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Secret of Mana – Heavens Forgive Me (Fear of the Heavens / Angel's Fear vocal cover)

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Hi! This is my first post here and I feel a bit sorry that it is a rather egoistic post where I show off my own stuff. But I will try to invest some time reviewing other songs too. ;)

I started a series of Secret of Mana covers. Sadly it's not suitable for OCRemix because I use the original titles as inspiration for my lyrics and keep those titles. This is part of the concept. I try to imagine the songs of the game as songs for a singer and the titles are hints for the stories the songs want to tell. I also play as much instruments as I can and I hope that I can get some collaborators to play other instruments too or sing some parts for the series. I release the songs on my YouTube channel and make videos with a performance of the song (as I always do with my songs).

Feedback is highly appreciated and will be taken seriously.

Edited by Heavyarms83
Changed title to match the new appropriate title of the song. Changed prefix to submitted. ;)
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Well hello there! Welcome to OCR's WIP boards! This is certainly one hell of a way to start, to boot - it's quite good. I'm liking what I hear so far; you've got some good vocals, and you have the guitar chops to match. The emphasis of a 6/8 meter against the 3/4 vocals to distinguish the chorus is a great idea, as well. You've also got a great sense for mixing and production - nothing gets lost, everything pops when it should, and the production seems solid.

As far as the arrangement itself, it has a lot of strong points to it - the arrangement oozes personality, the lyrics are quite good, and the aformentioned performances are also good. The backing piano part is pretty stiff, though. It has dynamics, but the articulations sound copy/pasted, and the releases are pretty dry. The releases can be easily masked with a hint more reverb, but the articulation can be tricky to address with some samples - subtle changes to the attack (we're talking milliseconds) can emulate soft pedal and such. The strings also sound pretty artificial for similar reasons when exposed, but they're not as much an issue when they're in the background.

When singing, be careful in your lower ranges. It sounds like you're straining in that range, which causes you to go a bit sharp and overshoot leaps. There are a few other spots where you over/undershoot leaps as well (like at 2:20), so it's something to keep an eye on. Also be mindful of your vibrato; while most of the time it's alright, it does get pretty extreme from time to time (like at 1:11), which causes it to get more out of tune than is stylistically appropriate. It's not terrible (most won't catch it on casual listening), but if you're looking for perfection it's something to watch out for next time.

The original titles are the only reason you wouldn't consider submitting anything, eh? Damn, that sucks for us - I'd argue that's one of the easiest elements to fix, but at the same time I can respect the argument that the title does indeed change how one listens to a song (give a listen to the 'Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima', then think about the impact it would've had with it's original name: ' 8':37" '). Just food for thought, anyway - minor alterations to the title are acceptable, as far as OCR is concerned (e.g. "Where Angels Fear to Tread" doesn't work, whereas "Where Angels Fear to Wander" or the truncation "Angel's Fear" would work great). Another idea is to take your chorus and base your title on that ('My Fear of Heaven' and 'Fear of the Heavens' are both great lines that also could serve as representative titles). I 100% sympathize if you don't want to change the title, but it's something to consider.

You were looking for some advice/criticism so I provided, but to be honest this is still quite good. If you submit your stuff even as is you'd have a pretty good chance on passing even despite my crits here, so I do hope you at least give it some thought in the future. ;)

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Wow, thanks for that feedback. You heard right about my voice. My vocal range is rather that of a heroic tenor, so I got some baritone qualities but there is a certain limit at low notes. I'm still practising some throat singing technique to get even lower tones but for the moment I can't control them enough for melodic singing.

I would be happy to submit the song, so I will think about a slightly different title. And I will work a bit on the piano, I could for example play it on my keyboard, even though I'm not sooo good at playing with two hands, it shouldn't be a problem with overdubs. I remember the original had an extreme but short echo effect on the piano which adds something to the release. So maybe I could play around with something like that too but less extreme. I don't remember which strings I used but I will also take a look at that.

I guess I'd also have to remove the wind noise at the beginning then. I read that I'm not allowed to use original samples from Square and it is one.

I'm also already working on the next song of that series (A Curious Tale) but I won't be able to release it before next year because I still have to practise a concertina part (I just started playing it last summer). ;)

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Yeah, the wind noise is a pretty big no-no on here - that's a super distinct sound from that game. While it's a cool sample, it doesn't really integrate into your arrangement anyway, so I don't think it'll be a severe loss, at least. TBH I wish we could accept Square Enix samples, but they explicitly told OCR not to post music with their samples back in 2012, so we gotta respect their wishes on it - any track that uses them on OCR were grandfathered from before they sent that request.

Glad I could help, though!

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So, I changed the piano sample to my Miroslav Refill Steinway piano. Don't know why I didn't use it from the beginning, it's one of my favourites from what I've got. I also added the 1/16 delay and a bit of compression and changed the velocity in the repeating parts a bit more randomly. Also I gave the strings a bit more warmth (whatever that knob does technically, it sounded good :D ). And I removed the wind noise. You're right, it doesn't add anything to the music. It's just nice for the YouTube video as an opening. I also changed the title. Here is the result: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dmljhobg1k6zgx6/01 Heavens Forgive Me.mp3?dl=0

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Oh, you submit it. Cool - sorry I wasn't able to provide further feedback beforehand. I'll give you a bit of a mini-eval here anyway, though.

Yeah, that piano sample sounds better than the one you used before. It oddly sounds like the piano from the source, but I know it's not, so no worries. :P

If you're curious, I personally think that it'll do alright on the panel. The vocals wavering where I said they do on here will cause some issue, but I don't think it'll be enough to earn this a NO on the panel. One other point is that the vocals at 2:30 don't sound like they line up with the harmony. It's not a BIG deal as it doesn't clash that hard, but it does sound a little strange at that point.

Don't want you to see too many surprises come up on the panel when it gets there. Otherwise, hope it does well!

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