Angel’s Score Op. A Original Soundtrack -Princess Antiphona’s Hymn-

antiphona Album Title:
Angel’s Score Op. A Original Soundtrack -Princess Antiphona’s Hymn-
Record Label:
Nippon Ichi Software
Catalog No.:
N/A
Release Date:
October 22, 2009
Purchase:
Buy Used Copy

Overview

The Princess Antiphona’s Hymn – Angel’s Score Op. A Original Soundtrack is a spiritual successor to the Marl Kingdom series of games. As such, the music, composed by Tenpei Sato, is bright and cheerful and features vocal themes in the style of what one might hear in a musical. How does the music fare?

Body

As with the Marl Kingdom soundtracks, there is a focus on vocal themes, but at the same time, there is a nice mix of instrumental themes as well. The album opens with “Antiphona.” I’m sure it is an extremely fitting way to portray the princess Antiphona’s personality. The melody is quite strong and has a folksy feel with moments of regality, poignancy, and playfulness. I really enjoy the flute highlights in the theme as well as the brass harmonies. Speaking of princesses, “The Tale of the Puppet Princess” is a reprise from the Marl Kingdom series. It’s a very beautiful piece of music that relies heavily on a combination of flute and strings melodies to create a feeling of both airiness and poignancy. “Melody Fair” meanwhile is extremely touching and heartfelt with a beautiful melody that consists of synthesized vocals and violin. It is very reminiscent of the warmer themes heard in Phantom Brave. There isn’t much to it in terms of complexity, but it’s not needed. It manages to instill a sense of peace. As one might guess from the title, “The Sorrowful Hymn Princess,” is a very poignant and melancholy theme. The emotion in this piece is definitely attributed to the violin and flute work. It also helps that the melody is quite strong.

In addition to some of the more touching instrumental themes, there are also some with entirely different atmospheres, such as playful and sinister. “Summertime Fruits” features a playful melody has a bit of a tropical vibe going on it. It’s definitely a playful melody and easily one of the better, and more in-depth themes on the soundtrack. “Candle Eyes” is easily one of my most favorite themes on the soundtrack. It has an exquisite soundscape full of playfulness and reminds me of Phantom Brave for the most part. The beautiful violin and woodwind work really drives the theme and I like its warm, airy atmosphere. “Heaven’s Door” meanwhile is quite dark in nature and features some haunting choral work. I think the main draw to this theme is its overall disjointedness. To some, that may not be a good thing, but it does provide an interesting contrast to the more melodically focused soundtrack. The violin work is piercing and complements the overall style quite well. Another darker theme is “Cathedrale.” This short theme is a sinister, choral theme that probably serves as the final dungeon music. Ominous choral chanting and organ work combine to create a very stirring atmosphere. It’s a shame it’s not longer. I’ve have loved to see it develop even more!

As for the other styles of the instrumentals, there is also a strong action focus for some of them. For example, “Princess of Strings” instantly comes to mind. If I can liken it to any of Sato’s previous themes, it is most definitely in the same family as “Flaxen Necklace,” from Soul Cradle. It’s an extremely sexy strings and piano theme with lots of emotion and power behind it. The flamenco guitar adds a bit of a Spanish flavor and the brass harmonies help give it a bit of depth. “BAD BLOOD” features Sato’s trademark use of violin to lead a compelling action theme. Throw in some fantastic brass and woodwind harmonies, some ominous vocal work, piano, and some sitar-like instrumentation and you have a very upbeat and powerful theme with some nice ethnic flair. “Unlimited,” although action oriented, has a darker atmosphere to it. It features some beautiful brass and strings harmonies, but the biggest draw here is the ominous melody that is produced through the use of some crisis motifs. It’s quite an enjoyable theme with a bit of a chaotic nature. Lastly, “Eternal Flame,” most likely the final battle theme, is an epic theme featuring some fantastic strings and brass work. The choral work provides a sense of urgency and the melody is quite strong as well. It definitely gets the listener pumped up!

