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Falcom J.D.K. Band 4 Ys IV VS The Legend of Xanadu :: Review by Charles

Falcom J.D.K. Band 4 Ys IV VS The Legend of Xanadu Album Title: Falcom J.D.K. Band 4 Ys IV VS The Legend of Xanadu
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-1141
Release Date: April 30, 1994
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Following their controversial vocal album, the J.D.K. Band returned back to their principles in 1994 with their instrumental fourth album. It was entirely dedicated to two of Falcom's biggest titles at the time, Ys IV and The Legend of Xanadu. Let's take a closer look on their offerings...


The album opens with an emotional interpretation of Ys IV's "The Dawn of Ys". Though it starts off atmospherically, it's clear that the J.D.K. Band are back at their best with the big euphoric keyboard melody at 0:43. Tomohiko Kishimoto really knows how to bring the flair behind the sound team's melodies and this arrangement is a good example of that. Interestingly, he also seems to be able to inject some life into even some of Falcom's weaker creations. The Legend of Xanadu's "The Legend Begins" was never a fan favourite, but it sounds quite appealing here with its punchy chord sequences and soothing recorder interludes.

When Tomohiko Kishimoto wants to rock, he really doesn't hesitate to. After the slightly tame preceding tracks, "Lava Field" is a breath of fresh air with all its rough and distorted elements. Nevertheless, it still retains the powerful melodies and compelling rhythms so characteristic of the J.D.K. Band. "On Wings of Pride" meanwhile offers a good dose of motivational rock and seems to really capture the ambition of the characters in The Legend of Xanadu. "Frozen Tower" and "Winter Wind" are much the same, but it's very interesting how Tomohiko Kishimoto still references the icy element of the originals with his impressive introductions and percussive use.

Though much of the album is anthemic rock, there is still a considerable variety. "Parthia", for example, is surprisingly an acoustic theme featuring mellow flute leads and snare backing. It serves as a scenic interlude between the rocking tracks. "A New Beginning" meanwhile strips the elements down into a sort of new age theme. It's actually pretty superficial, but still good at calming listeners after all the rock before. "Field" brings the album round full circle by blending the rock elements of the soundtrack with the acoustic elements — juxtaposing a radiant flute lead against thrashing rhythm guitars.


Falcom J.D.K. Band 4 demonstrates Tomohiko Kishimoto and band back on form. They offer plenty of what they do best here — hyper-melodic instrumental rock — but also colour the album with a range of atmospheric moments too. It's amazing what they manage to do even with some of the weaker tunes in Falcom's discography. Highly recommended.

Overall Score: 8/10