ReMix: Final Fantasy VI "The Nightmare Oath"

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Final Fantasy VI: Balance and RuinFinal Fantasy VI

Balance and Ruin had a tall order in arranging the soundtrack to FFVI, especially considering the diegetic emphasis on music, in particular opera, in the game. We've already highlighted "The Impresario" and "Till We Meet Again," but it's (past) time we turned our attention to OA's operatic vocal rock collab with Moonlapse, BardicKnowledge (newcomer!), Laura, & DA.

  • OA: arrangement, guitars, keyboards, programming, lyrics
  • Moonlapse: vocals (Draco)
  • BardicKnowledge: vocals (Prince Ralse)
  • Laura Intravia: flute
  • DragonAvenger: brass

When posting album tracks long after the initial flood, we generally like to double up and post something unreleased (on OCR, at least) too, but today this mix deserves your undivided attention; Andrew writes:

"This was a really fun track to work on, and having a group of incredibly talented artists bringing it to life was very rewarding. What started out as an idea that was too big for my mixing skills years ago turned into something really special filled with some staggeringly good performances, from Laura's haunting flute to Deia's heroic brass. Both vocalists sound absolutely amazing, and I love how the song turned out. Powerful, heroic, and driving, but filled with expression."

I was just hanging in Minneapolis for Gamer's Rhapsody with Andrew, Deia, AND Ryan, so 3/5ths of the "Nightmare Oath" crew were there :) Larry had much to say:

"One of Balance and Ruin's major highlights was the trifecta of unique, top-flight vocal tracks dedicated to the opera sequence. OA's grand take on "Overture" focused on the conflict o' love over Maria between Draco and Ralse. Moonlapse and (resident ludomusicologist) BardicKnowledge delivered big-time with some dramatic performances, while Laura and Deia accented things with grace and strength via the flute and brass, respectively. Even stepping aside from the great instrumental works & performances, just the lyrics alone show so much love for the story behind Final Fantasy VI's play. Because OA's been a force as a ReMixer and judge for quite a while now, it's been a long time since I thought of OA in the context of a newcomer. That said, I remember his older work as he sought to get posted, so I appreciated when Andrew described this arrangement as a concept he couldn't have followed through with in his olden days; "The Nightmare Oath" is another great example where staying the course as a musician leads to big ideas taking shape with tangible, epic results. Lesson: You can't spell "rock opera" without OA! :-) /cheesy coincidence"

Where Jake's rock opera is a throwback & direct nod to Queen and "Bohemian Rhapsody," this arrangement presents a more modern take on what an updated rock opera might sound like, going so far as to incorporate some EDM/breakbeat-ish drums & patterns mixed in amongst the guitars, orchestral components, and vocals. It's still super-dramatic, flamboyant, and makes some prog-like quick-pivot transitions, and the vocal performances are full of the right type of energy, but it certainly ain't your grandpa's rock opera/oldsmobile. Mega-kudos to OA just for cleanly mixing/mastering two vocals, flute, brass, guitar, PLUS both electronic & symphonic accompanying elements; reconciling all of that & blending it is a huge task, but the result speaks (sings) for itself. Great stuff from ALL involved; enjoy the final third of a trinity of amazing vocal opera arrangements that made Balance and Ruin what it is - bravo!


Discussion: Latest 11 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
on 2016-02-29 00:20:05

Lately I can't stop listening to this mix. :D It's so awesome!!

on 2015-12-12 09:02:40

Beautiful, I really like the instrumentation and performance. Quite an interesting rock version with vocals on the source. The production is very clean, even when a lot of stuff is happening. The vocalists nail this track. A really nice introduction to "The Impresario" but also a nice track on its own. :)

on 2014-11-19 03:27:10

One of my favorite tracks from the album. :grin:

on 2014-11-18 23:02:48

Was this inspired by

at all? cuz this just friggin blew me away...
on 2014-11-18 11:08:35

I can't really say that FFVI was my favorite game in the series, but when it comes to fun moments and music, not a whole lot has beaten the Opera house (that I've seen so far). Balance and Ruin did a hell of a lot to take everything that was great about the musical part of that sequence and bring it to a point high above 11/10. This track is no exception. The vocals of both men were amazing, the music was ace and the driving beat right at the climax made for a very dramatic and tense feeling that just has me loving this. So good guys, well done.

on 2014-11-18 01:04:00

Wow, is this impressive!! It seems to me that not only is this an amazing use of vocals, it's an amazing use of completely male vocals, which seems (to me at least) to be a rare and amazing combination. I can't believe how well it works. Between that and the amazing mix of flute and rocking bass, every time I think that I've adjusted to a 'soft' or 'hard' feel, the mix flips it on me. I love it!!! BRAVO, all around!!

on 2014-11-17 22:00:34

This was the perfect intro to the epic Impresario. This mix set the stage up, and the Impresario blew our minds. Can't really listen to one without listening to the other.

OverClocked PodCast
on 2014-11-17 18:33:50

This ReMix is like a radical onion, possessing layers and layers of rad. It's such a pumped up, victorious collaboration of champions!

on 2014-11-17 16:00:36

Finally, my favorite song made it

on 2014-11-17 13:50:01

This track shows once again that BR is one of the best albums by OCR. It's not as long as "Impresaro", sure, but it's still awesome with all that vocals and guitar and brass. Very dramatic and simply badass.

on 2014-11-17 02:32:43

What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.