FFVI Remix Album – Balance and Ruin Review – Disc 4

Track 1 – A Glimmer of Hope (Searching for Friends) by Joshua Morse feat. Jeff Ball, Laura Intravia

This is a beautiful song.  Not one of my favorites, but there’s definitely nothing wrong with it.  Beautiful piano at the beginning reminds me of Mushi-Shi, which is one of my favorite anime.  Some strings and wind instruments pick up a nice, peaceful beat to make this song more than solid.


Track 2 – Go-Go Gadget Gonkulator (Gogo) by XPRTNovice

After the first minute, this song really picks up.  XPRTNovice does a great job capturing the heart of Gogo in the song, I think – Always shifting and moving, never knowing quite what’s going on.  Very interesting.  Lots of movements – in the middle, it turns into a plodding, thunderous beat, very reminiscent of Steiner’s theme.  It takes a bit of a break, then goes right back to it at around 3:25.  Lots of fun.


Track 3 – Katabasis (Epitaph) by Forrest Powell feat. Laura Intravia

Around two minutes, this song takes a turn for the epic with some great, gospel-y vocals and elegant strings.  It sounds solemn, yet not in a depressing way, and transcendent at the same time, a great balance for a song to strike.

It kind of clashes with the previous song, but I’ll allow it.  They’re both great.


Track 4 – 13th Floor Demonstration (The Magic House) by Flexstyle

Whew!  Extremely intense song.  It’s a lot of fun, driving beats, but again, I think it clashes with the song before it – I mean, I know they’re doing it in the order to which you listen to them in the game, basically, but I’m sure they can be switched around a bit.

Then again, if their FFIX remix album were out yet, I’d probably say they should do it in the order which you find the music.   Ah well, I guess they can’t win.  Regardless, this song is sweet.


Track 5 – The Narshemellow (Umaro) by XPRTNovice

XPRTNovice, I’m gonna be real with you right now – you can do no wrong in my book.  Every song that I’ve heard on this album by you, I have thoroughly enjoyed. You took another song, made it your own, but kept it close enough to the original.  You are really good at this.


Track 6 – The Endless Stair (Fanatics) by Argle

Very creepy, very forboding.  Reminds me of Nine Inch Nails a bit, which makes my high-school self very happy.


Track 7 – Trauermarsch (Last Dungeon) by Derek Oren, Jeremy Robson

I feel like this song tried too hard – again, the music itself was great, but it wasn’t very listenable to me.  I found it to get a bit boring;  I feel like it was rather similar throughout, which I couldn’t pay attention to for the full twelve minutes.  If it were shorter, it could definitely get a higher grade.


Track 8 – Demon, Fiend & Goddess (Dancing Mad) by zircon, Sixto Sounds

… UUUUUGH.  Sweet LORD, was this good.  God, I swear, any song that has to do with Kefka has been remixed SO well throughout this album.

This was everything I could have hoped for in a remix.  Sixto Sounds and zircon treated this song perfectly.  Didn’t change the pace, didn’t try to do too much, but gave the song the perfect sound to fit in this album and make an amazing, amazing remix.

I’m extremely impressed.  It was gonna be hard to live up to my expectations for such a renowned song, but…  Six. Terras.


Track 9 – Ending Suite (Ending Theme) by Shnabubula, Gabe Terracciano

I love strings, man.  I really do.  The violin in this suite was beautiful, graceful, and all-around awesome.  A great interpretation of the ending theme.  Reminds me of when I beat FFVI for the first time, and nostalgia is always a plus.

The piano picks it up very well and keeps it interesting and light.  Around the 8 minute mark, things start getting quite intense, and the mixture of the strings and piano is rather glorious, if I do say so myself.

… Which I do.


Track 10 – Humble Beginnings, Great Expectations (The Prelude) by Disco Dan

I’m so happy that this one was done incredibly well.  One of the most popular tracks of the franchise, and it was done beautifully on this album.  Wraps up everything (except the bonus disc, of course) with a beautiful song.  Disco Dan, you haven’t done any tracks up ’til now, but very, very well done.


I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s the best disc on the album so far.  Great consistency mix with some pretty mindblowing works to make this the favorite.

I may not be able to finish up with disc 5 tomorrow – one of my buddies is getting married, and his bachelor party is tomorrow 🙂  rest assured that, if not tomorrow, the final installment of this review will be out on Sunday!


FFVI Remix Album – Balance and Ruin Review – Disc 3

Disc 3?  Already?  Wow.  Word.  Awesome.  Let’s do this!

This Disc will be rated on a scale of 1-5 Mogs.  One of my favorite characters in both FFVI  and FFIX.

Track 1 – Flava de Chocobo (Techno de Chocobo) by Joshua Morse

A very groovy interpretation of Techno de Chocobo by Joshua Morse, who is now infamous in my mind for making the all-too-awesome “softcore-esque” “Awakening” on Disc 1.  Without a doubt, if you brought this song to a 70’s disco, people would be dancin’ the night away.  I can see their afros, fu manchus, and chest hair now…


Track 2 – Johnny’s Got That Funk (Johnny C Bad) by Anti-Syne

Daaaaaamn, Anti-Syne.  You stepped up your game on this track.  Johnny does indeed have that funk on this eclectic mixture of of old and new.  Anti-Syne wasn’t afraid to go out on a limb, and it paid off.  He successfully branded this remix as his own while keeping enough of the original to create a beautiful homage to its predecessor.  The breakdown with about 45 seconds to go brings it home.


