We're finally getting some arranged albums for the Tales series. After a rock-band-style battle arrange album, we get a piano solo album arranged and performed by Sakuraba himself. How is it? Well...that depends on how you like your piano.
In this case, the piano has been overcooked by Sakuraba. It seems to me that there is far too much bombast on this album. Every now and then, if Sakuraba doesn't know how to transpose the song itself onto piano, he resorts to banging the piano, and/or running glissandos up and down the scales. Emotionally expressive it may be, but it is also a sloppy way of arranging these fine melodies.
Again, many battle themes were chosen for this album. My favorites both came from Tales of Destiny (tracks 3 and 11). The only track from Sakuraba's newest Tales album, "Tales of Vesperia," is a short and somewhat forgettable arrangement of "The Dawn of Departure."
The arrangements are hit-or-miss, but for the most part, I believe they missed. I would like to see a piano collection for the Tales series that also incorporates Shinji Tamura's compositions. Sakuraba simply isn't meant to arrange for piano, especially since these performances feel improvised, un-studied, and otherwise sloppy. If you want a Tales arrange album, get the battle arrange album instead of this one.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann