Doujin, Game Music

Whip Me Silly Mr. Morse: Sonata of The Damned Review

October 30, 2009 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook Whip Me Silly Mr. Morse: Sonata of The Damned Reviewon Twitter

Ah, Halloween, such a good time of year. Throughout my life, that day always had a significance to me. Not only is it my dear mother’s birthday, it’s also a time to dress up in tight-fitting clothes and flashy colors that attract the attention of every old man on the street. Halloween as a celebration was actually imported to Northern Europe quite late, as we only recently started seeing a huge marketing angle with costumes and such from stores. I still fondly remember the day me and my best friend went to a Halloween party as Lucha Stockman and Banker Ackbar, me in a Hayabusa wrestling mask, suit and tie, and my friend in vest, suspenders and a rubber Ackbar mask from Star Wars.  Good times. But this year, I’m not gonna dress up and spread my colorful fairy wings, I’m staying inside and listening to Sonata of The Damned instead.

So what’s Sonata of the Damned? Well it’s the newest album from our good friend Joshua Morse! This time he has worked on a Castlevania release perfect for this holiday. It’s ready for release tomorrow, but here you can read our exclusive thoughts on it first and see if it’ll tickle your fancy.

Read on to see if you should give Joshua candy or egg his house after the jump!

Sonata of the Damned clocks in at 33 minutes and contains 7 arrangements from different Castlevania games. It’s definitely an interesting release as the songs are all arranged in a retro sounding jazz, samba and funk style instead of a more haunted-sounding metal approach we’ve heard so many times. This is really nice as the whole album feels quite fresh and different, and doesn’t immediately fall into that sea of Castlevania arrangements out there, as most arrangement artists in the West usually only thinks metal when they hear Castlevania. So with this album you really get to hear a different approach and interesting takes on the various tracks.  So of note, the album was mastered by our own Dale North, who also pioneered the adult industry in the late 80s.

“Vampire Snap” is the first track out and starts with a chilling horror theme vibe ala the Halloween movie theme. As horror movie fans know, the simple piano melody has something really unsettling to it, but the drum beat gradually builds up, and we quickly kick into a funky version of “Vampire Killer.” It’s funny ’cause the intro would lead you to believe this song would be completely different, then you suddenly hear the jazzy bass and drums go into a completely different direction. It’s a real nice arrangement, with most emphasis being on piano and xylophone, and also has some nice string sections. Great opener all in all.

Next is “Demonic Conception” which is a cool jazzy version of “Demon Seed” from Castlevania III. It’s refreshing once again that not only is the approach different than most other releases, but also the song selection consists of tracks that aren’t arranged as much like “Clockwork”‘ or “Bloody Tears” are. I love the slow rhythm to this track backed up with some guitar, and at the 3-minute mark you get this awesome retro sounding keyboard solo. The jazz approach continues with “Madd Forest,” which is obviously is based on “Mad Forest” from Castlevania III. Nice upbeat melody with an emphasis on piano and bass, and another smooth synth solo. The solos might remind you of the recent release Retro Remix Revue Vol. 2. The original parts and synth tones can be similar to each other between these two albums.

“Wandering Latinas” is a lot of fun, with a more samba-esque flavor to it. It has a nice Latin influenced guitar lead, and some cheesy Latin lady quotes spread throughout and occasional string sections. Again, nice to see material from games such as Symphony of the Night mixed in here. “Sparkle” slows us down again with a slow jazz guitar and piano song. The track is based on “Emerald Mist” from Order of Ecclesia. It kind of reminds me at times of the casino theme from God Hand, and it’s just a nice and slow lounge song. “Fear of Haze” is the awesome ‘”City of Haze” from Portrait of Ruin. This song stands out a bit, as the style is more cinematic and orchestral, like an RPG boss theme. I like all the different synth tones used throughout, though it is probably the least interesting track on the album unfortunately, as it does drag on a bit and lacks that certain charm that the other tracks have. We finish things of “The Silence of the Daylight” from Castlevania II, called “Solace of Daylight” here. There are some nice Latin influences again on this track with light percussion, beautiful piano and even some accordion. It’s all nice and tranquil.

What I really like about this release is that it heavily reminds me of what Konami themselves did in the early 90s with their arrange albums. It takes tracks from all the different games and has a lot of fun with them, fusing different influences and staying consistent throughout. It might not be my favorite work of Morse when I think back on his music, but it’s a damn fine release and any Castlevania fan will be pleased with it, especially if you are looking for something different after all these metal arrangements throughout the years.

Castlevania certainly is in the air these days, as we recently spoke with Kinuyo Yamashita who composed the original Castlevania, told you about the announcement of Castlevania: The Concert.  Japan also just saw the release of Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth on WiiWare, and now, Morse brings you a Castlevania arrangement album. I recommend downloading this album if you’re a fan of Castlevania, and I think you’ll be most satisfied. Check it out tomorrow on OverClocked ReMix and on Morse’s website.

Oh yeah, my Halloween costume, I know you guys are aching to see it.

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