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Falcom J.D.K. Band 1 :: Review by Ersatz

Falcom J.D.K. Band 1 Album Title: Falcom J.D.K. Band 1
Record Label: King Records (1st Edition); NW10102290 (Nihon Falcom)
Catalog No.: KICA-1019; NW10102290
Release Date: January 1, 1991; December 22, 1999
Purchase: Buy at VGM World


The Falcom Sound Team J.D.K. are one of the most famous "sound teams" in Japan when it comes to making video game soundtracks. They incorporate a healthy dose of rock, synth work, and jazz to take you on a musical ride unlike any other. This mixture has garnered for them a rather large following. It was thus a no brainier to go ahead and make an album with all their popular songs redone by rock band. Enter arranger Tomohiko Kishimoto and his J.D.K. Band.


"To Make the End Of Battle" is a trademark Falcom track many people probably would have heard, even those who haven't played Ys II. Just like the original, this one still rocks and highlights keyboard work. However, the use of instrumental performers adds so much energy and emotion to the track, while the fancy improvisations are also exciting. It's a great way to testify this album was worth purcashing. That is, until the second track...

While the instrumentals of "Go Fight" are well done, unfortunately they provide only a support for some hideous singing above. The singer can't even sing here, offering neither good pronunciation or intonation, particularly during cringe-worthy lines like "You never loooossseeee..." I am in no way against Japanese singing. I love the stuff and I even have a friggin' Pizzicato Five album, which I adore. So I know what good singing is. And this is NOT good. "Traveler's Inn "is also pretty bland. It's a somewhat dynamic piece with some slow singing and echoes in the background. I can see some people getting into this song, though.

After hearing those two songs, I thought this album was going to be REALLY bad. But those are surprisingly the ONLY bad ones! In fact, "Get in the Wild", is done rather well despite featuring more vocals. It has a nice hook to it and great drumming too. Kishimoto also sings on another song, "Boy On The Wing", which again is a good piece. This leads me to believe that the hard rock style he was going after in "Go Fight" wasn't even close to what he is used to doing.

"Let's Face It" surprised me as it turned out to be a pretty head boppin' jazz / swing hybrid. The old guitar style and brass section are especially well done. "Major Demon" was also a nice treat to the ears as pure instrumental metal. The solo Junichiro Matsukawa shreds out here is nothing short of wonderful and this is something that is sorely missing in today's modern rock music. "Valestine" is another outstanding guitar / synth taggin' rock anthem. It's very lively and features plenty of excellent guitar and keyboard work.


If it weren't for "Go Fight" and "Traveler's Inn", Falcom J.D.K. Band 1 would be the hottest game music rock album you could pick up, in my opinion. Heck, it still is. Despite my harsh criticism on the two aforementioned tracks, this is still one of the best albums you can own, with the styles being played here touching many genres. Enjoy this one, folks. It's a keeper.

Overall Score: 9/10