Falcom’s Brandish series isn’t remembered for having the best music among Falcom games. In fact, it’s not really remembered for being the best of anything. Many Falcom fans consider the Brandish series a B-level franchise compared to the likes of Eiyuu Densetsu and Ys.
But within the Brandish series, there are highs and lows. And there is no question in my mind today that the soundtrack for the new PSP port of Brandish, subtitled “The Dark Revenant,” is the best Brandish soundtrack ever made. This even tops arranged albums such as the Brandish Piano Collection. Yes, it’s that good.
How did Falcom do it? It’s very simple, really. They applied the same formula to Brandish that they’ve applied countless times to Ys I, II, and III. Take the original melodies, first composed on early synths (FM, PC-88), beef them up as much as you possibly can, occasionally add some live recordings, and go all out on mixing/production. The difference here between Ys and Brandish is that, while fans were already quite familiar with the memorable melodies of the early Ys titles (even at its most limited sampling, who could forget “Palace of Destruction” or “Valestein Castle”?). Brandish doesn’t have those classic melodies within its repertoire. Most of the tunes were, admittedly, forgettable. But the newer members of the Falcom staff have made something brilliant out of the messy synth.
Take, for example, “Dela Delon.” Did this song even sound like it had a melody in its original format? I don’t think so. But now, presented as a sort of acid jazz track, with piano taking the lead, one can make sense of it all. And, suddenly, it sounds pretty cooL! This is proof that Falcom has still “got it” in the traditional sense. It’s not just that they know how to write good original music, but they’re also quite good at rearranging (that is, milking) the works of the past. Would it be Falcom if they weren’t doing this on a regular basis? I rest my case.
Other songs get a straight booster shot of techno. Check out “Fortress” on disc two. What was once one of the most easily neglected pieces from the old OSTs is now one of the strongest on this collection of music, primarily because of the additional arrangement and mixing. I could get up and dance to this song. This is new-school Falcom, the sorto f thing we’ve heard in Super Arrange Versions of Legend of Heroes VI. What else can I say? I like it.
Seriously, this OST is the equivalent of a Super Arrange Version from Falcom. I am shocked by how good it is. Unfortunately, if you want this album, I hope you have some interest in the PSP game itself. This promotional soundtrack comes bundled with the Japanese PSP game itself. And, for some reason, I have a feeling that Falcom fans who bought the PSP game aren’t going to want to part with this soundtrack. But, honestly, it’s worth the steep price of a bundled game+soundtrack package. To date, this is the pinnacle of Brandish soundtracks, and I am extremely happy to have heard it.