Track 3 – Gestahlian Sonata (The Empire ‘Gestahl’) by Rexy

I’ll say that I don’t know much about Classical sonatas.  I’ll also say, again, that I don’t have much experience in the classical music world.  However, one thing I do know is that this song sounds damn good.  It changes the tone, but is still dark, depressing, and foreboding as ever while bringing down the tempo.  Awesome work by Rexy, and a strong start to the third disc.

Oooooh, and right at the end, there’s a little piano riff of the Final Fantasy Prelude!  Wow.  I had this at 4.5…  But I’m kicking it up to full marks for that.


Track 4 – The Megiddo Brigade (Devil’s Lab) by djpretzel

Another intense, solid track.  It keeps the listener interested with slight variation throughout while keeping both the theme and tone of the song similar to the original.


Track 5 – There’s Nothing Like Flying (Blackjack) by DDRKirby(ISQ)

Anything that can capture the feeling of flying in music is pretty darn great in my book, and DDRKirby(ISQ) does a great job of it in this track.  The lilting, bouncy tones along with the driving beat combine for a sense of wonder and exhilaration that are required when creating a song like this.  I can picture myself up in the great blue sky, wind whipping my hair as I pilot my airship to lands unknown…

…  Then, I realize I’m in Vermont, and I haven’t seen the sun in months.  Ah well, it was a nice daydream.



Track 6 – Mogstradamus (Mog) by Brandon Strader

Y’know, I never really was that down with Mog’s theme, as much as I loved the character himself…  I dunno.  I think it sounded just a little bit too…  I dunno, silly, maybe?

Regardless, this remix is awesome.  A few dubby-wubbies, mixing in the original theme well.  It turned out wonderfully.


Track 7 – Aggressive Blue Magic (Strago) by halc



Nope.  Well done, halc.


Track 8 – Pure Essence (Relm) by José the Bronx Rican

Chill.  A soothing melody, light, bright, and listenable.  José did a nice job making the song his own.  Nothing too flashy or mind-boggling, but solid.


Track 9 – Illusionary (Another World of Beasts) by Sole Signal

An appropriate name for this track, “Illusionary” is ethereal and a little creepy.  It starts getting a little dub-funky about two minutes in, and I’m not complaining.  Nice use of strings to create more ambient creepiness.  Again, not my favorite track, but still solid.


Track 10 – Black Genesis (New Continent) by Rexy, Brandon Strader

I was excited to sink my teeth into Rexy’s next track after her previous 5-Mog performance, and while it was very different from “Gestahlian Sonata”, I wasn’t disappointed.  In fact, it’s interesting – the ReMixer behind “Gestahlian Sonata” and the one behind “Mogstradamus” come together to create one of the more brutal, intense tracks on the album thus far.  Not really my style, but I can dig it.


Track 11 – Meditations on an Apocalypse (Catastrophe) by zircon

Lovin’ the quick, staccatoed tones in the background.  Heavy beat with much lighter instrumental overtones.  Great mix of the two.  Solid.  No complaints.


Track 12 – Evisceration (The Fierce Battle) by Flexstyle

This is certainly Fierce.  My brain felt like it was indeed being eviscerated by listening to this.  Gotta give it some props for being honest.

Nice use of dubs.  Better use of wubs.

I feel like if I listened to this too much, I might go a little crazy.  For now, though, I’m lovin’ it.


Track 13 – A Tranquil Rest (Rest in Peace) by Forrest Powell

Aw.  This track made me sad.  Both because it sounds very depressing, the title is depressing, and because I don’t think it’s as tranquil as it should be, given the title.  There’s too much going on.  When I think “tranquil”, I think minimalist.

It’s just a difference of opinion, I guess, but I think it’s pretty average.


Track 14 – Elegy for a Ruined World (Dark World) by Derek Oren, Jeremy Robson

Whoo.  Epic 10-minute song.  There’s never much of a pickup, and to be honest, I got a bit bored after the first five minutes or so.  I’m going to give it a bit of a better listen later.

Track 15 – Event Horizon (The Day After) by Palpable, OA

Great mixture of guitar and fun, Nightmare-Before-Christmasy tones make this tune quite awesome.  A fun, driving interpretation of the original.  Palpable for the win.


Track 16 – Blackjack’s breakup Bossa (Blackjack) by Calum Bowen feat. Xarnax42

Hahahaha.  I LOVE the vocals in the beginning of this song.  Normally, I’m not down with them (as you can see from my previous reviews), but this song doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is exactly what you need for this sort of hotel-lobby remix.  Gah, I think it’s great.  Not for everyone, but a lot of fun.



I’ll be honest – I think that the second disc blew me out of the water more than this one did.  However, the second disc fell flat on its face with the Opera, and this one was much more consistent.

Because it didn’t blow me out of the water, I’m going to give it a 4.5 Mogs, just because its consistency was great – it was just missing the X-Factor that would bring it up to a 5.  Very, very well done.


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.


(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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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:


If you do: