Baten Kaitos II ~The First Wings and the Heirs of God~ OST

[back cover]
Catalog Number: KDSD-00096~8
Released On: March 24, 2006
Composed By: Motoi Sakuraba
Arranged By: Motoi Sakuraba
Published By: Team Entertainment
Format: 3 CDs
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Disc One
01 - Le ali del principio
02 - Fragments of the Millennium
03 - The Voice of Time
04 - The valedictory elegy
05 - Poacher
06 - Chaotic dance 2
07 - Iconoclasm
08 - The valedictory elegy ~guitar ver.~
09 - Evidential material
10 - The true mirror ~Orchestral ver.~
11 - Ruinous commander
12 - Crystal abyss
13 - Relieve
14 - The Puppet Master
15 - Two Coffins
16 - A Knight's Grave
17 - Ruins
18 - Three-Man Talk with a Hidden Soul
19 - Ancient Hometown
20 - The Boundary Between the Wind and the Earth
21 - An Encounter
Total Time:

Disc Two
01 - The Great Pillar Laden with Moss
02 - The Thorny Dry Blade
03 - The Light and Darkness of Balance
04 - Deep Red Pastures
05 - Endless Night
06 - The broken manas and my one and only
07 - Contradiction
08 - The Garden of Violent Clouds
09 - Raincloud
10 - The edging away
11 - Menacing Lord
12 - Rays of the Rising Sun Flowing Through
13 - A Boundless Autumn Evening Breeze
14 - Village of Abundance
15 - Emotional blackmail
16 - Horohoro Bird
17 - The Hall of All Creation
18 - Ancient slaughter
19 - The Power of a Pure Heart and the Path to the Distant Future
20 - Somaimaretsa
21 - Shinmunafosun
Total Time:

Disc Three
01 - Legendary Doll
02 - Floating Pebbles
03 - Blue Sky Canopy
04 - Powerful Voice of an Old Soul
05 - Terrible technology
06 - Rain on a Moonlit Night
07 - Into the spiral tention
08 - Shogyo-Mujo
09 - The dead end creatures
10 - Tears of compassion
11 - A road to the dignified future
12 - The Peaceful Four Seasons I
13 - The Peaceful Four Seasons II
14 - The Peaceful Four Seasons III
15 - Bitter Enemies in the Same Boat
16 - The Horizon of a Mirage
17 - The Shadow of the Moon on the Water
18 - Protecting the Twin Lights
19 - The Beginning of the Unjust Journey and the Prelude to Betrayal
Total Time:

A Motoi Sakuraba fan will sooner or later grow accustomed to a certain déja-vu-feeling: Certain arrangements, especially the battle themes, sound similar on several of his albums, he uses the same orchestral samples again and again (and again), and especially the fake solo-voice samples really start to annoy me by now... On Baten Kaitos II OST, some filler, orchestral, and ambient tracks are boring, and what is worse, they are mixed with the better tracks resulting in a very unbalanced sequence of songs.

I could go on pointing out negative aspects of this soundtrack, but I'd rather not. And that's because between all the mediocre stuff are some really outstanding tracks. I feel Baten Kaitos' OST was by far better than some of Sakuraba-san's Tales-compositions (since he used more live instruments), and the Baten Kaitos II OST lives up to my expectations. The opening song "Le ali del principio", wonderfully performed by Mio Sakuraba, and scored with real instruments combined with synth orchestra, sounds a little like the PSO III Theme and is even slightly better. I think it's one of Sakuraba's best tunes in years. "The valedictory elegy" is another standard battle theme, but performed with violin and a top notch solo part, it is also kind of special. There are several rock-tracks on CD1 and they wouldn't be out of place on an arrange-album, that's how good they sound :-). Track 8 and 9 simply rock (and sound a bit like "Guilty Gear"-music). I liked Baten Kaitos's "guitar tracks" very much, and fortunately this style is found on the successor's soundtrack as well (e.g. "Ruins" and "An Encounter"). There are some awesome piano-pieces, too ("The Boundary Between the Wind and the Earth").

Of the three CDs, number two is probably the weakest. Highlights include the wonderful Mitsuda-esque "Deep Red Pastures" and the Star-Ocean-esque "The broken manas..." and "Rainclouds". A beautiful violin-solo can be heard on "A Boundless Autumn Evening Breeze" and "Village of Abundance". (All of these tracks are sandwiched between filler tracks, though).

The third CD starts of with two wonderful, quiet pieces, only to continue with some rock-tracks (we are nearing the end of the game, so things are heating up, of course!). "Powerful Voice of an Old Soul" doesn't offer anything new, but the use of electric guitars makes it sound fresh. "Tears of compassion" is another Valkyrie-Profile inspired piano solo. "A road to the dignified future" and "Bitter Enemies in the Same Boat" are some of the better orchestra-compositions on this album. "The Peaceful Four Seasons" is also very nice, but you're going to hear it three times in a row (a total of 9 minutes) (with increasing use of orchestra-samples) Perhaps the tracks should have been split between the three discs.

The ending theme "The Shadow of the Moon on the Water" (a reprise of the title theme) is a varied 7:49 minutes track, and a fitting conclusion to this OST. You'd better stop the CD Player now, because there's only one short track and a pretty downbeat and forgettable orchestral track left - a strange choice indeed.

The sound-quality is fine, even if the orchestral tracks lack dynamic range. I chose only good tracks as sound examples - so keep that in mind if you buy the CD, you will get a fair share of mediocre stuff as well, but the good tracks outweigh the bad (and not all the orchestral tracks are boring...). Not essential, but more interesting than, let's say, the FF X OST...

Reviewed by: Alexander P.