Bunch Of Fives: Zilch Patrol | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Biker-based noise rock trio Zilch Patrol drop their debut single Compound via their Bandcamp and various popular streaming services.The group consists of Michael (formerly of Waskerley Way and Shy-Talk) on guitars, Hannah on vocals, and John on bass and are inspired by the likes of Dinosaur Jr., Big Black and Black Flag.

This latest offering kicks off with plenty of doom and drama before dishing out handfuls of delightful riffs, juicy rhythms and haunting post-punk vox. B-side Dear Stakeholder with its racing verses, crunchy drops and cracking guitar solo is an excellent accompaniment to the release. 

Here, they use their first feature to the world to “bang on about JRPGs (Japanese Role-Playing Games)”. Read on…

Yakuza 0 (Sony PlayStation 3 and Sony PlayStation 4, 2015)
An outrageously fun story set in 1980s Tokyo and Osaka. As a bunch of Japanophiles, this one really gets under our skin, with its abundance of crazy side quests and minigames. It is also very satisfying to smash bad guys over their heads with parked bicycles to the sound of dumb, blazing rock music. This is a true modern classic, and one that has informed the direction of our music to a certain extent.

Front Mission: Gun Hazard (Nintendo Super Famicom, 1996)
Here’s a deep cut. We’re bending the definition of JRPG a bit for this one, as it’s actually more of a side-scrolling mech combat action game with RPG elements, but we really have to include it in our list. Its soundtrack, composed by Square legends Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda, is full of amazing industrial-esque soundworlds, way ahead of its time as far as video game music goes. Unless you can read Japanese, you’ll need to cop an unofficial fan translation ROM to play it.

Panzer Dragoon Saga (Sega Saturn, 1998)
This is John’s pick. A brilliant and unique game that delivers a distinctly otherworldly feel through its beautiful visuals and music, getting the most out of the Saturn – a video game platform that was notoriously awkward to develop for. John is sure that this title was an important source of inspiration for the games of the lauded games director Yoko Taro (the brains behind titles like Drag On Dragoon and Nier), which is not a trivial thing.

Final Fantasy VI (Nintendo Super Famicom, 1994)
Square’s 16-bit masterpiece. In Michael’s view, this is the best of the entire Final Fantasy series – and the bar is extremely high. Not only was this a breathtakingly ambitious game for its time, with an enormous soundtrack that included a lengthy opera sequence (bear in mind that this was on the Super Famicom – no streaming audio!), it also serves as a wonderfully incisive comment on both the futility of the pursuit of power and the beauty of friendship.

Persona 4 (Sony PlayStation 2, 2008)
A sprawling supernatural murder mystery underpinned by Jungian psychoanalysis, teeming with drama and humour. Do you want to be a Japanese schoolkid with the ability to fight using fantastical manifestations of your mind and spirit? Of course you do. Another essential game for Japanophiles and anyone else prepared to sink countless hours into a charming world populated by some of the most memorable characters in the history of JRPGs.

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