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Crimson Shroud OST
Catalog Number: BSPE-1046~7
Released On: June 27, 2012
Composed By: Hitoshi Sakimoto, Mitsuhiro Kaneda, Azusa Chiba, Masaharu Iwata, Kimihiro Abe
Arranged By: N/A
Published By: Basiscape Records
Recorded at: Unknown
Format: 2 CD, Digital
Buy this album from CDJapan
Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - Main Theme
02 - A World Where Magic Never Was
03 - You Have Erred
04 - Show Your Mettle
05 - Out of the Frying Pan
06 - Have Faith
07 - They Haven't Seen Us
08 - She Broke the Rules
09 - No Picnic For Me
10 - Free for the Taking
11 - Fight or Flight
12 - Fool of a Thief
13 - A Time and a Place
14 - Her Reputation Precedes Her
15 - I Think It's Angry
16 - The Underground Labyrinth
17 - Seven Years
18 - How Many Times
19 - Why Stop Now
20 - The Crimson Shroud
21 - The Last Thing
Total Time:
64'07"

Disc Two
01 - My Life Is Yours
02 - Your Time Is Up
03 - They Don't Look That Tough
04 - Was It All a Lie?
05 - Dark Questions
06 - The Palm of Her Hand
07 - They Promised
08 - Sinner's Requiem
Total Time:
32'08"

For a game that can be beat in around six hours, a one hour, 36 minute soundtrack — about a fourth of the game's length — is almost ostentatious. Hitoshi Sakimoto, of Final Fantasy XII and Tactics (among many others) fame, leads a small team of composers in creating a classic orchestral sound befitting the JRPGs of the golden age. In the context of a game that harkens back to RPGs' roots, the soundtrack is a perfect partner. For extragame listening, the tracks are somewhat hit or miss, but with an emphasis on the former.

The first half of disc one features most of the best music, while the second half houses some of the weaker, less memorable tracks. We open with the "Main Theme," composed by Sakimoto himself. A good representation of Crimson Shroud's sound, the theme is the most overtly cinematic of the album's songs. Most of the music doesn't have the same sense of bearing witness to an aural vista, which actually works to the soundtrack's benefit in this case. Horns and strings continue to dominate the very orchestral soundscape, and guitar appears on just one track. The result is an austere grace appropriate for a classic game of Dungeons and Dragons, yet a sound uniquely Japanese as well.

If the "Main Theme" is too cinematic to fully represent the soundtrack, "A World Where Magic Never Was" is a better microcosm of the game's sound and a great showcase of Sakimoto's composing talents. The battle music "Show Your Mettle" is the first non-Sakimoto track on the album, and it's also one of the best. Sometimes multiple composers can dilute the overall vision of a game's sound (Final Fantasy X comes to mind), but Kimihiro Abe's composition not only adheres to the Crimson Shroud sound, but furthers it as well. "Out of the Frying Pan," the after-battle song, is a fantastic victory fanfare that provides a sense of triumph quickly followed by quiet respite for the wayworn adventurer. Mitsuhiro Kaneda's "Have Faith" suggests approaching doom (and an explorer's excitement) while "They Haven't Seen Us" is a rousing ode to the joy of combat. Although the first half of disc one is strong, it does contain the only truly bad track on the album. "No Picnic For Me," the aforementioned instance of guitar, is an incongruous and utterly irritating track likely meant to be silly and fun.

The action tracks like "Fight or Flight" and "Fool of a Thief" are less memorable than those that came before, although "Her Reputation Precedes Her" is a gorgeous, dulcet combination of strings, woodwinds, and harp. "The Underground Labyrinth" feels almost like a track from Dark Souls with its suggestions of vocal arias and mysterious, slightly menacing tone. The remainder of disc one is less varied and compelling than the former half.

Disc two features some of the better music on offer, including "My Life Is Yours," which is reminiscent of Howard Shore's The Lord of the Rings soundtrack. "They Don't Look That Tough" is another solid battle track, and "Was It All a Lie?" brings us down to a sweet sadness. "The Palm of Her Hand" combines bass brass with light strings for an interesting mix of doom, danger, perseverant righteousness, and a sense that good will prevail. The final track, "Sinner's Requiem," is a lasting farewell and a fusion of all that makes the soundtrack great, including a return to that pleasing main theme melody.

The Crimson Shroud OST proves that lesser known composers can hold their own against the giant Sakimoto, who obviously knows what it takes to make a soundtrack unforgettable. The music here would be the perfect companion to a traditional tabletop RPG campaign. Best when in some context, the album is pleasant enough listening on its own, particularly if you're not bothered by the need to skip a few tracks.

Reviewed by: Kyle E. Miller



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