Several Wills is the separate vocal-only soundtrack featuring songs that graced across 2006 game Sonic the Hedgehog. Unlike the other three disc soundtrack behind Sonic '06, Several Wills stays true to the hard rock nature that we have come to expect out of the series in recent years, with a few other genres explored as well. And just like Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog, Several Wills brings in a few guests artists and celebrities as they help provide their musical talent for the hedgehog, including Zebrahead and Lee Brotherton. The other three disc soundtrack managed to remain memorable, but can Several Wills do the same? Let's find out.
It should be noted that the majority of songs that are found on this album can already be heard on the Sonic the Hedgehog Original Soundtrack, So those who are looking to find something completely new here may be left slightly disappointed. With that said, let's have a look at what Several Wills brings. We begin with the first song, "His World", performed by Ali Tabatabaee and Matty Lewis, of the famous (in Japan) band, Zebrahead. "His World" is not only Sonic's theme, but the overall main theme for the entire game as well. "His World" is a rapcore that describes Sonic's ass kicking attitude (no joke, there's actual lyrics to that here). It starts off with a peaceful orchestra consisting of violins and wind chimes, playing out the familiar jingle that is to become the staple of "His World". An acoustic guitar softly plays in the background as well. Then, when the drums crash, the song makes a complete about face and crashes headlong into a hard rock / rapcore performance.
Ali sings out the rapping section of the song, while Matty provides back up during the chorus. The vocal performance is pretty decent. The kind you may dislike listening to the first few times, but grows on you as you begin to sing along, which came pretty soon to me since the lyrics aren't too hard to remember. The instrumental performance behind "His World" remains prominent. The rhythm guitar isn't too complicated. It's steady and simple in order to accommodate with the heavily emphasized rapping vocals behind Ali. The guitar solo plays out a similar tune that follows Matty's chorus, with a little feeling of improvisation that ends on a satisfying note. The drum performance also needs acknowledgment, as it's powerful and fast, giving off that feeling of a great live performance from time to time.
Next up is "Dreams of an Absolution", performed by Lee Brotherton (AKA Bentley Jones). "Dreams of an Absolution" is a pretty simple and repetitive love song for Silver the Hedgehog. The main instrument behind this song is a synthesizer that plays various simple chords. There is a very faint acoustic guitar in the background behind Lee's singing performance with a little added echo and wavy effect. The combination remains powerfully beautiful all the way through. Some people feel "Dreams of an Absolution" sounds a bit like the original Green Hill Zone song all the way back in the original Sonic game, and with that little knowledge, it does seem to sound like that in a spiritual sense. Nonetheless, it still remains a pretty simple song, and because it tends to be very repetitive, it was a song that didn't really grow on me. It's nice to sing along to though.
"All Hail Shadow" is a hard rock cover performance by Crush 40, originally performed by Magna-Fi all the way back in Shadow the Hedgehog's vocal album, Lost and Found. Once again, it remains Shadow's theme song, and while I'm not a huge fan of Crush 40 covering any existing song, I'd have to say this is one of the few songs I actually prefer more over the original. Unlike the original song which sounded a little too "heroic" for a dark character in my view, Crush 40's cover went a step ahead by having the performance sound more akin to their previous song "I Am", which also made an appearance on Lost and Found. The guitar is much deeper and stronger, the drums are fast and clear, and Johnny's vocals, especially when he screams "ALL HAIL SHADOW!", feel much more appropriate.
Princess Elise's theme song "My Destiny" also appears on Several Wills. I'm going to admit that I love "My Destiny", as I've never heard such an amazing female performance quite like Donna De Lory's. To put it simply, "My Destiny" is a peaceful, romantic song. It makes full use of an acoustic guitar and piano, along with a string section to help build up the emotion that can make anyone cry if given the time. For a Sonic fan, it's got to be a huge guilty pleasure to be able to love this kind of song. It feels completely outside that of Sonic himself. After all, it's a love song that seems to be more targeted for the women with a strong desire to fall in love with the man of her dreams. It's kind of like the Michael Bolton for Sonic the Hedgehog. It's a magnificent ballad, but to a lot of Sonic fans, it will feel out of place. Either way, it deserves full attention.
The subsequent songs are bonus songs you won't hear elsewhere. They were specially composed for this CD and this ultimately helps make Several Wills stand out. The first of the bonus songs its "His World (Zebrahead version)". As the the title suggests, it's performed by Zebrahead. Unlike the original version of "His World", this song is performed entirely by the band Zebrahead and entirely under their own style. The whole song is now a punk anthem, with the melody is performed entirely on guitars this time around, and the drums and bass are now much more fierce. The vocals are pretty much the same since Ali and Matty retain the same role, only now they have their other members backing up their vocals as they scream along and shout off in the background. Not to mention Matty's chorus now has a new few set of lyrics to help follow the punk pace along.
Now for my most favorite song on this album, "Dreams of an Absolution (LB vs. JS Remix)". This version of "Dreams of an Absolution" is a mix of trance and rock. Very deep, very elaborate, and rather intricate in comparison to the original. This version brings in Jun Senoue to help fill all the guitar parts, both the rhythm and all the solo performances, which is outstanding. The synthesizers that were heard in the original version are now long gone. Instead, we get some interesting choices of instruments. This song makes great use of the steel drums, a piano, a fierce drum performance, and some of the most beautiful guitar solos I've ever heard. Jun Senoue does what he does best, and out of all the songs he helped contribute, none managed to be as diverse and extraordinary as this one. Lee Brotherton's vocals were left slightly untouched; it's been sped up and given a more prominent echo, perfectly implemented into the guitar performance. One of the best songs. and remixes, I've heard in a very long time.
And finally, we have another version of "His World", as hard rock song, covered once again by Crush 40. Crush 40's "His World" takes it very slow, and rather than follow Ali's rapping performance, Johnny performs his own new set of lyrics in order to keep more close to hard rock. This is fine and all, especially to those who didn't enjoy the rapcore touch of Zebrahead, but Crush 40's take on "His World" left me a little indifferent. It's not entirely bad song, but Jun's guitar was left pretty basic, save for the guitar solo, while Johnny's vocals sounded even less inspired as he tries to mimic Matty's chorus. The song retains the same sounds of the melody to "His World" that was originally heard on the orchestra, and can be heard all the way through the song, and once the song reaches its end, it finishes off with a piano ballad as it fades off. And thus, Several Wills is complete.
Several Wills is one of my most favorite Sonic vocal albums yet. It's a great album on its own, but comes across as slightly obsolete when compared to the other original soundtrack, if only because that album already carries much of the songs found on Several Wills. As a stand alone album, this is pretty impressive so far, but together, you're better off listening to the other original soundtrack altogether. And while the three exclusive songs more than makes up for this little problem, it would've been better if all the vocals presented on this album remained exclusive. However, this shouldn't keep a fan from having to take a listen, especially the remixes, because it's one of the few times you'll ever get to hear such an outstanding performance out of Zebrahead alone, as well as Jun Senoue's guitar leads and solos. A very nice album on its own.