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Metroid Cinematica

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Customer Reviews

A Film Style Score for Samus's Adventures

Sam Dillard’s Metroid Cinematica follows a trend of fan tribute albums for games that have a level of polish and passion rivaling the original score. Twilight Symphony (Zreo), Time’s End (Theophany), and Cadenza (Magical Trick Society) are all examples of this, though the most relevant efforts to this conversation are Harmony of a Hunter and Blake Robinson’s Super Metroid Symphony, being Metroid tributes. Symphony was extremely faithful to the source material, while Harmony was more like a collection of ideas that expanded upon original work. Cinematica falls somewhere between the two; having a clear story arc while extrapolating creatively from the original themes.

Dillard has done something remarkable and unusual with this album, creating a soundtrack to a nonexistent film. Familiar leitmotifs allow the listener's imagination to weave its own narrative, guided by the score's style. It’s a real treat for Metroid fans, given that it calls on material from across the franchise, with influences from Super Metroid, Metroid Prime, and the original Metroid being most prominent.

My only real complaint is that the score struggles a little to find its climax. I had expected this point to be either “Wings of Fire” or “Mother,” but “Inferno” steals thunder from these two, making it difficult to locate the true peak of the album. Additionally, the eerie potential of the Metroid title theme is never quite realized. For those unfamiliar, Metroid has plenty of powerful, stately music, but it also has the potential to be downright unsettling, and I heard less of that here (though that’s more of a personal complaint).

Neither of those thoughts detract much from the value of the album, though: I would recommend buying the entire thing. It’s a great addition to any soundtrack collection, and a must have for any Metroid fan. The real standout tracks for me were “Protector of the Galaxy,” “Orphan,” “Destroyer,” “Emerald Blossoms,” “Inferno,” and “The Last Metroid.” If Samus ever makes it to the big screen, this album is a fine entry on Sam Dillard’s resume, should his hat find its way into that particular ring.

Mr. Dillard I Owe You A Star.

EDIT: After listening to this album more, I've decided to delete my previous review and start over. I previously gave this album 4 stars. Even though I still have a few small complaints, I must now upgrade it to 5 stars.

I love the Super Metroid work Sam Dillard has done on OCRemix and his website SamoStudios. With tracks such as Into The Green World, The Crimson Depths and Beyond The Glass Dillard takes the source material and orchestrates it while adding his own style and creativity. He really takes his time and fully explores the themes. Of the 400+ Metriod remixes I have, Dillards tracks are among my favorites. So I was very excited for this album. The sound quality is beyond perfection. This really is cinematic. You can trust what the other reviewers are saying about this album. This project is unmatched among other Metroid fan albums in it's depth, creativity, and sound quality. Metroid Cinematica has but one rival. The Blake Robinson Super Metriod Symphony. The main difference between these two artist is that Blake Robinson stays very close to the source material and doesn’t add much of his own thoughts into the music. While Sam Dillard can get very creative and still stay faithful the main themes. Of the two, I gravitate more towards the passion and thoughfulness Dillard adds to his music.

Here are the only few drawbacks and personal complaints. Please keep in mind that even though I have some disappointment, this is still a 5 star project. These are just small critiques.

Sam takes tracks that span across the entire Metroid franchise and blends them together beautifully. However, in doing so, I feel that the themes on several tracks get crowded and rushed. In his previous released tracks, they start out slow and build into a wonderful adventure that has an emotional payoff. There is great satisfaction by the end of Into The Green World. I was hoping for more of that on this album. It's a terrific ambition to attempt such a full service of the whole franchise. But a few of my favorite themes didn’t get all the attention I was hoping they'd get from such a capable and creative artist. The main exception to this is Inferno. Dillard really explores the Norfair Depths theme here without the distraction of other themes. Because of this, Inferno is my favorite piece on the album. But I must recognize there are a few tracks where this mash-up formula works extremely well. Protectors of the Galaxy, Orphan, Explorer, Destroyer, Emerald Blossoms, and The Last Metroid are examples of this done right. Along with Inferno, they are the stand out tracks to me. If you go to Sam Dillard's website, he breaks down each song so that you can see what themes he used in each track. It's very impressive to see just how many seamless theme transitions were done in some of these songs.

When I turned on Super Metroid for the first time when I was 13 and saw that eerie prologue it gave me chills. When Crocomire appeared out of nowhere I was truly and wonderfully frightened. Those sounds and images have stayed with me and caused me to play at least some of every Metroid title. There is high potential for some horror aspects to Metroid music that just wasn’t completely present on this album. Especially in the prologue theme. And perhaps even in the Item Room theme. However, The Crimson Kingdom and A Demon Is Watching both do a pretty good job of giving us some of those unsettling tones.

My last issue with Metroid Cenematica was the decision to make so many tracks so atmospheric. While not bad songs, tracks 6 thru 12 slow the pace of the album greatly. I wish at least one track would have changed up the pace and tone in that span. I know much of Metroid music is very ambient. It definitely has it's place. For example, Deep Passage is actually a pretty good track. It's a very chill and laid back rendition of the Red Soil theme. I really do enjoy the track. But I was looking forward to hearing a bigger sound materialize by it's end. It never came. Hunter kinda runs in place til it picks it up at the end with it's take on the Space Pirate's theme. Emerald Blossoms is also very atmospheric. But it makes sense that Dillard would slow down this song after the work he did to the Brinstar theme on Into the Green World. It's a nice contrast. I think Dillard's previously released track, Beyond The Glass, is a perfect example of how an atmospheric take on a song can still explore all the theme has to offer. Now onto the two tracks that I think suffer the most from their ambeint interpretations. Wings of Fire and Mother should be the climax of the storytelling. Sadly though, the high stakes mental imagery that Inferno sets up -- the final battles with Ridley and Mother Brain -- is flattened some what by the slow burn and atmospheric feel of both tracks. I don’t mean to say they are bad songs. They are quite good. In fact, there are no skippable tracks on this whole album. It's just that I wanted the adrenaline and payoff that Inferno seemed to promise. Wings of Fire starts out very haunting and ominous. By the 3 minute mark it's built up to a steady pace. But fails to hit hard and finish strong in the last 2 minutes. And for a track called Mother there's only about 10 seconds worth of the actual battle with Mother Brain. But it transitions into a very nice telling of the Ing Emperor theme. Both songs just feel a little unfinished to me. Fortunately, The Last Metroid brings it all home and is the perfect ending to this album.

It's easy to complain. And I tried to add a positive at the end of my three areas of concern because I really do love this album. None of these complaints affect the overall enjoyment I get from this project. There's no other Metriod fan project out there quite like this. A lot of love went into making these songs and it shows. I listen to a lot of movie scores. This album holds it's own against any of them. I hope these are not the last Metroid tracks we get from Sam Dillard.

My favorite Metroid fan album!

I have been waiting for this album for so long. I first thought it would be partially worked on, then put off like most fan creations regarding Metroid, but it kept on. When I heard it was nearly done, I went straight to the site and listened to the preview tracks. When it finally released, I bought a ITunes card and got it. So far, the tracks sound crisp and amazing. The music does what it intends to do, feel cinematic. The songs add some instrumental flavor, but stay true to the original tunes. I really enjoy “Emerald Blossoms”, and “Deep Passage.” I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys metroid. Even on it’s own, however, it stands out as a truly amazing album, and I couldn’t recommend it any less.

Metroid Cinematica, Sam Dillard
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Customer Ratings