I have owned this CD for over a year, and I love it! Many will find difficulty in interpreting this CD, but I hope to clear some of that confusion here. I waited until I finished playing through Seiken Densetsu 3 before writing this review, because I wanted to get a grasp of all the series' music.
I'm going to sound crazy saying this at first, but I firmly believe that Hiroki Kikuta was strongly influenced by Pink Floyd when creating this CD. The most noticeable thing about the disc (and the biggest complaint, even from me) is the fact that it is one long continuous track, broken into several "passages" with smooth transitions from one to the next. The seamless transitions are a trademark of Pink Floyd, except that their CDs are broken into individual tracks. The use of anything and everything as a musical instrument (birds, waterfalls, telephones, typewriters) is also reminiscent of Pink Floyd's style. I'll come back to this point later.
When listening to this CD, one must remember that this is an image album, not a soundtrack, not an orchestral performance. Always expect the unexpected when buying an image album. And as the moniker implies, each passage presents a certain image that should easily associate with the games. The first six minutes of the CD are a no-brainer, so I'll skip that. The next passage, lasting seven minutes, is a rapid-paced, techno hybrid of "Into The Thick Of It" and "Steel And Snare" from Secret of Mana, and "Strange Medicine" from Seiken 3.
The next five minutes, with the heavy bass and thrashing guitars, are definitely imagery. A picture of all the sinister leaders (mainly Thanatos) that helped create the plot and mood of the games goes through my mind. The next passage, lasting six minutes, begins with a beautiful outtake of Seiken 3's "Ancient Dolphin" and transcends into a faster paced expression of panic. With the imagery of birds and cascading wateralls, I imagine the three heroes in the Pure Land, placidly resting by a riverside, then suddenly being attacked. Following that, for 7 minutes, is battle music, as best I can tell.
The greatest injustice to the CD comes next. This next passage is by far the best, but is not even two minutes long! It is a powerful and moving passage, rife with the trauma of lost love. I can't belive less than two minutes were devoted to this masterpiece. What follows that is *definitely* Pink Floyd. The radio static, with vague voices, giving way to a slowly ascending, stunning rendition of "The Wind Never Ceases", is right on par with Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". This hypnotic, undulating melody lasts for seven minutes, then gives way to three more minutes of battle music, then a climactic Grand Finale, after which the CD fades into more placid "by the water" sounds.
Only by understanding this CD can one truly appreciate what Kikuta accomplished by creating this. I admittedly don't like the fact that I can't access my favorite tracks at will, but to listen to the composition as a whole is definitely time well spent.