Grandia II Original Soundtracks -Deus-
Grandia II Original Soundtracks -Deus-
Two Five Records
September 8, 2000
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The Grandia II soundtracks are split into two volumes: the first is Deus, the second is Povo. This album, therefore, does not contain all the music from Grandia II and instead only contains about half of the pieces from the entire soundtrack. As such the tracks from the game are split, fairly haphazardly, among the two albums. Both albums are fairly similar in terms of content and quantity, and each may be categorized in similar manners. In order to gain a full understanding of the music, it would be necessary to read both reviews.
The tracks on Grandia II Original Soundtracks: Deus may be divided into four different categories, organized by intent: situation specific pieces, town themes, dungeon/ ‘hostile area’ / crisis music, and battle related music. One track, “Eating Dinner,” is a unique piece, and will be discussed separately.
Of the 22 pieces on the Deus album, seven are situation specific. These tracks are: “Memory of the Gods,” “Opening Act,” “A Deus,” “Tower of Garmia,” “The Broken Seal,” “Granas Sanctuary,” and “Granas Saber”. Two of these — “Memory of the Gods” and “Opening Act” — are actual scene music and, in fact, the only scene music of the entire game. The rest are looped pieces used in specific situations in order to impart whatever emotion of the time may be: horror, reverence, relief, etc. The bulk of these pieces are the usual RPG fare: heavy and tense strings used to communicate a particular instance of evil imminence, somewhat thin and bombastic trumpet and string arrangements to communicate courage in a title theme. Of particular interest here are the pieces “A Deus” and “Granas Sanctuary” They are different arrangements of the same melody. Both are used as the compulsory reverent and hallowed music of any game. However, where “A Deus” is employed as a pseudo character theme, “Granas Sanctuary” is more of an environmental piece used for the interior of a location. Needless to say, both pieces are gentle and relaxing, and both feature actual singing. The melody itself is slow and sappy, though heartfelt, it seems. The advantage to the “Granas Sanctuary” version is that the voices are done more as a choir. As such, the overly sentimental nature of the piece is lost in the more reverent feel that the piece is intended to emit. “Granas Saber” is quite distinct from both of the prior two mentioned pieces: it is the inspiration and adventure music of the game. The track begins with a string intro and immediately enters into the trumpet and string carried melody of the piece — very much in vogue, by the way, with the original Grandia theme. The composition sounds a bit bombastic at times, but is overall a fun tune, if a bit shallow. And that is the case with the majority of these situation specific pieces: fun, if a bit shallow.
There are five raucously titled town themes on the Deus album: “Village of Carbo ~ Pious Believers,” “Inn Town Agear,” “Town of Commerce Liligue ~ A False Veneer of Prosperity,” “Nightmare Village Mirumu ~ A Good, Unknown Anxiety,” and “St. Heim Papal State ~ Pious Believers”. Each of these themes are fair and enjoyable, though none are outstanding. In fact, each one is almost exactly as average as the other: not a single one is bad but neither is a single one excellent. Suffice to say that each theme is perfectly suited to the particular town it’s located in. “Village of Carbo” suggests a rustic border town with a hint of the adventure to come, “Inn Town Agear” is a moderately relaxing tune which reminds one of a homely cozy town, “Town of Commerce Liligue” suggests big business and activity, etc. While these themes are fun, mood setting, and engaging, each one is utterly forgettable. All of these extravagantly titled town themes are a prime example of one of the fundamental impasses related to notion of the video game soundtracks, in fact. These pieces are excellent for what they were intended to be. That is, they are excellent soundtrack material. Apart from the game, however, the music is really quite dull and lame. This is because soundtrack material is not generally made as listening as material.
There are five dungeon / ‘hostile area’ / crisis music pieces on Deus. These are: “That Which Hides in the Darkness (1),” “Dangerous Zone,” “Come On, Let’s Travel,” “That Which Hides in the Darkness (2),” and “The Garden of Dreams.” All of these pieces are typical hostile area or dungeon music, and all of them are fairly generic. Two are noteworthy, however: one for its insipidness, the other for its flavor. Both versions of “That Which Hides in the Darkness” are exceedingly dull and highly obnoxious. The ‘melody’ is fundamentally a set of clicks and ticks and tocks, with a drum sound which plays occasionally. “Come On, Let’s Travel” — quite distinct from the drab and pallor of the aforementioned tracks — is bountifully bouncy and optimistic, with a goofy melody and loud instrumentation. The piece is almost too optimistic for its purpose, in fact, though it is very enjoyable nonetheless. In terms of the soundtrack intent dilemma, this piece is actually quite unusual: because while dungeon themes are rarely memorable, or even enjoyable, “Come On, Let’s Travel” is both.
Fourthly, the Deus album features on it a number of battle related themes. Four of them, in fact: “FIGHT!! Ver. 1,” “You Won’t be Able to Kill Me,” “Purification of Darkness,” and “FIGHT!! Ver. 2.” Both versions of ‘FIGHT!!’ are typical forgettable yet pleasant battle themes, while “Purification of Darkness” is a boss battle theme of little import, featuring a slow intro and a stressful main theme played on strings. “You Won’t be Able to Kill Me” is the battle fanfare, used when the player manages a battle without being hit a single time. I personally am quite fond of this fanfare — it is, in fact, my surprise favorite of all fanfares I have yet heard. It has a particular gallant and large sound to it which, in addition to simply being pleasurable, is also quite appropriate to the game.
Finally, “Eating Dinner” is a distinct piece: Unique to the Grandia series, at any point when the player chooses to rest at an inn a scenario endures in which the characters ‘eat dinner’ and converse. During this time personal — and often irrelevant — information is given on characters’ personalities, their insights, or their pasts. “Eating Dinner” is a version of the theme that is played during scenarios. It is a silly piece; simple, shallow, and light, though it communicates the reality of human triteness rather well, I feel. Despite its deficiencies, it is ultimately endearing and memorable.
Grandia II Original Soundtracks: Deus is the first half of the fairly well designed Grandia II game soundtrack. Having established this, it is important to understand that this recognition does not render Deus an excellent listening CD. In fact, distinct from a specific audience, this album would be mostly dull and laborious. This album is recommended to those particular fond of the game, and to whom it will mean much to remember and reminisce upon the situations that occurred in the game accompanied with the music.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Caleb Rose. Last modified on August 1, 2012.