The Pixel Mixers are back. Back again. Tell a friend. OK, I won't go where I obviously could have gone with that, but the latest album from what is becoming one of my favorite groups covers one of the black sheep members of the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy II.
Of the numerous shortcomings Final Fantasy has, the music certainly isn't one of them. Nobuo Uematsu crafted a very moving, emotional score that reflected the war torn land that Final Fantasy II was set in. Even in chiptune NES form, the soundtrack is brilliant as is the arranged version by Tsuyoshi Sekito for the PS Final Fantasy II release. Final Fantasy II - Roses of the Rebellion sticks to the music of the original NES 1988 release but not every single track is featured. I would have loved to see the group's take on Battle Scene A and Battle Scene B, but with such masterful renditions of the Main Theme, Rebel Army, Ancient Castle, Finale and the rest, it really is hard to nitpick.
I really like how The Ancient Castle arrangement takes a cue from Sekito's version and has a key change. They really made Sekito's rendition's stand out further from Uematsu's and it is great to see the Pixel Mixers mirror his work. You can tell that they are clearly huge fans of his arrangements.
Genres represented hear are mostly orchestra and rock. The heart-tugging Main Theme of Final Fantasy II has a big band feel to it but still has that melancholy tone. Battle Scene 1 and Ancient Castle are heavily metal/heavy metal based but they don't sound out of place in the slightest. Throughout those whaling guitars and pounding drums, you can always hear the original melody of each song. There's also some acoustic guitar tracks in here, most fittingly, the Chocobo theme. Even a tiny bit of chiptune can be heard in Battle Scene 2, The Game Over arrangement sounds just as, if not more so depressing than the original,
If you want to hear some of the best arrangements of Final Fantasy II music, this album is a must listen. Oh and the thing is also free.
Final Fantasy II - Roses of the Rebellion