Audysseys — The Eightfold Road: Metal Arrangements from Octopath Traveler, by FamilyJules.
When Square Enix first showed off Octopath Traveler, it was a total surprise to pretty much everyone. Taking a 16-bit style RPG and making it HD with both bokeh and depth of field effects was something that had never been done before. Having eight different character’s storylines intertwined, each with their own unique fighting style and backstories to play through made an iconic impression on the genre, especially as an exclusive game to the Nintendo Switch. The soundtrack itself was a hit even before the game’s release, but FamilyJules has stepped it up and brought metal to this masterpiece’s album.
Almost every track gives you a taste of the original track and then blasts it into the stratosphere with the screams and wails of Jules’ electric guitar. I honestly had a hard time picking which songs to feature (because I love all of them), but I managed to narrow it down to the following ten songs, from thirty-two, which should give you a varied peek into this must-have album.
Octopath Traveler Main ThemeA perfect introduction and setup for the rest of the album. It honestly sounds like something ripped straight out of Chrono Cross, and when the guitar kicks in, it sounds like the most epic anime intro track ever. The ocarina use just nails the main theme so well — it’s just perfect.
Olberic, The WarriorOne of my favorite character themes, the ramping up of the theme just takes off and feels like it may never come back down.The epicness of this track is simply off the charts, with soaring dual guitars and a strong kicking bass drum. The flourishes with arpeggios during the middle of the song are next level, and bring a little extra to an already amazing theme.
Ophilia, The ClericWith its beginning ocarina solo, you get a taste of the original track and its strong melody — then a moment later you are kicked in the face with a searing guitar lick that sends the whole song into a tizzy. Feels like the end of a great battle.
H’aanit, The HunterThe soft piano and sound effects really set the song up as if it was within a forest with its lush green majesty, slowly panning by the scenery — then the slaying guitars rip through the trees and you can see H’aanit, proud and strong, rushing through the forest with her animals in tow, off to the next hunt.
The SunlandsAnother beautiful piano track, it brings the feeling of watching the dawn of a new sun coming over the horizon. The plunge into the metal side is smooth and isn’t as fast-paced as the other tracks, which brings a nice duality to the song. One of the strongest melodies of the entire album, an epic for sure.
The RiverlandsSimple piano and bongos bring up the melody at the beginning and really showcase the brilliance of Jules’ work. His mastery of the ocarina shines through especially in this track, as the melody soars with the wistful chords of the instrument’s simplicity. Once the metal kicks in though, the track ascends to heaven with the electric melody surging through every power chord and arpeggiated flourish.
My Quiet Forest HomeWhile it may start quiet with an acoustic guitar filling out the melody, this home seems anything but. A brilliant ramp of notes playing throughout the track touches even on the classic Final Fantasy melody for a brief moment. Finally, the door is kicked open and splinters fly everywhere as the epicness of the guitar fills the home with beautiful infectious metal. The melody in this track and his interpretation really sets this track apart as one of the finest liberties taken with the original tracks, and as the acoustic guitar comes back after the electric guitars tore the roof off the house, it sets it back to the original soft melody.
Dark Caverns (feat. ToxicxEternity)Brooding electricity and a strong bass kick bring up this track, with a looming back and forth between battling guitars. The soaring heights of the guitars fill this track to the brim with echoing caverns full of the epic harmonies all while keeping the main theme alive. The lightning fast guitar in the middle of the track furthers the energy of the track and brings the epic ramping to the final notes of its conclusion.
Battle IIITakes the original battle track and ramps it up to twelve. Feels like some final confrontation of you versus the entirety of everything evil, and as the quick guitars play, you slay them all at once in a flash of brilliance from your sword. Then, the key change comes, and the final boss emerges, just to taunt you. You take to it once more and take blows at one another, over and over again, till one of you finally fall.
Daughter of the Dark God (feat. Adriana Figueroa)The harmonies that fill out this track bring up some epicness, and the pounding drums and the soaring, competing electric guitars round out the melody. Once the lyrics from Adriana Figueroa belt out in operatic fashion, it honestly sounds like a track off a Nightwish album. With her haunting operatic voice and the blisteringly fast guitars playing around it, it brings up the feeling of a final battle. Suddenly, an acoustic guitar break, which plays out the melody, leads into dueling guitars brooding as they deliver the epic conclusion to this track.
I can’t recommend enough that you go and check out The Eightfold Road: Metal Arrangements from Octopath Traveler, regardless of whether you are a classic RPG fan, a metal-head or perhaps just looking for something new. The arrangements are absolutely spectacular and will entertain you thoroughly during the nearly two-hour ride. I’ve loved FamilyJules’ work for some time, but this album simply blew me away. It’s beautiful, it’s energetic, and ultimately, it’s darn-near perfection.
The Eightfold Road: Metal Arrangements from Octopath Traveler is available at Bandcamp, where you can order it digitally or as a physical, two-disc CD version, and also on iTunes and Spotify. Check out FamilyJules and his other amazing metal renditions on Youtube and on Twitter.