The Story and Albums

The group has stated they intend to make a three-part story. Two of the parts are complete. The third is currently in vague/outline form: "All out war." according to Commander. The overall story as envisioned by the group is tragic, and Panther says he "doesn't really expect it to end well for humanity." He's also joked it's really "The Story of How Phil Collins Secretly Wrote Most Of Metallica’s Early Catalogue — And How It All Relates To Dr. Light." But too much said already…Go buy the albums! (The band runs their own label, so all funds from purchase go directly back to the group.)

Act I (The Protomen) - September 3, 2005

In Act I, the band's first album, Dr. Wily is represented as an Orwellian ruler over a dystopic City, full of humans who are too scared to stand up to his control. Dr. Light creates a "perfect man, an unbeatable machine", Protoman, to fight to free the City, but Protoman is destroyed by the overwhelming power of Wily's armies. Defeated and despairing, Dr. Light then creates a second son, Megaman, who he attempts to dissuade from battle. Megaman runs away from home and confronts his brother in an apocalyptic concluding battle.

The album has been described by the band as "the sound of the end of the world" and straddles the line between chiptune and hard rock, with heavier focus on distorted 8-bit synthesizers and electronic instrumentation. Commander has stated that Act I "was made specifically to go against everything our recording teachers and fellow students were trying to feed us about making everything sound pristine and perfect".

"Due Vendetta", the first recorded track, was actually completed in April 2003. (see The History of Due Vendetta) The album was recorded over two years in various MTSU and home studios in Murfreesboro, using analog rather than digital production techniques. The album was produced by former member Heath Who Hath No Name. The cover art and packaging for Act I were designed by band members. Internal art by Sean Keen. Release party was September 3, 2005 at The Boro in Nashville. (BUY PROTOMEN ACT 1 CD NOW)

Father of Death (limited vinyl 7" single) - November 8, 2008

Produced by Alan Shacklock, with a cover of Robert Tepper's "No Easy Way Out" as the B-side. Limited print run in white vinyl, a special advance of Act II. The version of Father of Death presented on this vinyl varies significantly from the Act II version - slower tempo, deeper/more separated acoustic guitar lines, and an overall brightness and clarity that some feel was lacking in the final release.

Unlike most of the group's output, was not released through the SoundMachine label. Instead, it came out through Theory 8 Records. Art design for the cover was produced by Version Industries. The release party was held at 12th and Porter in Nashville.

Act II (Act II - The Father of Death) - September 8, 2009

For the band's second album the group, working with Meatloaf producer Alan Shacklock, devised a prequel storyline to Act I. The second act details the rise of Albert Wily to power, the rivalry between himself and Thomas Light, and the tragic events which brought the City under Wily's control. The band states that Act II was designed to sound cleaner, reflecting a time "before the bomb dropped". Accordingly, the second album reflects a much broader range of musical styles and more lyrical instrumentation, embracing references from Ennio Morricone to Bruce Springsteen to Shacklock's own Babe Ruth.

The album was mastered by Richard Dodd, a Grammy-winning recording engineer, and as before, recorded in several locations. The cover art, a deliberate callback to the art for the 80's movie Streets of Fire, was executed by artist John DeLucca. The Act 2 logo was designed by Version Industries. An incredibly massive release party was held in Nashville at Mercy Lounge on Sept 25, 2009. We don't have much info on the making of this record, but what we do know is collected at the The History of Act II page. (BUY PROTOMEN ACT II CD NOW)

Act I (Limited Release Vinyl Remaster) - July 9, 2011

A short-run 977-piece remaster of Act 1 on special bi-colored 12" vinyl was released on July 9, 2011. A special performance (recorded for eventual DVD release) was held at 12th and Porter in Nashville to celebrate the release. The vinyl came with a special white stencil and a large fold-out version of the libretto with new artwork.

In addition to the extra goodies the tracks were fully remastered and the original ending, "Fade to Phil", was included, a disturbing track of sheer noise overlaying a broken 8-bit refrain from Phil Collins' "Against All Odds". Numerous small changes were made to the original tracks to increase their depth and richness. New sound effects were inserted at the end of Hope Rides Alone. Later editions of the vinyl, the band states, will be normal black plastic.

The Protomen Present: A Night of Queen - May 17, 2012

The Protomen performed a grueling 16-song Queen set at the Exit/In in Nashville in December of 2010. They drilled fiercely for a month, even creating tape loops to run during the performance, and closely studied and replicated Brian May's techniques from Internet tutorials. Two replicas of the Red Special were used by Ringo Segundo and Sir Bakker for the night (no Queen performances by the group since then have used those guitars); they even performed using 10-pence coins as picks. This CD is a cleaned up and remastered version of that intense live concert. Photography for the cover created by Matt Sundin (co-director for the upcoming Light Up The Night video). Logo and other artwork illustrated by M.L. Hope. Our review of the CD is here.

Track listing: 1. Intro. 2. Flash. 3. Battle Theme. 4. Don't Stop Me Now. 5. Killer Queen. 6. Hammer to Fall. 7. One Vision. 8. Somebody to Love. 9. Princes of the Universe. 10. Death on Two Legs. 11. I Want to Break Free. 12. Scandal. 13. I Want it All. 14. The Show Must Go On. 15. Under Pressure. 16. Bohemian Rhapsody. 17. Due Vendetta. 18. Outro (BUY THE PROTOMEN PRESENT QUEEN NOW)

Drove All Night/Silent Running-Breaking Out Cassette Single - December 21, 2012

A short-run 1000-piece cassette, this tape consists of two cover tracks. The formal release of The Protomen's new cover of Steinberg and Kelly's "I Drove All Night", a song the band greatly enjoys internally, is on Side One. Side Two is a freshly recorded partial cover of Mike and the Mechanics' song "Silent Running" combined with a variant version of "Breaking Out" from Act II. For the cassette version of Breaking Out, the drums and guitars were rerecorded, but the vocal track was not changed, and no lyrics were altered from the original.

A special performance was held at 12th and Porter in Nashville for the release on December 21, 2012, as the group also celebrated the date of the legendary Mayan Apocalypse. The cassette is an analog throwback format, with the group reasoning that all digital equipment would stop working after the End Times, but that "magnets should still work, and they can't take those away from us."

The cassette is an advance on the upcoming ("The Cover Up") covers album currently due Q3 2013. Artwork is by John DeLucca and Version Industries. (BUY THE DROVE ALL NIGHT CASSETTE NOW)

MM25: Mega Man Rocks - October 29, 2013

A Capcom official release in co-operation with the OCremix community, spearheaded by community manager Brett Elston]. The Protomen contributed three songs to the album: a 2013 edit of "Will of One" (the only song that did not get reworked for the vinyl re-release in 2011), the 2012 cassette version of "Silent Running/Breaking Out", now in digital form, and a new song, "Built to Last", an in-universe-but-not-canon song like Beards Going Nowhere. The live version of Built to Last was premiered at Pax on 8/31/13, and featured Commander's first major singing performance - although he was using a vocoder and heavily processed. He'd sung bits and pieces of other songs - most notably their "Total Eclipse of the Heart" cover - but not a main vocal line before.


Miscellaneous notes

All albums release through Sound Machine Records, The Protomen's private label. The CD booklets contain vital story details as well as full lyrics, and are an important part of how the band desires their work to be experienced; therefore, people are highly encouraged to buy physical CDs rather than digital copies in order to have the full experience of The Protomen's story.

The Protomen have expressed interest on several occasions in creating soundtracks and film scores, and in 2011 actually crafted an ambient score for the Nashville play "Terminator The Second."

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