Ar tonelico III ~The Girls' Song Which Triggers the End of the World~ OST

[back cover]
Catalog Number: KDSD-10044/5
Released On: January 27, 2010
Composed By: Akira Tsuchiya, Ken Nakagawa, Kazuki Yanagawa, HIR, Akiko Shikata
Arranged By: Akira Tsuchiya, Ken Nakagawa, Kazuki Yanagawa, HIR, Akiko Shikata
Published By: Team Entertainment
Recorded At: D-Sound
Format: 2 CDs

Disc One
01 - Singing Hill ~Harmonics TILIA~
02 - M.S.G.Y.E.C.
03 - Azure Lands
04 - Village of the Windmills
05 - A Brisk Walk
06 - An Encounter
07 - Big Fang Road
08 - Restraint
09 - EXEC_HYMM_BATTLESPHERE/.#Saki extracting
10 - Victory Announcement
11 - Run Through!
12 - Conceited Yet Humble
13 - The Black Market
14 - A Strange Play ~ The First
15 - Merk ~ Saki
16 - Big Fang Cave
17 - Sneak Through the Grand Gate
18 - Somniloquence
19 - Rolling Stone
20 - An Appointment in Pipe Alley
21 - Signpost of Memories ~ The First
22 - LAB
23 - The Land Resonates
24 - Sigma
25 - Merk ~ Finnel
26 - To the Front Lines
27 - Distance to the Top
28 - Lifeless Rain Falling
29 - Nyamo's Song
30 - A Special Story
31 - Traces
32 - An Alluring Kiss
33 - The Star Formation
34 - A Flash
35 - Links
36 - Crimson Impulse
37 - An Imperial Choice
38 - Many Petals Threaten
39 - Elegant Song
Total Time:

Disc Two
01 - Welcome to the Guide Tour!
02 - Etude
03 - A Brisk Walk ~ calmato
04 - A Transparent Wind
05 - Merk ~ Party
06 - Found the Treasure!
07 - Emergency!
08 - EXEC_HYMM_BATTLESPHERE/.#Finnel extracting
09 - Defeat Announcement
10 - A Gap in the Heart
11 - Phaze Shift
12 - All Things in Nature
13 - A Strange Play ~ The Second
14 - On a Night Filled With Shooting Stars
15 - Unpreparedness is One's Greatest Enemy
16 - Totetoteto
17 - Rainbow-colored Crayon
18 - The Invisible Wall
19 - Signpost of Memories ~ The Second
20 - Pan of Age
21 - Another Gate
22 - With Everyone Again Today
23 - Pan of Age ~ on Piano
24 - Merk ~ Tilia
25 - Memory of Tower
26 - Beginning at Chance
27 - A Heart Beating Faster
28 - Heavy Frame
29 - EXEC_HYMM_BATTLESPHERE/.#Tilia extracting
30 - Spinning the Thread of Hope
31 - Where the Fever Lies
32 - A Strange Play
33 - A Brisk Walk
34 - Where the Fever Lies
35 - A Gap in the Heart
36 - Battle
37 - Victory Announcement
38 - An Encounter
39 - A Strange Play ~ The Third -Bonus Track-
Total Time:

Well, here it is. The Gust Sound Team is back (sort of), alongside a big pile of female vocalists who are eager to play the part of "Reyvateil," in Ar tonelico III. Graphically, the game took a big jump into cel-shaded characters and 3D battles. it also took the console jump from PS2 to PS3. But, musically, there wasn't a big leap.

In many ways, this two disc OST is more of the same. But then, it's not. There really aren't any "stand-out" tracks like there were on the first Ar tonelico. This is a solid, completely consistent two disc soundtrack.

Stylistically, you'll find what you've come to expect. About 30% of the tracks have female voice of some form; often manipulated, often with that whisper, frequently spelling out A R T O N E L I C O. You know the drill if you've been following these games half as closely as I have.

There are a few small, and enjoyable, surprises. Tracks 32 through 38 on disc two are all NES-style chiptune tracks. That's just awesome. Take a listen to the sample for 2-32. I could really go for a full arranged album in 8-bit / chiptune form for this series. That would make my day.

There were definitely a few things lacking on this soundtrack. First, a complete lack of good, guitar-rock battle themes. They just aren't here. The songs that I assume exist as battle tracks are all tense orchestral cues and atonal madness that, frankly, I don't care for. I'd count that as one blow against the soundtrack. The mellow tracks help to mitigate the pain, but I do very much miss the powerful battle tracks that I know Akira Tsuchiya and Ken Nakagawa can pull off.

The end credits music doesn't appear on the OST. You have to get the "Side Blue" hymmnos album to hear it. You also will only hear the "game size" opening track, not the full 4 minute version.

Final verdict? It's still the same great quality, oft-eccentric sound of the Ar tonelico series. But there's nothing that really reaches out and grabs your ears. The melodies are a little less inspired, and there isn't much new or exciting about the soundtrack. But if you just can't get enough of this kind of music, consider this OST a "booster shot" to keep you going. Hopefully, though, the Gust Sound Team will find a way to bring their music to new heights again, in the same way they broke through with Atelier Iris in 2004 and the first Ar tonelico in 2006. Can newcomers like Kazuki Yanagawa make it big like Ken Nakagawa and Daisuke Achiwa (strangely absent from this album) did six years ago? Time will tell.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann