Epic Levels are a comedy/nerdcore hip-hop duo preparing to release their debut album, Armor Classy, on January 17th. They have previously shared bills with the likes of Washed Out, Arrested Development, Belle and Sebastian, Amanda Palmer, Hospitality, Pile & Single Mothers.
On Armor Classy, Epic Levels – aka Steve Albertson and Andrew Bellury – create off-kilter nerdcore hip-hop that revolves around their Dungeons & Dragons exploits. The two rap in character as their alter-egos Dragon Warrior and Tiger Wizard and use Epic Levels as a vehicle for combining their love of old school hip-hop, fantasy, and comedy.
Here is a sneak listen to a single from the album, Ninja Assassins, exclusively for Bleeding Cool – described as a track that transforms moody strings and echoing bells into an intricate soundscape, featuring guest vocals by DJ Black Sunshine & Teresa Lamaire.
It’s a private upload on Soundcloud so, basically… share it everywhere before it gets pulled…
And here’s some PR for the upcoming album.
Monsters! Mazes! Murder hobos & minotaurs! ATL/L.A. nerdcore duo Epic Levels’ debut album Armor Classy (out Jan. 17) meets at the inspired intersection of hip hop and Dungeons and Dragons. The lyrics of the two MCs, Dragon Warrior and Tiger Wizard, are punctuated with clever role playing game (RPG) wordplay for those in the know, yet they invite the casual listener to have fun exploring their astonishing sonic universe. They breathe life into eclectic topics such as stealing the dank stank off of a dapper minotaur and a mad chef’s quest for the perfect leviathan calamari. Members of Epic Levels have shared bills with Washed Out, Arrested Development, Belle and Sebastian, Amanda Palmer, Hospitality, Pile & Single Mothers.
Like the group’s name, Armor Classy opens with an epic orchestral crescendo on “Rather be Rollin’.” The song then moves into an anthemic banger touting the duo’s preference to playing RPGs over everything else. The album skillfully maneuvers from funky grooves over boom bap beats on tracks like “Liches be Trippin’” and “Underdark Exterminators,” to synth-laden songs with innovative percussion like “Minotaur Musk” and “DM Killed My Character.” The latter’s hauntingly beautiful chorus is brought to celestial heights by Grace Bellury (Karaoke, Del Vinicci, Lille). “Ninja Assassins” transforms moody strings and echoing bells into an intricate soundscape, featuring guest vocals by DJ Black Sunshine & Teresa Lamaire. Armor Classy takes the best bits from the history of hip hop, disregards current trends and forges its own unique path.
Lyrically, each track on the album invites the listener into a new world. Getting ready to go out for the night takes on a new meaning as Dragon Warrior and Tiger Wizard gear up in “Battle Prep.” In “Underdark Exterminators” the duo is advertising their new monster extermination company… “Order now and get this free logo towel.” Listening to Armor Classy is a grand journey, where each song commands that the listener simply hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
Epic Levels is Dragon Warrior, AKA Steve Albertson (SP’s, illiterates, SEX BBQ, Dr. Killbot), Tiger Wizard, AKA Andrew Bellury (Lille, Mortal Komband, Spacewalker) and with the guiding hand of the enigmatic World Engineer, DJ Robbie Darko, AKA Rob Bellury (Lille, Little Horn, SEX BBQ). Armor Classy was mixed by Cody Sciara (Wale, Curren$y, August Alsina), mastered by Rob Kleiner (Cee Lo, Sia, Flo Rida, Deadpool OST), and the beats were crafted by DJ Robby Darko, and SoundCloud phenom Inner Resting, AKA Mason Grant.
Obsessive tabletop gamers Albertson and Bellury have spent their lives exploring the dark arts of nerdom. Steve is a writer, musician and filmmaker. He’s been fronting bands for decades, always bringing his nerd empowerment lyrics front and center. He’s held many titles: a co-creator and writer of the Image Comics mini-series Ghost Spy, host of the podcast Total Movie Recall, host of ArtSpeak on Atlanta’s WMLB AM 1690, “The Voice of the Arts,” has directed/produced shorts films, music videos and documentaries, founder of Baby Robot Media and Baby Robot Records, and continues to sing in his current garage/punk/psych bands, SP’s and illiterates.
Andrew is an artist, graphic designer and a major cog in the Atlanta art scene. He’s on the board of several galleries, and owns and operates Fallen Arrows, an artist based tee shirt print shop which produces a variety of rad nerd swag. He’s a member of the Esoteric Order of the Owlbear, an organization dedicated to growing the D&D community in Atlanta, and participates regularly in the ATL DND: Drunks and Dragons events. He is the founder of the ATL Sorcery & Wizarding League, the creator of Wizard Cat Hats, Esoteric Tiger, and Dragon Spittle: homestyle spicy tequila.