Metal Saga Original Soundtrack
Metal Saga Original Soundtrack
Insanity Naked Hunter
October 1, 2005
Buy Used Copy
Metal Saga represented a next-gen revival of Crea-Tech’s Metal Max series of RPGs with its PlayStation 2 release in 2005. Satoshi Kadokura crafted an especially diverse soundtrack for the title, blending the characteristic rock flavour of the series with electronic, ambient, funk, orchestral, and funk elements. The result was so impressive that INH commemorated the score with a three disc commercial set. However, they decided to split the three discs into distinct types of theme — action themes on the first, setting themes on the second, and event themes on the last. Did the effect pay off and are there enough highlights to justify a purchase?
The first disc features the action themes for the game and, as the game’s name suggests, they are rock-based. The opener “The Season of Metal” is atmospheric and gritty, driven throughout by a hardcore bass riff and punctuated by overdriven guitar work. The battle themes follow a similar approach. “Battle” and its two remixes fuse distorted rock riffs with hard techno beats while “Wanted Person Battle” is written in a more anthemic rock style. That said, the first disc also features a lot of stylistic diversity ranging from fantastical orchestrations such as “My Footstep on This World” to light-hearted funk themes in “Fellow Ship” to even the odd honky-tonk piano ditty with “A Railroad Across the Continent”. The most enjoyable efforts are those that hybridise several features. “Route 99” is a well done blend of rock and orchestral styles while “Last Battle” takes things one step more epic by adding techno and percussive elements too. Overall, it’s clear Satoshi Kadokura is accomplished with a lot of styles even if his own musicality is most firmly engraved in the rock tracks.
The second disc focuses more on the setting themes for the game. The majority of them are extremely light-hearted and usually not in a good way. Whether funky goofballs like “Tank Worker” to jarring rock tracks like “Shopping Rock” to irritating jingles like “Animal Parade”, there’s a lot most will want to skip here. More welcome are the uplifting electronic themes such as “Dungeon-2-Mix”, “Torigami”, and “Ziang Mountain” given their creative tendencies and extensive development. The piano solos in “Theme of Love” and “Driving to New Fork” are also quite welcome, even if the former is ruined by its tacky synth overlays. That said, the moody feel of the soundtrack is maintained in a few themes at the start and ends of the disc and these are the most notable effort. Whether the depressing electronic hybrids of “Morgue Town”, ritualistic rhythms of “Stronghold Ruins”, or awe-inspiring orchestra and chorus use in “Ziggurat”, Kadokura certainly knows how to create atmosphere. Overall, this is the least consistent disc of the album despite its wonderful highlights.
The third disc is dedicated to various event themes in the game and is probably the most stylistically diverse. The openers “Crisis” and “Crisis 2” make an impact by blending orchestral elements with techno and rock features respectively; while the soundscapes are atmospheric and the rhythms are compelling when fused together, the individual instruments are used in a surprisingly mundane way. “Howl” sounds more a like calming RPG theme, though interestingly fuses these influences with rocking backing. More heartrending themes include the orchestral cue “The One Who Cannot Forgot”, resonant string quartet “Tear of the 7MM Engine Canon”, and duo of music box themes. There are also two soothing piano-based offerings, “In Peace” and “Song of the Stranger”, both of which adhere to RPG clichés; but still have moments of exuberance. Following the low-key ending theme, “Staff Roll” offers some surprisingly good instrumental country music and “See You Next…” provides a final highlight with a captivating blend of rock and electro. The event themes are among the most derivative of the soundtrack, but they’re still a diverse bunch and rather emotional.
The decision to split the soundtrack into themed discs had mixed results. On the one hand, it is good for those looking for specific types of tracks, be they rocking battle themes, haunting dungeon themes, or emotional event themes. On the other hand, it tends to have disorientating rather than cohesive results since most discs remain hotchpotchs and the track listings are disordered. It also tends to emphasise the generic nature of certain types of track, especially in the weak second disc. The resultant soundtrack sounds more like a compilation of individual tracks than a unified work, though there is nevertheless enough diversity and gold here for there to be something to appeal to everyone. It’ll depend very much on the listener whether that number of tracks justifies a purchase of a whole three disc album.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.