Coven and the Labyrinth of Refrain Original Soundtrack
Coven and the Labyrinth of Refrain Original Soundtrack
Nippon Ichi Software
June 23, 2016
Buy Used Copy
The Coven and the Labyrinth of Refrain Original Soundtrack is the latest offering from Tenpei Sato. The game itself, developed by Nippon Ichi Software and known for their strategy RPGs, is their first foray into the popular dungeon RPG scene in Japan. Does the soundtrack make for a good standalone listen and how does it rank compared to other Tenpei Sato soundtracks for the company?
The album opens up with the main theme of the game, “Labyrinth of the Refrain,” a mystical tune, yet playful, with an excellent melody that incorporates lots of accordion and strings to create a wonderful atmosphere. From there, “Rose Bed” follows with its harpsichord and strings driven piece, giving it a Baroque sound, that also portrays a great melody. Likewise, “Fairy Doll” with its flamenco guitar, accordion, woodwind, and harpsichord give off a bit of a Baroque sound mixed a Renaissance flair. Also on the classical theme is “Recollection,” a piano piece done in a waltz style with some strings accompaniment. It’s an exquisite piece. Other miscellaneous tunes include “Toy Box,” with its playful melody, magical atmosphere, and focus on woodblock instrumentation while “Wish You Are Here” and “More Than Words” are more emotional with the former being more pensive with the latter being more poignant, with both featuring the piano as a primary focal point. Lastly, “Fuck Around” is a playful, jazzy brass and woodwind that with an extremely catchy melody while “Girls Bravo” is an upbeat jazz number with a brass focus and is lots of fun.
Of course, there are plenty of dungeon themes as well. “Moonlight Piano” is a piano and strings driven tune with both beautiful atmosphere and melody with a choral backing that brings a haunting quality to the piece. “Twisted Time” is more ethereal piece thanks to the accompanying synths while the strings driven melody brings a beautiful touch to the piece while also providing some ominous tones as well. “Bell of Nightfall” is an ominous tune that is primarily organ driven with a great melody and progression. The brass elements also add a regal air to the piece. “Wasteland” is a jovial woodwind driven with with a fun melody while “Lost Ruins” is a haunting choir and strings piece that gives a feeling of despair as well as some mysticism. “Closed Flower Garden” is another beautiful tune with a piano driven melody with choral elements adding a dramatic flair. It’s an energetic yet haunting tune.
As with many of Tenpei Sato’s soundtracks, there are plenty of battle themes as well. Perhaps most unorthodox is “Green Blood,” which focuses on a slower tempo compared to others in the same genre. The piece itself is strings driven with some rock and woodwind elements that add some nice musical texture. More typical is “Detuned Beat” with its rock driven focus and energetic melody. Despite its length, its quite developed and manages to provide a lot of contrast thanks to the piano, brass, and strings used in the accompaniment. “Dramatic Soldier” is an orchestral rock tune with a heroic melody led by piano. It’s an extremely catchy tune but one with a great progression that also incorporates some dramatic elements, as one might expect given the name. Another rock driven tune is “Akuma Battle” that features a memorable melody and some quirky elements alongside its rock focus. My favorite battle theme on the soundtrack is “Runabout” with its Spanish flavor, thanks to the acoustic guitar, and its flamboyant nature. The melody itself, driven by woodwind and strings, is also quite excellent. On the orchestral front is “Heavy Landing,” with its ominous tone. It isn’t as melodically strong as some of the other tunes but it works well for its purpose. “Under Crasher” also is orchestral in nature and is quite dramatic with a nice melody and progression.
The final tune on the soundtrack is the vocal sung by Emi Evans, “A the ha lluri da,” which blends modern Japanese language with her take on a futuristic Welsh. The tune itself is a ballad in style and is hauntingly beautiful. The strings and piano driven tune really manages to convey a lot of emotion and the melody of the chorus is absolutely stunning. The vocals also help to capture the emotion of the instrumentation quite nicely. There is also a piano version of this that closes the first disc of the soundtrack that is equally as beautiful. As a bit of trivia, the vocal was the first tune written for the game and helped craft the story, or so I’m told.
The Coven and the Labyrinth of Refrain Original Soundtrack is certainly one of Tenpei Sato’s strongest efforts in recent years. The melodies featured on the album are quite memorable and the range of styles really helps bring a great diversity to the album. Fans of Emi Evans will also be happy to see her featured on the soundtrack as well. For now, this is only obtainable as a pack-in bonus for the PS Vita release of the game in Japan, or from a third party seller on an auction site, but I imagine that if this title is localized for the West, this will also be included in the limited edition, as most of Tenpei Sato’s soundtracks are.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 23, 2016 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 23, 2016.