Posted 2021-08-25, evaluated by Rexy
"Piece was done as a collaborative effort as the first track for a new Harmony arrangement album (Harmony of a Hunter, Harmony of Heroes, etc.). I teamed up with the pianist Akmigone to work on this arrangement and we essentially traded back and forth. I would score a little, he'd write out some piano, more scoring, more piano, etc. Toward the end of production, I reached out to Anthony Morgan to put some guitar into the mix to put a cherry on top of sorts. The piece starts out with the theme from the original Metroid, then phases into Super Metroid and then ultimately goes into Metroid Prime's theme as the finale to the piece. Took a couple of months to get the whole thing done, but it was well worth it. I can easily say this is the best arrangement I've done, and it wouldn't have been possible without the talents of Akmigone and Anthony Morgan. They are both exceptional musicians."
It's a humdinger, at almost seven minutes, but it's also dense - there are solo piano bits, sweeping symphonic bits, some hybrid/cinematic cues, and even some screamin' rock/guitar bits. That's a lot of bits, but thankfully they're all organized into a coherent & cohesive chronological progression through some of Metroid's major milestones. Rexy evaluated:
"This contribution from Zack and his collaborators went towards a very sweeping orchestration that does indeed touch on individual themes one by one - and yet each of them had unique cinematic expansions, both with the choice of chords and textural shifts. You have the Metroid intro with the intro done in a moody minor-key drone and then shifts into a major-key development three semitones up. You have the Super Metroid theme with leitmotifs being used alongside the chord modulations and leave an unpredictable ride. And then you have the Metroid Prime menu theme with the guitar solo and dynamic punch into a major-key piano finish. It's the kind of writing that both interprets and respects Metroid lore with how it paced itself, giving long-time players a chance to have their minds freed while re-living their own fondest memories of Samus's adventures.
And let's not undermine the production values, either. Every part, layer and all, has been meticulously mixed into a clean soundscape, with well-shaped modulations and articulations across all legato-based instrumentation. Akmigone and Anthony both provided very human performances to compliment the setup - and I have to say it's extremely challenging for Akmigone's side due to the amount of back-and-forth between him and Zack, so great persistence. The only irk I had with this was nothing in the high-end to take the edge off the barrage of similar low-mid or midrange instruments, but the percussion choices proved he didn't need anything like that to get that kind of setup going. It's a great first impression from Zack on Harmony of a Hunter Returns - and knowing he did more has piqued my interest to hear what he and other contributors had done. Top-notch!"
My only personal nitpick was that overall levels seemed a bit low. Solution: Turn this bad boy up! Phenomenal work - an "arranger's arrangement" which manages to be engaging, interpretive, familiar, & narrative, while embracing the variety of three Metroid scores and fusing them together into a single experience, with elevating/dynamic performances from both collaborators. Highly recommended!
Sources Arranged (4 Songs, 3 Games)
- Primary Game:
Metroid (Nintendo, 1986, NES)
Music by Hirokazu Tanaka
- Additional Game:
Metroid Prime (Nintendo, 2002, GCN)
Music by Kenji Yamamoto (I), Koichi Kyuma
- "Menu Select"
- Additional Game:
Super Metroid (Nintendo, 1994, SNES)
Music by Kenji Yamamoto (I), Minako Hamano
- "Samus Aran's Appearance Fanfare"
"Theme of SUPER METROID"
- Cinematic, Symphonic
- Energetic, Epic
- Electric Guitar, Orchestral, Piano, Strings
- Arrangement > Medley
Origin > Collaboration
Production > Live Instruments
- 9,931,401 bytes
- Size: 9,931,401 bytes
- MD5 Checksum: 86f6ff9af6e86196e3e8fff0c91dc0eb
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