Posted 2024-01-16, evaluated by Gario


Whew, sorry for the tour of duty in a time loop for this one! We're going all the way back with an epic premise from the Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption album! audio fidelity leads the way here with an absolutely MASSIVE rock opera of Final Fantasy IV's final battle! He didn't do it alone, it was a big vision with a beefy roster:

For something so ambitious in scope, the floor is Jay's to walk everyone through how he brought his unique interpretation of the fight against Zeromus to life:

"Alright... where to start. This track, "Zeromus", was originally conceived by me and OceansAndrew as the finale track to the FF4 project, Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption. And later blew up to be something well beyond either of our control. It is a result of all the people around us in the project and actually came together rather haphazard. We never could have imagined a track like this from the start. We started only knowing we wanted it to be faster and more intense than the original and were already planning on having Justin (Nutritious) come in for the orchestra. I originally had the idea of just a bombastic instrumental but when Andrew (OA) started talking about using vocals is when it took off.

We first had the idea for just a female vocalist and came up with the concept to have the lead be the embodiment of the prayers from the storyline in the game. Naturally, we now needed the voices of the prayers, and who better to enlist than all the members of the project as a collective choir. I went and tracked down every single person from the project to enlist. About 22 people were able to come through and I am proud to say I used every track given to me from all the singing (Larry the Liontamer included) to the spoken word section during the female entrance.

We were able to get my composition teacher's wife, actually, who came though and did a fantastic job as the lead female. Marcin Bela, my teacher, was a big help for the song who guided me with lots of feedback and was the one who suggested the key change. How the male lead came about was kinda by accident. He showed me these tracks where he was screaming his guts out and I took note of that, later coming to the realization that this track could use a real Zeromus antagonist to heighten the drama and intensity. And the track from there became the rock opera epic that it would become.

I ended up taking over the direction of the track and laying down a bare-bones template for OA and Nutritious to follow. They did a fantastic job really bringing everything out I hoped for for the track. Andrew helped out with a lot of the arrangement, did all of the guitar work, and together, he and I wrote the lyrics inspired from the game. I generally wrote the female and male leads, and Andrew wrote the background Zeromus narrative and choir parts. Connor (Cyril the Wolf) improv'd the breakdown section where he loses it and helped out with a line or two of the other parts. I wanted it to be fresh for him to do that improv, so I actually begged him to wait months and months to not listen to the track and lose the feeling of it being a fresh take. Thanks, Connor! :) I am also rather thankful for Justin not killing me with all the tempo changes and modulations that made his job a complete nightmare. You did an awesome job, buddy.

The plot here is simple if you know the game. Cecil and crew do battle with the ultimate bad guy who is living on their moon, that is the most hateful son of a gun around - Zeromus. He actually is killed before their eyes, but is brought back to life; which is where the lyrical narrative from Zeromus comes from in the whispers and background screaming parts. In the story, everyone is knocked down and it seems like all hope is lost, but what ends up happening is everyone on Earth is wishing and praying that the group will defeat this evil. It is their words of encouragement that ultimately guide the group to victory and which is the premise for our arrangement. We have the lead female (embodiment of the prayers) enter accompanied by the choir's words of inspiration to make the connection of who she is. From there, we have the narrative being delivered by the choir and Zeromus, who actually goes back and forth with the ones fighting for the future of the planet. We have a section where the two trade off with different levels of intensity with their backing arrangement signaling their contrast. The chorus comes in as an actual battleground section where the instruments enter together and fight for dominance. The first time around, we find Zeromus quite powerful and unrelenting. Which gives way later to his own breakdown in our breakdown. We then take a moment to reflect with the choir almost losing the hope to go on, but find the strength and, from there, ramp back up for battle and in the 2nd chorus to find Zeromus losing control and, ultimately, the battle.

The original source is littered throughout every section of the mix, the breakdown where Zeromus is losing it being all based on expanding that awesome dissonant syncopated section from the source. The only original section comes in the chant which is actually a borrowed section from OA's previous track "Éminence Grise" uniting the two together but still keeping with the motif of the source bassline through the progression.

The mix was quite complex with about 255 choir takes maxing out my Logic session and another 100+ tracks counting busses in the final mix. I tried my best but was fortunate to be able to get some help from zircon in the final stages. I sent him all the tracks with my volume automation and he tweaked things and mastered the track to get things to where you hear it in the album. Thank you, Andy.

Other people to thank are Gary Earl and Sole Signal for their awesome feedback that helped the track and for their stabs at mastering the track, which were all fantastic, in my opinion.

I really think this is the only track in the world that is actually deserving of something this ambitious and it is again the result only because of the people around me. This track has been a wonderful testament to what the community can accomplish together and I am so thankful for everyone; it became ultimately what it wanted to be and was out of my hands.

I would also suggest checking out the FF4 website for some extra bonus tracks inspired by this mix. Justin (Nutritious) is doing an arrangement focusing on the orchestra and voices with him actually taking over the part of Zeromus in an operatic way. And I am putting together an atonal version where all the parts will be played with just grand pianos. CotMM is also putting together an extended version of his take on the source. Who knows what else may come up.

