Final Fantasy III -Legend of Eternal Wind-
Final Fantasy III -Legend of Eternal Wind-
PSCX-1005 (1st Edition); PSCR-5252 (2nd Edition)
May 25, 1990; March 25, 1994
Buy at CDJapan
The Final Fantasy III -Legend of Eternal Wind- album is a suite of tracks from the Final Fantasy III produced and arranged by Nobuo Uematsu himself. The album retells the story of the game with seven medley-based arrangements set to narration. Unlike the Final Fantasy Symphonic Suite preceding it, the tracks feature synthesizers rather than orchestras, and the arrangements tend to be quite coarse. However, the album will be a fascinating listen for those wanting to reminisce about the game and enjoy Uematsu’s first attempt at album writing.
“The Evil Power of the Underworld” introduces the legend of the game with narration set to two central themes. Jeff Levy tells of an earthquake which unleashed living hell upon Earth, but his narration is too tedious and clichéd to be a particularly welcome part of the album. The transition into the iconic “Prelude” theme is suitable for introducing the concept album and the interpretation retains the fragility of the original. The rendition of the “Crystal Cave” theme from the 2:40 mark is much more powerful and brooding than the original, with the brass section dominating the way. Although the transition between the two themes really doesn’t work, the variation brings a programmatic flow to the album.
With “Following the Wind”, narrator carries on the story with an unfortunately longer monologue. Following a series of long and mid sentence pauses, he soon gets to the main point — the search of four valiant youths for crystals to save the planet. The first melody appears at the 1:20 mark, the classic “My Home Town” in a gentle and inspiring rendition. The initial melody ends after four and a half minutes of playing time, when we are introduced to “Eternal Wind.” The story concludes with a rendition of the “Battle 1” track, given some much-needed action to this sometimes laborous album.
With “Montage”, the narrator talks of the youth’s childlike minds as they seem oblivious to any danger ahead. “Roaming Sheep” opens the soundtrack with an original vocal theme, one of Uematsu’s first at that point. With its innocent lyrics and lullaby flow, it is a pleasant song, though the nasal American vocalist will be obnoxious to most. The potpourri continues with an upbeat and straightforward rendition of “Chocobos!”, in a welcome interlude on the album, before “Deep Under the Water” is given a deep and elegant arrangement. It all comes together to capture the unity of the four heroes, as well as their individual characters.
The shortest track on the album, “Their Spiritual Leader” depicts the great Doga who looks down upon the youths. “Chant of the Wind” starts the track off with a frenzy of vocal chants and drum beats. Interestingly, “Let Me Know the Truth” and “The Breeze” are integrated within, without disrupting the overall cultural feel. As with most primitive tracks, this track centres around a very limited set of instruments and around a single theme which isn’t developed too much. Although this keeps with the style of the track, the track pales in comparison to others after a while.
“Ebb and Flow”, as the narrator explains, encompasses many emotions during its playtime. Both love and hate, courage and fear, joy and pain, it captures the diverse journey the four heroes go through. The themes featured within this track are all completely different, but truly reflect upon the narrator’s words. The first part of the track with “The Invincible” captures a sense of adventure with its proud melody and enthusiastic rhythms, whereas the rendition of Final Fantasy‘s “Matoya’s Cave” is considerably darker and softer. The transition into “Castle of Hain” is sudden, yet effective, to capture the formidable destinations that await.
“The Dark Cloud” represents the final stages in the journey in which our heroes meet their final foe. It opens with a rock-styled version of “Dark Crystals” in the most changed track from the soundtrack. The original version was just melancholy, whereas this version is an epic anthem. Unlike the other tracks, this one features an excellent transition into the next “Last Battle” theme — the pace stays the same and the drum beat is as passionate as ever. “Last Battle” proves to be a chilling end to the track as it doesn’t feature a reprise, as you would expect most final battle tracks to do, but a downward spiral of threatening chords instead. The absence of a narrator is also blissful here, allowing the music to speak for itself.
In “Rebirth”, the narrator conveys spirituality as we enter “Everlasting World.” The theme is even more beautiful than the original, with a wondrous flute playing the main line at the beginning above a majestic harp. The 2:00 mark is where the track sets off to explore new territories. This development is perfect, as it captures diverse emotions in a straightforward and simple way. Unfortunately the theme drags on for too long, but it eventually takes the album round full circle by transitioning into the Final Fantasy main theme. With its melodic dominance and rich harmonies, this trumpet-led track is a strong yet beautiful end to the album.
This album does have two immediate downfalls. First of all, the narration spoils the emotion that Uematsu strives to create with the pretentious script and style. The second downfall is that the album just seems to be piece together of tracks from the soundtrack without much development or transitions. This will be a big disappointment for those expecting the mastery of the Final Fantasy Symphonic Suite. Nonetheless, this album proves to be a good and well planned one. After all, it retells the story of the game through music, capturing the diverse journeys, encounters, and emotions the four heroes encounter. One way in which he achieves this is by varying the themes and styles of the seven tracks in a programmatic way. Another way he explores the emotions of the characters is through experimenting with the instrumentation, and each theme is enhanced by wider variety of timbre here.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Dave Valentine. Last modified on August 1, 2012.