- Atlus
  - Capcom
  - Cave
  - Falcom
  - Irem
  - Konami
  - Microsoft
  - Namco Bandai
  - Nintendo
  - Nippon Ichi
  - Grasshopper
  - Sega
  - Sony
  - Square Enix
  - Western Games

  - Castlevania
  - Chrono
  - Dragon Quest
  - Final Fantasy
  - Kingdom Hearts
  - Mana
  - Mario
  - Megami Tensei
  - Mega Man
  - Metal Gear
  - Resident Evil
  - SaGa
  - Silent Hill
  - Sonic
  - Star Ocean
  - Street Fighter
  - Suikoden
  - Tales
  - Ys
  - Zelda

  - Masashi Hamauzu
  - Norihiko Hibino
  - Kenji Ito
  - Noriyuki Iwadare
  - Koji Kondo
  - Yuzo Koshiro
  - Shoji Meguro
  - Yasunori Mitsuda
  - Manabu Namiki
  - Hitoshi Sakimoto
  - Motoi Sakuraba
  - Tenpei Sato
  - Yoko Shimomura
  - Koichi Sugiyama
  - Masafumi Takada
  - Nobuo Uematsu
  - Michiru Yamane
  - Akira Yamaoka

Home Contact Us Top


Tales of Series Battle Arrange Tracks :: Review by Chris

Tales of Series Battle Arrange Tracks Album Title: Tales of Series Battle Arrange Tracks
Record Label: Team Entertainment
Catalog No.: KDSD-00230
Release Date: August 27, 2008
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


For ten years, the Tales series has brought endless four disc soundtracks, vocal singles, and drama CDs. However, it is only very recently that the series has been commemorated with some arranged albums. Pre-order bonus DVD for the newly released Tales of Destiny PS2 Version and Tales of Destiny 2 PSP Version featured straightforward battle arrangements from across the series. This year, Team Entertainment decided to produce the very first commercially available arranged albums for the series with the assistance of veteran Motoi Sakuraba. The Tales of Series Battle Arrange Tracks features synthesised full-length battle theme arrangements from across the series. Though most of the album features the melodic progressive rock style of the series' battle themes, there are also some surprises along the way...


The album opens with a brand new arrangement of Abyss' "The Arrow Was Shot". The core of the theme interprets the beloved melody in the progressive rock style most would come to expect from Sakuraba. It manages to sustain its long playtime well by employing some witty dynamic contrasts and incorporating particularly dramatic renditions of the almost inconsequential secondary section of the original. There is plenty more progressive rock across the disc, ranging from Symphonia's pounding rhythmically driven "Full Force" to the subtly motivating progressions of Destiny 2's "Theme of Battle". Rebirth's "Battle Organisation" is particularly impressive for the way it presents frenzied and jagged passages at first, but incorporates some expressive piano solos and reflective passages later. Another clear favourite is Phantasia's "Take Up the Cross", which reflects the simplicity of Sakuraba's first battle themes with its initial melodic emphasis, but later features one of the most impressive and elaborate solos of the series. Props should also go to Tempest's "Confrontation" for transforming an originally mediocre battle theme into an uplifting jazz-tinged arrangement contrasting organ and piano passages.

Eternia's "Inferia" transforms a rapid pop-influenced battle theme into a slow soothing musical journey. While only the biggest Tales music fans will notice the correlation, it will inspire nostalgia in most with its rich rock organ melodies and expressive string-supported interlude. The soundscaping and development is impeccable here, on par with his most poignant creations in Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria. Destiny's "Bares Its Fangs" is another surprise focusing almost solely on the piano in contrast to the aforementioned themes that featured other lead instruments as well. The mixture of action-packed and slow-paced sections makes this one quite interesting, though it's let down by the plodding supporting chords and random congo accompaniment. "The Battle Opens Fire" is the orchestration on the disc. Although completely different to the original, it maintains Vesperia's distinction as having the darkest and most cinematic score of the series. The amount of drama and intricacy in this one is very impressive and a pleasing departure from his more blaring battle theme orchestrations like "The True Mirror".

Moving towards the end of the album, Destiny 2's "Alea Jacta Est" takes an especially bizarre approach. This time Sakuraba uses deep distorted synth and tinges of flamenco rhythms to create a surreal sound that will inspire abstract minds. However, the stereotypical melody seems least fitting of all the arrangements here and the main forces seem too divergent to create a coherent arrangement. Abyss' "The Edge of a Decision" offers the final jam of the album and has that distinctive tone a progressive rock finale should do. It's back to the typical battle theme style, but with faster rhythms, harder accompaniment, and more flashy solos than before. For me at least, it's the best of the progressive rock tracks. The final track offers a retrospective take on Symphonia's "Like a Glint of Light" with piano, chimes, and vocals. Could this really be it? No, for the middle portion of the composition breaks free from the suspense and offers progressively more intense jagged piano work characteristic of Sakuraba's Gikyokuonsou compositions. The album nevertheless ends quietly, fading into silence with a reprise of the original idea.


All in all, the Tales of Series Battle Arrange Tracks will be a pleasing listen for those who enjoy arguably the best aspect of Tales music — the battle themes. The track selection is broad and features many classics while the arrangements themselves usually emphasise the strong melodies of the originals. Over half of the album features the type of progressive rock one would expect from Motoi Sakuraba and his battle themes, though the arrangements enjoy the exuberance of improved synthesis, richer accompaniment, wonderful solos, and more breathing time. However, Sakuraba also ensured the album would be a diverse one with his offerings of orchestrations, piano tracks, nostalgic soundscapes, and surreal fusions. The album doesn't offer much new to Sakuraba's overall palette even if some of the approaches were surprising and there are some arrangements like "Bare Its Fangs" and "Alea Jacta Est" that feel unrefined. Nevertheless, the majority of the album will be very enjoyable for Sakuraba progressive rock fanatics so it's well worth picking up if you're that target audience and have already picked up his fantastic Live Concert DVD.

Overall Score: 8/10