Dragon Ball Z -Burst Limit- Original Soundtrack
Dragon Ball Z -Burst Limit- Original Soundtrack
August 27, 2008
Buy at CDJapan
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit is a fantastic fighting game based on the popular Dragon Ball franchise. It exceeds with its well-constructed gameplay and amazing presentation full with gorgeous anime-style graphics. While the now iconic composer Kenji Yamamoto returned once again to create the soundtrack, this time he was assisted by Kanon Yamamoto. Their final result is an accomplished soundtrack that merges Rock, Jazz and Orchestral elements in a typical fashion, being effective in context but having less impact as a stand-alone listen.
Despite focusing primarily on Hard Rock and Jazz elements like in the Budokai games, this time around the sound is very balanced and less layered and rich, relying mostly on familiar and cliché ideas rather than offering something unique. While the first three Budokai soundtracks mixed familiar soundscapes and styles with unique and successful experimentation, the soundtrack for Dragon Ball Z: Infinite World relied on most of those elements and was polished almost to perfection due to the phenomenal arrangement and performance quality. Burst Limit is very similar to Infinite World, focusing mostly on the accessible aspects of the Rock and Jazz styles. But seeing as they were released on the same year, Burst Limit feels more or less like a prototype to the awesomeness that came after. Kenji and Kanon Yamamtoto did a fantastic job with both soundtracks, and both were backed up by professional musicians and performers. Unfortunately, the Dragon Ball Z -Burst Limit- Original Soundtrack doesn’t have that outstanding impact and professional presentation that makes it feel like a great “Band Album” due to the slightly generic compositions, but nevertheless it has a lot of spirit and energy that doesn’t fail to entertain.
Opening with the now unshakable trend of featuring a vocal theme performed by Hironobu Kageyama, “Kiseki no Hono yo Moeagare (Game OP Size)” has an outstanding and inspirational intro, with Kageyama’s voice capturing the attention of the listener from the go. It develops into a pretty generic song, but nevertheless stays inspirational until the end. It’s a nice vocal theme, particularly for fans used to the “Dragon Ball Song” style. At the end of the disc the full English version is included, clocking at four minutes and still being sung by Kageyam. It’s doesn’t have the same impact, and the song gets pretty tiresome by using that tired formula.
One of the most dominant factors of the soundtrack is the prominent Hard Rock presence in most of the themes. There are a lot of heavy electric and bass guitars to be heard, in conjunction with powerful percussion. Most rocking tracks don’t feature compelling melodies as they are more bass and drum-driven, creating a balanced sound. “Raging Evil” is a blast of thundering bass and electric guitars, creating a menacing and action-heavy atmosphere, whereas “Festa de Morado” is a more laid-back theme full with Rock & Roll-inspired solos. On the latter, the guitar performance is particularly impressive, as the storming solos engross the listener with its fiery wall of sound. “Eternally Red Wasteland” is also very similar, having a deep and heavy sound but also featuring a very “desert” vibe enhanced by the bluesy yet funky guitar work. “Battleholic: Superiority of the Wolf” is much more groovy but features most of the elements previously mentioned.
Some tracks are more impressive and offer something else to the formula. For example, “Hatred at Two Power” which fuses Heavy Metal riffs and dissonant piano notes to create a progressive-sounding track. I must note that the performance is incredible, ranging from intricate and powerful solos to complex rhythm shifts. “Sky City” is another entertaining rock anthem with compelling guitar melodies, whereas “Naughty Pilgrims” merges old school rock elements and electronic beats to crate an irresistible groovy theme.
The Jazz aspect of the score is much more melodic albeit it also relies on creating a balanced sound. “May I Help You?” is a feel-good jazzy and funky theme, with exquisite guitars and catchy horn motifs. “Captain Thrill” and “Unbreakable Mission” are fast paced, invigorating themes full of compelling sax melodies that create a fun vibe. “Smoky September” is a fantastic chill-out tune, full of catchy percussion, funky guitars and irresistible Fender Rhodes piano melodies. “Sizzle Dizzle” and “Kaffein” are also very similar in style, with both relying on jazzy piano melodies. The former features frantic synth elements and an irregular pace and construction — also the overall track is very similar to Yamamoto’s pre-Budokai work. The latter is pure jazz music, and is quite enjoyable despite not standing out with any kind of memorable melody.
Quite uncommon for the Dragon Ball games of the 21st century, there are some major orchestral themes at the end of the disc. “Fate” is the best example of them all, and as well one of the most memorable tracks on the album. It features a very sad and dramatic intro full of wailing strings and melancholic guitars, until it slowly develops into a more malicious orchestral theme in conjunction with a rock accompaniment. The overall composition is captivating and the string melodies are very compelling, making it highly cinematic and emotionally moving. Most of the other orchestral tracks follow the same kind of formula and instrumentation, but don’t have the same impact with the exception of “Final Decisive Battle” which is a fantastic and epic theme full of incredible, awe-inspiring guitar solos. Simply put, these orchestral theme have a big impact and are quite a surprise seeing as the most of the album was made of jazzy, upbeat, and rocking music.
The Dragon Ball Z -Burst Limit- Original Soundtrack is still another successful entry on the franchise’s musical legacy. It’s not melodic and lacks depth, but the music is still very entertaining due to the great arrangements and performances from the artists and the well-constructed and balanced sound. The Rock compositions are energetic, raw and passionate, while the Jazz compositions are fun, entertaining and easy to love. The later orchestral additions are also much-welcomed, introducing a complex, more emotionally-involving aspect to the rather groovy and upbeat soundtrack. If you can’t stand the lack of melodically compelling music that characterizes most memorable game music scores, than this album might not be for you. Otherwise, if you enjoy passionate, vigorous music backed up by a top-notch performance and quality, I don’t see a reason why not to enjoy Burst Limit.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by George Capi. Last modified on August 1, 2012.