Lord of Apocalypse Original Soundtrack
Lord of Apocalypse Original Soundtrack
February 17, 2012
Download at iTunes
Lord of Apocalypse is an enhanced port of Lord of Arcana for the PlayStation Vita. Presumably with advice from Square Enix, developers Access Games selected Monaca’s Keigo Hoashi and Keiichi Okabe for the task. Having won a huge fanbase through their work on Nier, they seemed like a great fit for the Lord of Vermilion franchise. But unfortunately, they only penned a handful of original tracks for the title while the rest of the music was carried over from Lord of Arcana. The Lord of Apocalypse Original Soundtrack is a mini-album featuring the new music for the title.
Right from the opening theme, “Messenger from the Seven Worlds”, Keigo Hoashi proves himself to be a great fit for the franchise. The composition blends the gothic and fantasy vibes of the first two Lord of Vermilion titles with the Hollywood stylings and production values aspired to in Lord of Arcana. In doing so, he manages to refrain from incorporating clichés and makes the composition a cohesive whole. Also very effective is his use of thematic material; unlike the arrangers of Lord of Arcana, Hoashi very comfortably blends new and familiar thematic ideas in the score. There is an original theme highlighted throughout the composition that reflects the earth-shattering premise of the game. The Lord of Vermilion main theme also gets a reference at the end of the piece, but it’s more of a subtle nod to fans than yet another rendition of this overdone theme.
There are just four other instrumental tracks featured in the rest of the soundtrack. The best of them is “Friends Together”, which features the score’s most gallant and colourful orchestral writing. “Gathering of the Chosen” is a vibrant march that captures a sense of heading off on a journey, while “World Conquest” channels a fantasy vibe with its soothing oboes above darker orchestration. Both compositions again blend styles and themes, old and new, in the way the franchise absolutely needed. But with these themes each lasting two minutes each and being so few in number, they leave one wanting more. “Possessed with Darkness” also features a disappointingly brief playtime, but does a great deal within it. The only action theme on the album, it captures the sense of an epic encounter with a mixture of orchestral and rock stylings. It pays tribute to Lord of Vermilion by incorporating both the countermelody of the franchise and some delightfully thrashing guitar riffs. It’s an impressive tribute to classic Uematsu, revealing unexpected influences and versatility from Hoashi, but also boasts top production values too.
The soundtrack ends with the theme song for Lord of Apocalypse sung by Soria. Co-written by Okabe and Hoashi, it is reminiscent of their vocal themes from Nier. Following an extended piano introduction that beautifully recapitulates the original theme of Lord of Apocalypse, the composition moves into the core of the song. While the verse is quite mellow, the chorus packs quite a punch and brings out all the emotion of the original theme. Combining organic tones, rich vocals, and top production values, this track won’t disappoint Nier‘s fans. Unfortunately, it’s also featured in four other renditions elsewhere on the soundtrack. The only worthwhile one is ‘Nearby Version’, which features a softer instrumental arrangement highlighting the acoustic guitar in the introduction and solos. There’s also two instrumental versions (where the vocals are simply edited out) and a track featuring just the piano introduction, each of which bring nothing to the table.
The Lord of Apocalypse Original Soundtrack once again demonstrates the talents of Keigo Hoashi with its stunning main theme, theme song, and instrumental tracks. But while what’s on offer is fantastic, with just five instrumental tracks and one theme song (in five versions), the soundtrack is a little pricey for its 10 USD pricetag. While this soundtrack is an example of Lord of Vermilion music finally done right, many more tracks were needed to reinvigorate this musically-tired franchise. It’s a pity Monaca weren’t given a chance to create a fully-fledged soundtrack for Lord of Vermilion III instead. Still, this soundtrack is worth picking up if you’re a fan of Nier and other Monaca works.
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Posted on November 30, 2015 by Chris Greening. Last modified on November 27, 2015.