Sengoku Basara -Battle Heroes- Original Soundtrack
Sengoku Basara -Battle Heroes- Original Soundtrack
April 22, 2009
Buy at CDJapan
Sengoku Basara Battle Heroes Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack to the PSP spinoff of the popular hack-n-slash franchise. A whole host of composers tackle this one disc release, most prominently including Rei Kondoh and Masayoshi Ishi. The team once again offer a fusion between traditional Eastern music and modern hard rock, but generally offer more impressive tracks than the initial instalments of the series.
Rei Kondoh is responsible for the majority of the tracks. He opens the soundtrack with “Heroes Battle Outbreak,” sealing the deal for the style of music the listener is to be exposed to. An electric guitar and driving drum beat serve as a thrilling base as a synthesizer plays a simplistic melody that serves its purpose as opening theme rather well. Touches of traditional instrumentation can also be heard, most notably a flute. While none of the individual elements are terribly impressive, they come together to form a pleasant opener. Fortunately the following track, “The Dragon That Soars the Heavens”, is a much different matter. Featuring a strong melody and excellent fusion between the traditional and modern instrumentation, this track reminds the listener of the composer’s work on the Okami series — quite the compliment. More than the last, this track belies the feel of an adventure’s beginning.
Kondoh introduces a gothic choir to “Boil the Flames of Justice”. In conjunction with the dramatic piano work, it creates a track that sounds like it served as a bit of inspiration for the composer’s boss battle tracks on his Bayonetta soundtrack. The melody in this track is just as enjoyable as in the preceding. “Bloom, Fireworks of Love” is noteworthy for featuring the traditional instrumentation a lot more prominently, as well as some neat transient piano improvisations. The forces reach a sort of panic near the end of the track, giving way to quite an impressive complexity that helps this track stand out. The accordion and string usage in “A Riot! A Riot!” help turn it into quite a dramatic track too, the former instrument recalling some tracks from Gust titles.
Masayoshi Ishi contributed several pieces too. Certainly the most interesting of the bunch, “The Undercover Wind” dances between various instruments in a rather impressive way. Different subsets of the main melody are handled by different instruments, from the strings to the flute and electric guitar, with a nice drum beat thrown in for good measure. “Time for Destruction” has a very unique opening, with whirring and clicking noises convening quickly to a quite enjoyable melody, which itself leads into an interesting transition phase which can barely be called more than amusing noises generated by various synthesizers over and addicting beat. The whole mash-up is actually quite fascinating, and it works rather well. The composer’s other three contributions are rather similar in style to Kondoh, though focus a bit more on polyrhythms and gimmicks in the drum line than melodic content. None of the tracks disappoint, though none stand out particularly much like many of his initial contributions to the series.
Yasutaka Hatade composed three tracks on this album. His contributions are far more rock heavy than the rest, and all are equally thrilling. “Sand Fort” comes out slightly on top of the others, for having an enjoyably dramatic endgame-type melody with the instrumentation to back it up, including some sweeping strings, and a driving bass line. “After the Rain Comes the Devil King” is the most symphonic of the three, though to such a tiny degree that it’s not terribly noticeable. The melody here as well as instrumentation is quite enjoyable. Taiki Endou, on the other hand, composed only one track on this soundtrack, “The Way to the Capitol.” The only piece featuring an acoustic guitar, this track makes an impression from its opening notes. However, the track is unfortunately short, leaving the listener yearning to hear more of what this composer is capable of.
Coming to the climax of the soundtrack, Rei Kondoh’s “Tabletop Battlefield” has a dramatic melody that intimates the upcoming conclusion to the game. Some impressive guitar improvisations help this flow. “Red and Black Clash,” given its placement supposedly as the final battle theme, is rather disappointing, even if it wasn’t intended to be the accompaniment to the game’s most dramatic moments. It features no more than a simple melody, and though the multi layered complexity of the instrumentation impresses initially, it fails to evolve throughout its short playtime, nor does it feature a voice to help it stand out from Kondoh’s less impressive tracks on this album.
Kondoh closes the soundtrack with three variations of the game’s vocal theme, “Sleeping Scarlet Flower”. The piece is graceful, in stark contrast to the heaviness of the rest of the soundtrack. Mamiko Noto’s voice is somewhat operatic in nature, accompanying the heavy string usage quite wonderfully. An electric guitar can be heard very briefly, and there’s an ongoing drum beat, but the track is predominately orchestral in nature, and shows that Kondoh has plenty of strength in this area of composition. A very nice way to end the soundtrack. “Battle Heroes” is an exclusive unused piece on the soundtrack. The melody, an abbreviated version of the following vocal theme, is enjoyable and the instrumentation is just as lively as any other track featured. It’s a pity this track wasn’t used to unify the game.
This soundtrack features quite an eclectic mix of styles, between the fusions of East and West, contemporary and ancient, and the diversity amongst the composers themselves. Still, while all tracks are enjoyable to listen to, few actually break the mold of the rest of the soundtrack. The album makes for great background music as the listener performs some other task, perhaps, but someone more attentive might get bored of the presented styles before the disc’s halfway point. Still, those who appreciate this relatively rare form of musical composition will surely enjoy the never-ending complexity offered.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Marc Friedman. Last modified on January 19, 2016.