Last night I met up with some friends for some tasty Mexican food, a few cervezas, and of course some conversation. When we hang out, our conversations wander across the spectrum of many subjects, like sports (who is going to win the upcoming Super Bowl?), movies (“Apocalypse Now,” “Killing Fields,” “Deer Hunter,” and to lighten the atmosphere after those rather heavy films, “The Big Lebowski”), a little music (which band was Rob Thomas in, 3rd Eye Blind, or Matchbox 20 – it was Matchbox 20 – don’t ask how or why we got on that topic), politics (income tax vs. consumption tax), and literature (specifically the sci-fi series “The Wheel of Time”).
It was the last subject that I found interesting, because I do have a degree in English Literature (you know Shakespeare, both Shelleys, Lord Byron, Keats, Yeats, Chaucer – that kind of literature) so when my friends bring up books, my ears tend to perk up; which is what happened last night. Two of my friends started talking about The Wheel of Time series, which I didn’t know anything about, because I am more than a bit of a book snob, as is a given by my chosen degree. I sat there and listened to these two friends of mine tell me how great the series is, and how the final book, which they are both reading, is equally fantastic. Needless to say, when I got home, I decided to do a little research into this sci-fi/fantasy book series. I found that it has been licensed twice for TV/film, once for a miniseries on NBC (that never materialized), and currently the film rights are held by Universal Pictures. I found that it is being/has been adapted into comic book form, by Dabel Brothers. I also found that there are games based upon the series too. However, since this is a site about sound after all, I was also a bit intrigued to learn that there is actually music based upon this series too. This led me into more … um … “research.”
The first bit of research I did was into the German based power band that goes by the handle “Blind Guardian,” and their not one, but TWO songs they have written about/in honor of this series of books. The first being called “Ride into Obsession:”
The other, suitably enough, is called “Wheel of Time:”
There’s also an orchestral version of this song, it basically sounds the same as above, minus the vocals.
Not to be out done by their European neighbors, Swedish heavy metal band Katana has their own tribute to this series, with their song “The Wisdom of Emond’s Field:
Okay, so the above music kind of fits a bit of the stereotype of Metal/Sci-Fi/Fantasy fusion/inspiration/whatever you want to call it, going back to Led Zeppelin’s references to J.R.R. Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings” and/or “The Hobbit” in some of their songs. However there was even a “The Wheel of Time” soundtrack released in 1999, featuring music by Robert Berry, which seems a bit odd to have a soundtrack with no film or TV show. I guess that should show the popularity of this book series. Then there is a symphonic poem that was done by composer Seth Stewart, entitled “Age of Legends:”
Say what you will about the music inspired by this book series, personally I think that Blind Guardian and DragonForce could be mistaken for the same band, and I kind of chuckled at the photo of the band Katana, on their MySpace page, because it reminded me of the animated metal band “Dethklok,” which airs on The Cartoon Network’s late night schedule, called Adult Swim. Anyway, I think I might have to start reading this series of books, based simply off of my friends recommendations, and not so much on the music inspired by it.