01 - Gossip "Someone's Dream"
02 - Intention "EXEC_HYMME_WINDILING/."
03 - Departure
04 - Encounter "To a Pleasant Place ~Moderate~"
05 - Distance "The Singing Voice of Trees"
06 - Extol Princess "EXEC_HYMME_SOLFIRLE/."
07 - Search
08 - Resentment "EXEC_HYMME_MEGAREALICS/."
09 - Kitty Candy "Xa Ziqt wac s"
10 - Everyday
11 - The Queen "Queen of the Back Alleys"
The second of Ar tonelico's "half drama" albums, the hymmnos musical series, focuses on Spica. As Claire was the supporting character behind Aurica, Spica is the supporting character behind Misha.
All the same staff and seiyuu are back, with the notable exception being a separate vocalist covering our new feature character: Spica. She has a deep, refined voice, and her performances are very much appreciated as an addition to the Ar tonelico cast.
Most of the album is, unfortunately, drama. Spoken dialogue probably makes up a good 85% of the album. If you chop up the album to pull out the vocal performances, the total time does not exceed ten minutes. So, if you're here just for the music, only a die-hard fan of Ar tonelico's vocal performances would pay retail for it.
Of course, the little bit of vocal music we find on here is generally excellent in nature. The audio samples here cover most of what you can find on the album. My favorite is, without a doubt, MEGAREALICS. This song uses complex rhythms and asymmetric time signatures, along with a fast-paced tempo, to send the listener into a whirlwind of sound. The made-up language doing the backup repeats the same line over and over, then the lead vocalist shows up with some crazy stuff. It's genius.
The opening song, in a mid-tempo 3/4, sounds much like the opening songs to every other Gust game since 2002. In other words, I like it.
The strangest song was without a doubt the ending, "Queen of the Back Alleys" (or, if you consider NIS America's translation correct, the "Underworld"). That same nasal, effect-ridden voice is used to accompany what is essentially a jazz number. I wasn't sure it would work, but when Spica shows up to give us a hot melody, things smooth out pretty nicely.
Unless you know Japanese and plan on enjoying the drama tracks, it's hard to warrant a purchase of this album. But nothing will stop an Ar tonelico fan, right? Well, I guess that's up to you.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann