Note: the year 2005 reprint was made to remove the controversial "Label Gate" copy protection software that was packaged with the original release.
The SMT3 OST was printed months before this album, back before SME Visual Works was overrun by Aniplex. That OST was not entirely "complete," especially after the "Nocturne Maniacs" re-release in Japan. To accompany the new version of the game was this not-quite-full-length album featuring some of the fun new music.
A caution to American fans of the series: if you already own the game and received the soundtrack CD that came with it, know that the soundtrack you received contains all 21 of these tracks, as well as some of the better tracks from the original 2-disc OST. With that out of the way, let's take some time to consider what all is on this disc.
"Dante's Entry" is a short track that transitions smoothly into "The Depths of Amara", which is a beautifully atmospheric piece, making use of the standard SMT sounds: a pulsing rhythm that is broken from time to time with moments of a dreadfully soft and ominous melody. The gothic rock feel continues through the regular battle theme, and then goes from rock to straight gothic baroque sounds in "Master of Hell," one of my favorite tracks on the album. The traditional chord progressions are reminiscent of Bach, and the harpsichord and organ sounds remind us even more of those old, dark church settings: much like Castlevania music.
The next few tracks take a turn toward the techno-experimental side, though track 8 includes some symphonic sounds that remind me of the work put into Drag-On Dragoon. The techno stuff stops at track 13, "Metatron," and we are treated to an evenly-paced orchestrated anthem. It is this sort of song that I find most appealing about the SMT series; in the midst of all the experimental techno atmospheric haunting death stuff, there comes the occasional track that is best described as "epic" and "domineering." This is a matter of personal taste, but I for one enjoy it very much.
Of course, there's more techno-rock glory, and one track stands out as especially powerful. Of course, I am thinking of "Dante Battle." This song is sickeningly good: just the sort of thing you'd expect from Meguro and company. And, running at 3 minutes, it is one of the longer tracks on the album.
I was somewhat disappointed with the "Last Battle" though; its lightness and experimental percussive sounds in the loop were enjoyable, but I was waiting for that hard-hitting moment...but it never came.
Very few of these tracks are dull, though more than a few fall under the one minute mark. If you missed out on the domestic soundtrack release and are looking to complete your SMT music experience, go find this album. Otherwise, let it slide. It's good, but simply said, the two disc OST will always be a more worthwhile purchase.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann