Music From Brandish 3: Spirit of Balcan

[back cover]
Catalog Number: KICA-1157/8
Released On: March 16, 1995
Composed By: Sound Team JDK
Arranged By: Tomohiko Kishimoto
Published By: King Records
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 2 CDs
Buy this CD from Game Music Online

Disc One
Original Game Soundtrack
01 - Land of the Rising Sun
02 - Legend of the Lone Wolves
03 - Tears of God
04 - Ballad of the Cat Fish
05 - Great Assassin
06 - Synchronicity
07 - Tantoll
08 - Shop
09 - Cave
10 - Akindo
11 - Boiling Metal
12 - Cemetery
13 - Gallery of Demon Dreams
14 - Killers
15 - Hanging Around
16 - Desert
17 - Get into Danger
18 - Locus of Destruction
19 - Coast
20 - Conversing
21 - Burning Tom Tom
22 - Fivelria
23 - Casino Be
24 - Take Arms!
25 - I See My Body
26 - Lion Cry (Agito)
27 - The Dragon Army
28 - Under Castle
29 - Follow the Evil Shadow
30 - Revolution
Brandish 3 Character Theme
31 - Jinza
32 - Umber
JDK Band Arrange
33 - Legend of the Lone Wolves
34 - Tantoll
Total Time:

Disc Two
Original Game Soundtrack
01 - The Weary Soldier's Song
02 - Dragon's Lair
03 - Liberty
04 - Glacier
05 - Blue Lake
06 - Sanctuary
07 - Hiland
08 - Misty
09 - Oracle
10 - Blood from a Stone
11 - Scorched Earth
12 - Maison
13 - Burn in the Dark
14 - Whimper
15 - Paranoia
16 - Fortress
17 - Last Revelation
18 - απειρσν -Skeletal Remains-
19 - απειρσν -Quickening-
20 - Exodus
21 - Stay Gold -Umber-
22 - Breeze -Dela-
23 - Born to Dark -Jinza-
24 - Comrade -Ares-
25 - Memories of the Battle
26 - Severe Time, Over...
Brandish 3 Character Theme
27 - Mystic Dela α Ver.
28 - Ares
JDK Band Arrange
29 - The Dragon Army
30 - Brandish 3 Boss Medley
Total Time:

I spent many a year avoiding Brandish music, even in the midst of my Falcom music obsession. Falcom had seen much success with Ys, and series favorites such as Sorcerian and Legend of Heroes also hogged much of the spotlight. Considering the relative obscurity of the Brandish series, I didn't want my impression of Falcom to be ruined.

Of course, this was all stupidity on my part. I enjoyed the arranged Brandish music I'd heard on various Special Boxes, and I instantly fell in love with the Brandish Piano Collection. It was time for me to return to the days of ancient soundchips and check out the original compositions. Somehow, still had it in stock (as of 2006), so I was fortunate enough to pick up this obscure treasure.

Though "Sound Team JDK" is listed as the official composer, there is sufficient evidence to believe that the much of this music was composed by the 80s-rock-style arranger Tomohiko Kishimoto. Almost every song is fast-paced, and the standard guitar/bass/keyboard/drum setup is found in at least half of the tracks on the two disc album.

If it weren't for the outdated sound of the synth (especially for 1995), this soundtrack would easily be an instant classic. If a "perfect collection" arrangement were released (like Ys I and II received), I'm sure Falcom fans would have paid more attention to Brandish 3. As it is, the limitation of the synth can grate the ears. However, the compositions are simply the best in-your-face power-rock Falcom has to offer.

There is nothing boring about this soundtrack. Every song is interesting and enjoyable. It caught my interest, and it didn't let go of me until it was finished speaking its mind. Songs like "Maison" and "Blood from a Stone" (see audio samples) are ones that I rank much higher than any song from The Legend of Heroes III or IV.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the first disc, but the second disc was slightly subpar (that is, in comparison to the first disc).

From tracks 15 all the way to the end of the OST tracks ("Paranoia" to "Severe Time, Over..."), things were somewhat less creative. Either I began to run out of patience, or else the composer(s) ran out of creativity. This is a shame, because most soundtracks have some of their best music near the end; after all, the gamer ought to be rewarded for reaching the dramatic conclusion of any game!

But really, even this was only a minor letdown. Overall, the original music is great, even with the yucky PC chiptunes.

Oh, and here's a nice incentive to purchase: eight bonus arranged tracks! Split between the two discs at the end are four character themes and four "JDK Band Arrange" tracks. Talk about a real treat! I was most pleased by the last track, the Boss Medley. However, this doesn't discredit the power-rock arrangements Kishimoto did. And, there is some fun jazz too! The character themes are jazzy and upbeat: see "Ares."

Best advice I can give is this: buy it before it's too late. Seriously, it's a miracle that the album has been in stock at for eleven years and counting. This clearly demonstrates that the album is quite unpopular, even among Falcom fans. If this review serves to finish selling GMO's stock, I'll be satisfied. People ought to know about this fine Falcom album; I know I was glad to finally give it a chance.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann