Note: the packaging itself lists track 5 with the mispelled "beatiful." It is most likely that it should read "beautiful," but we don't have the nerve to make the correction.
Team Entertainment has released a good handful of "The Best" soundtracks. They've done three for Idea Factory, this being the third. The first was for Generation of Chaos, and I did not care for that album at all. The second was Spectral Force, which I have not heard much of yet, but plan on getting now that I've listened to the third one: Spectral Souls.
Though Spectral Souls and Generation of Chaos share composers, there is something remarkably different (dare I bluntly say "better") about this collection. The compositions are more refined, more enjoyable, more memorable: all good things.
More than half the soundtrack contains music from "Blazing Souls," and I'd have to say this was a good choice. The music for Blazing Souls is definitely the most superior of the four games represented here. I was able to find plenty of diversity within these songs. There were influences of jazz as well as classical, and all sorts of modern rock subgenres are mixed in. I heard some "blues," some "bebop," and even some "techno-rock."
Though there's plenty of genre-bending to be found, some of the best songs are strictly orchestral in nature. Track 6 "In The Wind" is one such example.
If you want to hear some amazing rock battle themes, I recommend track 18, "Abrupt Command...". This song deserves its own lengthy arrangement. I loved it. If you're looking for a more world/ethnic sound with a touch of Yasunori Mitsuda's style, it's only two tracks away, "Conditional Green." This, too, could use a healthy arrangement to lengthen it from 2 minutes to, say, 7 minutes.
SSII and SSII "Unlimited Side" take up most of the latter half, and while the music is interesting, it's not as refined as Blazing Souls. However, I must comment upon the Engrish track names here. "Why Isn't They Frustration" and "Done Our Duty By Shrine" give me a good laugh every time I read them. However, the songs behind the titles here are both impressive (some of the best for the SSII section).
Tacked on at the end, almost as a bonus section, are three songs from Spectral Souls I. These songs were mediocre: they reminded me of Generation of Chaos. "Impatience Knight" was fairly enjoyable, but the other two songs simply bored me.
I suspect there were plenty of subpar songs from the Spectral Souls series. Luckily, Team Entertainment really found "The Best" music to share with us. They also included some beautiful character artwork in the packaging. That should be enough to sway you toward at least considering a purchase of this album. If you know anything about or are a fan of Idea Factory, then you really should give this album a try.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann