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Grandia Online -Perfect Sound Library-

[back cover]
Catalog Number: TRCD-10096/7
Released On: December 25, 2009
Composed By: Noriyuki Iwadare
Arranged By: Noriyuki Iwadare
Published By: Two Five Records
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 2 CDs
Tracklist:

Disc One
01 - The time of myth (the arranged version of "The end of the world")
02 - The Beginning Day
03 - Battle #1 (arranged version)
04 - Critical Encounter
05 - Harmonious Sylvan Village
06 - Guild of Venturers
07 - Crowded merchants
08 - The depth of woods
09 - Windy grassland
10 - Event on holiday
11 - The First Gate
12 - Approaching Danger (arranged version)
13 - Garden of ether
14 - Spreading World
15 - The city of gears
16 - Run through!
Total Time:
60'04"

Disc Two
01 - Scenery unchanged
02 - rowdy fellows
03 - Land of heat and dust
04 - Gorgeous world
05 - On a street corner
06 - Hoax of dew
07 - Caving
08 - peaceful days
09 - days of sorrow
10 - deep down inside
11 - The Benediction
12 - Legacies of Enjule
13 - Enjule Civilization (arranged version)
14 - Nymph in Arendt (arranged version)
15 - Ernest
Bonus Track
16 - Theme of Grandia (Marching Ver.)
Total Time:
61'16"

"Where has Iwadare been?" Lunar and Grandia fans have been wondering this for awhile. He hadn't really done any RPGs since Grandia III. However, he did re-arrange his own work for the PSP "Lunar: Harmony of Silver Star." For the last three years, Iwadare's primary work has been for love (dating-sim) graphic adventures, such as Amagami and True Fortune.

Grandia Online has been in development for years, and the game is finally making an appearance in Asia. On Christmas day 2009, Iwadare had his first major MMORPG soundtrack released. Grandia Online -Perfect Sound Library- is a massive set of music. Only 32 tracks, yes, but each track is of significant length (often five minutes or more). There's a lot of content to enjoy.

Stylistically, the music is very much what you would expect of Iwadare. If you know your past Grandia (and Lunar) soundtracks, you'll hear Iwadare using the same instruments as he's used so many times before. The only instrument he seemed to downplay was xylophone. The only place I heard it stand out prominently on this soundtrack is on "Battle #1 (arranged)." I love Iwadare's xylophone-centric battle themes, and I wish we'd hear more of it on this soundtrack.

On the album, you'll find vocal choirs, pitched percussion, wind/string ensembles, acoustic piano, electric piano, electric guitar, slap bass, and all manner of synths. The quality of the recording and the overall production values are what, I think, sell this album. That and, of course, the Grandia brand name. Unfortunately, there aren't a whole lot of in-your-face catchy melodies. This, of course, is a real problem, considering Iwadare is known for writing marvelously memorable tunes. Not that this OST is devoid of said tracks. But some of the best tracks on here are arrangements of previously-composed themes (again, Battle #1, as well as Ernest and Theme of Grandia).

At the end of the day, I'm just happy to have Iwadare contributing new music to a series I know and love. If I were forced to rank Grandia Online against other Grandia albums, Grandia Online would rank just above the first Grandia's "Volume 2" OST, and below pretty much everything else. If memory serves, I might also want to rank it above Grandia Xtreme. In any case, it's not Iwadare's best, but considering the baseline of "worst Iwadare music" is still quite high, I would still recommend this album to fans of the Grandia series and Noriyuki Iwadare's music in general. The summary as to why? Again, it's like this: production value is extremely high, but memorable melodies are few and far between.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann



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