MusiCube | Chrono Trigger Symphony: Volume 3 (Album Review)

By David Lovato 28.03.2015

Ask anyone to make a list of ground-breaking, timeless RPGs and they will probably include Chrono Trigger somewhere near the top. With a team consisting of the minds behind various projects like Final Fantasy and Dragonball, the game was a commercial and critical success. Yasunori Mitsuda, Nobuo Uematsu, and Noriko Matsueda came together to compose the game's soundtrack, and, over the years, the Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra has set to work re-creating that music. For reviews of the previous releases, check out these links: Chrono Trigger Symphony: Volume 1 and Chrono Trigger Symphony: Volume 2. Now Cubed3's MusiCube series takes a look at the latest, third volume.
Image for MusiCube | Chrono Trigger Symphony: Volume 3 (Album Review)
Singing Mountain
A quiet, light-hearted opening to the soundtrack. Good use of piano and orchestra strings, and the backing harp is a nice touch. This is a short opener, with the same jingle repeated with various degrees of backing instruments.

Tyrano Lair
This one begins as an urgent, organ-laden tune before exploding into a horn and guitar piece that is as dire-sounding as it is fun. It's not easy to make "dark" music sound so playful, but the Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra nailed it here. A quiet, jazzy interlude separates the louder bookends before the song disappears as suddenly as it came, backing down to a quiet outro. At three-and-a-half minutes, this is one of the longer tracks on the album, but every second of it is welcome.

Depths of the Night
Soft, beautiful piano opens this track and continues throughout, while the rest of the symphony eventually joins in. Delicate and short, it's a nice contrast to the previous track.

Corridor of Time
Xylophone, bongos, and sitar guide this track through its whimsical and eventually epic orchestral backing, with heavenly vocals leading it from the halfway point onwards. It's a very unique track.

Zeal Palace
Another darker tune. Vocal choir and violin glide over heavy percussion through the intro, until the horns arrive at the midpoint and the song takes a heavy turn.

Shala's Theme
A nice break from the heavier tunes, "Shala's Theme" is soft yet percussive. There's a jazziness to the backing wind instrument, which comes and goes at just the right moments, leaving the triangles and bells and other percussion to carry the tune through to the end.

Sealed Door
"Sealed Door" starts out slow, soft, even creepy, a tone that underlies the rest of the track, but now and then a seemingly-unfitting instrument chimes in, like an accordion or flute, sounding almost playful in comparison. The track conjures images of mystery and intrigue, of being watched from the shadows. It's a calm, imaginative track.

Ocean Palace
Another dire, urgent track, full of energy. At two minutes long, it could've been difficult to properly convey a sense of increasing peril, but the track does so flawlessly.

Crono & Marle - A Distant Promise
Probably one of the most recognizable tunes for Chrono Trigger fans. A music-box tune at first, later repeated by piano, with other instruments barely making themselves known as background ambience. It's a bittwersweet, lovely tune.

Wings of Time
The soundtrack takes a sharp upward turn here. "Wings of Time" is a beautiful, rolling piano piece that immediately lives up to its title. It's gorgeous from start to finish, and is one of the more fun-sounding songs, separated into a few distinct movements, all of them uplifting and magical.

Black Omen
Another darker tune, with bouncing horns and violin plucks leading into a fast-paced horn segment. It sounds urgent, it sounds like boss music, but it sounds like it's having a blast.

Determination
Military-style drumrolls and heavy bells form the core of this song's backing tune, while horns carry the lead. It's fast-paced and conveys a sense of consequence, yet somehow sounds almost hopeful.


 

World Revolution
Possibly the most epic song on the soundtrack. It's fast and loud, full of life. Darker moments come and go, divided by an energetic horn tune, the whole thing reminiscent of the type of battle the song accompanies in the game.

Final Battle
A culmination of all of the direness and urgency touched on in previous tracks, "Final Battle" is exactly what would be expected from its title. It's fast and full of instruments at various levels. Horns and what sounds like no fewer than three levels of percussion make up the back, eventually accompanied by a vocal choir, all of it slowly rising in pace and tone. The whole song escalates, each new instrument added along the way, like trumpets and violins, adding to the overall sense of importance. The sound effects in the closing seconds of the track sound like a final boss in its death throes, which is an unexpected and ingenious touch.

Festival of Stars
Another nice change of pace for the soundtrack, "Festival of Stars" is wonderful. It's another bouncy, playful tune, full of accordions and tuba sounds, celebratory trumpets, and the odd moment of calm fluting. It's an upbeat "We did it!" type of tune.

Epilogue - To Good Friends
The same music-box tune from "Crono & Marle - A Distant Promise," but this time slower and even quieter—at least until a full symphony joins in on the theme. It's the kind of bittersweet, sweeping orchestral piece that might be expected to accompany an epilogue. It's beautiful.

Outskirts of Time
The soundtrack's closer, and the longest song on it, carries a plethora of emotions. It's everything a closer should be, flowing through several movements, most of them quiet, some happy, some sad, all beautiful.

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10
This isn't a shallow reproduction of a classic game's critically-acclaimed music; The Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra has set out to pay tribute to classics while adding its own flair to them without ruining the experience. Approached with a sense of love and nostalgia that can only come from a fan, yet created with care and taken seriously, nothing is added that shouldn't be. Chrono Trigger Symphony: Volume 3 carries a different sound from the original pieces, making it a must-listen for fans of the game. At about 43 minutes long, no song overstays its welcome, and the beautiful and well-balanced tracklist will appeal to fans of fantasy and music in general.

All three volumes can be purchased and downloaded over at the official website.


Box art for Chrono Trigger
Developer

Squaresoft

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (10 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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