Game Music, Reviews

It’s Not the Phantom Brave Wii Soundtrack, But It’ll Do: PS2 Phantom Brave CD (Review)

August 16, 2009 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook It’s Not the Phantom Brave Wii Soundtrack, But It’ll Do: PS2 Phantom Brave CD (Review)on Twitter

To celebrate this week’s release of Phantom Brave on the Wii, we thought we’d check out the game’s music, as NIS Japan was generous enough to include a promotional “Tenpei Sato Selection” disc in Japan. While we couldn’t get our hands on this CD in particular, we have the next best (probably even better) thing: the PlayStation 2 Phantom Brave Bonus Sound Track disc, which features 15 tracks compared to the Wii’s 10.

So what’s here? Well, super happy upbeat stuff, just like we heard on Prinny. There’s a pretty wide range of styles featured, but they’re all happy, and some are even amazingly catchy. All in all, it’s a pretty sweet deal given that the official soundtrack never got a full release outside of the collector’s edition of the game.

Read our full review of the Phantom Brave Bonus Sound Track after the jump.

We start with an angelic female choir and some lovely harp runs in “Angel Breath,” which sounds like something straight out of church. However, Sato adds some strings, acoustic guitar, and percussion to the mix about halfway through, picking up the energy through the end of the piece. This is immediately followed by “Flower Road,” which is a super happy jungle-esque theme with its tribal percussion and heavy lair of reverb that drips with fantasy and imagination. Yeah, I just said that, but this flower road really sounds like a magical place! “My Little Garden” is similar in approach with its choir female choir “ah!”’s. Lots of plant references on this soundtrack!

But what is the antithesis of plants? Sand of course. “Sand Shower” opens with ominous snare rolls before some impressive percussive lines and a pretty decisive string melody comes in. Take that, plants! Snow is also bad for plants, I’d imagine, and “Snowberry” takes a neat flamenco approach with the guitars, and even works in some accordion, sounding rather foreboding like a battle theme.

After all the struggles of the past, we’re treated to “Friends,” a lovely vocal ballad with a simple acoustic guitar backing. It’s simple, but really quite beautiful both in terms of composition and the singer’s range. This is probably one of my favorite tracks here.

It’s right back into the thick of it with “Game Braker,” an energetic fun fest that Sato is a master at creating. There are so many elements going on at once that I have no idea how it works, but it does. The solo violin lead lends the piece an elegant edge. Next, “R & R Junkie” comes in with some of the most catchy licks on the album on the acoustic guitar. Audun was on the right track when he said it sounded like Wild ARMs with its use of harmonica, and it will seriously have you bopping your head. It’s so funky!

The next track I’ll mention is “7th Brass,” a fun piece that layers multiple brass elements (7, perhaps?) to create a rather regal theme. I bet Sato had fun writing this one. Funny enough, Sato goes on to take a stab at some depressing music with “Sorrow,” but I don’t think there’s a sorrowful bone in this man’s body. It comes off as more soothing and subdued than anything. “Violent Emotion” isn’t the most fitting title either, as the melody is rather controlled and determined with its wailing electric guitars, rock percussion, and string stabs. It’s still a great track with some amazing guitar work.

The final on the album is “Heavens Garden,” a seven-minute long vocal track that sounds like it could be an Enya tune with its sort of whimsical progression and choral elements. It’s well produced, but isn’t all that memorable.

As usual, this is an awesome freebie if you happened to pick it up back in 2005 when the game was released in the US. The Wii “Tenpei Sato Selection” disc was unfortunately only released in Japan, although it only features 10 tracks (2 of which are not found on the PS2 CD). Still, Sato’s music is quite impressive, and if you can track down one of these discs at, say, Anime Expo (they were selling all their promo discs for $5 each at this years’ event), I say go for it!

Are you a fan of Tenpei Sato’s work? Do you wish NIS would find a music publisher to get this music out there on a more consistent basis?

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