Wild Arms the 4th Detonator Original Score

[back cover]
Catalog Number: KICA-1370~3
Released On: June 22, 2005
Composed By: Michiko Naruke, Masato Kouda, Nobuyuki Shimizu, Ryuta Suzuki
Arranged By: Kazuhiko Toyama, Nobuyuki Shimizu
Published By: King Records
Recorded At: Unknown
Format: 4 CDs

Disc One
01 - the 4th Detonator
02 - I Look Up At The Sky Because You Are There (Opening Theme)
03 - Stationary Village Ciel
04 - Perilous Change
05 - Catastrophe Now
06 - Clash, the Fourth Battle Position
07 - For the Sake of One Flower
08 - over the wind
09 - Gun Blaze
10 - Condition Green!
11 - Port Ailinton
12 - So Close, Yet So Far Away
13 - Friends Who Watch Your Back
14 - Totally Busy
15 - Time and Rocks Piled Up
16 - Ghosts of the Knights
17 - A Future Wet With Tears
18 - Shadow Territory
19 - Critical Attack - Breaking Boundaries
Total Time:

Disc Two
01 - In the Cold Iron Box
02 - From Anxiety to Impatience
03 - REASON Which Becomes Clear In a Moment
04 - Weapon X
05 - The Shining Spear Pierces the Darkness
06 - Nightmare Spiral
07 - Beckoning Bewitching Princess
08 - Like a Rolling Stone
09 - unrest
10 - Nanodat the Gardener!?
11 - Nightless City Guara Bobelo
12 - Gloom of the Duelist
13 - With Admiration and Returned Blood
14 - The Unknown Terminal Station
15 - Run Without Stopping Time
16 - At the End of the Wilderness Ver. Detonator
17 - Taste of the Sand That Sheds No Tears
18 - Flickering Flame In the Darkness
[Bonus Track]
19 - Unbinded Shackles, Released Brute
Total Time:

Disc Three
01 - Dark Grey Back Ry
02 - Wandering Nothingness
03 - Howling At An Unstoppable Fate
04 - Force, Storm, and CRISIS
05 - Buried City
06 - Black Trigger
07 - Starlight and the Passing Breeze
08 - Trusting In the Wings Beyond the Storm
09 - Taking the Name of Exorcist
10 - Feeling the Bonds
11 - That Is Where the Spirit Becomes Certain
12 - From Your Tears...
13 - Infrared Threat
14 - SECRET of the Thin Line Between Truth and Lies
15 - Those Sparkling Eyes, That Shining Smile
16 - You Are To Take the Lost Sword
17 - The Funeral Rain Flows Down Your Cheek
18 - Green Tracks
19 - Don't Be Afraid of the Future
20 - Frontier Harim
[Bonus Track]
21 - Manifestation From Hell
Total Time:

Disc Four
01 - Catch, Call, and Awaken
02 - The Flower Blooms In the Heart As Much As It Can
03 - reckless ARM
04 - Until the Sorrow Ends
05 - Falling Stardust, Dancing In the Wilderness
06 - Black Shadow of the Closing Coffin
07 - Hauser Hazard
08 - I Look Up At The Sky Because You Are There
09 - The Path of No Return
10 - If You Call Out That Name Beyond the Wind
11 - The Desire To Fly Exceeds Words
12 - Neverending Story
13 - as time goes by ~Never Forget Me~
[Bonus Track]
14 - Introduction
15 - Bird's-eye View Test
16 - Do It
17 - Launch the Land Gear!
18 - Ex. File
19 - Yet Another Ex. File
20 - The Power to Control
21 - Leave It To Me
22 - The Hand Reaching Out to the Sky Above
Total Time:

Ever since the first Wild Arms game was released on the Playstation back in 1997, I've been a huge fan of the series and its music. Michiko Naruke is one of my favorite composers because of her impeccable style, which mixes the Wild West with everything else under the sun. I was saddened to learn that Michiko Naruke fell ill during the production of the WA4 soundtrack, and was only able to produce about a third of the total songs. Her three replacements, Masato Kouda, Nobuyuki Shimizu, and Ryuta Suzuki, did a fantastic job filling in for her during her absence. The soundtrack isn't as good as the past Wild Arms titles, but it is still worthy of praise.

