ReMix: Sword of Vermilion 'Dungeoneering'

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Sword of Vermilion

AWWWW YEAH... Sword of Vermilion, baby!!

I'm disproportionately excited about this mix, from newcomers Senescence (Lanis Watkins & Derek Steele), because I too enjoyed playing this game back when it came out; it was one of my first RPG experiences, along with Phantasy Star II, and I actually beat it twice over, if memory serves. It had some unique characteristics and wasn't as anime-influenced as many other JRPGs of the time, and it also had some similarly distinct tunes. Of their rock/metal tribute, Lanis writes:

"This game was a favorite of mine growing up. I recently picked it up again out of boredom. Almost immediately, I was blown away by the music. A few days later, I could not get this one song out of my head. All day at work, I was tapping my foot and humming that bass line. I'm an audio engineer, so I've got a pretty nice little project studio, so I called up my friend Derek Steele and told him we were going to cover it. As soon as he heard it, he was completely on board. I did most of the programming (drums/bass/keys/fx) and he laid down the guitars and helped here and there with the drums. A few days later and I had it mixed how I wanted, and here we are! We plan to do the entire soundtrack! We came up with the name Senescence. As it means "the process of aging or becoming old", we thought it suited our subject material."

Very cool; I mean, how often does your friend call you up and say "Hey, let's ReMix Sword of Vermilion!!"?? That's literally NEVER happened to me, and I'm not holding my breath, but I'm glad the act transpired and that Derek acquiesced to join Lanis in his cause. There are some nice ambient textures, here, but the main attraction is that sinister, chromatic, descending bass guitar riff - something's coming to get you, it's pissed, and it's large. You get to fight back in the major-key, more heroic choruses, though, so good may yet prevail... OA writes:

"It starts out pretty close to the original with a similar structure and melody, but there are a lot of little details throughout in the track, like the dramatic intro and changed up drums. The B section is also way more filler out with harmonies and is a good changeup from the more sparse verse section. There are a lot of good additions in the drums, and the fills were restrained but interesting and tasteful. I do think a solo would have been really nice, and a little more expansion, but this is a pretty fitting tribute that is personalized just enough for me."

I agree that a solo could have given the piece a bit more movement & structure, but I'm also cool with the dark & light contrast of the verse/chorus alternation, too. Cain adds:

"That first chord with the lead guitars hit me in a really nice way. Definitely a good feel to this remix, and you can feel the source love coming through. Some of the background elements are getting a little overpowered but on the whole it's well balanced. On the conservative side but there is enough going on to set it apart. I can see why you'd have the bass stuck in your head."

Excellent debut from Senescence; I obviously love that they've covered some more obscure material that's near & dear to me, but I also think they've done a great job fleshing out the source and focusing on the fun bits, for a menacing mix that does the Genesis sleeper hit proud.

djpretzel

Discussion: Latest 7 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
Crulex
on 2013-08-23 10:17:43
Ohohohoho, yes! So dark and menacing sounding with those rolling riffs, and while it doesn't get heavy, it's just strong enough to leave an impression, and when it does kick up, the guitars get a nice easy workout and shows some versatility along with a little power. True metal. Downloaded for sure.
Bahamut
on 2012-07-04 19:29:27
Talk about a dark rock/metal mix here - it doesn't go full on heavy mode, but it takes on a slower methodical yet constant pace. It's a bit on the simple side IMO, I would have liked to see a little more changing up from the pace and doing something more.
The song sounds solid though, and I'd like to hear more from the duo in the future!
Joe Redifer
on 2012-05-22 20:25:10
Great mix! I'm definitely down with you guys covering the entire soundtrack as you did an excellent job with this one. It's such an overlooked soundtrack. But it's fantastic, what else would you expect from the guy who created the music for Out Run, Space Harrier and After Burner?
Benjamin Briggs
on 2012-05-10 17:21:17
thanks to this awesome remix I am now playing through this AWESOME GAME!!
Velo
on 2012-05-10 01:42:12
This is a great example of turning simple ingredients into a great feast. Other than the bass line (which was a real tremendous part of that meal) there were other song elements in the original piece that made the remix good. I really hoped there would have been some expansion. A bit with a guitar solo which was stated, perhaps playing a little more with the percussion more starting out. But, that is at this point nit-picking on what is a now very solid addition to my OC library. Job well done, gents.
psychowolf
on 2012-05-09 20:09:46
I'm really enjoying the atmosphere the track is creating
The guitar work is superb
Really gives off a dark and foreboding feeling
Congrats to you Senescence :D
Can't wait to hear more from you.
djpretzel
on 2012-05-09 19:45:34
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.