Howdy y’all, and welcome to the review of the LAST DISC of “Balance and Ruin”. I’m super excited; this is a bonus disc, so it’s basically just other remixes of some of the songs that have already been done. Since I think we went through the entire soundtrack. Which is effin’ boss.
Anyway, on to the music! We’ll be using a rating scale of 1-5 Sabins.
Track 1 – Omen: I. Black Dawn (Opening Theme) by SnappleMan, norg, Captain Finbeard
Have you ever heard of the word “lugubrious”? It’s one of my favorite words. “Lugubrious”, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, means “exaggeratedly or affectively mournful”. That’s basically how I feel about this first track, and not in a very good way.
The song takes its sweet time getting started, and I feel like it’s playing up its own importance. This is the first time these guys have done a track since Disc 1, and I feel much the same way towards this one that I did their first effort – it just seems like they’re trying way too hard to make something a dark, glorious epic. Like, it was okay, pretty badass, I guess, but it was just way too slow-moving for me.
Track 2 – Omen: II. Terror March (Opening Theme) by SnappleMan, norg, Captain Finbeard
Impressive! It’s like they heard me and took my advice or something! :p
But seriously, this song has a different energy from the start. It kicks right off and rocks on out throughout. The song goes through many different movements throughout the 8 minutes, getting increasingly intense and double-bass-y as it progresses.
Towards the end (about 7:30), I started to lose it – it didn’t sound too terribly much besides anything but a jam-session, which was kind of annoying, but it worked out overall. The last 10 seconds were great, transitioning into the next track.
Track 3 – Omen: III. Daydream (Opening Theme, Battle Theme) by SnappleMan, norg, Captain Finbeard
Oh God, we’re right back to the lugubriousness again. Look, I’m sorry, I understand what they’re trying to do, and yes, the original music is epic as fuck. HOWEVER, you don’t make something MORE epic by simply slowing it down an absurd amount and using a guitar and double bass. That’s just not how epic works. I think the opening theme just ended, almost 6 minutes into this track. Which means I’ve been listening to the opening theme for about 26, 27 minutes. NO.
To make things worse, I’m almost a full minute into the “Battle Theme”, and literally the sound has changed once. Is this supposed to build anticipation or bore me to death?
I’m sick of it. One and one-half Sabins, just because I am, amazingly, still listening.
Track 4 – Omen: IV. Polemos (Battle Theme) by SnappleMan, norg, Captain Finbeard
Great. I’ve got a 10-and-a-half minute battle theme to listen to. I’ll try to be objective. Taking a deep breath… Okay. Here we go.
Okay. Two minutes in, and it still sounds pretty badass. It’s the “Battle Theme” we all know and love, with, of course, a bit of a metal twist.
Four minutes in, aaaaand I’m kind of losing it. Oops, they brought it back at around 4:30, doing a little keyboard-y breakdown that isn’t bad, I guess. I am wondering if all of this is necessary, however. Especially after looking at the track list for the rest of the album (the next-longest song after these four is less than six minutes long… Maybe they should take note of that?).
At around six minutes, it gets all right again. I can tell where we are in the “Battle Theme”, at least. Not much to comment on.
It sounded like it was about to stop abruptly around 8 minutes. Excitedly, I look over, thinking that somehow, the full 10.5 minutes had passed. I was wrong, and they just started “breakin’ it down” again. Which I did not appreciate.
Long story short, if all of the songs above were less than five minutes, maybe I wouldn’t have a problem. But they were all super long and pretty boring. Ick. This one was… better than the last one, but not my much.
Track 4 Rating:
Rating as a cohesive piece, Tracks 1-4:
Track 5 – Following Forgotten (The Mines of Narshe) by Patrick Burns
(NOTE: I didn’t find this in my FLAC folder… Is anyone else missing this track? Anyway, it was in the MP3 folder, so I played that instead :D)
Sounds nice. Peaceful and foreboding… Yeah, I dunno, I think this one’s pretty weird. I also think my speakers suck.
