Rating:
7.8
The Black Mages - The Black Mages
19 February 2003


01. Battle Scene (Final Fantasy I)
02. Clash On The Big Bridge (Final Fantasy V)
03. Force Your Way (Final Fantasy VIII)
04. Battle, Scene II (Final Fantasy II)
05. The Decisive Battle (Final Fantasy VI)
06. Battle Theme (Final Fantasy VI)
07. J-E-N-O-V-A (Final Fantasy VII)
08. Those Who Fight Further (Final Fantasy VII)
09. Dancing Mad (Final Fantasy VI)
10. Fight With Seymour (Final Fantasy X)


Final Fantasy goes Heavy Metal

Videogames original soundtracks is not a market that has the popularity of other genres (at least not in this part of the continent), and that's because most of the videogames OST are orchestral arrangements and mellow piano pieces determined to make you remember your favorite parts of a certain videogame andů put you to sleep.

Final Fantasy series is huge in every way, in sales, popularity and quality, the series also counts with a enormous catalogue of original soundtracks, from their 11 (almost 12) instalments so far (without counting spin-offs like FF Tactics, FF X-2, FF Crystal Chronicles among others). I think the FF series count with more Cd's than the entire Iron Maiden collection (including singles!).

You have techno remixes, piano-only versions, vocal collections, orchestral concerts among others. I assume that the FF executives want to reach each target by releasing the FF soundtracks remixes in a wide array of genres, like Backstreet Boys sings Final Fantasy Themes; 50 Cent plays tunez from tha' Final Fantasy 'hood and of course Final Fantasy, done in the ever-popular reggaeton. God please no.

So someone finally listened our payers and decided to release a Final Fantasy soundtrack, done in Heavy Metal tunes, the responsible is non than Mr. Nobuo Uematsu, composer of most of FF music.

This first release of The Black Mages (Uematsu band) deliver 10 songs from the FF videogames, in terms of variety I think this is very well done, they managed to put songs from almost all games instead of focusing in one in particular.

I must say this album is surprising and disappointing in much more ways than I imagined, first of all, the music is a stylish eighties classic Heavy Metal with Hard Rock overtones here and there, further spins revealed other influences on particular tracks, like blues and electronica.

The album kicks you in the face as soon it starts, the battle theme from FF I will be the delights of many older gamers that played the title, the song is done tastefully and contains those catchy wah-wah guitar effects. Next is one of the best songs in the whole FF series, and a personal favorite, "Clash On The Big Bridge" (more known as the Gilgamesh theme) is an exciting song with catchy lines and good guitar arrangements, although is a little mid-paced for my personal tastes, maybe a little speed won't hurt nobody right? Remember, people like their coffee black and their Heavy Metal fast!

"Battle Theme" has this Hard Rock edge that make its very catchy and with a lot of attitude while "J-E-N-O-V-A" features more experimentation with electronic elements like Drum n' Bass. Some other memorable themes are "Those Who Fight Further" and the weird "Dancing Mad", the keyboard sound horrible in this one, but the whole piece is quite interesting in terms of arrangements (amazing guitar solo!), besides who could forget Kefka and his impious tower?

Major issue in this album are the keyboards, they are too front in the mix and most of the time they don't go hand in hand with the music, you got the amazing guitar work and the more than competent drumming, but they keyboards are always showing-off with totally inappropriate soloing, and sometimes you get the feeling that this is a solo album of a keyboardist and the band is just their back-up. Further investigation revealed that the keyboardist is none other than Nobuo Uematsu, composer of all the music. So, this album should be renamed to "Nobuo Uematsu and friends: Final Fantasy keyboard euphoria".

Needless to say, this is a must have for any fan of the Final Fantasy series, most of the songs are quite interesting, and it's always interesting to listen your favorite songs revamped in Heavy Metal right? If you want to check out what I'm talking about, check out some songs [url=http://bluelaguna.net/music/bm/mp3s.php]here[/a .


Band profile: The Black Mages
Album: The Black Mages


 


written by Undercraft | 09.11.2005



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Introspekrieg - 21.09.2008 at 22:08  
The keyboard/organ parts are definitely the highlight of the album for me... These songs are some truly inspired arrangements that aren't lacking in heaviness but keep the spirit of the original compositions alive. I recommend the album to any fans of Progressive, Power or Instrumental music.

P.S. "Those Fight Further" sounds suspiciously like "For Whom The Bell Tolls" in the riff department...
Guardian - 01.07.2012 at 15:16  
Whatever said the composer's work is great. Even if you never heard any of the Final Fantasy soundtracks. The album has some of the most catchy tunes in Heavy Metal.

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