Before Final Fantasies 2-14, there was THE ORIGINAL. The game that brought Square back from the brink and proved to be anything BUT "final," the game that kicked off the most popular RPG series to date, and the game that finally transported the immense talents of a certain Mr. Nobuo Uematsu into a larger spotlight - where they've deservedly remained ever since.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the original Final Fantasy, and we're proud to be releasing our 35th arrangement album, Final Fantasy: Random Encounter, directed by Brandon Strader and featuring the diverse & formidable talents of artists from The Shizz forums & OC ReMix.
"This album is the result of three things: 1) an immense love for Nobuo Uematsu and his work, 2) an immense love for metal, and 3) the kind of camaraderie that only the most grim and frostbitten of metalheads will ever know. Words can't express the level of gratitude I have for everyone who helped this album become what it is today, and who continue to support the successive albums for Final Fantasy II and III. A huge thanks is owed to every musician who performed for this album in any way, Edward Dennis who created mind-blowingly good artwork for the album, Donald and The Shizz for hosting our project discussion during the development phases, and last but not least OverClocked ReMix and its staff for their hard work and for helping us release the album on OC ReMix.
We're very happy with this album, and I personally consider most of these remixes to be the definitive fan-remix versions of these classic songs. Random Encounter was given to Nobuo Uematsu as a gift at MAGFest X in 2012. To meet the man who composed the music of our childhood, and give him our tribute, was a great honor for all of us. We hope you enjoy Final Fantasy: Random Encounter, and await the sequel - Final Fantasy II - with bated breath."
So bate your breathing like the man says, because you're in for a wild ride - while there are some exceptional exceptions, THIS IS THE MOST METAL ALBUM WE'VE RELEASED YET (!!), and unless you bring at least a dozen spare faces to swap out when each successive one melts, or you're Mother of Dragons, you're gonna end up with a serious lack of epidermis when it's all over. What's particularly excellent about this album is that there are a ton of newcomers, but Brandon's also got some stellar contributions from more familiar faces, too. It feels like a legit collaboration, orchestrated by one dedicated dude, as opposed to anything more superficial or accidental. On my first listen through, I wasn't even looking at track names or artists, and the flow & consistent, raw energy had me truly curious about who did what. When I checked afterwards, I was seeing a lot of names I was less familiar with, but whose tracks are fantastic.
Here's one of them: BONKERS makes his OCR debut with this opening mix of the classic 'Prelude' theme:
"Oh, lord. I could talk about this song for hours. (Not that'd I'd want to.) There is so much that went in to making this song: First, the inspiration given to me by my ever gracious and incredibly patient director, Mr. Brandon Strader. His exact words were: "I was just thinking about the 'Prelude'... that old 'Prelude'... it's been done so many ways by so many people. I think the next logical step is to do the 'Prelude' in the style of 'End of Heartache' by Killswitch Engage, minus vocals. Tell me that wouldn't be simply awesome. If anyone thinks they can do this, let me know."
And that sparked immediate inspiration. Of course, I had no idea how long the road would be developing the song even when it ended up nothing like "End of Heartache" at all! The day-to-day discussions on The Shizz sparked new ideas and new things added into the song at somewhat random intervals. Quality of the track was so suspect the song was completely re-recorded about 4 times and completely done again from scratch 3 times over the course of the last year. (The current version, the one you are hearing, was completely remade from scratch over the course of a few weeks due to my last project file being unsalvageable.)"
This arrangement is BEAST; hats off to BONKERS for, well, going bonkers with Uematsu's brilliantly simply rise-fall arpeggio that introduced a whole generation of gamers to Square's even-expanding universe. If Final Fantasy is the game that started it all, then the 'Prelude' is the THEME that started it all, and while it's been arranged in a ton of styles, this mix doesn't just go big, it goes HUGE. Brandon writes:
"BONKERS surprised me with his overly heavy take on the "Prelude." He took a very broad idea and made something truly remarkable for the introduction of the album. He allowed me to name his song "The First Story," after Knight of the Round allowed me to name his song "The Last Story." Thanks, guys! The classy new solo sections he added for this final version show how great Nick is at arrangement and performance."
With the judges' perspective, Palpable adds:
"Wow, you think you've heard all people can do with Prelude and then this comes along. This is fucking fantastic, definitely the best Prelude arrangement I've ever heard. I even thought the first half was pretty good, but like everyone else said, the second half just blows it away. How you kept this going for 6:20 with a steady direction, a boatload of variations, and absolutely no loss of interest from me is highly commendable. I salute you."
Can't do much better than that, for an artist debut OR an album flood debut. Brandon and all artists involved have put together a refreshing, no-apologies metal album that pays surprising, electrifying tribute to the original Final Fantasy, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. It's not for the meek of heart, but saving the world and fighting evil requires some appropriate theme music, and Random Encounter fits the bill perfectly.
on 2015-12-28 12:27:46
Never has the Final Fantasy Prelude sounded so great. I would think that it’s tough to stretch the Final Fantasy prelude out by six freaking minutes. But this track manages to pull it off miraculously. If you want a more detailed insight on what I thought, just read Marmiduke’s review as I second everything stated from it.
on 2013-12-20 10:37:08
The prelude theme is one of those sources that amaze me with all the different ways ReMixers have found to ReMix and rearrange it without getting stale and finding a new way to present it. BONKERS adds to the list with this pretty cool metal take on it that not only rearranges it, but does it for over six minutes, which can't be that easy to do with this theme, I'd guess, and I have to say that the breakdown in the middle fits so well with the rest of the ReMix. Just when you think you've beaten this source to death, someone picks it up and takes it further. Nicely done, BONKERS.
on 2013-08-01 21:38:34
For anyone who likes watching a piano roll
on 2012-07-16 09:39:30
I was beginning to worry for this one by the two minute mark that this was going to be another trip down Prelude lane, albeit with a much harder edge. Thankfully, things become a lot more dynamic towards the centre and the lead synth starts to blazon a much less familiar trail. At over 6 minutes long, the result is much less a retread of Prelude, but a definitive study of it. It is bent, hammered and shredded into all sorts of new forms, but never loses that iconic arpeggiated accent that's integral to the theme.
Guitar work is pretty stellar as the main thrust and power of the mix, and the solo is fantastic. Glad it didn't get too overboard and overtake the main theme. Drums sound pretty awesome as well. It's not my favourite choice for a lead synth of all time, but its serviceable and doesn't clash with the guitar.
All up, it's quite a substantial interpretation on Prelude. It stops itself from becoming repetitive and warrants its running time by being creative, well played and well mixed. Love it.
on 2012-07-04 07:22:30
Wow, this take on the Prelude is impressive. Nick surprises me with this huge journey through the iconic prelude theme. The guitars have this huge sound to them, and yet don't completely dominate the song. The song impressively keeps the listener engaged throughout without getting stale or repetitive.
This is impressive stuff!
on 2012-06-18 15:59:30
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