Under Defeat Soundtracks
Under Defeat Soundtracks
January 11, 2006
Buy at Sweep Record
Under Defeat was a game released by G.rev in 2005 for Arcades and, later, the long-dead Dreamcast. Similar to CAVE’s games, it is a vertical scrolling shmup that featured a total of five stages. In addition to level themes, each stage also featured its own boss theme. Composed by Dragon Spirit legend Shinji Hosoe, it offers a variety of styles, some fairly unique for a shmup. How does it turn out overall?
The first stage theme, “Can’t come back,” is a fantastic synth rock piece that definitely has some jazzy influences, particularly in the lead guitar melody and percussion work. However, what I find most interesting is definitely the sections of the melody that sound as if they are played by an accordion. It’s a really nice, almost soothing, contrast compared to the heavier nature of the electric guitar. The corresponding boss theme, “Death valley,” is a short electronic theme with some progressive rock elements, mainly through the staccato piano and keyboard notes; however, the majority of the theme is quite chaotic and intense. Although it doesn’t feature much focus on melody, it manages to capture the perfect mood.
“Towards a mistake,” the second stage theme, is a synth rock theme that is more standard in approach. The electric guitar lead is quite powerful and, when in conjunction with the synth accompaniment, works to create a wonderful, dreamy soundscape. There are some sections that lack a bit of melodic focus, which I think causes the track to suffer a bit, but for the most part, it’s a solid composition. The second boss theme, “Blue wall,” has a very intriguing sound, combining tribal percussion, industrial synthesizer sections, ambient electronic tones, and a hint of chaos. Overall, I find it to be quite effective, particularly in terms of atmosphere.
Moving to the third stage, “Way back that was shut” is another synth rock piece that focuses on powerful guitar riffs and electric guitar and synthesizer passages. There is definitely a hint of sorrow heard in the electric guitar melody at times, and I really like the quirky sounds of the synthesizer work. Overall, it’s another wonderful theme that manages to convey a ton of mood. “Farthest wasteland,” the boss theme for this stage, is a synthesizer marvel with a bit of a drum and bass influence. I really like the B section, as it gives off both images of hope and despair. However, the A section gives off the most intense passage, coming off as really catchy, despite not really focusing much on melody.
“Storm of fine weather,” the fourth stage theme, is one of my favorite stage themes. It’s a wonderful synth tune that is definitely reminiscent of some of Yack’s work on G.rev’s predecessor Border Down. The melody is superb and I really like the atmosphere it conveys, giving it a nice futuristic, determined sound. There are definitely some jazz influences heard in the B section of the piece that helps bring a bit of contrast into the overall experience. The fourth boss theme, “Distance of jet black,” is an intense one that features some heavy industrial beats that convey a sense of impending doom. These beats are highlighted by the ambient, suspenseful synth employed. In addition, there are some more frenetic synthesizer sections which really help give off a sense of chaos.
Lastly, “Tears which died,” the last stage theme, opens up with a melancholy and sorrowful piano and synth passage before moving into some heroic synth rock. It’s a wonderful theme that really manages to bring a fantastic energy into the mix. While the accompaniment section does get fairly static overall, I find that the electric guitar and synth melodies really help to counteract that by being quite memorable and the core focus of the theme. The final boss theme, “Huge dead end,” is definitely one of the more impressive themes on the soundtrack. Unlike most such themes, which are extremely chaotic in nature, Hosoe opts for a more subdued approach, although not one without energy. I really like the smoky atmosphere that the jazzy piano adds to the mix. In addition, the ambient industrial accompaniment and the drum n’ bass style beats really help make the theme coalesce into something spectacular. This is truly one of Hosoe’s most successful themes to date.
In the end, I think that Hosoe’s score for Under Defeat is a fantastic ride that doesn’t really falter too much. Aside from some few sections in a few themes that could be improved, for the most part, the album is a wonderful listening experience that combines quite a few styles, some of which are rare for shmups, such as jazz. It’s definitely a soundtrack worth getting, in my opinion, and one of Hosoe’s finer solo works.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Don Kotowski. Last modified on August 1, 2012.