Before Lantis took over publishing soundtracks for the SRT series, one of First Smile’s last soundtracks printed was very likely its best. This collection contains 17 OST version songs from various anime, and 8 well-arranged themes unique to the SRT series, some unique to the Alpha subseries.
There are probably about a dozen versions of the standard Mazinger and Macross themes spanning the many SRT soundtracks published in the last decade, and among them, these are some of the best. In some ways, they are even more enjoyable than the arrangements used in Alpha 2 and 3.
But the real treat comes at the end of the album. These arranged tracks are exclusive to this album, making it a worthwhile purchase to SRT fans. Real instruments are used in these arrangements, which mostly fall under the genre of “rock.” The best of these is easily Cybuster’s theme…which has had upwards of 20 arrangements made since its creation. This particular arrangement is by far my favorite. They rock it out in a way that Falcom or SSH would. It’s perfect.
All of the arranged tracks are decent; I don’t mean to downplay some by emphasizing others. That said, allow me to talk about another favorite of mine: Dark Prison. I’d never thought much of this song before, but this particular arrangement stood out to me as a decent arrangement. As an upbeat orchestra-rock piece, it leaves its mark and works well as a closing track. The synth horns used in the faster parts of the song are also top-notch.
Like any First Smile album, this CD is a fairly difficult find. But, should you find it, don’t pass up. There are so many SRT albums out there, but this is one of the few where I would say it’s worth having, even if you’re not at all familiar with the series. It’s just plain good music!