Yuzo Koshiro, sasakure.UK – 7th Dragon III code: VFD – Original Soundtrack & Songs

3 out of 5

Label: U/M/A/A

Produced by: Yuzo Koshiro (?)

Fun but somewhat indistinct, this 3-disc soundtrack for 7th Dragon III is quite a bit more “digital” sounding than the other recent Koshiro-helmed RPG score I listened to, Sekaiju to Fushigi no Dungeon, and perhaps that’s part of why it lacks some identity, not lending itself to the lushness found in that score. Which isn’t to say that these boppy tunes aren’t quite layered, or without some notable moments, but it’s lacking in a definitive theme, and, though I haven’t played the game, the tracks tend to sound like somewhat generic overworld tunes, or battle backgrounds, and etc. Sakaiju to Fushigi sounded like an epic; 7th Dragon sounds like a video game.

There is a nice range of moods across the album, though (I mean, there should be, with three discs!), and they do seem to float into one another well, starting out kind of bright and getting significantly more moody as things go along. Disc 2 even gets rather aggressive at points, segueing into some dubstep like beats, which is kind of cheesy, to me, but it’s used very sparingly so it’s not bad. The track is pretty rocking with or without that breakdown.

sasakure.UK’s vocal tracks, on disc 3, sound very much like sasakure.UK, whose music I tend to like, but I’m not a big fan of the style of vocals employed. I’d say these tracks also suffer from the same indistinctness as the rest of the album, but they’re more beat-focused in general and do add some pep to things. We also get some instrumental versions of some of these tracks, as well as some composition assists from sasakure.UK here and there, which helps to link the music to Koshiro’s offerings, suggesting the team-up might’ve encouraged the overall direction of the music – though I haven’t heard Koshirio’s preceding 7th Dragon soundtracks, so he could very well just be following his own lead.

Overall, I’d rate this more as background music than an engaging listen. The wealth of tunes do offer plenty of tonal variation, so it doesn’t just blend together, and there are occasional bright spots – including, maybe not coincidentally, one of the orchestral tracks, closing out disc 1 – but the lack of a notable theme tends to relegate it to generic RPG-land… with some dub-step beats.