Tenpei Sato The Best 2 -Heroic Saga-
Tenpei Sato The Best 2 -Heroic Saga-
Nippon Ichi Software
December 10, 2009
Buy at Official Site
A few years after the release of Tenpei Sato The Best – Beautiful Days, Tenpei Sato decided to release Tenpei Sato The Best 2 – Heroic Saga. While the original focused mainly on the Marl Kingdom series and more poignant and emotional themes, the idea behind this compilation album was to capture a more heroic sound. It features works mainly from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness and La Pucelle: Tactics, as well as a few themes from the Marl Kingdom series and Phantom Brave. Does Tenpei Sato’s second compilation album deliver?
Interestingly enough, the album opens up with the opening theme to La Pucelle: Tactics, “The Legend of the Light Saint.” Sung by Lynne Hobday, it offers a more dramatic tone than the vocal featured on his first compilation album. The vocal work is a large part of this, at times dramatic, especially with the layering, and at others, more beautiful. It’s still a beautiful theme, but not in the poignant way like “Miracles Happen.” The music is also quite nice and although more in a supportive role, the strings and percussion really help mold this piece into something special. “God Bless Prier!” is definitely the most dramatic theme on the album. Featuring operatic vocals by Mai Takeda, it has a very spooky and tense atmosphere, mainly due to the combination of operatic vocals, dramatic choir support, and organ. It has a fantastic soundscape and is one of my favorite themes on the album. The last theme from La Pucelle is “Great Wilder,” and what a fantastic theme it is! It features some exquisite violin work over an electronic backed accompaniment and has a great ethnic soundscape at times. The violin work, though, is what truly makes this theme special. It has such energy and really helps support a great melody.
The sole contribution from Phantom Brave, my favorite Tenpei Sato score, is “Game Breaker.” This is definitely an example of his top-notch battle theme work. Live violin and shakuhachi really help add to the atmosphere and lend themselves to some nice accompaniment and melody lines. It’s got a very playful atmosphere and I particularly love the free-flowing sounds that emanate from the shakuhachi. Overall, I would have liked to see some more Phantom Brave music on this release, but hey, I’ll take what I can get!
Most of the album, however, focuses on the first game in the Disgaea series, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. “Magnificent Dark Family” is an excellent choice to show Tenpei Sato’s love for strings focused themes. In a style similar to “Flaxen Necklace” from Soul Cradle, it offers an exquisite melody that focuses on the violin. Include some beautiful orchestral support and it’s one of those themes that just has this charm about it that makes it such a pleasing thing in which to listen. “My Comrade,” sung by Tenpei Sato, is a rock focused vocal theme with some great energy. I love the melody and although the electric guitar synth falls more in line with Tenpei Sato’s interesting way of mastering music, it helps add to the charm. Overall, it’s a strong theme, but as with other Tenpei Sato sung themes, some might find his vocal work to be unappealing.
“Lord Laharl’s Hymn – Korean Version,” sung by Yuria, is, as one might guess from the track title, sung entirely in Korean. It’s a great song from the original and I enjoy the playful, yet Halloween-y, approach to it. It has a unique charm to it and the musical accompaniment, which is mainly a combination of militaristic brass and percussion and more elegant strings and woodwind work, really help create a fantastic soundscape. “You Go Girl,” sung by Hazuki Yasukawa, is the last theme on the album that fully consists of music from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. It has a very surfer rock vibe going on with it, but unfortunately, I don’t particularly enjoy the vocalist too much. Her voice doesn’t seem to go with the music too well, in my opinion. The music, on the other hand, is an interesting blend of rock and brass elements. It has a jazzy vibe going on as well, but unfortunately, it’s the weakest theme on the album, mostly due to the vocalist.
“Boy on the Wing ~ Beautiful Round Dance” is a medley of music from Little Princess: Puppet Princess of Marl Kingdom 2 and Disgaea: Hour of Darkness. This theme is another stringed focused arrangement. It has an elegance about it that really strikes deep into my heart. This is, primarily, due to the beautiful violin work and considering it is one of my favorite instruments, it really does a fantastic job and conveying a range of emotions, from poignant to more refined sounds. I also love how the arrangement has a bit of Spanish flair, although subtle, and the more calming and slower paced sections of the theme. The album closes with the second theme from Little Princess: Puppet Princess of Marl Kingdom 2. Entitled “Under the Rule of the Soldier,” it also features vocals sung by Tenpei Sato. This is another rock based composition in a similar fashion to “My Comrade.” It has a more orchestral rock focus, however, and the instrumental bridge features some beautiful strings and electric guitar work. It’s an energetic way to close an album with a “heroic” theme to it.
In the end, I think my definition of heroic and Tenpei Sato’s definition might differ slightly. While there are definitely some themes on here that fit the heroic atmosphere, such as the vocal themes sung by Tenpei Sato and some of the battle themes, like “God Bless Prier!” and “Game Breaker,” some of the themes chosen don’t necessarily, in this reviewer’s opinion, meet the definition of heroic. However, the themes chosen for the album, regardless of whether I think they fit the album’s goal, are all well crafted themes that are definitely worth a listen. Overall, it’s a successful album, but I enjoyed the predecessor just ever so slightly more.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on January 19, 2016.