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The Black Mages - The Black Mages CD (album) cover


The Black Mages


Progressive Metal

3.55 | 38 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Time to fight.

The Black Mages debut, melding heavy-progressive-metal with music from the Final Fantasy video game series. The result is great, some true great instrumental tracks whether you're a fan of the games or just a fan of good music. As for progressive, the album has some complex tunes, some prog soundscapes and even a full out 12-minute epic. The songs presented are all battle themes, and so they're all very heavy almost frantic sounding. While this band did improve by their sophomore in terms of complexity and musicianship this is still a great debut.

Those familiar with the game series should have an abundant sense of nostalgia listening to this record, and they should. The Black Mages do a great job of keeping the original tunes in tact while putting their own spin on them and truly making them into some great music. This shows especially on tracks like FORCE YOUR WAY and FOR THOSE WHO FIGHT FURTHER or J-E-N-O-V-A. Some other tracks such as BATTLE SCENE are a bit lighter on the guitar, letting some synthesizers into the mix, and this is okay, but it does take away from the music a bit, making it sound a bit less full and fleshed out. Some other very noteworthy tracks include THE DECISIVE BATTLE, one of the heaviest songs on the record and the coda, FIGHT WITH SEYMOUR. Both tracks equily complex and grand.

The best track in the mix, however, has to be DANCING MAD, the album's focal point. For those who don't know, this was the final battle theme to Final Fantasy VI, and it takes place over the course of 4 battles. The song itself integrates all these segments seamlessly and the track really has a life of its own. The best part comes near the coda (where the final battle in the game takes place) and the bass and synth kick in with some funky parts and bring the song to a nice close. This is easily the standout of the album, not to mention the most progressive track.

So, for a great debut that would only see the band get better with time The Black Mages get 3.5 stars for this album. Great, not essential, but definitely a must-buy for Final Fantasy fans and instrumental fans alike. The only thing holding this album back from getting 4 stars would be that it would be great to have at least one slower, very complex song on the mix. Good album none the less, you will not be disappointed if you want something heavy to rock out to.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |


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