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Vandal Hearts II ~Heaven's Gate~ OST

[back cover]
Catalog Number: KMCA-20/1
Released On: August 6,1999
Composed By: Hiroshi Tamawari
Arranged By: Hiroshi Tamawari
Published By: Konami Music Entertainment
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 2 CDs
Tracklist:

Disc One
Prologue
01 - Overture
02 - The History
03 - A Massacre
04 - Title
05 - Scene: The Windmill
06 - Peace
07 - Warfare on a Plain
08 - Introduction to "The Powerless People" #1
09 - Introduction to "The Powerless People" #2
10 - The Powerless People
11 - The Hometown
12 - The Whole Map (Theme of Vandal Hearts II)
13 - Tension
14 - Will
15 - Warfare on a Forest
16 - Scene: Night
17 - A Room of the Clan of Nobles
18 - Continuation of Scene
19 - A Weird Wind
20 - Introduction to "The Wizard"
21 - Madness People
22 - Destiny
Part 1
23 - Traveling on the Train #1
24 - Urgent Stop of the Train - The Hero's Theme
25 - The Chivalrous Robber
26 - A Crisis (Metamorphosis based on Theme)
27 - The EAST Area
28 - The Empress
29 - Attack (Metamorphosis based on Theme)
30 - Political Issues
31 - Warfare on a Water's Edge
32 - The MINE PRISON
33 - Weird Mood (Metamorphosis based on Theme)
34 - Warfare on a Ruin
Part 2-1
35 - Suspicion
36 - Scene: The Wharf
37 - Confrontation Against Enemies (Metamorphosis based on Theme)
38 - The Ruins
39 - The Wizard
Total Time:
70'18"

Disc Two
Part 2-2
01 - Traveling on the Train #2
02 - The Two Trains Travel Side by Side (Metamorphosis based on Theme)
03 - Scene: Field
04 - Destiny and Will
05 - The Capital
06 - Invitation to the Club
07 - The Club
08 - The Wrong for the Justice
09 - Continuation of Scene
Part 3
10 - Warfare on a Mountain
11 - The Destiny Changes Everything
12 - Going to Warfare
13 - Fanfare: Level Up
14 - Warfare on a Constructions
15 - Fanfare: Finding of a Treasure
16 - Warfare on a Town
17 - The Trade City
18 - Warfare on a Sea
19 - The WEST Area
20 - A Meeting
21 - The Wizard and the Cardinal
Part 4
22 - The Resistance
23 - Warfare on a Hidden Place #1 (Arranged Based on "A Fort" from "Vandal Hearts")
24 - Warfare on a Hidden Place #2 (Arranged based on "A Crisis" from "Vandal Hearts")
25 - Warfare on a Hidden Place #3 (Arranged based on "The Hero's Theme" from "Vandal Hearts")
26 - The GENESIS
27 - The Hero's Theme
28 - Mission Successful
29 - The Friend's Death
30 - The Lover's Death
31 - The Wizard's Last Moment
32 - The Falling Down of the Sanctuary
33 - Continuation of Scene
34 - Power of Will
Epilogue
35 - Epilogue and Staff Credit
36 - Finale
37 - Mission Failure
Total Time:
71'03"

When I first came across this soundtrack, I was hesitant to purchase it, or even spend any time listening to it. Based upon what I had heard in the first Vandal Hearts soundtrack, I expected more subpar Sakimoto-style strategy-RPG themes. You know the type: harps, booming drums and strings, blaring horns, wispy flute parts, that sort of thing. Well, as it turns out, that's exactly what this soundtrack is. These songs are pretty, though they don't compare well to the gold standard of Sakimoto excellence.

However, despite not living up to the gold standard, the soundtrack is surprisingly consistent (something that not every Sakimoto soundtrack can boast). Very few of these songs are worth skipping; each has a unique melody and theme. Those that don't (the "metamorphosis" tracks, which I suspect were meant to be "variations on a theme" but Konami screwed up translation) are still decent arrangements of other songs on the album.

The tracklist is conveniently broken into sections that correspond with the game's chronological order. Among these songs, the "Prologue" tracks were some of my favorites, though Part 3 had some beautiful music as well (for example, listen to the sampled track in this section). Surprisingly, one song that didn't fit my tastes was the Hero's Theme (2-27). I expected it to be a lot more creative and uplifting than it actually is. The song has a lot of dissonance within it, and that comes as a surprise to me.

One particularly disappointing track on this album is the Epilogue and Staff Credit piece. Clocking in at twelve minutes, I was hoping for this song to be a powerful and memorable medley of the best songs from the game, produced with an extra bit of orchestral flair (perhaps some live instruments as well). As it turns out, this song is just an exercise in patience. Repetition is the name of the game here, as the song doesn't begin to "pick up" until the eight minute mark, and even when that happens, it's still a rather dull track compared to other pieces on this album. I feel as though when Hiroshi Tamawari reached this song, he just gave up all hope on writing a spectacular piece and settled instead for this lackluster ending song.

Between the two discs, I'd have to say I prefer disc one, especially because of the many brilliant songs in the prologue section (there are more good songs besides the ones sampled, I can promise you that). However, disc two does have its shining moments; the epilogue section drags it down, however.

I have a hard time recommending this soundtrack to anyone, however. While this music is certainly quite good on a compositional level, there are so many better soundtracks that take priority over this one in terms of purchase, you'd really have to be quite a serious collector to get around to this soundtrack. That's my final word on this one: don't worry about finding it.

Reviewed by: Patrick Gann



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