So I finally got over myself and decided to submit this. I just listen back after all these years since the project and think about the time and care that went into this and that I feel it should be heard. The mix was a pain. 200 tracks of insanity. Drums, synths, guitars. Orchestra, two vocal leads, choir of 30 people. Tempo changes everywhere. Modulations. This song has it all and that was the idea. It was overwhelming when it all came together. I've written at length when the project came out about the track and its process. But the mix never came through on the release and we all just settled cause we had had our fill. I remixed and remastered it (the arrangement still intact) with my experience since growing from then and feel much happier about realizing my vision of the track. I think in the end it's a very demanding listening experience. And, with its length and liberal rearrangement of the source material to fit it in this context, I think it turns a lot of people off. But those that go with it and love the original and the theme of the story will enjoy an exceptional experience that doesn't really come around much. Take it or leave it."

That's kind of the mantra for the interpretive side of the VGM arrangement scene in general, no? If you like, you like, if you don't, you don't, but the arranger's imagination guides the way, and sometimes the grandest arrangements take on a life of their own. After the initial version didn't make it past the judges, audio fidelity chose to hang tough and see it through on the big scale this battle and its story deserved!

Liontamer

Discussion

Latest 2 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
avatar
HitoriJaNai
on 2024-02-12 00:33:41

After all of this time, seeing this track show up on the front page makes me so happy. Not just that, but this really feels like the fully-realized version in so many ways. I honestly hope this version makes it onto the album somehow, even after all of this time. Top marks all around.

avatar
Liontamer
on 2024-01-16 16:17:02
What did you think? Post your opinion of this ReMix.

Sources Arranged (1 Song)


Primary Game:
Final Fantasy IV (Square , 1991, SNES)
Music by Nobuo Uematsu
Songs:
"The Final Battle"

Tags (22)


Genre:
Progressive Rock,Rock Opera,Symphonic
Mood:
Aggressive,Angry,Epic,Solemn
Instrumentation:
Choir,Electric Guitar,Electronic,Orchestral,Screaming,Synth,Vocals: Female,Vocals: Metal
Additional:
Lyrics > Language: English
Lyrics > Lyrics: Original
Origin > Collaboration
Origin > Resubmission
Production > Live Instruments
Time > 4/4 Time Signature
Time > Duration: Long

File Information


Name:
Final_Fantasy_4_Genesis_of_Destruction_OC_ReMix.mp3
Size:
13,751,428 bytes
MD5:
9a5ef932f3b9eddfae8da14fa19c96cd
Bitrate:
234Kbps
Duration:
7:46

Prayer
*Zeromus*
(Choir)

*Madness, shrouding the light
Opening wounds that have nothing inside,
Sealed within, eternal night,
Lunarian blood pulls like the tides*

(Ahhh! Zeromus!
Ahhh! Zeromus!)
*Cycling entropy, choking decay
Contagion rot as the mind melts away*

Take this moment,
Into reflection,
And remember your path
We believe in you,
Supporting your trials,
Please hear our distant prayers for you
*Spiraling in further towards me at last,
Destroying your future, erasing your past*

Together, we'll fight for our world,
And protect it from this fiend
(Fire from within)
We must prevail
*Let me teach you how to suffer,
My hate is supreme,
And you will not stop me!*
(Essence born of hate)
Never we will lay down to,
Your sick and twisted lunacy
(Cleansing bloodstained wings)
*Life will cease when all is destroyed,
I will bring the end,
So come and meet your fate!*
(Deep beyond Hell's gates)

We must bring this dawn,
A new hope must become
*There is no hope*
United we are strong,
Our prayers will overcome
*Haha, nothing can defeat me*
And with the havoc that you have wrought,
That's brought the dark that's tested our hearts,
*There's no escape*
We won't let you bring eternal night,
Zeromus, we won't go without a fight!
*If you're so eager, then come and die!
Die! Die! Die! Die!*

*Everything is now for me,
I will make you beg on your knees,
Hehe, everything is now for me!
Just die!
Just perish!
Haha, die!!!*

(Growing stillness in the heavens,
Darkness deeper than the night,
Forcing all to flee or perish,
No one leaves this place alive,
Come within now, desolation,
Mirror surface bathed in black,
Endless silence through the terror,
Perfect hope begins to crack
Ahhh! Zeromus!
Ahhh! Zeromus!)
*Spiraling in further towards me at last,
Destroying your future erasing your past*

Together, we'll fight for our world,
And protect it from this fiend
(Fire from within)
We must prevail
*Let me teach you how to suffer,
My hate is supreme,
And you will not stop me!*
(Essence born of hate)
Never we will lay down to,
Your sick and twisted lunacy
(Cleansing bloodstained wings)
*Life will cease when all is destroyed,
I will bring the end,
So come and meet your fate!*
(Deep beyond Hell's gates)

We must bring this dawn,
A new hope must become
*There is no hope...*
United we are strong,
Our prayers will overcome
*...nothing can defeat me...*

And with the havoc that you have wrought,
That's brought the dark that's tested our hearts,
*There is no escape!*
We won't let you bring eternal night,
Zeromus, we won't go without a fight!
*If you're so eager, then come and... GAH!!*

Promotion

8-bit Jazz Heroes - Press Start
View All

Latest Albums

View All

Latest ReMixes