Growlanser Original Soundtracks

Growlanser Original Soundtracks Album Title:
Growlanser Original Soundtracks
Record Label:
King Records
Catalog No.:
KICA-5045
Release Date:
December 23, 1999
Purchase:
Buy at Play Asia

Overview

Noriyuki Iwadare is one of my all time favorite composers. After hearing compositions from series such as Grandia, Lunar, and True Love Story, I embarked on a scavenger hunt to find more of his works. My search ultimately led me to this soundtrack. I honestly feel that these compositions are right up there as some of his best, if not his absolute best. This soundtrack is definitely a gem. It has the familiar, spirited songs we’ve come to know him for, and mixes in some elements that fans may not expect from him.

Body

The album opens up with two vocal songs: “Wings of Light ~ Male Version” and “Wings of Light ~ Female Version.” While both songs have the same title, each have their own distinct mood and tempo that separate them from one another. The male version has a more hard-edged feel, while the female version, despite some lively and vigorous tones, embraces a softer side. I really didn’t care for the actual vocals themselves, though. Personally, I would have preferred them to have been instrumental tracks because the music itself is great. Don’t misunderstand me; the vocals are not bad, but at times they can feel somewhat bland and out of place.

After the vocal songs, the first track is “The Beginning.” This track poses a decidedly mellow, relaxing mood. The pianos, drums and wind instruments come together for a very eclectic and peaceful harmony. “Who Are You?”, the piece that follows, is indubitably something you’d hear in one of Iwadare’s True Love Story compositions. It has a remarkably bouncy, cheerful, happy-go-lucky presence about it. It’s a nice, catchy tune that is soothing and easy on the ears. Iwadare quickly changes it up with the decidedly dark “Witchcraft University.” The organs in this piece bring forth a dim and gloomy aura which really stands out as there is no other song like it on the soundtrack.

Something I really enjoy is when a soundtrack has a succession of pieces that take you gradually from one emotion to another. Without a doubt, the following three pieces showcase that approach on this soundtrack. “The Sabbath Day” encourages feelings of sadness and remorse; it’s slow, tranquil and serene. The harps and elemental sounds merge to provide a delicate and timid atmosphere. Following right after is “Creeping Scary’s,” a track that evokes suspicion and bewilderment. The track has an odd overtone but is very fitting and follows the previous track very nicely. Finally, to conclude this trio, we end with the mystic and bleak “In the Cave.” While this piece doesn’t scream out the words ‘terrifying’ or ‘unnerving’, it does take on a somewhat morbid stance and exudes the sense that something evil or foul is just around the corner.

Iwadare is excellent at composing for different locations, characters, and situations, but I feel some of his best compositions are his battle themes. That statement is no different for this soundtrack. Two of the best battle themes for the game are “Removal” and “Time is Now!.” “Removal” has a more of an epic, courageous semblance to it, while “Time is Now!” has more of a funky, upbeat and energetic emphasis on it. Both, however, pump up and motivate the player in their own distinct ways. “Taste of Blood,” which could very well be the final battle theme, denotes the type of sensation one would receive during a culminating confrontation. It’s brash, aggressive and unforgiving; the true definition of a final boss theme.

Piano-oriented themes are some of my favorites in video game music. Two pieces that express this whole-heartedly are “The Sunset” and “Silent Decision.” The word ‘peaceful’ fails to describe how beautiful these pieces are. Both are placid and easygoing, so much so that they could be tear-evoking. The soundtrack closes with “Far Away.” This track runs the total gamut of emotions: happiness, sadness, sorrow, hope, and despair, blending many instruments together into one breathtaking harmony. This is truly an awe-inspiring piece.

Summary

In closing, the Growlanser Original Soundtracks is quite possibly Noriyuki Iwadare’s single greatest composition, which is a shame, because it is not very well known, not even by fans of his music. With this soundtrack, you receive the brand of Iwadare music you’ve come to know and love along with some great forms and styles you might not be aware about. Please do yourself a huge favor and pick up this CD if at all possible. You won’t be disappointed!

Growlanser Original Soundtracks Bishop

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

5


Posted on August 1, 2012 by Bishop. Last modified on August 1, 2012.


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