Castlevania Week continues (into a second week)! AWWWWW YEAH!
If you know Castlevania arranged albums at all, if you’re a long-time importer, there’s almost no chance you *don’t* know about the following album.
But, for the rest of you, I’m here to tell you about the worst album Konami ever published.
(“Maybe the worst”, not “maybe I’ll tell you.”)
Castlevania plus early ’90s rap with cheesy dance tracks. That’s a winning combo, right? No. No, of course it’s not. Even I don’t think so, and I think Provincialism Ys is a great album.
This 1991 embarrassment, from Jun Irie and the Nazo² Project (the same team that would go on to make “Perfect Selection Dracula: New Classic,” a fantastic and highly coveted album), was published by King Records under the catalog number KICA-1036. It opens with Wornell Jones (or is that Joey McCoy?), presumably impersonating Dracula, talking about the need to suck blood and bite our necks. And then he says “AWWW YEAH.” That would’ve been a great line to insert in the famous Richter Belmont / Dracula conversation at the beginning of Symphony of the Night.
“You steal men’s souls!!”
So that goes on for awhile. It’s an arrangement of the classic “Beginning” track from Castlevania III, but for most peoples’ ears, it’ll spoil the song for all time. So you might want to avoid it.
Next up is an instrumental arrange of “Mad Forest.” If there’s one thing this album has going for it, it’s the instrumental arrangements. Yeah, it still sounds like some unholy mix of Michael Jackson and Gloria Estefan, but it’s listenable.
Now, if the little voice samples from “Mad Forest” were too much for you, do not proceed to the third track. “Bloody Tears” has a “wow!” and a “yeah!” every single measure in the song. That’s like, 300 of each voice. Yuck. And then there’s this ridiculous chorus about how “Simmon” [sic] is coming to kill Dracula. What an embarrassment. The lyrics and singing were done by Americans, and they were like “that’s not Simon is it? It’s Simmon!” Yes, Simmon Belmont is a real hero.
“It’s been 100 years since Dracula made his move / he’s back, he’s ready, coming soon / Dracula you better beware / ’cause Simmon is coming after you”
Worst. Chorus. Ever. But disturbingly catchy too. I hope someone plays this at a Halloween party between Monster Mash and Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.
Next up: four instrumentals in a row. First up, a version of “Clockwork” that’s actually rather enjoyable. It’s still a dance track, but the organ runs are pretty. After that we have “Flashback,” which is a wild ride of a synth rock track, and then the upbeat and paradoxically horror/atmospheric track “Demon Seed.” These two tracks remind me of Jun Irie’s work on the second disc of Falcom Neo Classic. They’re good, but they can’t really stand up to the later “Perfect Selection” albums.
And rounding out the instrumental section, we have “Prelude” from Castlevania III. You can’t mess this one up. It would be sacrilege. Fortunately, Irie-san kept his drum loops in check and brought a fairly robust arrangement, though not (in my pseudo-expert opinion) better than what The OneUps did on their Volume 2 album.
After these instrumentals, the true horror returns. “Vampire Killer,” track 8, is my least favorite track on the album. Not only are the Belmont characters’ vocals totally face-palm daft and embarrassing, but there’s not much positive to be said for the instrumental arrangement either. How do you make such a great song so bad? I feel nauseous just thinking about it. “Women kids boys and girls: they’re all afraid of you [...] but I’m gonna get ya. You’re all mine!”
Fortunately, the stupidity ends there. The last two tracks are pretty good. In fact, track 9, “Dwelling of Doom” is a strong enough arrangement that I’m a little surprised to find it on this album. It would’ve done fine on a “Dracula Battle” album. Okay, it’s still a little cheese-synthy, but the guitar parts are enjoyable. And finally, with “Voyager” as our ending track, this abomination is put down with a wooden stake and all is made right again. Because now I don’t have to listen to this album for a very long time. Perhaps … 100 years. Right around the time I forget how bad this album is, and I need a refresher.
So tell me, dear reader, do you hold the same opinion about this album? Are there worse albums, particularly from Konami, that you think we’re forgetting? Tell us! Leave a comment!Tags: Akumajo Dracula, Castlevania, Castlevania Week, Dance, Hip-hop, Jun Irie, King Records, Konami, Nazo2 Project, Nazonazo Project, Perfect Selection Dracula, Rap, Reviews