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Epic power symphonic metal medley from Final Fantasy Adventure / Sword of Mana


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Hello everyone!

I started working on this a few years back after finishing Sword of Mana, but I never finished it, because my computer could not handle it anymore. It was almost finished for 2 years. New PC, a bit of free time (a few days getting all my plugins to work again), and here I come!

Featured tracks, in order of apparition :

I was going for a straightforward power metal track with a few orchestral / classical elements and a lot of guitar and keyboard solos, in a style inspired by band I listened to in the mid 2000 such as Stratovarius, Rhapsody of Fire, Sonata Arctica, etc...

I'm open to any sort of feedback. I have my doubts regarding drums writing and guitar articulation (mostly in the first solos and the intro riff), as well as mixing and mastering. Plus I listened to the old version regularly for years, and the recent changes I made, while necessary, are still alien to me, so a pair of fresh ears or two would be welcome! (you can also listen to it too if you have an odd number of ear(s))

Clocking at just above 7min, I know it's a fairly long track, but if you like old school symphonic power metal and/or Sword of Mana, you should have a good time! (no refund though)

Here is the track! https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xYGQNcIBv3IJFUHAyTObQgBRuAZ_05X4/view?usp=sharing

I sure hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do!

Thank you for listening, and have a great day!

Edit: Passing in Ready for Review, because the more I listen to it, the more I believe this is finished and ready to be submitted. Prove me wrong mods! ^^

Edit2: More than 1k views in 5 days? Wow :o

Edited by Julien Mulard
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I'm always glad to find other people also make 7+ minute songs, haha. I enjoyed listening to this, I appreciate a little power metal on occasion. The bells around 3 minutes in got my attention, a nice break up in the song. And the harpsichord sounding section was quite unexpected and appreciated. From that point on the choir sounding chords helped flesh out some parts that could have otherwise sounded dry. I hope you'll get some more experienced feedback on this one!

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Hey WassupThunder!

Thank you for the feedback! I'm glad you liked it, and happy to see the instrumentation variations were to your liking. I remember spending soooo much time making that bell sound right ^^ I struggled a bit with the last section, after the harpsichord bridge, because I couldn't get the kind of energy the rest of the track had. The harmony changed too quickly, and adding "orchestral" background was a challenge, and forced this part to be a bit drier. I even thought about dropping it almost completely. I'm glad you found it to be still working well with the rest of the track!

If you can think of anything that you didn't like, regarding production or arrangement, be sure to let me know! I'm very happy you liked it, as it's one of the tracks I'm the most proud of, but your negatives would be of great help to make the track even better! No pressure though ^^

Thanks again, and have a great day! :D
 

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Julien! Good to hear your work here again. This thing takes the listener by storm, gives me a combination of vibes from Mega Man X and Tales of Symphonia (is that weird? That's kinda weird.) Stellar performance. You did good with those variating segments (organs, harpsichords, oh my!), it nicely breaks up the soundscape of the guitars and synths.

Perhaps it is an element of the genre, but I wonder if it may be beneficial to try changing the guitar's sound through the piece, as it is fairly consistent all the way through (the actual timbre, not performance. I like the performance.) The mid-high favoring lead is slammin, but it does hang around that mid-high for most of the piece. Maybe there's a segment that could do well with a lower tone (drop an octave, EQ the 'tar to favor more towards the mid for a part, something like that.) Of course, I'm about as much an authority on guitars as Aristotle was. Still an awesome piece, go get yourself a milkshake. Or smoothie or something.

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Hi Souperion! Nice to hear feedback from you once again!

I'll have a coffe, thanks, it's morning here, and I slept waaay too little.

Regarding the guitars, I see you point. I don't know what I can do about it yet (morning, coffee, yada yada), nor if I should do something about it, but I'll think about it. I tend to not automate EQing that much during my tracks, and it's probably something I'll need to implement more in the future.

Are your ears getting tired from the guitar sound? Do you have sections where you feel the guitar could feel differently? As I said in my first message, I've been listening to this track regularly for the past 2 years, so any drastic modification feels super weird to me, so if you could give me any pointers, it'd be very useful!

I will obviously try stuff on my own though. I think the section before the bell break could use a bit of a variation in the soundscape, maybe? As we've been listening to a relentless guitar storm for more than 3 minutes already. Or something else, I don't know (coffeeeeeee).

