One thing Falcom has been known for is "rocking" tracks. However, on most CDs, the quality is more of a synthesized rocking. Falcom JDK Band I goes a step further. I popped this CD in prepared for Falcom goodness, and most definitely got it. Soundteam JDK takes popular tunes from its Ys, Sorcerian, Star Trader and Dragonslayer franchises and turns them into high-powered performances. A mix of vocals and instrumentals, JDK gives Konami a run for their best rock arrange CDs.
The CD starts off with two familiar tracks. If Falcom enthusiasts have Falcom Classics or Very Best of Ys, then you've already heard "To Make the End of the Battle" and "Go Fight". Still, the CD starts off great with them, and most people will attempt to sing along with Go Fight's mangled English. Fans of Ys III will enjoy "Varestain", otherwise known as "Ballestine Castle", remaining faithful and just as powerful as the redbook version.
There are breaks in the full-out power-rock style, which consist of tracks 4, 6, and 8. Track 4, "Cursed Sands", is a slow sad piece that doesn't sound out of place, but instead calms you down and gives you a break after the intensity of the first three tracks. Track 6 is more of a jazz ensemble, and track 8 resembles a parade march. Again, these tracks break up the intensity between the harder sounding tracks, and that's not a bad thing. The two other vocals, "Let's Face It" and "Get in the Wild", are enjoyable to listen to, and they don't have the cheesiness or the generic feeling that some of the Vocal Collections have.
High points of the CD include instrumentation, which consists of what I'm assuming is a live band with some synthesized effects, a staple of eighties rock. This makes the CD highly enjoyable to listen to as opposed to the Perfect Collections. A second factor are the arrangements, which anyone who has played some of these games will recognize and enjoy. Third, anyone who is a fan of Konami style rock arranges will enjoy these CDs, regardless of having heard Falcom music before or not.
There are only two downsides. One would be track 10, "Traveler's Inn", which is totally out of place on the CD, simply a voice singing slowly, with hardly any instrumentation. It would have been better off on the Vocal Collections. However, this is the last track, so it is easy to stop before this comes up. The second downside, which is somewhat debatable, is that the CD is short, clocking in at 45 minutes. However, after such an excellent CD, the listener does go away satisfied, or even listening to it again.
All in all, this is a must-have CD for any Falcom fan, and highly recommended for those who love good arranged CDs.