Fairy Fencer F Original Soundtrack
Fairy Fencer F Original Soundtrack
November 30, 2013
Buy at CDJapan
I don’t care what the title implies or says: this soundtrack kicks ass. The Fairy Fencer F Original Soundtrack is edgy, a little dark, and very progressive. Predominantly written by Kenji Kaneko, there are also tracks written by Nobuo Uematsu’s band the Earthbound Papas and the artists from ZIZZ Studio. The soon-to-be-localised game focuses on Fang, a brash young man who becomes a ‘fencer’. Fencers are those who have found weapons created by the ‘Goddess’ and ‘Vile God’. Fang soon finds himself in the middle of the conflict between these two omnipotent beings. This game and soundtrack is fantasy all the way with flecks of science fiction thrown in. The 2-disc soundtrack contains many genres, sometimes multiple genres mixed into one track, ranging from neo-classical to punk to techno. The musicians on this album do not hold back. You can feel the energy pouring off the music because it really sounds like the drummer is hitting hard and the guitar players are digging into riffs. The electronic sounds are mixed very well and are one with the acoustic sounding instruments.
Nobuo Uematsu’s “Fairy Fencer F Main Theme” begins with a strange piano melody that reminds me of Final Fantasy and Secret of Mana all at the same time. The music really takes off when orchestra instruments and a complete drum section are added. The Earthbound Papas lay down an upbeat set of rhythms as a foundation for majestic melodies played by trumpet and violin. These stately melodies are just a taste of the grandiose melodies and syncopated drum parts to come in the soundtrack. In a striking contrast, Michio Okamiya’s “God Reproduct” is an example of the flecks of science fiction I mentioned earlier. The introduction of “God Reproduct” has layered synth, percussion and piano sounds that sound like have been run through a ton of effects. Even the drum sounds a little wacky. The electronic noises are cut off abruptly by a dark choir melody. The music takes yet another turn and whisks its listener into a charming flute melody in a spirited three quarter time signature.
Kenji Kaneko cultivates a intense, hybridised sound in many of his contributions. The energy continues to pound away in the two Kidou Elevator tracks, which boast that familiar epic orchestra sound. I really like the way the percussion adds to the intensity of “Kidou Elevator_ Last Dungeon”. The progressive rhythms and melodies are an example of what makes this album stand out from other JRPG soundtracks. The way melodies pass between sections of the orchestra accompanied by the technical rhythms fuels the musician inside me. Also get yourself ready for a fast-paced and intense journey filled with strange melodies and dramatic, unexpected chords changes on “Pinch”, “Fuan” and “Giwaku”. “Boss_Gault” is another great piece of intense battle music that provides a striking contrast to silly preceding tracks such as “The Chipturn” and “The Carefree Man”. The next track, “Boss_Teki Shinennou”, has a similar sound as Gault, but with distorted guitar and one of my favorite instruments, the double bass drum. The choir adds a natural sound to the impacts and accents that sounds like it could be performed live.
There is plenty of diversity elsewhere in the release. After the controlled chaos of the Kidou Elevator tracks subside, a similar sounding orchestra, sans the percussion, accompanies a beautiful oboe solo in “Heiwa”. The tone and vibrato is excellent and is about as expressive as you can get on a double reed instrument. Tracks such as “Yougan no Doukutsu” and “Slum-Haikyo” have a very dark presence characterized by out of this world synth sounds and deep bass sounds. The gritty electronic sounds are soon stopped, and as if traveling to another country, the music changes genres yet again. “Sabaku” has many Eastern influences, almost sounding like a Raga scale heard in Hindustani classical music. This music breaks up the Western chord structures and hard rock tracks, and the blend of cultures keeps the music fresh and interesting.