Glad you liked the track though! And thank you for your feedback :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Took me a bit to get time for a good listen again. So, what I got on the med-high sounds and the like: I think the first 3 minutes only needs a short breather somewhere in there to keep the sound fresh, ya know? Maybe around 1:07, where it repeats the melody from the beginning. Change in instrument for that segment up to 1:27 (up to the part where the synth goes nuts) might be a good break, not too long but enough of a change. If you haven't already been working on the matter. I feel like those first 3 minutes are probably where the variation in sound is needed the most, so the rest of the song will probably be fine. Does any of that make sense?

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MOD REVIEW

Well, sort of. It's more train-of-thought than I'd like, but it should get the points across.

- The right-panned guitar starting at 0:08 is piercing around 2700 Hz, but also sounds alike to the left-panned guitar, just with added flanger-like effects. Part of me wants you to try replacing both lead guitars here with synth leads to add a sense of progression when you transition at 0:26 into the heavier section where guitars are more justified. (The guitars make more sense at 0:42 - 1:06, although the piercing nature of the right-panned guitar there also stands.)

- At 0:26, there is a very piercing left-panned synth lead (just low pass it above around 11000 Hz), because it has a metallic quality to it above 13000 Hz. Same at 1:27.

- At 1:27 - 1:42, which is similar to 0:26 - 0:42, you're definitely putting too many high-frequency instruments in the same spot. Consider that you're probably just using too many instruments there, and take the time to decide what you want to lead, what is arpeggiating, what is doing rhythm, what is doing bass. Think about the question, "if someone were to attempt to recreate this by ear, how feasible would it be?", then adjust accordingly so that you can distinguish most of the notes and what is playing what.

- At 1:42 - 2:06, consider again that you could replace the two lead guitars here with synth leads (preferably two different ones from each other), to add meaningful variation across sections. No matter how much I like guitar, this is too much guitar noodling in these first 2 minutes.

- I do like how 2:06 - 3:06 sounds. That should be the kind of feel you shoot for.

- Within 3:06 - 3:48, the church bell sounds off-tune (maybe sharp). You could just use a tubular bell soundfont and it would probably fit the role better. Also, you could probably remove the church bell sound by the time you get to 3:48. At that point, 3:48 - 4:10, it doesn't add to the soundscape, but just puts another sound in the background, basically adding extra clutter and, at the moment, extra dissonance. Also, the guitar coming in at 3:24 - 3:48 is nice, but I would suggest maybe starting out with full chokes, leading up to lighter palm mutes to add more of a sense of progression.

- For 4:43, I'd say you don't need the hits there; it sounds like you were about to finish the ReMix there, then you decided "oh hey, let's add more", and then proceeded to add more without changing how that transitions. Without those hits, you could let the guitar chord ring out from earlier, which should lead more smoothly into the harpsichord.

- Around 5:38, maybe refine that transition a bit more to be less sudden. Could just add a double kick hit plus a snare beforehand, instead of immediately slamming the listener.

- 6:16 - 6:40, same remark as for 1:42 - 2:06.

- 6:52, similar remark as at 4:43; it sounds like it's done, but then you added more. So try simply making that part seem like it's about to end, but not like it's already ended, because you have the last bit right afterwards.

- And last bit at 7:04, maybe just take off the lead guitar there and have the rhythm guitar end it. Just something to consider.

---

Overall...

Main concerns:

- Overused guitars to do lead parts when synth leads could do them (which leads to this being tiring to listen to over time). A good mix between synth-driven sections and guitar-driven sections will be the key to this really working.

- You have multiple sections with drastically different dynamics but lacking progression between them (making this seem longer than it is, other than it already being 7 minutes). You basically have step-ladder dynamics, rather than a dynamic curve.

Other concerns:

- You often have too many instruments playing at once, in the higher registers especially.

- Smooth out some of your transitions (considering this is a medley, this is still important), and some select parts that sound like endings but aren't actually supposed to be endings.

Here are some recommended references to listen to that I feel match what you are going for, and/or have been approved before.

SSH (a bit lower quality than I'd like, but it's the only video with this specific version I can find) -

ocremix (HeavenWraith):

END OF MOD REVIEW

Edited by timaeus222
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