Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin Part 2

Christopher is here today to give you his take on the 5 disc set Final Fantasy Balance and Ruin from OC ReMix. Today he wraps up by looking at disc 4 and 5

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(Make sure to check out Part One of this re­view go­ing over Discs 1, 2 and 3 here!)

And we’re back! If mem­o­ry serves, and it in­deed does, the last time we spoke we were briefly go­ing over the first three discs of the OC ReMix mas­ter­piece “Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin,” and what it did re­al­ly well…..which is prac­ti­cal­ly every­thing. It’s pro­duc­tion is tip­py top, it’s di­ver­si­ty in genre choice is su­perb, its com­po­si­tions are sim­ple and com­plex in all the ap­pro­pri­ate ways. No song felt dumb­ed down, and re­al­ly no song was con­vo­lut­ed to the point where it would drag on, when it so des­per­ate­ly need­ed a con­clu­sion — which is iron­ic con­sid­er­ing mod­ern Final Fantasy games are crip­pled by this. So, let’s see if — in our sec­ond part of this jour­ney — we find the ex­act same qual­i­ties. I have a bit of an inkling that we just might.

Disc 4

Disc 4 starts with “A Glimmer of Hope (Searching for Friends),” a pi­ano piece that, quite frankly, breaks your heart in all but the best ways then pro­ceeds to put it back to­geth­er with a heart­warm­ing en­sem­ble of pac­ing per­cus­sion and wind in­stru­ments. Don’t even get me start­ed on the track “Katabasis (Epitaph)” ei­ther, which mas­ter­ful­ly does just the same, only with a love­ly string sec­tion. I give a lot of praise to Joshua Morse, Forrest Powell, Jeff Ball, and Laura Intravia, these things are not easy to ac­com­plish. Similarly well done are the tracks “Trauermarsch (Last Dungeon)” and “Ending Suite (Ending Theme),” which are just…..breathtaking in their beau­ty. These are the best tracks on this al­bum, bar none.

What else sur­prised me, you say? The track “The Narshemellow (Umaro)” did! This track re­minds me of the stuff I’d hear while I was busk­ing, just with a lot more of a Jethro Tull vibe. What didn’t sur­prise me? The su­perb job that zir­con and Sixto Sounds did, “Demon, Fiend & Goddess (Dancing Mad)” is the high qual­i­ty, guitar/organ dri­ven thing you ex­pect from these two heavy hit­ters. I can al­ways tell that they aim to please with their men­ac­ing abil­i­ty to craft dead­ly tracks, time and time again.

Humble Beginnings, Great Expectations (The Prelude)” is a nice elec­tron­ic take on the clas­sic Final Fantasy pre­lude, it’s re­al­ly well craft­ed which is not some­thing eas­i­ly done in tools such as Cubase or Pro Tools. “The Endless Stair (Fanatics)” is like this as well, in that it re­places that feel­ing of nos­tal­gia with a men­ac­ing drone and a haunt­ing piano.

That con­cludes this disc and it’s high­lights. You know, af­ter hear­ing this al­bum so far, I’m fur­ther im­pressed at the minds over at OC ReMix. You peo­ple sur­prise me every day with your abil­i­ty to be top-tier artists.

Disc 5

This disc is rather unique, in that it has an en­tire album’s worth of con­tent in just four songs. Omen: I , II, III, and VI, apt­ly ti­tled, and they are all un­sur­pris­ing­ly pro­gres­sive met­al songs. Unless you’re Pink Floyd, that is gen­er­al­ly a cliche of pro­gres­sive met­al bands that’s be­come tire­some to a few — like­ly why most have trou­ble get­ting into the whole genre. Thankfully, not for me or for Snappleman, as the com­po­si­tions are well craft­ed, quite long, and they do not drag on into a con­vo­lut­ed mess. My only gripe with these songs is that the lead gui­tar in some ar­eas sounds like it’s com­ing out of a fuzzbox or a very small amp, which does al­low con­trast with oth­er gui­tars that are play­ing rhythm at the same time, but mud­dles the lead in a some­what un­pleas­ant man­ner. These are over­all very, very good tracks that should be held in es­teem, however.

God, I will nev­er get tired of these ab­solute­ly beau­ti­ful pi­ano bits you peo­ple do. “Royal Blood, Fraternal Love (Edgar & Sabin)” and “Jidoorian Rhapsody (The Wedding)” are both so breath­tak­ing­ly beau­ti­ful, it’s re­al­ly one of those things I can­not say much about be­cause the only real way to do them jus­tice is to go lis­ten to them with close, rapt at­ten­tion. You could spends hours with your eyes closed just ab­sorb­ing them like a sponge. “Following Forgotten (The Mines of Narshe)” is the same, in that it’s not en­tire­ly pi­ano fo­cused, but more am­bi­ent in na­ture and im­pres­sive­ly done. It has very nice, sub­tle hints to the theme while keep­ing things very calm. It’s a good con­trast from our ear­li­er Narshe themed remix­es. Disc 5 is like that, as it re­it­er­ates themes from Disc 1 & 2, but in such a way that they are un­like pre­vi­ous­ly named remix­es, and the con­trast is again a re­fresh­ing thing. Good ex­am­ples are “Dark Blue Substance (Cyan)” and “The 6th Kingdom (Terra),” both very eletronic-centric remix­es that pace well and do the orig­i­nal pieces justice.

Would you look at the time! It seems as if my time here is of­fi­cial­ly over….for now, but join us next Friday where we’ll con­tin­ue our Final Fantasy in­spired se­ries of re­views with some­thing a lit­tle more…

Cue the fan­fare, boys and girls! I’m out!


Writer rec­om­mends:

Prancing Dad by Prince Uf Darkness

Terra’s Theme by Sbeast

Final Fantasy 6 & 7 Battle Melody by BKMJMBOX

Final Fantasy 1 – 10 – The Heaviest Battle Themes – Various Artists

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I yell at stu­pid peo­ple on the YouTube. Enjoy my pain, be­cause some­body has to.

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