If you like the sort of hard rock music found in Konami's "Battle" series, the original Guilty Gear OST or any other sort of guitar driven metal, stop reading this review right now. Just go and order this album as soon as possible. All you really need to know is that Guilty Gear X Heavy Rock Tracks is one of the best video game music CDs ever made.
First, a bit of background. The original Guilty Gear X Arcade OST had some decent music, but unfortunately, it was entirely synthesized. And compared to the real guitars of the original PSX Guilty Gear, this was quite a step down. Thankfully, when it came to the Dreamcast, they re-did all of the music as it should have been in the first place: all live instruments. That's what makes this album as incredible as it is: almost all of the tracks have a powerful tune backed up by the blazing instrumentation of rock guitars, bass, and drums (the exception being the final ending track "Walk in the Dusk", a primarily piano driven piece) - every track explodes with adreline and excitement.
"Fatal Duel" is one of the best examples of the hard driving, heart-pounding rock found on the CD, with crashing symbols and exhilarating pace. "Awe of She" begins with a choir that soon bursts into a barrage of guitars and gains momentum from there. "Blue Water Blue Sky" is extraordinarily cheery and upbeat, while "Feel a Fear", its polar opposite, is decidedly dark. "The Original" actually uses a saxophone to backup the guitars, giving a very unique feel (to a very unique character: it's the theme of Faust, a gigantic man who wears a paper bag on his head and wields a six foot scalpel.)
There have been plenty of improvements over the original Guilty Gear soundtrack, mostly in the area of sound quality - while the music from the first game was excellent, it sounded a bit muffled. No more - everything is extremely crisp here. There are a few returning songs this time around, slightly rearranged and all sounding better than their original incarnations. Baiken's theme, "Momentary Life", still has the shamisen intro, but replaces the main melody with guitars, making it more powerful altogether. Ky's Theme, "Holy Orders (Be Just or Be Dead)" ditches the electric synth from the original version and sticks in some organs, making it fit in better with the rest of the song. Sol's theme, "Keep Yourself Alive 2", keeps some of the aspects of his old theme while expanding on them in an entirely new difference. "Suck a Sage" and "Writhe in Pain" also reappear, with some minor improvements (but they were almost perfect in the first place anyway.) The rest of the characters have new music: as much as I miss Potemkin's old theme, his new one, "Burly Heart" is a more than suitable replacement.
The flaws are extremely minor. Since this technically is an arranged album (of sorts), it does not include the whole soundtrack. The major songs are here, but the material that was left in synth guitar for the game (the character select, battle intros, etc.) have been left off the album - you'll need to purchase the original GGX OST to get these. Also, the final ending theme from the game has been left off the CD due to space, although quite honestly, it's no big loss (especially compared to the awesome ending songs already on there.)
You shouldn't finish reading this review by merely pressing "Back" on your browser and continuing with your daily life. You should immediately go out and buy this soundtrack wherever you can find it. Pay whatever price you must for one of most incredible game soundtracks in existence.