Snatcher Battle Perfect Selection
Snatcher Battle Perfect Selection
January 7, 1995
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Throughout the nineties, Konami released a series of albums dubbed the “Battle” series. These albums contained hard rock arrangements from various Konami video games such as Castlevania, Gradius, and others, arranged by Naoto Shibata and performed by rock band. Eventually Konami chose to give Snatcher and SD Snatcher this treatment. With its jamming electric guitars and heavy percussion, is this album worthy of the title “Perfect Selection?” We shall see.
“Difficult Move” appropriately sets the theme for the rest of the album. After a brief introduction with the synth and drums, the electric guitar performed by Katsu Ohta comes wailing in at full force. The guitar continues its improvised melody until about 1:40 where the synth plays its own melody. This does not last long, as the electric guitar comes jamming back. Things mellow a bit at 2:32 when the guitar takes a backseat and Yusuke Takahama’s keyboard plays its own solo part. When the electric guitar comes back, it wastes no time in carrying the piece to its rocking end.
Much like other albums in the series, Perfect Selection Snatcher Battle uses a similar formula. Soloists will play their own themes, accompanied with backup from the excellent percussion and synth. The original themes will be played, but much time will be spent on improvisation. “Theme of Izabel Part One” is a remixed theme of the eponymous character. In the game, Izabel was a dancer at the Outer Heaven nightclub. Despite the title, Part Two was not interpreted on this disc. The piece takes a more jazz-like approach while still retaining the rock flavor. While the bass and synth play the jazz part, the electric guitar carries the rock theme effectively for the entire piece.
“The Peaceful Avenue” is completely different than what was heard previously. Rather taking a hard rock approach, this piece is more of a soft rock vocal theme. The lyrics are provided by Eizo Sakamoto, who’s actually quite famous in Japan for being the lead vocalist for the band Anthem, the band that arranger Naoto Shibata also originates from. The piano, synth, and guitars provide excellent instrumentation while Sakamoto himself performs quite strongly as well. This is definitely a standout track among the rest.
“Blow Up Tricycle” and “Theme of JUNKER” continue the style established by previous tracks. Both are cinematic themes used during cutscenes. The electric guitars continue to play improvised melody while the percussion and synth back them up. I’d say that these arrangements even surpass the originals! We now take a more peaceful route with “Twilight of Neo Kobe City” which is lovingly arranged as a rock ballad. A great cover of a piece that was already spectacular.
The next three tracks are from SD Snatcher. As I’ve already mentioned, these tracks utilize the same format as before. That’s not to say there’s no variety, though. Just like other “Battle” albums, each piece is able to stand on its own with little repetition. I really enjoyed the melodies of “Coda” while “Resistance” and “Danger” prove to be effective battle tracks. To cap off this disc, “Theme of Snatcher” gives us the grand finale. The original melody still shines through as the performers give their all with this piece. A splendid way to finish things.
Konami has certainly delivered with Perfect Selection Snatcher Battle. While some might be put off that there’s more improvisation than original melody, I cannot recommend this album enough. Sure, it has some minor problems. More memorable tracks could have been chosen, and there are times where the synth feels dated; but these are trivial complaints that should not discern you. Whether you enjoy music from Snatcher and its parody, enjoy the Battle series, or just want to hear excellent rock arrangements, you owe it to yourself to give this album a listen.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Oliver Jia. Last modified on August 1, 2012.