Caligula Original Soundtrack
Caligula Original Soundtrack
December 3, 2016
Buy at CD Japan
The Caligula Original Soundtrack accompanies the game and is broken up into mainly two categories, vocal tunes, composed by a variety of artists, and background music, composed primarily of Tsukasa Masuko, known for his work on the Shin Megami Tensei series. How does this combination work out in the end?
The first disc contains all of the vocal music on the album, which are used as battle music for the various dungeons, and remixes thereof, which are used as boss battle music, sans the first tune, which is the opening theme of the game. “idolatry” is an electronic rock tune composed by Seima Iwahashi. The melody itself is catchy with vocals that, while fitting the style of music, leave a bit to be desired, that complement the choral elements, sharp synth tones, and slap bass heard through the tune. “Peter Pan Syndrome,” composed by 40mP, is a catchy j-pop tune that is fairly by the books but has an infectious chorus section and a fun guitar solo that makes for an enjoyable piece of music. Its remix takes the piece and makes it a bit more upbeat j-rock in approach with some more dance-like elements as well. “Exciting * Reverie” is an accordion forward pop tune composed by OSTER project. It’s bubbly, bright, features a catchy melody, with a bit of a French air to the piece due to the instrumentation. The overall piece is quite beautiful, but the vocals certainly won’t be for everyone. The remix, on the other hand, is a dark and dramatic twist with a rock focus and brash electronic elements incorporated. Next up is Polyphonic Branch’s “Creativity Incident” with its electronic rock approach that gives off an intense driving force. The vocals fit the tune quite well, but might not be for everyone. The guitar work is great and the overall tone of the tune is a bit on the darker side. Its remix is given a bit of retro flair with some FM incorporation and a much darker approach overall. Sparse piano, electronic distortion, vocal processing, and a more electronically oriented tune give it a tense atmosphere.
“Sadistic Queen,” by CyoucyoP, is an extremely catchy tune blending jazzy piano with strings and rock to create an extremely fun piece of music with vocals that fit the music extremely well, with a decent performance as well. The remix is more electronic/rock oriented in its approach, giving it a bit more of an intensity compared to the original. In addition, there is a bonus tune of the original arrangement, of this album, which is a blend of the other two tunes, but with a more synth forward approach. “Angel’s Song” is a J-rock tune by asa. It’s a fairly standard sounding tune with nothing particularly standing out, but the vocals fit the style of the music and the melody and chorus are fairly catchy. It’s remix doesn’t really add much to the mix aside from going for a heavier rock approach. Another heavy rock tune is “sin,” composed by 164. There’s an interesting juxtaposition of this heavy rock sound and orchestral tones mixed with wispy and beautiful vocals that help create an intriguing listen due to both its style and it’s infectiously catchy vocal tune. Its remix is an absolute favorite of mine, dropping the rock, for a completely orchestral approach that is dramatic, dark, with hints of romance and heroism. There’s even a change in how the vocals are performed, not something every tune does in its remix.
Another ho-hum tune is “Cosmodancer” by YM. Both it and its remix are fairly standard J-rock tunes, with the latter adding some additional electronic elements, with nothing of note particularly standing out. Fortunately, “Distorted†Happiness,” by cosMo@bousouP, dials up the creativity with haunting synths, piano, and raspy/wispy vocals, some of which are processed. The end result is an invigorating tune with heavier rock/electronic elements mixed with more upbeat pop vocals, especially in the chorus of the tune, that make way for an abrasive, yet delicate, piece of music, however, not necessarily at the same time. Its remix takes the same tune and applies an extremely hardcore electronic tune to it, reminiscent of Supersweep’s style. Last of the vocal tunes is “Orbit,” composed by mikitoP. It’s an unabashed J-pop tune done in a pop rock ballad style but features a catchy melody and a decent vocal performance. Its remix is much more orchestral in nature, giving off heroic tones, with its brass.
As mentioned in the overview, Tsukasa Masuko was responsible for the background music. However, that comprises only of story related music, as all of the dungeon themes are instrumental versions of the aforementioned tunes (non-remixed) with lead intruments replacing the vocals when not in battle, seamlessly changing back and forth, might I add, all of which feature at the end of the second disc. As for Masuko’s contributions, there are certainly plenty of styles featured, however, much of the music itself doesn’t really stand out too much. Tunes like “Foreigner” get multiple renditions, some angelic and ethereal, some more melancholy in approach, as is the case with “Foreigner ~ sadly~,” or invigorating, as with “Foreigner ~change my world~,” with its ethereal roots being combined with rock and orchestral tones. Some other tunes, such as “Horoscope” and “Aria’s Theme” feature upbeat melodies with the former being a bit jazzy and modern, reminiscent of modern Persona soundtracks, and the latter being a bubbly synth driven affair. However, most of the non-recurring tunes aren’t as memorable. Tunes like “Tension” and “Raid Action” provide the appropriate atmosphere but do so rather generically and don’t particularly standout. Other tunes like “Lost Road” blend together elements of dubstep, piano, and choral work in a strange combination that comes off sounding fairly disjointed in this particular execution or are pure atmosphere like “Chaos.” Outside of the game, these tunes don’t nearly hold up as well, given their contextual importance.
The Caligula Original Soundtrack is certainly a mixed bag. Despite his extensive catalog, his work here is rather plain and largely background music, which might work in the context of the game, but as a standalone listen, falls short for the most part. The meat of the soundtrack, even in game, comes in the forms of the variations on the vocal themes present. These range from fairly creative to straightforward, but with melodies that do manage to be memorable in some aspect or another, with the instrumental versions faring the best due to the lack of a singer that has some questionable performances on the soundtrack. In the end, the soundtrack is buoyed by these tunes, but at the same time, might be a bit too commercialized to be appreciated by everyone.
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Posted on January 4, 2017 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 4, 2017.