Despite being one of the worst-received games in the series, the music for Dragon Quest VII is some of the most refined. Sugiyama continues to use the same melodic themes from previous games, using counterpoint and other variations to keep the classic melodies (Overture, Castle, Town, Flying) sound fresh. Additionally, some new, original themes are thrown into the mix. “Saraband” is one that I’ve loved since I first heard it in 2000. One that I hadn’t noted in the 2000 recording, but kept me on my toes this time around, is “Sacrifice Dance.” That is a beautiful song.
Now, this print of the DQ7 Symphonic Suite is the second print. Every DQ Symphonic Suite was not just reprinted, but actually re-recorded, around the time of Dragon Quest VIII’s release (also coinciding Dragon Quest’s 20th anniversary). The music was performed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, and while some people have made disparaging remarks about the recording quality, I personally have nothing but good things to say about it. You have to turn up the volume on your speakers, as the post-recording mixers didn’t see fit to normalize or “auto-loud” the volume. Personally, I think this is very important for an orchestral recording.
You’ll notice that this print is two discs. It didn’t need to be. The combined time for the two discs is 78 minutes, 22 seconds. That pushes the limits of a standard CD, but technically, a CD can go to nearly 80 minutes. Cut some silence at the beginning or end of a couple tracks and you’d be down to 78 minutes flat. In my opinion, it was a waste to make this album span two discs.
Time for the summary: even if Dragon Quest hasn’t sent you into an ephemeral trance before, this may be the recording that does it. I have a fondness for DQ7’s music (even though I feel the exact opposite about the PlayStation game), and this recording/performance is far superior to the original, in my opinion.