CD REVIEW - MONSTER HUNTER 3 (Tri)
Monster Hunter 3 (Tri)
Music by Yukko Miyama & Tadayo Shimakin
Sumthing Else SE-2083-2 (US)
Disc 1 - 29 Tracks 67:43 mins
Disc 2 - 23 Tracks 68:46 mins
Through their licensing agreement with Capcom, Sumthing Else Music has released the score for the latest in the popular Japanese fantasy adventure game series. There's a huge amount of music on this double-disc set for a score that is basically made up of two very distinct elements. Firstly, there is the dramatic orchestral underscore, recorded with the full and conventional forces of the FILMharmonic Orchestra in Prague, and secondly, the more intimate ethnic, often dance-styled music, realised by a variety of ethnic instruments and percussion . To be honest, the two styles do not sit comfortably together and I have to admit to preferring the former, with the happy, uptempo dance stuff becoming irritating after a while - especially the more comedic efforts.
So, I will concentrate here on the dramatic stuff, with the best of the orchestral writing on disc one, starting with the title theme, which opens disc one, an initially noble affair that quickly transforms into exciting action, before ending in sweeping heroism. "The Door to the Hunter Life" expands upon the heroic main theme, as it boldly rides forth. A number of the symphonic tracks that follow are too brief to comment on, but "Tremble of the Sea and Land/Lagiacrus" reprises the action section of the title track, whilst "Success!!!" is suitably triumphant, with a return to the noble heroism of the main theme. "Earth Sand and Firey Winds/Barroth" presents more propulsive action, incorporating electronic and ethnic elements within its fury. These elements continue in "Trao of the Muddy Stream/Gobul," which has a very percussive and somewhat menacing feel to it, and there's more to follow in "The Subzero White Knight/Barioth" and "Sound of the Great Mountain/Agnaktor."
By contrast, "The Lunar Abyss" has an impressive, grand scale to it, with bold brassy moments, whilst still incorporating ethnic elements. The following "Moonquake/Ceadeus" mixes an ethnic choral sound (courtesy of Kuko) with heavy percussion, somewhat in the style of Kenji Kawai, the choir continuing, with much lighter percussion, into "Everlasting Words." Disc one concludes with a grand reprise of the main theme in all its glory.
Disc two, which is largely given over to the ethnic style, but does include some nice, airy scenic tracks, opens with an electronic/percussive reprise of the main theme in "The Great Desert Post, Loc Lac," which gets a very ethnic treatment in "Hunter of the Violent Sands. The first orchestral appearance comes with track 6, "Inseparable Bond/Arena," but this is over almost as soon as it begins. However, "Give Your Back/Arena" quickly follows, and though synths largely substitute for orchestra, the furious percussion drives it nicely along.
The next orchestral track is the desperate struggle of "The Voracious Devil/Deviljho," which incorporates elements of the main theme as it strives for victory. We have to wait until track 20 until the next orchestral cue, the heroic determination of "Jhen that Rides the Sea of Sand," which again has to toil hard for victory. Immediately after, "Intercepting the Great Gong" continues the action in powerful, heroic style, again utilising the main theme. Closing Disc two is "Testament of a Hero/3(Tri) Version," which reprises the main theme in one last heroic arrangement.
In conclusion, there's a very nice single disc struggling to break out of this double-disc set, but that's just looking at it from an orchestra lover's standpoint. You may prefer the other style on display here and there's no denying there's some catchy, easy-going stuff to be heard if that's you bag.
The set comes with liner notes by Capcom's principal composers on the project, Yukko Miyama and Tadayo Shimakin, director Kaname Fujioka, and producer Ryozo Tujimoto, as well as thumbnail bios of all.
The Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) soundtrack is available from retailers, both on CD and as a digital download from sumthingdigital.com, Amazon, or iTunes.