Focusing on some of the contributions by ZIZZ Studio, Yosuke Kurokawa’s “The One Who Conquers Glory” keeps the emotions flowing with big loud horns and more metal-inspired guitar riffs. The bass player is the glue that holds the melodies and harmony together. The bass stays locked in tight with the drummer as the trumpets and synth sounds wail away. Fairy Fencer F seems to take its audience to some strange places, especially with “The Chipturn” and “The Carefree Man”. I’m not sure if it was the 80s-style drum machine or goofy tuba line, but after I heard “The Carefree Man”, I felt the quirkiness of the team wash over me. But don’t worry if this music is too weird for you; you are not alone and there is plenty of more accessible sounds elsewhere. Meanwhile “Clockwork Universe” is a spacey track with very strange sounding chorals from A.M.U. This is another section of the soundtrack that sounds more like science-fiction than fantasy. During the second half of the song there is some creepy spoken words underneath a haunting violin solo. Evidently, regardless of the artist, there is truly never a dull moment on this grand soundtrack.
There are plenty of vocal tracks featured on the release. Toshimichi Isoe’s “Full Contact” switches genres big time, as this is the music heard in battle when characters are able to take their ‘Fury Form’. Get ready for an intense punk influenced kick in the face. The vocals, performed and written by Kazuhiro Watanabe, are catchy and have an inspirational message. Guitarist Hiromu Itou really goes for it in his solos; the solos are on the edge of losing control while still managing to set up the next part of the song perfectly. All in all, the music is fast, loud, and raw… something you might want to mosh to. Vertueux’s “Time’s Out” is a punk rock-inspired track that has a rather goofy and raunchy style. The inspirational lyrics are fun and take me back to the Saturday morning anime I grew up with as a kid. It is a quick tempo interlude that keeps the energy level up. With “All Our Might Tonight” and “Kizuna no Kiseki (Miracle of Bonds)”, I felt empowered and ready for any enemy the world of Fairy Fencer had to throw at me. The production is very impressive here, especially on the latter: the guitar riffs are progressive and in perfect harmony; the synth sounds are layered on top of the music in a way that accents not overpowers; the drummer strikes the snares energetically throughout the chorus; and the vocals sound like they were sung effortlessly, yet are still loud and in your face.
The end of the album ends with an epic orchestra without the edge of distorted guitar and drumset. The Earthbound Papas’ “Jashin Kakusei” starts with the choir being upfront in the mix. When the tempo picks up it really starts to sound like final boss music. The riffs are progressive and dynamic. The way the themes bounce from each section of the orchestra is seamless. The timpani adds energy and a pulse during parts that were rhythmically heavy. The ending is big, loud and larger than life. “Bouken no Butai” sounds like a triumphant release following “Jashin Kakusei”. The crescendo culminates in fireworks with string flourishes and cymbal crashes.The soundtrack comes to a close with two vocal themes from ZIZZ Studio. I felt relaxed by the soft vocals and melodic guitar chords in “Toki no Yurikago”, and the slow waltz time was a welcome in this emotional ballad. “Megami no Tsuioku” carries the same vibe, continuing the relaxing atmosphere only to lift up the listener at the climax of the song. The air became heavy while I listened to the expressive piano accompaniment and heartfelt vocals performed by Kaoru Hayano.
As I took a deep breath towards the end of the song, I noticed there was one more track, a bonus track. All I have to say about the bonus track is that it made laugh out loud. I mean, laugh out loud, belly laugh. This song is incredibly addictive and it will probably be stuck in my head for months to come
I have never been left with a stranger feeling after listening to a piece of music. The music brings a quirky and intense attitude that is unique and unforgettable. It connects with the bright visuals and fast-paced battles to keep you on the edge of your seat. This is a near perfect stand alone experience that almost has to be listened to from beginning to end in one sitting. Whereas some soundtracks are a light snack, this is a four-course dinner, with a chocolate desert to make sure you are full. This is a great addition to my game soundtrack collection. Get your PlayStation 3 ready, RPG fans, as Fairy Fencer F hits stores September 16th in North America and September 19th in Europe. Nippon Ichi Software are packaging a soundtrack with the game, but I’d recommend this two disc commercial release for the full experience.
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Posted on September 7, 2014 by Marc Chait. Last modified on September 7, 2014.