Metal Saga ~Chains of Dust~ Original Soundtrack


Review by · March 20, 2006

Satoshi Kadokura’s score for Crea-Teach’s unique RPG “Metal Saga” comes to us as a special package from INH Group. The 3 disc collection (which, if you do the math, could have been 2 discs if they cared about efficiency) contains 59 songs, with almost all of them running a decent 2 to 4 minutes. Also, it seems that the discs were organized in a certain manner: first battle tracks, then area themes, then event music and ending music.

We’ve covered quantity. Let’s talk (at greater length) about the quality of the music.

Kadokura has a knack for bringing out both the best and the worst of various genres/styles of music. Depending upon your tastes, you will likely find a few songs on here that you really like, and more than a few that you immediately label as garbage. Here’s the tricky part: which songs you label as good and which you label as trash is anybody’s guess. I spent some time discussing this soundtrack with a few other acquaintances, and while we agreed that this soundtrack had its ups and downs, we sharply disagreed over which tracks were the “ups” and which were the “downs.” Sounds confusing, right? It is, and that’s why you might want to consider not even listening to the samples.

But before I turn you off to this soundtrack, let’s talk about which genres of music can be found on here. First of all, there is the raw, dirty, roughneck brand of crunchy-guitar rock with a hint of blues (usually in the form of a harmonica). This sound is what you hear in the opening track, which seems to fit the theme (and the art) of the game quite well. Then, there are some standard piano solo tracks and ambient background songs, some of which make excellent use of sampled drum loops and the like. There are some interesting jazz tunes, some country western, some spaghetti western…yeah, there’s a lot. I’m sure I’m missing some other genres.

One genre that is clearly missing: vocals. Not one single song on here is a vocal performance. It seems that the VGM standard is that a game at least have opening and ending vocal tracks. That isn’t the case with Metal Saga, so if you like vocals, too bad, you’ll just have to do without. Personally, I think the soundtrack does well with 100% instrumentals.

In my opinion, some of the songs are terribly mundane. But, again, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so maybe you’ll like the songs I hated. Or maybe you’ll hate the whole thing. Maybe you’ll love it! My favorite songs were the three battle themes sampled on disc one, as well as Torikami and Junk Mountain on disc two. I wasn’t impressed with most of the songs on the third disc.

The best advice I can give (beyond what I’ve already said) is that you will like this soundtrack most if you’re okay with outdated synth: especially in the strings department. With that warning out of the way, you ought to be able to come to a sober decision about this soundtrack. I’d also suggest checking out the game (published in the US by Atlus) before buying the soundtrack. As far as I know, the only place to purchase this CD is VGMworld (of Cocoebiz).

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.