FFVI Remix Album – Balance and Ruin Review – Disc 2

Allllllllrighty then, it’s time for the review of disc 2!  Let’s get right to it!

This time, the scale will be 1-5 Lockes, everyone’s favorite thie- erm, “Treasure Hunter”.

Track 1 – Wild Child Ballad (Gau) by bustatunez

Let me tell you something, readers of this review.  This guy, bustatunez, knows how to remix a FFVI ditty and get these discs off to a great start.

Gau’s theme has always confused me a bit, just because Gau seems so much more…  energetic?  Frantic?  Than his theme is.  Regardless, bustatunez serves up another home-run of a remix.  Beautiful use of flutes and piano. Four Lockes.

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(Also, a quick grammatical note – all of the song titles and artists use the capitalization [or lack thereof] that appears on the album.  That’s why, for example, “bustatunez” is not “Bustatunez”, etc.)

Track 2 – river of sine waves (The Serpent Trench) by posu yan

A slower, gentler, jazzier take on “The Serpent Trench” that makes me feel like I’m in the best elevator ever.  A very old-school beginning leads to some nice guitar, and it stays consistent throughout.  A great, relaxing interpretation on the song, even when it picks up a bit toward the end.

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Track 3 – Idle City Street (Kids Run Through the City) by Pot Hocket

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first Five-Locke song from the second disc.  Maybe “river of sine waves” got me ready for some relaxing music, because man, I almost fell asleep during this one (in the best of ways).  The tempo was amazing, the guitar was great, and I can’t see myself giving this song anything but full marks.  It’s really great.

On that note, I’ll be back.  Naptime.

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Track 4 – Courage, Failure, Rosebud (Under Martial Law) by DragonAvenger, OA

All right, I’m back from my nap.

Anyway, this song is definitely not nap-worthy.  It’s very intense.  Striking chimes collide with impressive synth work by DragonAvenger and OA to create a kaleidoscopic amalgam of old-school techno.  Good.  Stuff.

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Track 5 – Bad Octopus (Save Them!, Grand Finale) by Fishy feat. XPRTNovice

I tell ya, one of my favorite parts of Final Fantasy VI is fighting Ultros.  He’s hilarious.  Up there on my “Favorite ‘Bosses’ of All Time” list.  Freakin’ octopus, what’re you doing in the opera house?

Anyway.  You guessed it:  as usual, anything that XPRTNovice is associated with is awesome.  Super fun to listen to.  Love it.  Brings me back to Ultros-fighting days, and puts its own spin on it.

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Track 6 – Train Suplex (Decisive Battle) by Danny Baranowsky

I’ll be honest – I’ve been waiting for this one.  I saw it on the Track List and went wild with glee.  The comic that goes with this is hilarious:

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Y’know, I don’t think there’s much to be said, here.  This song was destined for a Five-Locke rating well before I pressed “Play”.  It actually being a really fun song to listen to only made it more clear.

Sometimes, if a cover is good enough, you can judge a book by it.

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Track 7 – There Will Be Blood (Metamorphosis) by Anti-Syne

I’ll say right off the bat that I’m normally not that into the sort of style that Anti-Syne employed in this song.  However, I’ll say that it was a lot of fun to listen to.  It was very fast-moving, and I liked the use of the lyrics in this one – they were simple, not over the top, and not in-your-face.  A very enjoyable listen, if you’re in the mood.

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Track 8 – Terra’s Resolve (Terra) by Chad Seiter

This is another one of those songs that is really, really hard to live up to.  It’s just got so much history behind it.  When you step up to the plate to one of these songs, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Fortunately, Chad Seiter did a great job.

It takes all the epic awesomeness of the original track, and gives it a push toward the epic.  Very, very well done.

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Track 9 – A Simple Flip Can Change Fate (Coin Song) by Level 99

The original is one of my favorite songs in all of FFVI.  Like what Chad Seiter did with “Terra”, Level 99 doesn’t try to fix what ain’t broke – the acoustic guitar strumming in the background complements the style of the song well, and this was another more-than-solid performance.  I liked this one even a bit more than I did “Terra’s Resolve”.  FIVE LOCKES.

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Track 10 – Electro de Choco (Techno de Chocobo) by Tepid

Anytime there’s the word “Chocobo” in a track, I get excited.  It’s up there with the battle themes in terms of memorability and epicness.

Unfortunately for remixers, that also means that expectations go up, too.  Then again, if they pull it off, it’s great.

Tepid pulled it off.  About 45 seconds in, it goes from calming electro-chill to fun, satisfying, just-energetic-enough dance techno.  A nice guitar breakdown around 2:45 is a welcome, not-over-the-top addition, and the dubbiness after that is just dubby-wubby enough to be fun and awesome.

I know there are 7 tracks to go, but damn.  This disc has done extremely well so far.  Two Five-Locke songs in a row?  I never thought I’d see the day…

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Track 11 – Reverie of the Broken Phoenix (Forever Rachel) by McVaffe

Nobuo Uematsu is a legend.  His work on Final Fantasy VI is amazing.  Personally, I would say that it is, in terms of video game scores, second only to FFIX.  To be able to take one of his songs and make it your own is a very difficult task, and would be impossible for most

These OCRemix guys are good.  Like, really, really good.

McVaffe keeps the train rollin’ with another memorable remix of another memorable track.  I really am amazed.

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Track 12 – Slam Davis (Slam Shuffle) by Mazedude

Mazedude did a good job creating a creepy atmosphere for a creepy song.  Very ghostly, very ethereal, very dark.  Halfway through, it went into a little breakdown, then goes back to the creepy beats with renewed vigor.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of this song, but I think that’s just because I wasn’t feeling the “creepy” vibe when I listened, as opposed to there being anything wrong with the song itself.

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Track 13 – Fiddlesticks Rag (Spinach Rag) by diotrans

What a fantastic song.  The remix, with all the stringed melodic deliciousness, was great.  No complaints.  It’s very bouncy and fun, and reminds me of something that would be in a 1920’s silent comedy.

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Track 14 – The Nightmare Oath (Overture) by OA, Moonlapse, BardicKnowledge, Laura Intravia feat. DragonAvenger

The first pretty “meh” track on the disc.  Don’t get me wrong – the music was totally badass.  It reminds me of some of the more epic tracks of Nightwish or Within Temptation’s stuff.

My problem was twofold.  One, the vocalist, while much, much better than I am, didn’t sound ready to handle the epicness of the song.  You need to be an extremely talented and powerful singer (like the singer from Within Temptation, for example) to live up to that sort of epic, and I just don’t think he was ready.  Two, where did these lyrics come from?  They’re not from the game…  did someone just come up with them on a whim?  See my review from Disc 1 for “Tastes Like Victory”, and you’ll see my opinion on such lyrics.

The power of the music alone nets this song two Lockes.

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Track 15 – The Impresario (Opera Sequence) by Jake Kaufman, Tommy Pedrini

Ugh.  Okay, I’m calling it right now – if there’s one song to skip over this entire five-disc album, it’s this one.  I simply can’t think of a way that I could be more disappointed by a remix of the Opera.

I didn’t like the lyrics at all.  It sounds like a twelve-year-old was trying to sound like a badass (“I’ll kill them” is said about twelve times in a row over the course of thirty seconds.  “Gonna”, “wanna”, and other unprofessional words are used all over the place.  I’m not opposed to the use of these words normally, but seriously?  This is an opera.  The Opera Sequence from Final Fantasy VI.  Make it sound a little bit epic).  The vocals sounded like a mixture of Weird Al and Backstreet Boys melodies (for the record, I love both Weird Al and BSB…  again, just not when someone’s trying to remix the FFVI Opera).

The music itself sounded good.  Very similar to the music of the “Overture” above, which would make sense.  But here’s a tip:  The songs that have come before that have had lyrics, I’ve given them a chance, because at least they’re trying to add something.  The guys that remixed this song already had lyrics, and they removed them and replaced them with lyrics of their own.  Like, what?  No.  When you remove the lyrics of a song and provide your own, it becomes a different song.  Plus, the vocalists were definitely not opera singers.  I guess this was more of a rock-opera deal, but meh.

One-Quarter of One Locke, and that’s being generous.  It’s a Pity-Locke, mostly.  Such potential, and it fell flat on its face (in my opinion).  I’m very, very disappointed.

I have edited this, since it was definitely more insulting before, and I definitely don’t mean to insult anyone.  There are definitely people out there who love this track;  I’m just not one of them.

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Track 16 – Till We Meet Again (Aria de Mezzo Carattere) by zircon, Jillian Aversa, AeroZ

Word.  Okay, this was a little bit better.  The lyrics weren’t exactly the same, but it was definitely in the same vein, which was good.  The music and vocals were both beautiful. It was by no means anything great, but it was definitely passable.

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Track 17 – Full Speed Ahead (Setzer) by zircon

Ahhhh, nothin’ like some drum n’ bass to refresh a weary, cynical soul.  This got the end of this disc out of the funk that their failed Opera experiment caused, and left me with a pretty good feeling.  It was fun, it was fast, and I loved it.

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Overall

Whew.  Well, before the three Opera tracks happened, I thought this disc had a very good chance of getting a full Five-Locke rating.  It really is that good.  Disc 1 still has my favorite track of all in “Ascension of a Madman”, but this disc, on the whole, was consistently better.  Since it’s only three tracks on this disc that really bug me, I’ll give this disc two “Overall” ratings:

If you don’t listen to Tracks 14, 15, and 16:

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If you do:

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