For the second week of Femme-Metal Friday, I'm going back to one of my favorites: Master Sword, the Legend of Zelda tribute band from Baltimore. They did not start out as a female-fronted band—their debut EP, Epoch, featured an array of talented vocalists, both male and female—but that all changed once vocalist Lily Hoy became a permanent fixture to the lineup in April 2016. Since then, the band continues to build a diversified audience: whether it is performing at gaming or comic book conventions, playing gigs with other similar tribute bands (who would have guessed that there was an entire local scene just for “video game music tribute bands”?!), or securing a slot at Baltimore's premiere femme-metal festival, Flight of the Valkyries; Master Sword is appealing to every demographic out there.
While the band continues work on their full-length album, Shadow and Steel, Master Sword has given fans a little taste of what they can expect with their latest lyric video for the song “Sanctuary”. The song is based on the Sanctuary theme from the classic game A Link to the Past from the early ’90s.
While all Zelda fans have their favorites in the series, A Link to the Past is a beloved game in the Zelda community for much the same reason as the eponymous first game, or Ocarina of Time: it is one of those iconic games that for many fans, was the first Zelda game they ever learned to play, or the game that got them interested in the franchise. It is a game that is rife with nostalgia for an entire generation of gamers, so if you are going to pay homage to something so cherished, expectations will be high; and if it isn't done right, you face the wrath of many angry fans who don't take kindly to having their childhood memories “trampled on”, or “disrespected”. No pressure, right?
Just like the hero in the green tunic that wields the weapon that gives the band its name, Master Sword is up to the challenge. After all, they are fans, too. These games mean as much to them as they do everyone else, and they show nothing but the highest respect for the source material in everything they do. Even for a simple lyric video that for some bands is no more than text with a run-of-the-mill backdrop, Master Sword cuts no corners in making the audience feel as if they have just stepped inside of an adventurous quest.
From the moment those dark, ominous tones kick in, the dungeon theme is instantly recognizable, and I can almost see the scary enemies lurking in the corners and almost feel inclined to look over my shoulder! Imagery of ink drawings of Link on aged parchment paper, misty visions of ethereal Sages, dim torchlight down a dark corridor, and the shadowy silhouette of Ganon (the antagonist of the series, or one of his forms, anyway!), all complement the eerie tone of the song.
For more information on Master Sword, visit the band's official Facebook page.