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Before Crisis FFVII & Last Order FFVII Soundtrack :: Review by Dark Cloud

Before Crisis Final Fantasy VII & Last Order Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack Album Title: Before Crisis Final Fantasy VII & Last Order Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Square Enix
Catalog No.: SQEX-10087
Release Date: December 19, 2007
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan

Overview

Takeharu Ishimoto has been assigned to compose the soundtrack for most of the Final Fantasy VII spin-off titles, and is known for using hard rock and blaring guitars in them. Before Crisis Final Fantasy VII & Last Order Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack was the first of these and is not much different to the Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack. I was curious to see how the mobile phone's Before Crisis Final Fantasy VII soundtrack would turn out without playing the game and was surprised at how technologically refined it was. As for Last Order Final Fantasy VII, having never seen the anime, I was hoping that the soundtrack would be good as well, maybe even surpassing my favorite soundtrack of the FFVII spin-offs, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. Sadly, however, it doesn't look like anything will anytime soon... read ahead to find out why.

Body

The Before Crisis portion of this album begins with the all-too-familar Turks theme. It begins with the regular theme but soons adds guitars and a bit more drums, which brings an overall good touch to the tune. The next track, "Mission," is a bit... odd, in my opinion, because it sounds like a "spy theme" in the beginning along with a slight bit of techno beats. "Survive," the next track, is very different from the previous track. It's covered in really heavy guitar riffs and drums in the background, which overwhelms the whole piece. I like the theme to it, but I think they could've toned down the guitars just a tad bit.

There are some non-rock tracks in the Before Crisis section nevertheless. "Secret Action" and "Black Beat" are both quite mellow if still tinged with rock instrumentation. My personal favorite is the piano and acoustic guitar piece "Theme of Elfe"; I recommend you listen to it if anything on the soundtrack. "Desperate Crisis," however, is my least favorite from Before Crisis. It sounds like being at a loud, disturbing, heavy metal concert, and it really brings down the quality of the whole album. The final two pieces, "Last Labyrinth" and "Rebirth", aren't anything special, but are a decent way to end the mobile phone soundtrack.

There are three bonus tracks in the Before Crisis section. They are two versions of "Theme of Elfe" and an edit of "Rebirth". The first two bonus tracks are sang by WAKAKO and in English. I wish it were in Japanese, because her pronunciation is really off and you can't understand what she's saying half the time. The "Rebirth" edit is just a longer version of the original themes with added motifs in it. Nothing really special.

The Last Order section of the album is much better than Before Crisis. It begins with "1st Climax," a piece that begins slow but abruptly speeds up and slows down several times to reflect the changing introduction of the anime. The second track, "Cremation" doesn't really have an overall "theme" to it, as it's just basically an industry beat and a violin descant throughout the song. "Pride of Soldier" is the "Desperate Crisis" of Last Order. It's basically the same drum beat the whole piece and a recurring guitar riff. I'm glad it's so short. "Pursuit" is a decent theme, but it really doesn't do anything different in and of itself.

Continuing straight along, "Beyond the Death" is supposed to be from "Tifa's Theme", but it's only shortly over a minute long and repeats the same thing throughout. The next few tracks — "Frenzy of Steel", "Sneak Attack", "Decision", and "Serious Attack" — are nothing special; like other pieces, tend to repeat their themes. "Brief Reunion," on the other hand, is based on "Tifa's Theme" and this time you can definitely tell that it's there. It's basically a good piano and strings arrangement of it, but I wish Ishimoto would have done more with it.

Unfortunately, the Last Order soundtrack ends badly in my opinion. As well as a reasonable acoustic guitar ballad "Dear Friend", there's another version of the "Turk's Theme"; it isn't very different from the Before Crisis version so isn't exactly welcome here. Aside from that, I REALLY do not like the dissonant "The Truth in the Dark" and "Last Order." The two versions of the end credits theme "Last Order" are really overdone with guitars and other random beats resulting in an unpleasant end what could've been a great soundtrack.

Summary

The Before Crisis Final Fantasy VII & Last Order Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack is probably one of the worst I've heard in a very long time. The music goes well with the scenes and progression of the anime, but is not meant for stand-alone listening. The Before Crisis soundtrack has its tracks you should listen to, like "Theme of Elfe" but the rest of the pieces just do not compare. I wish Uematsu would do the rest of these Final Fantasy VII spin-offs, because Ishimoto's stuff now is just getting old. They are all overdone with heavy guitar riffs and are very repetitive, so just not worth wasting your time listening to; that is, unless you like headbanging video game music and loud music without much creativity. Aside from that, I do not recommend this album to anyone else.

Overall Score: 4/10