Game Music, Miscellaneous

Sonic Boom Trio Part 3: Crush 40 Review

May 19, 2010 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Sonic Boom Trio Part 3: Crush 40 Reviewon Twitter

Finally we’ve reached the end of the trio of albums released by Wave Master late last year based on the works of Jun Senoue. Earlier we took a look at both True Colors – The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog Part 2 and THE WORKS which both offered both familiar favorites and retooled duds. But even with the occasional bad apple one thing remains a constant, Jun Senoue’s skills.

Therefore we saved the best for last in terms of his showcase of these talents with the review of The Best Of Crush 40: Super Sonic Songs, which is arguably the side of his works he’ll always be most famous for to game music fans. This CD as the title suggests collects the best so far from the hard rocking duo of Senoue and Johnny Gioeli. But is this a collection worth getting?

Crush your doubts by hitting the jump!

Crush 40 was born in 1998 when Senoue was working on Sonic Adventure and seeked help from Hardline vocalist Johnny Gioeli to record “Open Your Heart”. As time passed the two became good friends and continued to work on games together like NASCAR Arcade under the name Sons of Angels. This would eventually become Crush 40 as we know it today.

The band draws influence from Senoue’s old heroes in AOR and melodic rock and periodically, certain big names would come aboard to record a song or two from this scene. A few worthy mentions being Tony Harnell from TNT and Danger Danger’s Ted Poley who both appeared individually and together throughout the Sonic Adventure/Heroes series. Loud vocals with long melodic notes, hard rock guitars and driving lyrics are all staples of the Crush 40 style.

This CD collects the supposed best works from Crush 40’s 12 year run from both video games and original sources. Being primarily a video game music band, single trackss have often been scattered around on different games so here we have a chance to collect them onto one album. Among the games you’ll find here are Sonic Adventure, NASCAR Arcade and Shadow The Hedgehog. And speaking for the latter there, the first track is “I Am… All of Me” from that very title. It’s an interesting choice to start out the CD with because it differs quite from the other material put out by Crush 40. This song is a darker and much slower than the other songs. Some might say this was one of the few good things found in Shadow The Hedgehog, I’d say it’s the only good thing about that game.

Alot of the tracks found here have been featured on Crush 40’s first self titled album and might make it feel like it’s somewhat of a stretch to double dip to get a few tracks. Luckily for fans they remixed and remastered the older material to avoid a difference in sound quality. After listening and comparing between the 2 CDs, I can gladly say that they sound a lot better on this album, and the double dipping won’t make you feel George Coztanza’d. “Revvin’ Up” and “Open Your Heart” sounds especially good compared to how it sounded on the first CD, and “Open Your Heart” ends differently on this version. Other tracks like “Knight of The Wind” seems to have been given some rerecording sessions as I recall the original sounding less exciting than it does on this album.

3 songs were included which are not found anywhere else than here. The first is Un-gravitify which is a new cover of the song featured on Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity and the original was included on True Colors – The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog Part 2. This version is a straight up hard rock cover as compared to the electronica heavy original. I find Johnny Gioeli’s vocals to be a bit weaker than Cashell’s in the original, but music is better in this version. The second song is “Fire Woman” which is a cover of a song by British rock band The Cult. They totally nailed this song and made it into their own and it sounds awesome. Gioeli does some great vocal work and Senoue is as always excellent on the guitar. A major improvement over the original song. “Is it You” is the last of the new songs and it’s not a cover but an all new recording exclusively for this CD. This song is reminiscent of the work Senoue has done for his baseball games, which can be heard on THE WORKS. A slow power ballad with Gioeli again doing a great job. It’s a bit low key maybe compared to the more famous tracks Crush 40 has done, but a welcome change to end the CD.

So we already talked about it being worth picking this up if you already have the self titled album released a few years back. In my opinion the remastered tracks sounds alot better with the cuts and small edits improving them greatly. The new tracks from the different also offer some great value and classic Crush 40 sound while the new recordings exclusive to this actually provides somewhat of change in direction compared to what we’re so used to hearing from these guys. If you’re a fan of Jun Senoue or even a regular fan of AOR, the influences are very apparent and the melodies should keep you tapping your feet as you blast through this powerhouse.

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