Stella Deus Original Soundtrack
Stella Deus Original Soundtrack
October 6, 2004
Buy at CDJapan
Atlus’ Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity is a strategy RPG that was favourably compared with Final Fantasy Tactics. Its score was composed by the same two people too, Basiscape’s Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata, and they develop their military orchestral sound throughout the album. Their resulting score is one of their most satisfying contributions to game music.
Sakimoto immediately captures the serious scenario of the game with “Alchemy (The Theme of Man)”. An orchestral overture depicting the wars and achievements of mankind, it presents a strong melody on trumpet that is arranged throughout the soundtrack. Like his other works, the orchestration here is intricate and idiosyncratic throughout, ensuring a satisfying listen. The composer develops upon these origins in “Main Battle Track”, with its heavy orchestral timbres and compelling rhythmic sequences. It is an excellent accompaniment to the battling featured throughout the game.
Nevertheless, there is plenty of variety in his contributions throughout the album. For example, he modifies his orchestral style to portray alarm with “Danger”, trageyd with “Game Over”, and evil with “While Feeling Doubt”. Particularly impressive among the darker tracks is “Requiem”, with its unpredictable modulations in its horn section above slow static elements. Nevertheless, he does also showcase a lighter side with dainty tracks such as “Name Entry”, “Save-Load Scren”, and “Bright Atmosphere”; while not among the most substantial in length, they provide a welcome interlude and are somewhat reminiscent of his Tactics Advance work.
Iwata complements Sakimoto on this album with a range of remarkable tracks. His greatest contribution is “Disciple of the Light”. Here a melody mesmerises on bells while a harp plays a wonderful arpeggiated accompaniment. The addition of the soprano voice makes this track all the more special on the album and has a vivid effect in context too. Iwata also supports his co-composer with crisis tracks like “Powerful Enemy” and “Unfavorable Circumstances”; these aren’t quite as impressive as Sakimoto’s equivalents, perhaps because they aren’t so individually styled, but still fulfil their purpose well. Far better is “Decisive Battle”, with its use of brass and timpani work in a dominant but careful way.
Iwata’s “Highlands,” the final dungeon theme, is expressive in its own right and crescendos to a peak at a fortissimo passage before moving into a brass section. “Epilogue” is a little disappointing after the wonderful ending and staff roll themes Sakimoto provided for the series. A beautiful trombone at the start of this track, but it doesn’t develop as far as might be expected. At least it transitions well into “Holy Spirit (Spirit Theme)”, Sakimoto’s divine vocal theme for the game. arugarei’s spiritual voice here is such a welcome contrast to the shallow singers of other RPG vocalists, while Sakimoto’s elaborate harp-based accompanimentis beautiful.
Compared to Final Fantasy Tactics, the music for Stella Deus tends to be somewhat more mature in composition and refined in production. However, it is a slightly less elaborate effort due to its single disc contents and probably should be treated as a supplement to Sakimoto and Iwata’s more elaborate works on the Final Fantasy and Ogre series. Nevertheless, this is a must-have for fans of their other scores.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Dave Valentine. Last modified on August 1, 2012.