Game Music, Reviews

Valkyrie Profile: Odin’s 9 Strong Songs These Are Not (Review)

July 9, 2008 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook Valkyrie Profile: Odin’s 9 Strong Songs These Are Not (Review)on Twitter

Some may not be familiar with the Norse legend detailing how Odin came to be such a badass. Well, firstly, he traded one of his eyes for a chance to drink from the Well of Wisdom. Next, he hung upside down from the world tree, pierced by his own spear, where he learned the nine strong songs and the eighteen runes.

I really don’t know what any of this means, but given that Valkyrie Profile is based on Norse mythology, I wanted to point out that Motoi Sakuraba likely didn’t undergo such intense training before creating the 75 not-so-strong songs found on the Valkyrie Profile –LENNETH- Original Soundtrack.

Does this mean the soundtrack sucks? Well, that’s for you to find out after the jump!

Motoi Sakuraba is one of my favorite composers. While I’ve talked to a whole lot of people who feel that his prolific career has left him sapped of any creativity, I don’t agree. His orchestral and progressive rock combos really do it for me and others who have always wished that every song in a game could be a battle theme. With that said, as big of a fan as I am, I really had a hard time getting into this album. It’s not that any of the music is bad, but rather nothing really jumps out as overly catchy or groundbreaking. Nothing as groundbreaking as Odin’s nine strong songs, anyway.

Valkyrie Profile is actually flanked on either side by some mellow tracks for a change. A few songs here and there even make use of a flute sample that I recognize from his work on Shining the Holy Ark (which is my favorite Sakuraba soundtrack, by the way). Other tracks include the stuff you’d expect from Sakuraba, but there are also few oddities, such as “Condemned Thoughts” which has a distinct Asian flavor, sounding almost like something out of Ninja Gaiden with an octave-jumping bass.

A couple tracks I did find entertaining were “Fighting the Shadowy Gods” and “Negative Roots,” both of which Sakuraba rightly selected to perform live in concert a couple years ago. They are great examples of classic Sakuraba, although I think the concert is what turned me on to them! “Grieving ~ Eternal Hydrogen” is another great track with rock and harpsichord, which I happen to love. The chorus section of the song sports harpsichord notes on the upbeats with an aggressive bassline, making for one of the coolest tracks found on the 2-disc album.

Like Mega Man? I already mentioned Ryu Hayabusa’s cameo in “Condemned Thoughts,” but “In The Beginning, There Was Light?” has this jazzy electric piano ditty over a rock backdrop that reminds me of Mega Man X every time I hear it. From there, “Delusional Extremities” features lightning-fast bass and synth lines that are completely awesome, while “Reflections of Trickery” makes use of not only harpsichord, but also the familiar flutes I mentioned above. The harpsichord and flute double up on the melody, creating a cool sound. Finally, “Becoming Accustomed to Unhappiness” is an epic orchestral track that is contemplative and almost happy despite the title. The end of the piece offers a more brooding melody voiced by a synthesized choir.

So, that’s it. I really dug about 5 of the tracks on the album (which actually may contain bits of Odin’s strong songs), but the other 70 were just so-so for me. One of the strangest tracks on the album is “Heads Magic, Tails Curse,” with crazy pitch bends and a wailing siren in the background. Odin does not approve!

If you’re a huge Sakuraba fan, you may want to check out this album, otherwise, I’d recommend picking up some of his other works. The concert I mentioned above was released on both CD and DVD, and watching Sakuraba wail away at these crazy-fast solos is quite a sight to behold. That’s the best way to enjoy the music from Valkyrie Profile in my opinion. You can head over to our VGM World to pick up Valkyrie Profile –LENNETH- Original Soundtrack or check out some other Sakuraba works such as the Shining the Holy Ark Original Soundtrack or Beyond the Beyond Original Game Soundtrack, each of which is available for the low price of nearly $300 USD (they’re quite rare!).

What are your favorite Sakuraba albums?

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