Freedom Wars Original Soundtrack

freedomwars Album Title:
Freedom Wars Original Soundtrack
Record Label:
Team Entertainment
Catalog No.:
KDSD-00719/21
Release Date:
July 23, 2014
Purchase:
Buy at CDJapan

Overview

Freedom Wars is a third person shooter game for PS Vita set in a futuristic war stricken world. The storyline is based on the notion of being born a criminal. You have a one million year sentence to serve, and the only way to knock back those years and earn your freedom is to fight the gargantuan creatures known as ‘abductors’ and save the innocent people they capture. The soundtrack is big, epic and flows through intense emotions and ambient sounds of looming danger. The pulsing drums combined with a large sounding orchestra make the game feel like a science fiction or action movie at points. The composer of this three-disc soundtrack, Kemmei Adachi, is no stranger to action games. In fact, he has extensively worked on franchises such as Patapon, LocoRoco, and Gran Turismo. His background in action games definitely comes through in this work. Each disc contains sounds that can be associated with battle scenes, journeys in foreign lands and even casual market scenes. The music sometimes has a spacey, electronic air to it that will seem to slow time. The guitar solos are floated on top of the music like ice cream on soda and the synth sounds stay fresh throughout the soundtrack.

Body

“Activation” starts this work off slow and in a minimal style, which is not what I expected to hear after getting excited over larger than life gameplay trailers and album artwork. Adachi begins with warped piano and layered synth sounds. The dark mood and haunting melodies are accompanied by an electronic drum set drowned in a reflective reverb. The glitchy electronic sounds in the beginning mixed with the odd vocal tracks make me think science fiction with influences from fantasy when the orchestra kicks in.

The action picks up in “Vundo”; brisk minor riffs from the orchestra and pulsing drums build from beginning to end, much like Ravel’s Bolero. The energy of this track really gets me psyched to engage in battle with the offending abductors and earn my years of freedom. The dramatic story of uncertainty and dread continues to unfold on”Bugat”, particularly heavy and crunchy piece, while still staying in control. The pulsing techno beat adds intensity to the hard riffs and demonic sounding vocals. Hard rhythmic music like this will absolutely keep you on your toes while engaging an enemy.  Among other impressive additions is “Capture”; the drums blend into electronic sounds, shiftingmy from a natural sound to synthetic so seamlessly I didn’t notice when the natural drums started to become warped.

The album takes a serious tone and even sounds slightly triumphant during “Jerusalem”. The timpani and chorus add to the energy and emotion in this particular track. Big sounding drums are used to accent the melody and chord changes in both “Jerusalem” and “Capture”. The thought-provoking melodies and engaging percussion cues of “System End” make for exciting music and engaging visuals. I also love the driving rhythms and how they build underneath the French horn parts of “Gavno.a”The close listener with a sharp memory will recognize the melody in this track from the opening of disc one. I enjoyed hearing a reprise as it kept the energy moving while still giving me a sense of familiarity in this vast collection of music and sounds.

Transitions between genres are seamless and the contrast adds to the action and mystery behind the story. This contrast can happen within pieces: However, there is also plenty of diversity between the tracks here. For example, “Cascade” has a surf punk feel signaled by the Stratocaster guitar sound and up beat riffs. The rock n’ roll inspired sound is countered by “Code RedIII” with a triumphant orchestral piece comprised of sweet string melodies and quick, pounding percussion rhythms. As explosive as tracks can get, the soundtrack never ceases to switch gears to a spacey collection of glitch-hop inspired rhythms and odd computer generated sounds.The way Adachi has layered sounds and mixed them together makes the music dynamic. The more subdued tracks such as “Oberon-2” and “Gavno.b” give the heavier tracks like “Flexispy.A” more punch and impact. My blood was pumping throughout this progressive action track.

There are also tracks such as “PRG” and “A-1 System” that lighten the mood a bit. These two tracks do not carry the heavy atmosphere much of the soundtrack has. Glitched vocals layered on top of a driving bass lines and a rather swung drum beat make the music more inviting, like a lot of ‘item shop’ music in role playing games. What’s more, there are those tear-jerker moments a seasoned JRPG fan can expect, even in a sci-fi shooter such as this. The final track on disc two, “BTR”, starts off with a clean sounding piano with heavily warped drum sounds. As I became immersed in the music and calm feeling it gave me, the piano started to sound like another electronic instrument in the gentle mix of female vocals and synth melodies. This is a welcomed ballad, although it still has a very computerized timbre and vibe to it.

The beginning of the final disc starts with a similar calm atmosphere “BTR” provided but quickly ramps up the energy when the orchestra enters. The swooping melodies in the strings mixed with the very orchestral sounding percussion section truly gave the music a large, epic sound. While later half of disc three sounded like the work was coming to a close, pieces like “Return” seemed to have no resolution. It just kept building, only to fade out into “Host Server” which took a completely different tone. The triumphant victory music I expected at the end of the soundtrack was not there. I felt like the album did not end after I finished listening to the final two tracks, “Enter” at 0:09 and “Starting” at 0:24. These tracks provide a dark and frightening sounding end to an eclectic mix of already strange electronic sounds.

The use of electronic instruments is a driving force that makes this soundtrack unique and recognizable. The quality of sound is top notch and really shakes my speakers. Each layered instrument can be identified. Pitches sound clear and sharp and are mixed well with the various drum sounds. I must also mention that this music sounds better cranked. Be careful if you are listening on headphones, as the loud impacts are indeed loud. The dynamic contrast can only be appreciated with the volume fairly loud.

Summary

Kemmei Adachi has created a strange, diverse, and action-packed soundtrack for Freedom Wars. As a stand-alone work, the three disc album does not have the same impact as when experienced with the game. There are select tracks that I enjoy listening to casually, but some of the riffs tend to become repetitive and sometimes lack variation or fills. Regardless, the music is well written, sounds crystal clear and brings to life the futuristic vibe of the game. After listening I am even more excited to experience the game come release day.

Freedom Wars Original Soundtrack Marc Chait

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Posted on September 4, 2014 by Marc Chait. Last modified on September 4, 2014.

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