WoW composer fronts Critical Hit, a new VGM cover band

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The game music scene can welcome a new VGM cover band into the fold, and this one, in the vein of Nobuo Uematsu’s Earthbound Papas and Akira Yamaoka’s Silent Hill Band, comes with a twist. The band is appropriately called Critical Hit, and is being spearheaded by none other than World of Warcraft co-composer Jason Hayes and managed by Michael Gluck, who some of you may know as Piano Squall.

Accompanying the two are several stand-out musicians that have been involved with the likes of The Annual Primetime Emmy’s, Cirque Du Soleil and American Idol, among others. The band’s first outing, “Critical Hit: Volume One,” will be comprised of twelve tracks from popular game music soundtracks like Tetris, Super Mario World, Final Fantasy X and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. 

The band also rotates eight musicians that vary from show to show–giving Critical Hit a diverse sound that can go from rock to classical.

Speaking to Pixelitis, co-founders Hayes and Gluck revealed what gave them the drive to form Critical Hit. “I spend so much of my time composing music for games but rarely have the pleasure of meeting and interacting with the people that enjoy the soundtracks,” Hayes stated. 

“Critical Hit gives me the opportunity to get closer to game music fans worldwide.” Gluck cited his lifelong love of videogame music and his Piano Squall performances and noted that he has “been enjoying game music since the early Final Fantasy days.”

While the band’s debut album will feature music from some of the more popular game titles out there, Hayes hasn’t ruled out covering more under-appreciated game music, mentioning that they are planning on covering music from a lesser known music/rhythm game in the future.

Gluck says that the expansion of the videogame music scene makes him excited to add Critical Hit to the growing fold of musicians participating from the likes of “niche communities to mainstream concert halls.”

Critical Hit: Volume One is slated to ship on Oct. 31. Pre-orders of the album via their website will include autographs from Hayes.

Check out Critical Hit’s debut video performance of Angry Bird’s “Main Theme,” in addition to the full track listing of Volume One. Critical Hit is slated to perform its first show at BlizzCon 2013 at the Anaheim Convention Center on Nov. 9, where they’ll be covering music from World of Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo.

Critical Hit: Volume One track listing:

  1. Tetris: “Main Theme”
  2. Angry Birds: “Main Theme”
  3. World of Warcraft: “Legends of Azeroth”
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: “Zelda’s Lullaby”
  5. Halo 2: “Main Theme”
  6. Pokémon: “Main Theme”
  7. Super Mario World: “Bowser’s Castle”
  8. Final Fantasy X: “To Zanarkand”
  9. Kingdom Hearts: “Hikari”
  10. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: “Battle for New York”
  11. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: “Streets of Whiterun”
  12. Metal Gear Solid 2: “Main Theme”

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Author: Patrick Kulikowski View all posts by
Patrick Kulikowski is a Rutgers University graduate and Pixelitis writer. In addition to being a gamer for over 19 years, he is an avid drummer and enjoys working on his VGdrum videogame music project. He also doesn't cling to just one platform. Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, the PC market, he loves it all.