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Music / The Historian Himself

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The Historian Himself AKA Brian Engh is a California-based alternative rapper. His main website is here.

His first album, Earth Beasts Awaken (which can be downloaded for free here), was released in 2009, and since then has produced various other singles. In May of 2014 he began a project to improve several of the initial Earth Beasts Awaken tracks. They were also accompanied by music videos featuring battling PrehistoricMonsters, beginning with "In Mountains",followed by "Call to Awaken". A third video, "Mowgli", to be released at an as yet unannounced time. All of his music can be found here. This was followed by his second album, Gather Bones (released in 2015 on Bandcamp here), exploring American history, mysticism and death.

The main draw of his music is the unique subject matter, which primarily focuses on science fiction and fantasy concepts. These can range from Kaiju attacks (such as on the Earth Beasts Awaken album), to the story of a haunted town being punished for its sins (as in the single "The Dark Grove".)

In addition to rapping, he is also a paleoartist, who has been featured regularly on Sauropod Vertebrae Picture of the Week, and was in All Your Yesterdays, the free online sequel to the first book, All Yesterdays. It can be downloaded here.

Finally, he created a short film called Children of Stone. It features many of the same ideas expressed in his Earth Beasts Awaken album, but focuses more on the aftermath of the attacks.

The Tropestorian Himself:

