There is a wonderful history of video games and skull-melting electronic dance music. Long before Harmonix funded their retirements with Guitar Hero and Rock Band, they made Frequency – an adored Playstation 2 rhythm game that transported the player to a radioactive sonic dimension where all the blips of Crystal Method songs were annotated in front of you.
Thumper follows in those footsteps. It's designed by former Harmonix developer Marc Flury and artist Brian Gibson, who's best known for logging time in Providence spazz-punk lifers Lightning Bolt. If Frequency was envisioned as a euphoric, synaesthetic trip through communal, binky-chomping glee, Thumper is the dark, frigid comedown. Like other rhythm games, you control an amorphous blob hitting notes on a metronome, but Thumper's music is sinister. Big, bone-crushing splashes of bass, machine-gun drums – the best analogues are monoliths like Kanye West’s "Yeezus" or The Haxan Cloak's murderous "Excavation". Guitar Hero and Frequency are passive experiences – a music video with a video game – but at every turn Flury and Gibson built Thumper to be a tense, sweaty, immersive journey. It'll leave you physically drained and emotionally spent, just like the best live music.