JAM Project are a J-Rock group that principally make theme songs for animations. In addition, they have been a regular force on Banpresto's Super Robot Taisen games, given their extensive use of mecha anime crossovers. After debuting on the PlayStation's Super Robot Taisen Alpha, they have appeared on nearly every main game on the series, each time releasing singles featuring their opening and ending theme songs. Their contributions to Super Robot Taisen Z are particularly special.
"Crest of 'Z's" is a clear departure from the conventional J-Rock sound the band seemed to rely too much on in earlier titles. New arranger Ikuo Shibatani offers some interesting stylistic twists here, making the guitar riffs much more gritty than usual and intersynching them with some hard techno frills. The introduction is also spectacular and shows JAM Project's taste for the melodramatic with its dark operatic vibes. Certainly it's necessary to listen to the full version on the single and compilation to experience the full charm of the theme.
The ending theme "Cosmic Dance" is quite a bit different too, spearheaded by Element Gardens' Junpei Fujita. The vocals have a bittersweet quality to them and a slightly bluesy feel, while the instrumentals are a charming blend of organic and electronic new age elements. The climax at the 3:53 is simply elating and a wonderful way to end the compilation as a whole. It's probably the best ending theme of the entire series.
The main exclusives on the single are the full-length versions of the theme songs that only featured in shortened versions in the game and its soundtrack release. However, there are also instrumental versions of the theme songs at the end of the single, lacking any vocals. These are good for karaoke purposes, but a little pointless and hollow otherwise.
Overall, an excellent single. It would be good to see JAM Project develop the hybridised sounds featured here in future Super Robot Taisen titles. Instead of heading for this single, dedicated fans of JAM Project should consider the Super Robot Taisen JAM Project Theme Song Collection instead, since it features these full-length songs and 12 others from the series.