Ar tonelico III Image CD Utau Oka~Ar=Ciel Ar=Dor~
Catalog Number: FCCM-0328 (limited edition FCCM-0327)
Released On: September 29, 2010
Composed By: Akiko Shikata, Akira Tsuchiya, chat*noir
Arranged By: Akiko Shikata, Akira Tsuchiya, chat*noir
Published By: Frontier Works
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 1 CD

01 - Singing Hill ~This World, This Land~
02 - The Era of the Raging Lion ~Emperor of Wailing Thunder~
03 - The Forest of Shelanoir
04 - Infelious Rhaplanca. Heavenly Prayers ~Rhaplanca~/Earthly Atonement ~Maoh~
05 - Afezeria HARVESTASYA.
06 - Ec Tisia ~Tarifa~
Total Time:

The limited edition has a different catalog number (and retail price), but the CD itself is exactly the same. The differences are the DVD-sized case and the additional booklet.

So the Hymmnos Concert albums for AT3 weren't too great. Perhaps to make up for it, Akiko Shikata released this surprisingly lengthy image album for AT3. These six tracks are some of the best I've heard in the whole series.

The opening track is a new version of AT3's opening track: added vocal layers, added sections of music, all sorts of added stuff. And these "additives" are quite helpful in bringing something new and powerful to the piece.

The next track starts as a standard choral piece, but breaks into a dance techno beat on and off throughout. I really like this one; it is easily one of Shikata's best pieces for the series. Changing time signature, adding and removing triplets, playing vocal recordings in reverse... these and many other techniques are incorporated. This one track alone is quite the musical trip.

Longest track on the album? Track 4, almost 8 minutes. It's another favorite. Heck, the whole disc is favorites. But this one goes everywhere and back before it's over. All of the now tried-and-true tricks from previous AT vocals are pulled in this operetta-of-a-song. Love it.

Lesson learned: creativity takes time. Akira Tsuchiya and the others at Gust shouldn't have rushed AT3, and that includes the Hymmnos pieces. A little more time nets better results. That, and/or just put Shikata-san in charge of the music outright. Ar tonelico fans, get this CD.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann