Thoughts about Final Fantasy IV: Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption

OverClocked ReMix recently released another Album, this time remixing the entire Final Fantasy 4 Soundtrack, called Final Fantasy IV: Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption. This is not their first Final Fantasy ReMix Album, as they already did one for Final Fantasy 7, called Voices of the Lifestream.

The FF7 one had some great music, but they kept the original structure 1:1, which means it was at times somewhat incoherent and had a wild mix of styles. Off-Topic: Scenes from a memory is my favorite on that Album.

With the FF4 Soundtrack, they decided to re-arrange the tracks to make it more like an opera/musical, which for the most part works fine. The soundtrack fits nicely with the Story of Cecil. Overall, the Album is a lot more homogeneous than FF7, even though it still mixes a lot of styles, artists and elements.

Now, let me start with the bad, just to get that out of the way. Let me also say that this is not meant as destructive criticism as I respect the artists and their work, and I recognize that taste differs between people. That being said, Act 2-02 Metal Mage (Palom and Porom) is the absolute low point of this album. The Music is actually quite good, but when that boy shouts "Come on people, I want Metal!" I just had the urgent desire to /facepalm as hard as possible. Also, some of the songs feel somewhat lacking, for example Act 3-07 Evoking the Dawn. It's a beautiful piano piece, but for it's 4:20 length it's missing some variety in the middle. Same goes for Act 3-09 The Still Land or Act 1-08 Emerald Beauty - beautiful songs, but a bit too long. Of course, they had to stay true to the source material so this is hardly their fault, but maybe a bit more "extreme" remixing would have been a good idea.

The really memorable tracks on the Album are of course the ones with vocals, but also some others. Act 1-15 Fighting for Tomorrow boasts a choir of monks together with rock music but also some arabian influences - I think I can call this piece "Rock Opera" without second thoughts. Another interesting track is Act 2-06 Rhymes with Elixir, which is a Hip-Hop/Rap track, completely with Shiva doing some smack talking. I'm not a big fan of Rap-Music, but the song is well done.

One of the great non-vocal tracks is Act 1-14 Golbez 'N Goblins, which is in bLiNd's usual techno-style (that often produces great tracks, but also some big misses) but manages to build up an atmosphere. Similarly, Act 3-13 Facing is great for an Epilogue.

Oh, and then there is Act 3-11 and 3-12, aka. Finale. The atmosphere is so great in these, especially with the female voice in 3-11 sounding so distant and somewhat surreal - that builds up suspense like in a horror movie (Or imagine the first Silent Hill game). In 3-12, that evolves into a dialog between the female and a male voice. I'm just not 100% sure about the growls by the male voice though. The tracks can certainly work as a Black Metal piece, but I'm not sure if the singer is really up to what it takes to make growls sound good and work together with the music. I think it's a bit silly at times.

Overall, I really like the Album. It's good tracks are really good and it's bad tracks are still "Okay", it's in spirit of Uematsu's original work but something unique and new.