Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin Part 2
(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 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.
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…..new.
Cue the fanfare, boys and girls! I’m out!
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