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Ar tonelico Hymmnos Musical ~Claire - Zephyr's Promise~ :: Review by Charles

Ar tonelico Hymmnos Musical ~Claire - Zephyr's Promise~ Album Title: Ar tonelico Hymmnos Musical ~Claire - Zephyr's Promise~
Record Label: Team Entertainment
Catalog No.: KDSD-10018
Release Date: August 30, 2006
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


The music was one of the most successful aspects of Gust and Bandai's Ar tonelico. It offered both instrumental and vocal compositions, blends of organic and inorganic elements, and, of course, plenty of memorable melodies. Among the numerous albums dedicated to the game were Ar tonelico Hymmnos Musical ~Claire - Zephyr's Promise~, which offered a blend of vocal and dramatic performances. While an interesting concept, it is one of the most worthless albums of the series for English consumers.


The majority of the album is dedicated to drama performances, rather than vocal performances. Each track takes listeners through a chapter of the game's story — initially setting scene and the legend of Ar tonelico, then portraying numerous events and battles, and ultimately concluding on a relieving note. The drama itself appears to be well-produced both from the standpoint of the writing and acting, thanks to the performances of the series' seiyuus. However, I'm far from an authoratitive judge given my lack of Japanese understanding. Indeed, most English listeners will feel lost and bored by the Japanese dialogue, just as I often did.

Unfortunately, this album offers little other value for those who cannot understand Japanese. Several tracks feature beautiful performances from vocalists such as Haruka Shimotsuki and Yuko Ishibashi, but they're almost all brief. The opener, for instance, blooms into a vocal hymn so representative of the series' music; however, the music is over within about a minute of beginning. Whereas most musicals contain an even mixture of dialogue and songs, this one features a great lack of vocal moments. In fact, most listeners will be stretched to find more than a minute of music in the central half hour of the album.

There is a little redemption provided by the closing track "Zephyr's Promise". This is a full-length vocal track blending both vocal performances with a range of instrumental recordings. The vocals are nothing short of exquisite, with Yuko Ishibashi's lead seamlessly combining with Akira Tsuchiya's chorus performance. Even better are some of the acoustic elements, such as Shinri Tanaka's soulful guitar solo and the various inorganic elements. Though there are better themes in the Hymmnos Concert albums, this is still one of the series' most representative songs and the sole highlight of an otherwise barren album.


To conclude, Ar tonelico Hymmnos Musical ~Claire - Zephyr's Promise~ is a disappointing album for English consumers. Contrary to its name, it's more of a drama album than a dynamic musical performance. While there are highlights scattered in the album, especially the closer, they're not enough to make the album worthwhile for those who do not speak Japanese. I'd recommend listening to the exquisite Hymmnos Concert albums instead.

Overall Score: 5/10