place in San Francisco, 2050. Amadeus is the child of Marshall Thorsten, a US Android Army General and Ursula Novak, a classical pianist from Austria. They met in Europe and relocated to America to get married. His mother’s love for music brought a lot of arguments to their family since his father wanted Amadeus to have a military career. Years later, Marshall decides to avenge his wife by making a machine that emits sub-harmonic frequencies turning people against any melodic and harmonic content, rendering them violent and aggressive. On his way to seek answers, having nothing but a golden flute and his military training, Amadeus faces his father, who is behind this evil plot. Only that now, he is mutated to a rodent-like robot called “The Mad Mouse”, just like he was always mocking his son’s name.
All in-game mentioned locations are existing in real-life, and there’s also a map that helps the listener dive into the story, making the whole experience feel like a real retro action-adventure game.