Instead of doing the typical "disc by disc review," I'm going to review each separate composer and how their work contributes to the piece as a whole. I feel that this does the soundtrack more justice.

Masato Kouda contributed the largest amount of songs to the soundtrack, composing about two thirds of the songs. Kouda's style give the soundtrack most of its flavor, and whether or not you like him will affect how you view the soundtrack. Of all the composers, Kouda is certainly the most varied. He has a keen ability to write music in different genres, and I believe that he is the reason that the album is so solid. "Perilous Change" is a smooth jazz piece with a jazz flute that sounds like something from a Hubert Laws album. "Gloom of the Duelists" follows the same suit, except with a swing band. Kouda also shows his talents in writing great town themes with "Port Alinton," which is a French-inspired waltz with an oboe duet and an accordion accompaniment. Kouda also dabbles in the orchestral genre with "Run Without Stopping Time" and "Still Village Ciel," which are very well done and easy on the ears.

The only problem with Kouda's compositions is that they get progressively worse as the soundtrack goes on. He throws his best at you for the first two discs, but his works on the last two discs aren't as memorable. Some of the songs I didn't care for were "Secret of the Thin Line Between Truth and Lies," which is a standard march, and "You are to take the Sword," which is an urgency theme with no substance.

Ryuta Suzuki does a great job too, although his contributions are only a handful. Suzuki split the bill with Michiko Naruke and composed around half of the battle themes, which, I must say, are some of the coolest battle themes ever written. Suzuki's irregular rhythm syncopations have you guessing what's going to come next, and his battle themes are full of orchestra hits, crash cymbals, and toms. My favorite battle theme, "Ghost of the Knights," is just an amazingly cool song that is difficult to describe. I've never heard a composer with such a unique style. "Beckoning Bewitching Princess" is a battle theme of similar stock. Suzuki also contributes to some of the album's area themes; "Howling at an Unstoppable Fate," "Buried City," and "Taking the Name of the Exorcist." These are some of the best songs on the soundtrack, and they sound closer to Michiko Naruke's style than the other two composers. I personally would like to see Suzuki play a larger part in the next Wild Arms album if he's involved.

Nobuyuki Shimizu has only a handful of songs as well, and they aren't as meaningful as Suzuki's or Kouda's compositions, but they do hold the album together. Mixed together with Kouda's versatile palette and Suzuki's wild side, Shimizu's dark and melancholy themes are a perfect fit. "Starlight and Passing Breeze" is a slower, instrumental version of the game's vocal track, and it sounds as if Naruke could have written it. "Until the Sorrow Ends" is your typical melancholy song with sad chords, a mandolin and a pan flute. I didn't particularly care for many of Shimizu's compositions, but without him, the soundtrack would not have been as coherent.

Last but not least, let's talk about Michiko Naruke. I feel that it is best to talk about her last because the focus of the album isn't on her. However, her contributions (mostly battle themes) are awesome, and she does not fail to please. Along with Suzuki, Naruke rocks the battle scenes. "Gun Blaze," is exactly what you'd expect the game's main battle to sound like, and "Critical Boundaries" is the best WA boss battle theme in years. I must also mention the vocal theme, "I Look at the Sky Because You are There." This is a fantastic vocal track, and it proves that Naruke can still write decent vocal tracks. Suffice to say, she pulls her weight and her style mixes well with the other composers, and I hope she is well enough to take head of Wild Arms: Vth Vanguard.

All in all, Wild Arms 4th Detonator is a fantastic album and a great start for three blossoming composers. If Kouda, Shimizu, and Suzuki help compose the next Wild Arms soundtrack, I wish them well. Wild Arms 4 is not as great as past Wild Arms outings, but it is a great soundtrack worthy of your ears and the most varied. Despite a few filler tracks, it deserves a 8 out of 10.

Reviewed by: Mike Wilson


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