This is the metal ‘band’ FROSTBITE ORCKINGS.
Ok… yeah… they look like an expansion set to World of Warcraft. But don’t let the video-game aesthetic throw you, The Frostbite Orckings are producing some brutality normally reserved for the most metal of metal-loving metalheads.
But this isn’t some super-group hiding behind a creative marketing concept (looking at you Gorrilaz), The Frostbite Orckings are AI generated. Meaning… the music ‘it’ produces is generated from an artificial intelligence, not musicians.
Well, that isn’t entirely accurate as, at this point, AI can only generate based on what it’s fed. And in this case, it was fed hours of trained, accomplished metal musicians jamming in a studio. The AI didn’t take ‘cuts’ from said sessions, rather, it ‘listened’ and learned the musical theory behind this style of metal. Or so we are told.
And then it produced this. (*note: the video is 100% human produced to accompany the music and add personas to the musical avatars.)
That is, “Guardians of Time”, the first ‘single’ released by The Frostbite Orckings.
The people behind this are going all in, as the ‘band’ comes with an official website, complete with band bios, merch, and even a ‘social stream’ in which the band members react and make comments to keep up their social media presence. Seriously. orckings.org
The whole thing comes off like it might be satire. And probably would be seen as such, if the music weren’t so… good. There is nothing about, “Guardians of Time” that would reveal to the average metal-loving maniac that this wasn’t a ‘real’ band. Until recently, most attempts at AI generated music came back as a jumble of unlistenable noise. But this is next level.
Trying to look under the hood, there isn’t a ton of details to be found on the people or actual musicians who provided the material from which the AI learned its licks. I did find some videos on YouTube, and if those sources are to be trusted, this originates from a team out of Germany. Also of note, the final product had some of the rough edges taken off, as the AI isn’t 100% perfect, and all of its output isn’t as solid as this final version. It was reported that, although the song did come out mixed and mastered, humans put some polish on it to make it sound as release ready as it does. However, they insist the core of the song is all AI generated.
Until they make their source process a little more transparent, just exactly how much this is AI and how much this is human is probably a bit blurry and debatable.
ESPECIALLY when you take a step back and see the grand marketing plan behind the ‘Metalverse’ from which The Frostbite Orckings originate.
It seems The Frostbite Orckings are just the FIRST band to roll out from the metaverse Metalverse. The creators are envisioning a whole ecosystem of AI bands that somehow exist and evolve with their human fans. How that exactly works has yet to be clearly laid out, although from the pitch on the Metalverse website, it sounds like it might be some metal orgy of NFT tokenized crypto block-chained metaverse type thing… because those have all done so well.
But it looks like this…
For an age beyond measure, I crafted strange and ancient lifeforms into tribes, warriors of music, wielding rhythm, melody and percussion. The Bands were made. And they were ready to play… in the Metalverse.
Metalverse is built as a place for participation and inspiration. You can become a part of the Metalverse. You can influence the creative decisions of the bands. You can use the Metalverse music AI, for example to create you own Metalverse Land Hymn (if you participated in the initial crowdfunding digital collectibles “Origin Land Sale”).
Stay tuned, this is just the beginning…
You can purchase land NFTS in the Metalverse (because of course you can). The formula has been a severe money loss for the BIGGEST metaverse’s so far (Sandbox, Decentraland) who have had BILLIONS invested into them and produced absolutely nothing of value. But I’m sure THIS metaverse will be different. Because it’s metal. I’m not even sure if I’m being sarcastic or not at this point.
It is fitting that the first marketable AI generated metal band would come with a built in, block-chain powered ecosystem. So far, that formula has been nothing more than a scam to dupe people into believing digital assets are worth FAR more than they really are, so they could then in turn sell those assets to some other idiot. But within all the hustles and overly-ambitious failures, there remains hope that a kind of fan regulated metaverse could provide something more than simple monetary investments to flip in the future. Many see the potential in these self-regulating and evolving projects that take form and shape with the passions and energies of those involved.
And while this Metalverse seems targeted at 15-year-old-video-game-playing-metal-kids, I must admit, there is a 15-year-old-video-game-playing-metal-kid that still lives inside me that is rather impressed by this whole project… even though I still view AI through the lens of intense suspicion and I ain’t buying no NFTs.
But the guitarist is kinda hott..
Enter the Metalverse if you dare: metalverse.world