I’ve had the album for about 3 years now, and it continues to be a favorite of my collection. I really don’t know how to explain what it is that makes the music so endearing to me. I never played the game, having only bought the soundtrack on a whim. I’d watched bits and pieces played by a friend, but that’s it. Yet how can I be so incredibly enthralled by it? Perhaps it was the innovative vision of the composers, Saori Kobayashi and Mariko Nanba, that drew me in and refused to let go.
Panzer Dragoon Azel contains some of the most beautiful and diverse ambient music I’ve heard in a soundtrack; the game is epic, and so is its soundtrack. Kobayashi and Nanba perfectly set the mood of the almost primitive world with these compositions. Their heavy use of tribal drums combined with flowing melodies gives an ethereal quality to the music that was, and continues to be, groundbreaking for its time. By combining many different musical influences, including African, South American, and Celtic, Azel manages to create a unique sound of its own. This perfectly compliments and adds to the dramatic mood and atmosphere of the game; the music transports and immerses you into an entirely different world. Having listened to this album, especially “Pure Blood Seed,” I almost felt like I was riding dragons along with the main character.
For some reason, this music evokes an emotional catharsis within me each time I listen it. I find it especially amazing that I feel this strongly about it even though I’d never played the game. It’s incredible how the composers used unconventional instruments and samples and still managed to create beautifully stirring pieces. However, the most intriguing of the themes are those of the boss battles. With their heavy use of tribal drums and fast-paced rhythms, these heart-pounding pieces are charged with the energy and emotion of a raging battle. “Atolm Dragon” and “Giant Being 1” are excellent examples of this.
Track length is very important to me. Fortunately, most are adequate, completing two full rotations and lasting 3 to 4 minutes on most songs. There are quite a few tracks from the FMV cut-scenes. Although many of them are very good, rivaling some movie scores in my opinion, I often found myself flipping past them to listen to the more riveting level and boss themes. I feel I must make mention of the ending vocal, “Sona Mi Areru Ec Sancitu.” It’s a breathtaking piece, dramatically orchestrated, performed with the perfect amount of emotion, and lyrics in a fictional language, which adds to the exotic and foreign feel of the game. In short, it’s an incredibly composed closing piece to an incredible game.
If you’ve played Panzer Dragoon Saga, odds are you have been looking for this soundtrack for a long time. Even if you haven’t played it, word among the game music community probably has you more than a little curious. With an excellent team of composers creating wonderfully engrossing music, you’d be crazy not to get your hands on this album.