  • Afterthe End: From “Operation Spearhead”:
    Welcome to the future! The flying cars are all crashed.
    Welcome to the future! The giant robots lie smashed
    Welcome to the future! We’ve got the same problems as the past
    Except extinction’s more efficient thanks to thermonuclear blasts!
  • Admiring the Abomination: “Approaching Destroyers” features this line:
    And the scientist was left speechless
    For only in the fossil record had he beheld such creatures,
    Thought to have been long ago claimed by mass extinctions,
    How they survived all these ages was beyond human thinking…
  • An Ice Person: The frost giants from In Mountains
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Earth Beasts Awaken contains a lot of this, with it's dinosaurs being essentially Kaiju. But it all seems to be deliberate, since he's also a paleoartist who knows quite a bit about prehistoric life.
  • Badass Baritone: The Historian’s voice in general.
  • Big Bad: The Terrosaur's call awakens the Earth Beasts.
  • Boastful Rap: Several songs are like this. After all, if you were a millennia old Wandering Minstrel, wouldn’t YOU brag about yourself a little?
  • Call a Human a "Meatbag": from Call to Awaken:
    Unlock them jaws and yawn before these puny primates.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Or more accurately, Dinosaurs are Godzilla. The promotional art work and music video for “Call to Awaken” add to this.
  • Concept Album: Earth Beasts Awaken tells the story of humankind’s destruction by prehistoric monsters.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In Wake Up, the Kaiju gives one to the humans.
  • Drone of Dread: “Sunspider” begins this way, and continues in the background the entire song.
  • Downer Ending: The album ends with the track “Victory for Monsters”.
  • Earth Mother: An important theme throughout Earth Beasts Awaken, she's even mentioned in Shadowsong.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: This is what happens over the course of Earth Beasts Awaken
  • Fantastic Science: “Sunspider” is about a whole team of scientists who specialize in this. The Historian comes off this way himself, as many of the songs feature references to various concepts within geology, biology and paleontology.
  • Fossil Revival: The dinosaurs in Earth Beasts Awaken hibernated in a fossilized state since the Mesozoic.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Examples of all three are present. It is heavily implied that the Kaiju of Earth Beasts Awaken are acting on this principle to a certain extent, in the Gaia’s Avenger capacity, but just as often it seems metaphorical. On the track “Mowgli” however, all of nature seems eager for humanity to end.
Me plus these trees are at war with your city
  • Humans Are Bastards: This seems to be what the Historian thinks about humans.
    Now I don't really mean to sound like I dispise the human race, but let's face it. Humans are the only race of beast that betrays my trust on a daily basis.
  • Just Before the End: Many of the songs on the first part of the album are told from the point of view of the humans as they try to battle off the Kaiju threat. “Approaching Destroyers”, for example, is from the point of view of the people living in the city as the earth beasts approach.
  • Kaiju: The main focus of his rapping. In fact, he has explicitly stated before that he wanted to create something about giant monsters, which was the impetus behind Earth Beasts Awaken.
  • Mother Nature: In “Sons of Typhon”:
    Our mother,
    Who art in Earth,
    Hollowed be thy dirt…
  • Nature Is Not Nice: Reinforced over and over, but especially in “All Always Was”.
  • Nature Spirit: Thousand Ghosts
  • Noble Savage: The Historian depicts himself as one in Earth Beasts Awaken.
  • One-Woman Wail: Not actually a woman, but on “Sunspider” plaintive wails can be heard in the background as the scientists search the desert.
  • Peoplein Rubber Suits: In Children of Stone, most of the shots of the Rock Monsters are actors wearing suits. In addition, the monsters in the music video for "Call to Awaken".
  • Prehistoric Monster: The titular Earth Beasts of Earth Beasts Awaken
  • Primal Fear
  • Ptero Soarer: One of the Earth Beasts is a giant pterosaur reminiscent of Rodan or Ridley, complete with a Pteranodon-like crest combined with teeth, saggy wings and grasping talons.
  • Puny Earthlings: They are not aliens, but this seems to be the Earth Beasts and Historians opinion about humans.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: According to Engh, when they filmed the fight between Shellback and Finskull for the music video Call to Awaken, they decided to let the monster whose suit falls apart first lose the battle. Shellback proved to be sturdier, so he won in-universe as well.
  • Rock Monster: The main antagonists in Children of Stone.
  • Sampling: Several examples
    • Vow contains samples from The Mummy Strikes and Godzilla vs. Gigan.
    • Call to Awaken uses the orchestral sample from the song "Pyramid/Marana/Seijaku/North Wall" from the soundtrack of ActRaiser
    • Approaching Destroyers re-uses the Godzilla on Monster Island sample already used in Vow.
  • Sinsof Our Fathers: The plot of "The Dark Grove".
  • Soprano and Gravel: “Thousand Ghosts” is a duet between The Historian and the spirits of past life, represented by a high voiced, classical sounding woman.
  • Spoken Word in Music: “Vow” features a sample lifted from Superman: The Mummy Strikes.
  • Stone Wall: Shellback is one, the in-universe kaiju as well as the suit used to depict it. See Real Life Writes the Plot.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: “Sunspider” is about a group of scientists who try to quantify and study the supernatural. They search the desert for fossil fragments, ancient ruins, warnings left by ancient people… anything to help turn the tide against the earth beasts. In the song they even admit that they’re not quite sure what they're looking for.
  • Take That!: According to Engh, the line "Fuck your empty cleverness, I’ll unfold these wings scarred with ominous images, even if it means I’m forever branded as your nemesis" from Call to Awaken is meant as a Take That! at Postmodernism.
  • Techno Babble: A fair amount of this is incorporated into the structure of his raps, mostly in discussing the earth beasts. Topics include sedimentology, plate tectonics, fossilization and many other geologically related phenomena.
  • That's No Moon: Many of the earth beasts were sleeping right under our feet, leading to this reaction when mountain ranges started walking around.
  • Title Drop: Call to Awaken contains one for the album Earth Beasts Awaken
    To dissolve the rock matrix trapping these creatures in place, thereby enabling EARTH BEASTS to AWAKEN
  • Turtle Island: One of the Earth Beasts is a turtle mountain called Old Mountainback
  • Walking the Earth: This is The Historian’s modus operandi. He says that he’s been doing this since long before humanity existed, and he’ll continue to do so now that humankind has been wiped out.
  • Wandering Minstrel: Some of his Boastful Raps, along with the character’s Walking the Earth tendencies, give the impression of him being a wandering, rapping, prehistoric minstrel.
  • When Trees Attack: On “Mowgli”, the one rapping seems to be a tree!