[back cover]
Catalog Number: FVCG-1382
Released On: August 24, 2016
Composed By: Takeshi Abo, Chiyomaru Shikura, MANYO, Kohsuke Oshima, Mozart (d2t02-03)
Arranged By: Takeshi Abo, Ryohei Arahata, MANYO, Luca, Kohsuke Oshima, Shinichi Yuuki
Published By: 5pb.Records
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 2 CDs
Buy this album from CDJapan

Disc One
01 - Amadeus
02 - Messenger -main theme-
03 - Aug.13,2036
04 - First leap
05 - Amadeus
06 - Newcomer
07 - Logical theme
08 - Easygoing members
09 - Her community
10 - Isolation
11 - Okey-dokey
12 - Future of spirit
13 - Riskful dialogue
14 - Fellowship
15 - Chasers
16 - In a relief time
17 - Reading steiner
18 - A Song Played by the Stars
Total Time:

Disc Two
01 - Messenger -piano-
02 - Piano Sonata No. 11 First Movement
03 - Piano Sonata No. 11 Third Movement
04 - Shuddery view
05 - Tactics in confusion
06 - Fellowship -piano-
07 - Okey-dokey -short-
08 - GIRLISH -amusements ver.-
09 - A Song Played by the Stars -music box-
10 - Chasers 2nd
11 - Berserk
12 - Re-awake
13 - The end of messenger
14 - Messenger from zero
15 - Believe me -zero-
16 - SG 0 preview
17 - Amadeus -instrumental
18 - Lyra -instrumental
19 - Lyra
21 - Messenger -main theme- OPM arrange
Total Time:

The data portion of disc 1 contains "Messenger -piano-" and "Fellowship -piano-" PDF sheet music, as well as a digital version of the album's booklet.

I have a lot of opinions about STEINS;GATE 0. The game itself, that is. Those opinions are mixed...plenty of good, plenty of bad. That matters, because my time spent with the game adds context to my experience with its soundtrack, and you, dear reader, ought to know that as a sort of disclaimer. That said, if you want more insight about this alternate-worldline not-quite-a sequel, check out the two Robs' reviews of the title.

You'll notice the image of the sheet music alongside the tracklist. Disc one of this set includes three data files, all PDFs. Two are sheet music for the two piano arrangements ("Messenger" and "Fellowship"), and the third is a digital version of the booklet included with the soundtrack. I very much appreciated the booklet — honestly, I think it should be a best practice for all physical media to include a digital booklet equivalent to the physical booklet. The sheet music is an especially nice gift for pianists like myself. In terms of difficulty, "Fellowship" is relatively easy for an experienced player, and "Messenger" is only more challenging because of its large, decorative flourishes. For fans of Takeshi Abo's work who also like to dabble with music performance, these two PDF files are a real blessing.

Next, let us consider the vocal tracks. Three new vocal tracks were introduced with STEINS;GATE 0: "Amadeus," "A Song Played by the Stars," and "Lyra." Additionally, the enduring series vocal track "GATE OF STEINER" was included on the OST, likely because of its use in game, and certainly because they had the space to tack it onto the second disc. Among the four vocal tracks, I still think "GATE OF STEINER" is the best. It is absolutely unforgettable. However, I have to say that the STEINS;GATE 0 opening theme "Amadeus" has really begun to grow on me. In the context of the game's story, the lyrics and the person performing the song add deep meaning to the song itself. It doesn't hurt that "Amadeus" is ridiculously catchy; you will not be forgetting the chorus after hearing it a few times. The "outro" lick of the chorus is really neat, especially in how it slightly changes each time around. Now, the other two vocals? I'm not wild about them. "Lyra" is nice, and "Song Played by the Stars" is a slow, sentimental ballad. What I can say safely about all four songs is that I'm thankful we got full-size, instead of 90-second "game-size," versions of each song.

Now, to the BGM itself. There is a ton of great music here. As the songs relate to the game, I have to state a complaint: some of the least interesting songs, some of which existed in the original STEINS:GATE, were used the most often during the game. "Easygoing members" and "Okey-dokey" are the two biggest culprits here. In contrast, more musically interesting tracks like "Logical theme," "Future of Spirit," and even the main theme "Messenger" and all of its variants were used less often than I would have liked. They were saved for very specific moments, when I think their usage in game could have been broader and easily could have replaced a lot of the "Easygoing members" repetition.

In any case, Takeshi Abo did not phone in this score. By no means! In fact, I think that in comparing this to some of his older Visual Novel compositions (go back to the -infinity- series or early Memories Off), he continues to refine his use of electronic sound samples, perhaps customizing his own sound libraries for each song or for certain sets of songs. His ability to write melodically and to maximize the impact of even the most common chord progressions via dynamics and instrumentation allows listeners like myself to enjoy this soundtrack, to say "this is the (n)th OST by Abo I've heard, and it's still not same-old same-old!" If you've been composing for as long as someone like Abo, I believe this is a significant achievement.

My favorite songs are, generally, those sampled. Of course, there are others. Both the regular and piano versions of "Fellowship" are great, yet I did not sample them. Nor did I sample "GATE OF STEINER" (you can find that in other STEINS;GATE soundtrack reviews). The point is that there is a lot to love about this "Full Version" soundtrack, and it is great that the retail version of the soundtrack is, indeed, the full version. A Japanese pack-in OST was released first, but it was woefully incomplete. I am happy to have an easily accessed import soundtrack thanks to 5pb, and I recommend it to STEINS;GATE fans, Takeshi Abo fans, and anyone who can appreciate a blended soundtrack of pop vocals, piano-centric pieces, and electronic ambient music.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann