Last year VGM cover artists RichaadEB and Ace Waters teamed up to create Determination, an Undertale cover album officially sanctioned by developer Toby Fox featuring covers of a good chunk of the game’s songs. The “Red” side of the album contained metal covers of Undertale’s boss themes performed by Rich, and the “Blue” side contained atmospheric electronic covers of the game’s area themes performed by Ace. Now, about one year later, the two have teamed up once again to bring us Determination: The Purple Side, a twelve track album revisiting Undertale songs they previously covered, this time taking a new approach.
For The Purple Side, these two musicians each selected five songs the other covered on the original Determination release. This time around, Rich did the area themes and Ace did the boss themes. Not only that, but each of them pushed their musical limits and incorporated a bit of the other’s style in their compositions. They even collaborated on two additional songs, bringing the total up to twelve.
The album opens up with “When the World was Full of Wonders,” a take on Undertale’s opening theme “Once Upon a Time” performed by Ace and Rich’s post-metal band Involved in the Troubles (also featuring Josiah McDaniel and Austin Perriloux) that does a particularly good job of setting the tone for the rest of the album. From there we jump into RichaadEB’s covers. “Sios” is a take on the “Ruins” theme featuring Ryan Lafford on piano. This track has a neat dynamic alternating between calm parts with just piano that reflect Toby Fox’s original composition and faster and heavier guitar parts. “Primer,” a cover of “Another Medium,” is one of the standout tracks. For this track, Rich teamed up with The8BitDrummer to create more of a “guitar remix” than a metal cover. With EDM style drum beats and synths combined with layers of guitar tracks with tons of effects, this song feels very different than anything Rich has done before. It also really captures the blending of styles that The Purple Side is all about.
“Augury” is Rich’s take on “Waterfall,” which features acoustic guitar performed by FamilyJules. This song is packed full of amazing technical guitar playing, including one bit where Rich throws in some djent style riffing that really impresses. On “Augury,” we hear Rich once again alternating between soft and heavy parts. The song starts out acoustic before bringing in the heavy distorted guitars, then drops back to just acoustic before coming on even heavier than before. “Eidola,” a cover of “Here We Are,” features yet another unexpected instrument choice in the form of accordion played by Jackson Parodi. It gives the song a really creepy atmosphere and blends in surprisingly well with Rich’s heavy and hectic guitar work. The drums on this track are also very intense on this song and really stand out. Rich’s half of the album concludes with “Superlative,” a cover of the “Core” theme. Despite being the only of Rich’s tracks to not feature a guest musician, this song still feels like a step in a different direction for him, featuring more synths than he usually does in his covers. In terms of shredding, this song is definitely the stand out; the lead playing on this cover is phenomenal.
“A Quick One Before the Eternal Worm Devours the Underground” is a short collaborative interlude that separates Rich and Ace’s halves of the album. It’s a relatively simple ambient track, but it still has a pretty cool vibe to it. It’s not something you would go out of the way to listen to on its own, but it serves its purpose when listening through the whole album. Then we move on to “What Have I Done?” which is Ace’s version of “Heartache.” He really slows the tempo down on this one for a really chill track that features layers of synths, along with the main chiptune melody, a banjo, and a melodica. Despite the eclectic mix of instruments, the whole song comes together quite nicely. The song concludes with a dreaming sounding take on “His Theme” before fading out. “Ossein” is a much more upbeat track. This cover of “Bonetrousel” featuring Steven Morris Really grooves. Synths, guitars, chiptune melodies, and awesome drum beats come together to create a fantastic jam.
With “That Thou Art Mindful of Him,” The Purple Side’s cover of “Metal Crusher,” Ace dips into very different sonic territory, with a slow, dark, and creepy take on the song. The song feels like a combination of Ace’s typical musical style blended with a brooding doom metal sound. The guitar work from ToxicxEternity and drumming from RocktheJake really stand out and just make this song so heavy. It’s definitely one of the best tracks on the album, and one of the best takes on “Metal Crusher” out there. Next up is “Regret,” Ace’s version of the “ASGORE” theme. The main melody for this song is played on Saxophone and it sounds great; it blends in very nicely with the electronic and chiptune instrumentation on this song.
The Purple Side concludes with “The Sum of One’s Parts,” an 11-minute, three movement epic cover of “Megalovania.” The first movement is an upbeat take featuring guitar played by FamilyJules, then things slow down on the second movement featuring an EWI performance by Soundole VGM. Things get dreamy on the final movement featuring guitar performed by Kyle Von Lanken and horn performed by Ryan Lafford. This take on “Megalovania” is a very unique one that stands out from the countless covers of the track that exist and is a very fitting end to the album.
The Bandcamp version of the album also features two bonus tracks: an extended mix of the version of “His Theme” from the end of “What Have I Done?” and a acapella cover of “Temmie Village” performed by FamilyJules, Jonathan Young, Adrisaurus, and Rich.
Determination was a fantastic album and both Ace and Rich said they were done with Undertale covers once it was out, but I’m glad they changed their minds. The Purple Side is the perfect sendoff for both of them as they move on from Undertale, leaving us with some of their best covers yet. If you’re an Undertale fan, be sure to pick it up on Bandcamp, iTunes, or Google Play. It’s a fantastic album and 20% of the proceeds go to charity, so it’s definitely worth the buy.