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The Legend of Heroes VI the Third Original Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

The Legend of Heroes VI Sora no Kiseki the Third Original Soundtrack Album Title: The Legend of Heroes VI Sora no Kiseki the Third Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Nihon Falcom
Catalog No.: NW10102750
Release Date: September 27, 2007
Purchase: Buy at VGM World


In 2007, Falcom decided to make Sora no Kiseki into a trilogy with the release of the controversial The Legend of Heroes VI: Sora no Kiseki the 3rd. The Falcom Sound Team J.D.K. once again returned to craft the score and took a similar approach to predecessors. The resultant soundtrack offers almost the best of both worlds for Falcom fans. Some pieces are reminiscent of the mature and creative approaches of the First Chapter, whereas others are much more straightforward and mainstream-targeted like those of the Second Chapter. Could this be the pinnacle of the trilogy's music?


The soundtrack opens with a rendition of the theme song "Cry for Me, Cry for You". The song attempts to repeat the success of "Silver Will, Golden Wings" with its frivolous vocal performance and upbeat technofied instrumentals. Somewhere down the line, however, it ends up sounding like a rather bland and generic J-Pop song. The melody isn't particularly memorable, the English lyrics are sometimes mispronounced, and the electric guitar elements are quite unwelcome in the usually organic theme songs of the series. Fortunately, there are quite a few instrumental compositions that capture the desired frivolous effect far more successfully. "The Illusionary Blue Flower", for instance, blends the lyricism of some of the sound team's lighter compositions with a welcome jazz influence. Other early favourites include "The Passenger Airship Lusitania", a dashing romantic waltz, and the more organic and meditative "Golden Road, Silver Road". Though these lighter themes are surprisingly few, they are somehow a defining aspect of the tone of the soundtrack and game.

Compared with earlier soundtracks in the series, the third chapter is surprisingly ambient approach. While many would expect this to be a bad thing, it's actually quite welcome, since the resultant soundscapes are usually so creatively fascinating, rhythmically compelling, and even melodically memorable. For example, it's beautiful how gentle piano wanderings are integrated into the otherwise minimalistic "Origins of the Earth" and "Cradle Where Thoughts Rest". Likewise it's fascinating how "Jade Corridor" manages to blend together ethnic chanting, sitar infusions, and electronic beats yet still sound relatively cohesive. Quite a few of the themes are quite dark ones, however. "Hermit's Garden", "Maze of Light and Shadow", and "A Strange World", for instance, focus on creating moody yet relaxing synthy soundscapes. "The Castle at Dusk", on the other hand, sounds deathly with its Baroque passagework and dissonant strings. Though still a stately classically-oriented composition, the mood couldn't contrast more with "Lusitania".

The action themes on the third chapter are even more rock-focused than the preceding chapter. However, fortunately the Falcom Sound Team J.D.K. leave their old-school style behind in favour of a more modern and gritty approach. "Fighting Right On" is a pretty standard hard rock theme for the sound team, but still very energetic and compelling. "The Crimson Stigma" is far more interesting and, with its extravagant keyboard work and dense chord progressions, might well have been influenced by the progressive rock band King Crimson. However, there are still refreshing deviations, such as "Determination of Fight" and "Beard the Lion in His Den" with their combination of piano lines and electonic elements, or "Close to the Brink" with its combination of orchestral crisis chords and distorted keyboard improvisations. Those looking for power anthems should jump straight to "Masquerade of Lies", though. Part gothic, part progressive rock, it even makes passages taken from "Cry for Me, Cry for You" sound amazing. It's so badass, it's good.

In Sora no Kiseki tradition, a series of gothic compositions prepare listeners for the climax. Compositions such as "Castle of Illusions", "The Way of the Heart", and "Banquet of Frenzy" will be bliss for those out there who enjoy ancient organ and chorus work. While derivative, their effects are so striking in context. The sound team also create atmosphere with the spell-binding epic "The Final Choice" and the minimalistic yet eerie "Dreamy and Boisterous Holy Land". Moving to the decisive battles, "Overdosing Heavenly Bliss" combines charismatic violin passages with punchy piano chords and soaring electronic elements to elating effect. "Till the Night of Glory" meanwhile is a bonus theme featuring one of the new sound team's favoured ensembles — a violin lead against rocking accompaniment. Rounding off the soundtrack are the full and instrumental versions of "Cry for Me, Cry for You", neither of which are particularly appealing, as well as the love ballad "Looking at the Sky"; though rather typical, it's a solid finish to the soundtrack thanks to the touching performance by Kanako Kotera.


The Legend of Heroes VI Sora no Kiseki the Third Original Soundtrack is a good way to round off the music for the Sora no Kiseki trilogy. There are many highly accessible themes on this soundtrack, such as the rocking battle themes, carefree setting themes, or the somewhat dubious vocal tracks, yet the darker and ambient tracks show the Falcom Sound Team J.D.K. at their creative best once again. The soundtrack still isn't quite as novel or refined as the First Chapter soundtrack, but it is still a solid second in the trilogy and highly recommended for fans of RPG soundtracks once again.

Overall Score: 9/10