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Growlanser IV: Wayfarer of the Time

[back cover]
Catalog Number: FCCT-0012
Released On: March 21, 2004
Composed By: Tatsuyuki Maeda
Arranged By: Yasutaka Hatade (2-01)
Published By: Frontier Works
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 2 CDs
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Disc One
01 - At the End of Silence
02 - Dash
03 - <Your Memories -Instrumental->
04 - Wandering Beyond Time ~Prologue~
05 - Dawn
06 - Crimson
07 - Spiral of Time
08 - Anfini
09 - At the End of Sadness
10 - <to be continued>
11 - Wandering Beyond Time ~Final Chapter~
12 - Endless Road
13 - Deep Sea
14 - Noise
15 - The Flow of Time
16 - Shut Inside the Darkness
17 - Ripple on the Water
18 - Lamentation
19 - Murmur of the Wind
20 - Fluctuation of the Heart
21 - Why Do People Speak Out...
22 - Setting Sail
23 - Gentle Sunlight
24 - Peace
25 - A Flower Blooms in the Wasteland
26 - Loss
27 - For Your Smiling Face
28 - Sometimes Sad, Sometimes Kind
29 - I Can't Stop Sighing
30 - Raise Up the Courage
31 - At the End of Memory
32 - Confusion
33 - Hope
34 - Shock
35 - A Bridge to Tomorrow
36 - The Far Away Land
37 - Road to the Labyrinth
38 - Flying
39 - A Sentiment to You
40 - Overflowing Emotions
41 - You Can't Take Back Time
42 - Crossroads
43 - Pulsation
44 - Rapids
45 - Door of Mystery
46 - A Moment of Grief
47 - An Angel's Whisper
48 - <as you like>
49 - <Before the Daylight -Piano Inst.>
50 - Demise
51 - Pulsation <Ver.>2
52 - Enhancement
53 - Anxiety
Total Time:

Disc Two
01 - Before the Daylight Full Version
02 - Before the Daylight Instrumental
03 - Before the Daylight Short Version
04 - Your Memories ~ Sepia-Colored Memories
05 - Your Memories ~ Sepia-Colored Memories Instrumental
Total Time:

Growlanser was composed by Noriyuki Iwadare. Growlanser II and III were composed by Hiroshi Fujioka. Growlanser IV brings us to our third composer for the series, Tatsuyuki Maeda. Dare I say that this is the best Growlanser soundtrack yet? No, I cannot deny the genius of Iwadare. But Maeda sure beat the pants off of Fujioka, even though Fujioka's work was by no means bad.

After listening to the first ten songs on this soundtrack, I told myself, "this soundtrack has to be frontloaded." By that, I meant that all the good songs were put at the front, and all the mediocre town themes and "you got an item!" jingles would fill up the rest of the first disc. Though I did find a few of those songs in the middle of disc one, I was still continually impressed as the soundtrack continued to play. It made me think twice about ignoring Maeda's name in the future.

The reason this soundtrack is so good: well, I can't put words to it. The sampled tracks speak for themselves. They're well-produced, the synth sounds great, the piano parts are always catchy...it's just plain good stuff! As I had said in the previous paragraph, the first ten to fifteen tracks really shine. Every song is pumped up with complex rhythms (some as soft background noise, others as hard-hitting full-bodied percussion), and the melodies fit so nicely with the chord progressions. I'm sure the music fit wonderfully within the context of the game.

One of the bigger surprises awaiting me in the second half of the first disc was track 38, "Flying." It takes a certain amount of taste and discernment to know when and how to properly use synth vocals. Maeda uses them perfectly in this song. With an ocarina/recorder sort of instrument in the lead, these angelic vocals make a lovely background harmony. The rhythmic patterns in this song are, as is to be expected by now, exceptional though not far from simple. You cannot help but love it.

The second disc, as the tracklist suggests, contains two vocal themes. The first is the opening theme, the second is the ending theme. Performed by Yuki Makishima, these vocal tracks are the sort of thing you'd expect for a game like Growlanser. The opening theme is an in-your-face J-Pop hit with the expected verse/chorus structure. The ending is a softer ballad, and it's the sort of thing that can lull a child (or an adult) straight to sleep. I found myself enjoying the opening vocal very much, but I wasn't too impressed with "Your Memories." The production (including the instruments and the mixing) on the opening vocal is what made it stand out to me: I wasn't terribly impressed with Makishima's performance, but the music itself made up for this.

After having given this soundtrack a few fair listenings, I have to say that I am intrigued, and I wish this title would have made it to America. For those who enjoyed Growlanser II and III, you may want to either import this game or at least get the soundtrack. It's better than II and III, there's no doubt about that.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann


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