A musical "sequel" to the 4th SRT soundtrack, Shin (New) Super Robot Taisen Powerful Music Battle II is an OST/arrange album for the PlayStation strategy RPG that helped usher the series into the 32-bit era.
I've listened through my fair share of SRT (or SRW, however you want to abbreviate Taisen/Wars) soundtracks, though this is the first I've taken the time to write about. I've chosen this one first because, frankly, it's very good.
The opening six tracks are all fantastic. Allow me to take some time to elaborate on these.
"Everywhere You Go" is a vocal track from a male vocalist, and it is wildly catchy. The voice is cheesy, but the melody and rhythm are infectious in a way that only VGM and anime composers know how to design. As much as I love this first song, I have twice as much love for the second song, "Psychic Energy." Permit me to sample some of the English lyrics from the song's chorus:
The R-3 Machine leads me to the enemy
The Psychic Energy leads me to the dream world
The R-3 Machine I get power in the sky
The Psychic Energy I get a chance in the future.
The song's vocalist, a female, does an awesome job at keeping the over-the-top spirit of SRT alive. The original melody was also awesome, and it was an excellent choice to be arranged into a vocal track.
"Bird of Fire" is one hard-rockin' arrangement of an already rockin' tune. Guitar solos abound, and the energy never dies down. "Get The Funk Out" is the strangest of the songs in the arrange section: funky, as the song suggests, but also rock-infused. I'll admit that this was my least favorite song from the arranged section.
"The Opened Door" is a classical orchestral theme. Both the original and arranged versions are synthesized, but it's (obviously) better synth guiding the arranged version. I also suspect some live instruments were on this track, but I can't tell what's real and what isn't. The song is a rare breather for what is typically a marathon of powerhouse synth-rock. The arranged section ends with "Star Emblem," a strangely enchanting techno-pop track with a computerized voice speaking some nonsense here and there throughout the track (this computerized voice also exists in the OST version, but is less defined on that track).
The rest of the album is split in the same way that nearly every SRT album is: music taken from various mecha anime, and original tunes. Comparing this album to 4th SRT Powerful Music Battle, this album has many more original pieces, which is a very good thing. Gundam and Mazinger are nice, but one can only take so much of it, and since they appear on every SRT soundtrack known to man, it's always encouraging to hear something different.
The sound quality of the synth is impressive, even in its treatment to the anime tunes. For example, the artists paid specific attention to detail when arranging "JUST COMMUNICATION," the opening theme to Gundam Wing. I didn't think they'd be able to do a good job, but I was wrong. And mind you, this was a decade ago!
There are some awesome themes in the range of tracks from 30 to the end. "Variable Formation" is an even faster and more intense version of the "Everywhere You Go" melody, one that I was glad they took time to re-use this much. "Killer Bee" is an awesome enemy theme, and "In Chains" is another instant classic. Please check out these samples.
The soundtrack was and is a pleasant surprise, indeed. I was glad to be the one to dig it out of the box of "oldies but (maybe) goodies" and learn the truth, a decade after its release. Perhaps you will get the chance to repeat my experience, but most likely, you'll struggle just to find it.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann