Sengoku Basara Original Soundtrack
Sengoku Basara Original Soundtrack
Scitron Digital Contents
August 24, 2005
Buy at CDJapan
Considered Capcom’s answer to Dynasty Warriors, Sengoku Basara (localised as Devil Kings) is a popular hack-n-slash title set in feudal Japan. The soundtrack by T’s Music veteran Masayoshi Ishi and Capcom’s Marika Suzuki fuses modern rock stylings with traditional Japanese instruments. While the resulting soundscapes are suitably intense, they are rarely appealing enough on a stand-alone level.>
Masayoshi Ishi establishes the stylistic foundations of the series with the title theme. Reflecting a modern portrayal of an ancient conflict, he blends contemporary and traditional forces in a dense and distinctive manner. This fusion isn’t exactly an authentic one, but has proved successful in the similarly styled Dynasty Warriors series. The rocking electric guitars and intense electronic beats will get listeners prepared for action, while the traditional woodwinds offer much to the track melodically and emotionally. The resulting track isn’t as good as later themes in the series — with the melody lacking substance and the elements somewhat clumsily mixed — but it’s still somewhat enjoyable outside the game. Unfortunately, the same isn’t true for other menu and event themes such as “Good Luck!”, “Silence”, and “Tumbling Water”. These are simply too short and ambient to be of interest.
The major highlights of the soundtrack are dedicated to portraying the major battles of Japan’s feudal era. For example, “Joy Ride” captures the intensity of the Battle of Suriagehara with pumping beats, wailing shakuhachi, and fusion guitars. Given it is used during an extended gameplay sequence, it is a little less erratic than the opening track, but no less dramatic. A tense atmosphere is created with the ambient soundscaping and repetitive rhythms of the Battle of Nagashino’s “The Thorn”, whereas “Driving Rain” depicts the ever-changing circumstances of the Battle of Okehazama using intense contrasting sections. While neither track is spectacular on a stand-alone level, they complement the action in the game quite well and will still appeal to those who enjoy intense fusions. Also serviceable is Marika Suzuki’s multifaceted portrayal of the Battle of Yamazaki in “Tuonela”, though unfortunately the sampling and mixing could have been better.
Among the most intense action themes on the soundtrack, Marika Suzuki’s “Rumbling” is the first orchestral track to exclude the electric guitar and instead favours Hollywood-style brass and percussion elements. The result is quite thrilling, though the track loops too prematurely to be a great one. In contrast, “Ahead on the Game” focuses once more on mixing electric guitars and industrial beats to produce a dense accompaniment to the fighting. “Thunderbolt”, as implied by the name, sounds no less than a thunderstorm due to its light use of woodwind and thunderous use of electrical instruments. Other action-packed fusions include “Borderline”, “Rising High”, and “Powerful Girl” with their raw percussion and experimental soundscaping, though these compositions may be too disordered and repetitive to have a stand-alone appeal. While these tracks may have been decent for 2005, they have nothing on the more mature and memorable fusions on the 2010’s Sengoku Basara 3 soundtrack.
Moving to the climax of the soundtrack, “Critical” is a suspenseful score used in the Battle of Takamatsu. in fact, it sounds similar to many of the atmospheric electro-orchestral fusions produced by Remote Control Productions. In direct contrast, “Desperate Battle” for the important Shikoku campaign is a very heroic and victorious track reminiscent of older war scores. The track doesn’t sound particularly authentic once again, though the subtle incorporation of traditional instruments and tonalities does still reflect a Japanese conflict. Also by Marika Suzuki, “Near the End” captures an ever-intensifying and climactic situation using more Hollywood-style orchestrations. It’s on par with Resident Evil 4‘s action anthems, but doesn’t quite exceed them due to the use of sampled instruments. Finally, “Roar the Darkness” ends the soundtrack with a melodically engaging and extensively developed anthem.
In summary, the soundtrack for Sengoku Basara is best reserved for the contextual experience. Most tracks do their job of keeping the game interesting and exciting with their intense rhythms and timbres, while also offering some stereotypical Japanese elements to reflect the setting. However, most tracks won’t captivate a casual audience due to their lack of memorable features and the majority aren’t developed or intricate enough to be satisfying on an intellectual level either. Subsequent scores in the series developed this soundtrack’s fusion of contemporary and traditional components to much more impressive results.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Harris Iqbal. Last modified on August 1, 2012.