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Perfect Collection Ys IV Vol. 3 :: Review by Charles

Perfect Collection Ys IV Vol. 3 Album Title: Perfect Collection Ys IV Vol. 3
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-1144
Release Date: June 22, 1994
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Perfect Collection Ys IV Vol. 3 concludes the trilogy of definitive arranged albums dedicated to Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys. Once again, Ryo Yonemitsu returns to arrange the last third of Ys IV's pieces in instrumental rock and pop styles, not to mention the final volume of his mega mix. For fans of the other two volumes, the finale is not one to miss out on, since it features plenty of highlights such as the main character theme, the final battle music, and the ending themes. Does it live up to its high praise?


The album opens on a decisive note with an arrangement of the main character's theme, "Theme of Adol", actually based on one of the unused tracks from the original Ys. This arrangement defines why Ryo Yonemitsu's Perfect Collections are so popular. For one, it captures the essence of the Ys series with its upbeat, innocent, and heroic melodies. However, it also has an essence of power rock with the punchy piano opening, synthy melodies, and guitar-based interlude from 2:09. It deviates plenty from the original, yet still retains a very retro and old-school vibe, partly due to the low quality synth used. The resultant work is either something you love or hate. Some will find it nostalgic and exciting, others clichéd and dated.

Though "Theme of Adol" is pretty exempletive of Yonemitsu's style, there are actually plenty of other styles featured on the album. "House" is very typical of one of the softer tracks of the series, focusing on a slow xylophone melody against synth chords. Another select taste, it'll make many go 'aww' given its sentimental feel and yet others 'yuck' for its superficial tone. I'm personally in the latter category. In other tracks such as "Lefance" and "Poem of the Blue Moon", Yonemitsu blends the Eastern influences of the originals with his own poppy vibes, arguably defacing them in the process. There are nevertheless some enjoyable moments elsewhere on the album, such as the continually evolving soundscapes of "Illusion" or how "Quickening of the Ancient City" suddenly transforms into a fierce orchestral march.

However, to me it's clear that Yonemitsu is best when he is sticking to synth rock and thankfully the third volume offers plenty of this style. "Temple of the Sun" is one of the finest in this regard and gradually evolves into a powerful final dungeon theme filled with extravagant solos. There are some compelling fusions elsewhere on the album, such as "Harlequin's Temptation" with its foreboding operatic solos or "Bronze District" with its smooth soprano saxophone work. The final battles are underscored with two of the hardest rock arrangements of the trilogy, "The Heat in the Blaze" and "The Final, Decisive Battle", both of which bring some much-needed grit to the experience. Finally, "A New Beginning" and "Fantasy Horizon" fittingly lead off the arranged score with a mixture of mellow acoustic guitar solos and synthy reflections.

As with the other two albums in the trilogy, Yonemitsu concludes this one with a 'Super Mega Mix Version' of Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys. This is fitting climax for the mega mix, since it features far harder rock than the others, at least in the first half. In fact, Yonemitsu seems quite a bit more liberated during these rock interpretations and doesn't hesitate to introduce a lot of hard and abrasive elements. Of course, the second half of the mega mix features more optimistic and mellow sections too, though the transitions between each section are often very abrupt. At least the final fade out ends the trilogy in a suitably serene manner.


Overall, this album will be an excellent if you are a Yonemitsu fan. I actually don't enjoy Yonemitsu's style as much as some people, partly due to the low quality samples he uses and partly because of the cheesy nature of his arrangements. However, I still realize he was a good fit for the Ys series during the 90s and why he has become so loved with hardcore fans. The entire Perfect Collection Ys IV trilogy demonstrates how he is able to convey the melodies and intentions of the Falcom's original pieces in the format of very mainstream-oriented instrumental arrangements. The third volume is no exception and, to many listeners, actually the pinnacle of the trilogy. It will be an exciting and timeless listen for those who enjoyed the previous two volumes of the trilogy.

Overall Score: 9/10