Adam Corn wrote:
Black Mages III is all misses. I found a few scattered moments that I thought were cool but not one single track impressed me on the whole. The over-reliance on under-developed synth certainly plays a large part in it, but aside from that the album just has a very amateur sound to me. It'd be passable as a fan arranged album perhaps but as an official studio BM album absolutely not.
The second album is by far the most consistent, even if it doesn't have quite as many "wow" tracks as the first.
Although I prefer the first Mages' disc out of the three - due to nostalgia, classic track choices or both - I agree with what Adam said right here. Even if the first album (or second) isn't up your alley, there's no denying that they both have their own sound: BM was more synthy and not as loud whereas I found BMII to be louder and more guitar-driven. But after a few listens through BMIII my loud, initial excitement dwindled down to a muffled fart; from the first fist-pump and the following "YEAH!" when I heard "KURAYAMINOKUMO" (and later realized it was already released) to the subdued "thhbbpfffft" when I tried to make it through "Darkness and Starlight" several times without, admittedly, ever hearing it in its entirety, despite the opera scene being one of my favorite thematic segments of the FFVI OSV.
Where I'm going with this is what I bolded in Adam's post. It's amateur at best; unenjoyable and expendable at worst (which is why i sold my copy about a week after I bought it). The aforementioned "KURAYAMINOKUMO" is the best technical sounding song, which is ironic seeing as it was already released on the FFIII DS OST, yet another unnecessary SE "arrangement" album; some songs sound as if they were recorded in a basement with an old Tascam four-track. And then there are the too-typical arrangements that don't do much of anything over the course of their playtime ("Opening ~ Bombing Mission" ... is that really necessary?). While there are a good number of other straightforward arrangements on BM and BMII, at least those sounded like they were recorded for an official album, not a low budget demo where the levels are off and everything sounds unmixed/mastered.
Ashley Winchester wrote:
Nanako bungled it so badly on on FFIV DS.
Let's be fair here: Nakano didn't bungle it. The combination of (presumably) Square-Enix's request to keep the arrangements faithful to the original while also being noticeably different plus using the DS sound source and having a different sound programmer (unless Akao also worked on this release) is to blame. I think Nakano has proven himself to be worthwhile despite the stuff he had to arrange for FFIV OST (and SD4).