Xenosaga Original Soundtrack
Xenosaga Original Soundtrack
March 6, 2002
Buy Used Copy
Xenogears Original Soundtrack was one of my favorite albums of all time, but when I received my copy of the Xenosaga Original Soundtrack and played it all the way through, I had mixed feelings and thoughts. For one, it had some truly outstanding pieces and the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s performances of some of the tracks boosted my respect for the album. But on the other hand, some of the tracks were too dark and empty, thus putting people off the album. Let’s take a more in-depth view at some of my favourite tracks.
The album starts off strong with “Prologue,” the first theme performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It represents a change of style from Mitsuda’s Celtic charm with strings, choirs, brass, and more. After the strong predecessing track, we are treated to “Opening,” an electronic fusion track with a hint of orchestral flair. It may take a while to get used to this track, but it is a work of genius. Also early on in the album is the action-packed “Battle,” which sounds similar to Xenogears battle theme “Stage of Death”. Expect to hear loud horns, exploding strings, and a medieval-like solo towards the end of this track. The introduction of the album is topped off by the Egyptian-inspired track, “Gnosis”. It is magnificently performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and represents the Gnosis character well.
Further into the soundtrack, considerable diversity becomes evident. “Everyday”, a 1950’s jazz piece, is a great little theme that is the lightest on the album. “U-TIC Engine” is the third track performed by the London Phil. and by far the best track on the album. The ominous feeling it produces is very effective while the choir completes the feeling by singing some inaudible Latin phrases. Also included are three solo solo choir performances. The first of these, “Ormus,” is slow but complex in its own right — a very serious and thoughtful experience overall — though “The Resurrection” is perhaps stronger given it evokes human emotion much more with its rich phrasing while “The Miracle” is much more aggressive. To emphasise diversity further, the haunting “Nephilim” and the traditional English piece “Greensleeves” are two of several solo piano pieces that both boast beautiful melodies. There are also two vocal ballads, “Pain” and “Kokoro,” that are similar in style to Xenogears‘ themes; they do their job, but nothing more.
The latter half of the soundtrack is a darker experience overall. As examples, “Anxiety” is a well-developed ambient gem, “KOS-MOS” is a melancholic pipe organ solo performed by Leslie Pearson, and “Panic” is an intense and percussive action theme. “Zarathustra” is the biggest highlight, though. Opening with a cool organ solo, Mitsuda develops it into a dramatic and mysterious full-orchestral masterpiece performed by the London Philharmonic. “Albedo,” the main villain’s theme, utilises highly effective synthetic operatic vocals in conjunction with dark strings to interpret the sinister character. “Omega” is the definition of epic. It starts off with wailing choirs and then turns vicious with fast strings and an overdubbed electric guitar performed by Tomohiko Kira. “Last Battle” is arranged in a similar way to the controversial “The One Who Bares Fangs at God,” but takes it to a new level. The piece starts as a quartet of piano, two sets of strings, and harp before becoming more intense as a drum beat and organ enters.
After all those great pieces and good news, sadly there is some bad news. If you are a fan of Chrono Cross or Chrono Trigger, you are probably not going to love this album as much because it lacks melodic variation in comparison. Further, if you a fan of Xenogears, don’t go buying the album thinking it is similar, as it’s much darker, less melodic, and less sentimental. Nonetheless, all this is made up for the fact that creativity, originality, and pure genius combine to create some truly outstanding themes and an overall epic experience. It’s reprint, Xenosaga Episode I, is the best way to buy this. Do consider it!
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Harry Simons. Last modified on August 1, 2012.