Epoch: A Tribute to Chrono Trigger is just that: an amazing tribute to the soundtrack of one of the best RPGs of all time.
It’s hard to settle on a particular track that reminds me so fondly of Chrono Trigger. Once I hear any of the iconic themes my mind is instantly transported back to the 90’s, Super Nintendo controller in hand. The soundtrack itself was phenomenal, but the sharp gameplay and rich story — with its combining of medieval and sci-fi — lends itself to one of the greatest games of any era.
Chrono Trigger’s handling of time travel also lent itself to a branching story, leading you into different eras; flying back to the past and also to the future. The saga of Crono and his friends leads them through time to wild destinations such as a desolate pre-historic time where dinosaurs rule and to the distant future with a run-down society where robots thrive. Each area, scene and moment has a striking instrumental accompaniment that is interwoven through it, and as a result, better defines that segment of the game with punctual music.
Epoch: A Tribute to Chrono Trigger celebrates the musical art form of the 16-bit era and further punctuates it with modern instrumental takes, remixes and even ‘Broadway Musical’ renditions of iconic scenes from the game. Chrono Trigger’s original soundtrack has stood the test of time, but this album borrows from its greatness and in turn, is able to create something much more. Take a listen to a small sampling of the amazingly large assortment of tracks from the album:
Chrono Trigger Main Theme
One of the most recognizable pieces of music in video game history, this ‘college band’ take on the beautiful main theme to the game is phenomenal. Grab a hot dog, some popcorn, and relive the classic beauty of nostalgia wrapped with class. Pure perfection.
Battle ThemeThe ripping guitar on this track really helps complement the high energy from the original. Envision Crono and his pals bobbing up and down, ready to attack as the music soars from the opening section to a somber piano breakdown and shredding guitar-filled crescendo, finally bringing it home.
Secret of the ForestThe first theme you hear after you make your first jump through time, and this rendition delivers a gorgeous marimba sound with perfect strings complimenting the heavenly vocals that raise this track to another level. The bass guitar at the end is also a perfect companion to the instrument from the original track.
A high-energy scene done in the stylings of musical theater. Vocal lyrics mirroring the in-game text match with sung renditions of the dialogue in grand fashion. You’ll feel like you’re sitting in a secret showing of the never-penned ‘Chrono Trigger: The Musical.’
Boss Battle 1
Don’t get the nervous jitters, it’s just a song! Chrono Trigger is known for its challenging boss fights, and this epic track delivers the energy from the original with the addition of soaring, dueling guitars. The clock ticking in the middle of the track being paired with an acoustic guitar really helps round out this song with heartfelt emotion.
One of my favorite tracks, full of suspense and mystery. This flute-centric rendition gorgeously captures the intrigue and depth of the original while taking it above with a beautiful ensemble of wind instruments. The bleak future holds hope within, still!
Band of Time
At the end of time stands a sleepy old man who guards the doors to the past, present and future. This rendition fulfills its destiny in delivering a multiple-instrument composition with accordion and strings playfully spinning the story. The Travelers did an excellent job of capturing this precious theme.
Guardia 1st Infantry Band
Guardia Castle’s infantry are ready to march, and this theme proves their battle cry will live on forever. Running around a castle never felt so epic. The brass in this sounds so perfect, just as if a live band was echoing this amazing theme through the castle halls.
Corridors Of The Mind
Oh how this one brings me back. The swing of this track is well defined by the synths within. The electric guitars tend to run away with the theme, however. It all comes together and finishes out with an intellectual sounding synth at the end. How fitting.
Take thy sword in thy webbed hand and raise it skyward! Frog’s theme has long been a defining track for the game and this rendition gives it extra power with double-bass and a rocking guitar solo in the middle. Go forth, slay Magus, and restore honor! Who knew Frog was a metalhead?
The alien that threatens all time. This version sounds like an epic orchestrated movie score, and could easily fit into a slot of a masterful reveal of the main villain in any superhero movie. A fitting track for one of the most epic boss fights in game history.
Outskirts of Time
A bringing together of all the themes into one, masterful collection of awesomeness. Hear the main theme along with many others, including my favorite track — ‘Wings of Time’ — in one of the most amazingly composed culminations from any soundtrack, ever. Wonderful and magnificent, this is the perfect song to end this gargantuanly large tribute album.
Materia Collective did another amazing job at assembling all of the talent on this 60-track album together and arranging it with such a wide gamut of genres and styles. While the originals will always hold a special place in my heart, there’s plenty of room for renditions and remixes and this album does justice to the seemingly untouchable masterpiece that is the original soundtrack.