The vocal themes, on the other hand, can be a mixed bag. The first vocal theme, “Treasured Bell,” sung by MIKI is, at times, very reminiscent of the opening vocal for Phantom Brave, however, soon after the beautiful choral opening, the theme is transformed into an energetic and upbeat one with a strong melody and some big band instrumentation, even if they aren’t employed in a big band fashion. It’s not one of Sato’s strongest vocal themes, but it’s still quite good. “Black and Fragrant from the Secrets,” sung by Kamiki Sono, Hah, and Re:I, definitely reminds me of the vocal themes heard on the Disgaea 3 soundtrack with its playful and upbeat chorus. As the theme progresses, it adopts a much more folk feel with an upbeat nature and definitely reminds me, of all things, my favorite Japanese group Sound Horizon. There is a bunch of musical harmony, both in instrumentation and vocal work, which ends up being a stunning amalgamation of elements. This is definitely one of my favorite vocal themes on the soundtrack.

“Love is like Wonderland,” sung by MIKI and Masako Okochi, is part beautiful ballad and part upbeat vocal theme featuring a very emotional and strong melody played by strings and piano. The vocal harmonies are very pretty as well and really help bring the theme a nice breath of fresh air. It’s an extremely pleasant theme with some excellent funky sections at the end to help conclude it on a high note. There is also an instrumental version of this theme. “Marjoly’s Love,” sung as a duet by Tenpei Sato and Lala Sato (no relation), has a nice ethnic flair to start. Beautiful piano and strings work really help carry the vocal work. As the theme progresses, it falls into the normal pattern seen thus far where it becomes extremely playful and an entirely different beast from the original. It’s still quite fun, but I’d have preferred if it stayed with the original soundscape more. Sung by MIKI, “Bird of Dawn,” is one of the more substantial vocal themes on the soundtrack. Aside from the jarring a capella opening, the rest of the song is quite beautiful. A pop ballad in nature, it features beautiful piano, strings, and brass work, some electric guitar, as well as a strong melody. The theme that follows, “Bird of Dawn ~ Flight” is an instrumental version of this theme that manages to contain a few more action oriented passages. It’s quite epic in comparison to the vocal counterpart, but at the same time, it manages to capture the beauty of the original.

Sadly, not all the songs are great. The biggest offender on the soundtrack is “Angel’s Mishearing Operetta.” Sung by MIKI and Masako Okochi, it is definitely one of my least favorite vocal themes on the soundtrack. It opens with some hideously off-key vocal work, which I guess makes sense given the title, but it really is quite off-putting. It’s a shame, too, because once the music starts, the theme, at least musically, is much more tolerable, but doesn’t really have a cohesive element that helps make it a compelling listen. It’s all over the place in terms of musical styles. Fortunately, this is the only one that I couldn’t really tolerate. Back to some better vocals!

Sung by Lala Sato, “Song of the Majoligal Faith” reminds me, stylistically, of the Disgaea series. It has a sense of playful sinisterness to it, contributed to the brass and organ work and the melody is quite strong. It’s one of the better vocal themes on the soundtrack. There is also an instrumental version of this theme. “Hills of Singing Wind ~From Humming Hill with Love~,” sung by Serena, is easily my favorite of all the vocal themes on the album. This is due, in part, to the fact that Serena is my favorite singer that Tenpei Sato employs, and in part, due to the extremely touching melody. It has a very dreamy atmosphere and I love the simplicity of it all. To close the soundtrack, “She is an Ally of Justice” is the other substantial theme on the soundtrack. Although there are also three short renditions of “She is an Ally of Justice,” on the soundtrack, this theme, sung by MIKI and Kamiki Sono, is the most important one. It’s a playful theme with a strong melody and some great big band instrumentation. It’s one of the better vocal themes and serves as a thematic element for the entire soundtrack.

Summary

Comparing this soundtrack with the Marl Kingdom soundtracks, I find that the soundtrack for this game is overall a stronger offering. Although not all the vocal themes manage to hit the mark, there is a nice variety of styles. The same goes with the instrumental themes on the soundtrack as well. There are some darker themes, but for the most part, the atmosphere exuded on the soundtrack is a warm and playful one. This will be a tough album to find, considering it was a promotional item with the release of the game, but if you enjoy Sato’s work, you can probably find it on Yahoo Japan Auctions.

Angel’s Score Op. A Original Soundtrack -Princess Antiphona’s Hymn- Don Kotowski

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 18, 2016.


About the Author

Currently residing in New York, I spend my days working in antibody therapeutics and dedicate some of my spare time in the evening to the vast world of video game music, both reviewing soundtracks as well as maintaining relationships with composers overseas in Europe and in Japan.



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