Anyway, I like the piano work. However, I’m not sure if it was a super appropriate choice of style. I know it’s “The Mines of Narshe”, but… Again, too slow-moving for me.
Track 6 – Royal Blood, Fraternal Love (Edgar & Sabin) by pu_freak
As a piece of music, I think this remix is great. I mean, I think that about most of the tracks on this album, but anyway.
Even though I called the previous song “too slow”, I really like the pacing of this remix. I don’t think it captured the same regal essence as the original, but overall it was pretty legit. I also always love beautiful piano.
Track 7 – Bass of the Returners (The Returners) by bLiNd
Worrrrrrrd. I actually knew which song this was a remix of, as opposed to the previous “Returners” remix on Disc 1. It sounds way different from anything else on this album so far, which really is a godsend.
It sounds like bLiNd had some fun creating this remix; it shows in his music. Wonderfully done.
Track 8 – Dark Blue Substance (Cyan) by Mattias Häggström Gerdt
Ooooh… Once you get halfway through the song, it starts getting very peaceful, techno-y, and awesome. I love what he did with the original theme at that point. However, for much of the rest of the song, I’m left wondering what’s going on. The little breakdown in the middle is easily the best part, and that part is great. Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of what it’s sandwiched by.
Track 9 – Savage Dance (Wild West) by McVaffe
Word, this one is pretty sweet – not deviating too much from the original, giving it just enough so that it has its own voice. About halfway through it stops being quite so flat, a heavier beat giving needed texture to a pretty good song overall.
AND HEY, GUESS WHAT!?! IT’S LESS THAN 8 MINUTES LONG. Take note, SnappleMan.
Track 10 – The 6th Kingdom (Terra) by Jovette Rivera
ROCK THE BASS BASS ROCK THE BASS BASS
Yeah, this song was pretty fun. It was very ridiculous. Very, very insane. But you know what? I enjoyed it. It was about two and a half minutes too long, but eh, at this point, whatever.
ROCK THE BASS BASS ROCK ROCK THE BASS BASS
Track 11 – Slam Shufflin’ (Slam Shuffle) by bLiNd
Oooh, a super-danceable “Slam Shuffle” remix. Pretty ballllllerrrrr, yo.
Again, I think it could be shorter, it seems pretty repetitive, but it’s more fun to listen to than anything else so far, at least.
Track 12 – Jidoorian Rhapsody (The Wedding) by sphexic
Very impressive piano work, for sure. Not really sure what else to say… It was fun? I guess? There really wasn’t much to it, but the piano really was great. I think it would’ve been better if it were accompanied with something – then again, I kinda like the whole solo-piano thing. Better than average, regardless.
Track 13 – Strange World (Another World of Beasts) by WillRock
Ooh, I very much enjoyed this one. Nice pacing, nice buildup, nice ambience. Foreboding, dark, delicious.
Halfway through, it takes a turn for the SUPER intense. With almost no warning, the sound exploded out of my speakers into a crazy mess of awesome. Just as I was getting ready to yell at this song for being too long, too. Very well done, WillRock.
Track 14 – Umaro’s New Groove (Umaro) by Archangel
Overall, an enjoyable track. Umaro is a super fun character with a fun, bouncy theme, so I feel like it’s necessary to keep all that bounciness intact in any remixes. Archangel did a great job with that, and it wrapped this album up well.
Well, here we are. Five days and five discs later, I have to say that I’m extremely impressed by the quality of the songs that have come off this remix album. I think it’s great that OCRemix has such a diverse community, submitting all sorts of different music to these albums. This is their 40th album since their inception, and although I’ve only heard bits and pieces of others (their Donkey Kong Country 2 album is amazing, too), it seems like what they’ve got going is quite impressive indeed.
This disc picked up towards the end, which is good, since I was afraid it’d be a flop. It turned out okay, and the album itself turned out incredibly. Great job, OCRemixers!
Disc 5 Rating:
Overall Album Rating: