Music to My Ears: Spiral of Erebos

We’re playing through Trails of Cold Steel III over on our YouTube channel right now, and it’s been an interesting experience going through blind for the first time. In the past, I’d played the earlier games in the Trails series before and Michaela was brand new; now everything is an unknown and we get to react as we go. There are definitely a few negatives to doing it this way too — not going at a slower pace, missing a few details because of trying to do commentary, etc. — but there are some positives as well and it’s been pretty fun.

I wrote an earlier piece on my thoughts on the game at about the 10-hour mark, and now we’re another 20 hours in or so. Considering we haven’t finished Chapter 2 yet, I think we’re in for about 90 hours to complete the game. Luckily it’s something we both enjoy, or that might be a huge red flag. But with just the prologue and most of two chapters under our belt, a few things have stood out so far.

Chief among those was today’s featured track, Spiral of Erebos. It’s one of the intro songs, essentially, playing during what equates to a character trailer. The Trails series likes to introduce its major trailers in something more akin to a slideshow than a cutscene. In CSIII, that scene gets this awesome backing in a truncated version of the track, but there’s a full version of the song that gives it even more shine. We haven’t heard that version in the game yet — maybe it’s the final dungeon music?

Spiral of Erebos uses several Falcom Sound Team conventions, particularly a cool build from start to finish. Here, the blend of piano and guitar is especially strong and there’s just something phenomenal about the manic strings in the short breakdown at the 2:34 mark of the full version (1:26 in the shorter opening, at an important moment as we switch from good guys to bad). That precedes the best part of the track, but just when you think you have Takahiro Unisuga’s tricks figured out, he drops a key change on you, which is pretty rare on the soundtracks in this series.

There are a few other tracks that I’ve enjoyed to this point, like the playful, quirky themes you hear on campus or in the robotic bass line of Einhel Keep. We may feature more as the playthrough continues. But nothing has really struck me quite like Spiral of Erebos, which is quickly rising up the ranks of my favorite tracks of the entire series — tough company to keep, considering some of the other pieces of music that have cemented themselves among my favorite themes in all of gaming. Check out the versions below.

Spiral of Erebos (Trails of Cold Steel III)

Music to My Ears covers soundtracks or individual songs from video games. You can view all posts in the series by clicking here.

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