Monster Hunter 10th Anniversary Compilation Album [Tribute]
Monster Hunter 10th Anniversary Compilation Album [Tribute]
October 1, 2014
Buy at CDJapan
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Capcom’s popular Monster Hunter series, two arrange albums were released. Both albums feature arrangements by acclaimed artists with one being a tribute album featuring arrangements by artists who have not worked on the series’ music and the other being a self-cover album featuring arrangements by the original composers themselves of some of their own iconic tunes. How does Monster Hunter 10th Anniversary Compilation Album [Tribute], featuring arrangements by composers like Yuzo Koshiro, Michiko Naruke, Hip Tanaka, and Hiroki Kikuta turn out?
The album opens up with Michiko Naruke’s take on “Wind of Departure.” With her arrangement, she provides a very Celtic approach, although with a tinge of flamenco, to the original. There is plenty of fiddle, tin whistle, acoustic guitar, and bagpipes. The solos are quite excellent and, for the most part, the woodwinds provide a very airy sound; however, at times, they are a bit too high pitched compared to the rest of the tune so that is slightly jarring. On the whole, it’s a very solid tune and a fantastic way to open the album. Hiroki Kikuta’s “A Village Swaying in the Wind ~ Shinato” provides a soft jazz sound mixed with that classic Secret of Mana style sound, albeit with updated instrumentation. It’s a beautiful representation of the original and while it may not feature flashy solos, there is a very nostalgic charm to the piece that reminds me of classic RPG village themes.
“Reincarnation of Light and Darkness ~ Shagaru Magara,” by Michiru Yamane, is a very dynamic orchestral piece boasting both mysterious and more intense battle-like sections, both very reminiscent of her work on the Castlevania series. There is a lot of energy in the piece and it flows quite nicely. Towards the end, there are some operatic vocals; however, they come in at the end of the piece and end up feeling superfluous and not needed. I would have much preferred they be incorporated more into the piece or be entire absent, but others may disagree. One of the strongest tracks on the album is Hip Tanaka’s “Brave Icon ~ Brachydios. His unique approach to the arrangement showcases both his strength as well as the strength of the original orchestral piece. It’s a piece full of hard hitting chiptune beats that mimic the heavy beats present in dance music, processed choir vocals to send more digitalized, mix distortion, and orchestral aspects. It’s a very fun and epic piece that highlights Hip Tanaka’s strength as a chiptune remixer and also provides one of the most entertaining listens across both the 10th anniversary arrange albums.
The next tune, “Sparkling Blue Light ~ Zinogre, Tremble of the Sea and Land ~ Lagiacrus,” a medley by former Game Freak composer Shota Kageyama, definitely shows glimmers of his influence while working on the Pokemon series. The overall flow follows the same approach as many of the battle themes in the Pokemon series; although with more modern sounds. The blend of orchestral, rock, and pulsing beats make for a very entertaining listen, even if it doesn’t venture too far outside the box. The transition between the two themes is also executed quite well and helps to provide a different feel to the piece in the second half. Motoi Sakuraba’s “Intercepting the Great Gong” transforms the original into an intense progressive rock/orchestral piece. There are some powerful choral samples, plenty of electric guitar and keyboard work, and intense drumming. Overall, I think it is a very interesting take on the original; although those who aren’t a fan of Sakuraba’s progressive rock or orchestral work may not find this one particularly pleasing.
Hiroshi Kawaguchi’s “Red Afterglow Running in the Darkness ~ Nargacuga” definitely reminds me of Bayonetta in some ways. There is an emphasis on jazzy keyboard work and overall has a sort of sex appeal to the piece. At the same time, there is a really nice sense of chaos as well, since some of the arrangement features ominous tones and has a bit of dissonance as well. Another highlight on the album is Kenji Ito’s take on “Raging Fangs of the Beast ~ Tigrex.” It’s an extremely well-produced rock track that features some electronic backing and some of the orchestral basis from the original track. However, the shining star, to me, is the use of the electric guitar throughout the piece. There is a lot of improvisation, making the guitar sections almost like a continuous series of solos, all of which exude a lot of raw edge making this a fantastic listen and somewhat of a departure from Kenji Ito’s typical rock based tracks.
ZUNTATA’s Shohei Tsuchiya arranges “Illusion of the Dense Forest ~ Oonazumi” and the end result is something that is a bit mixed. The overall feel is a lounge jazz type of sound mixed with some intricate rhythm and a slight Japanese soundscape. The saxophone playing is quite nice and really showcases the main melody quite well. On the whole, while it isn’t my favorite track, it definitely manages to entertain. The album ends with the main theme of the Monster Hunter series, “Proof of a Hero,” arranged by Yuzo Koshiro. His take is reminiscent of his recent Etrian Odyssey battle themes, although with much more synth rock as opposed to the more strings based approach. It’s a fun take on the original and a fitting close to the album.
On the whole, the Monster Hunter 10th Anniversary Compilation Album [Tribute] is a well-produced and enjoyable album. While there are some tracks that don’t push the creative boundaries that some other arrangements do or have aspects that are a bit questionable, the end result is an enjoyable listen from start to finish and fans of the Monster Hunter series or any of these composers will most certainly find something to enjoy.
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Posted on December 3, 2014 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on December 13, 2014.