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“Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon” Review

“Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon” takes the songs from the epic game’s NES soundtrack and rearranges them onto beautifully played Celtic instrumentation. Selecting 15 tracks, the album still tells the story of the game well and is very well paced.

“The Prelude” opens the album setting the scene with arpeggios from an Irish harp and the main tune played by a timber flute. It’s a dreamy way to start the album and stays faithful the original version. “Prologue” is more traditional in the Celtic and Irish sense. The various string instruments plod though the track but fail to really give it the power that the classic song deserves which is a shame. “Chocobo-Chocobo” does give it some oomph though and dares to take one of the all time favourite songs into a light. After playing it through jollily it then speeds up and plays it just how a Celtic dance would. The result is something more bouncy and uplifting before returning to the original formula.

“Into The Darkness” takes the tone down with some excellently majestic but haunting playing and was a surprise highlight of the album for me. Sadly the “Main Theme Of Final Fantasy IV” is a tail of two halves. The first half of the song is great, with someone going bananas on a xylophone, but after that it quickly becomes sombre and downbeat and while the actual tune is still well played, it seems like the wrong tone is set.

“Welcome To Own Town!” starts off very relaxed before getting a Chocobo-Chocobo treatment with a new rendition. Strangely there is little correlation between this part and the actual tune, but it is once again another highlight from the album where I didn’t expect to find one!

“Theme Of Love” is tenderly done and played out like an opera death scene! It manages to capture everything in the song that despite having many different version made from it, still manages to be fresh and entertaining. “Melody Of Lute” starts off just as the “lute” in a nice little solo piece before the other instruments gradually filter in and make this piece well remembered for being heartfelt and excellently played. Followed by “Parom & Polom” which also gets it own little individual original section that barely tries to follow the chords of the actual song, yet still fits it, this song has the unfortunate problem that its repeated just one time too many. This song proves you can have just slightly too much of a great song. It doesn’t ruin the song by any means, but it could have been better shortened.

“Giotto, The Great King” plods through original tune happily enough before getting a Celtic fair arrangement half way through and really only getting mean and evil during the last half minute! In stark contrast “Dancing Calcobrena” is haunting and mystic from the outset with its merry-go-round keyboards and its Spanish yet evil sounding fiddle. Continuing on with the mystic tones comes “Mystic Mysidia” with it’s slightly out of tune melodies that are portrayed superbly with this kind of instrumentation. “Illusionary World” finishes off what is the best segment of the album. All these songs are show the best of Celtic Moon, being intensely dark and delicious.

“Rydia” returns to the elegant side of Celtic Moon with a peaceful and delicate version of the song with soft instrumentation and tear jerking beauty before “Troian Beauty” finishes off the album in more anthem style.

“Final Fantasy IV Celtic Moon” is one of those albums that grows on you more with every listen. You can’t get away from comparing it to Xenogears:Creid or even the Genso Suikoden Celtic trilogy  which is a shame because most of those albums are better judged separately as this Celtic influenced  album has a different tone to it all together and therefore holds its own niche in the genre. Despite seeming a bit sparse and little misjudged in places, the majority of the tracks make for excellent listening and any game music fan should find solace in this album.

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