Shoji Meguro is an artist that resonates with a great many people these days. Starting off as a total unknown to me, I only heard about him first through Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne, and then later heard music written and done by him for Digital Devil Saga 2. Meguro’s style is different from what seems to be the norm these days and has a knack for being experimental. It’s a fresh infusion of blood to the otherwise somewhat stagnant scene of the modern RPG.
Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army (yes, that’s the actual subtitle) continues Meguro’s style by taking his music in another direction. Where Digital Devil Saga was thick with electronica, Devil Summoner is a jazz trip. I think the best way of describing the soundtrack on the whole is by calling it heavy jazz with a touch of Meguro’s now trademark guitar and electric beat. A bit of an odd moniker, but it fits. Just listen to “Theme” or “Go! Raidou” and you should be able to tell pretty quickly. It’s actually rather infectiously fun to listen to. A lot of the album doesn’t blow you away at first, but it grows on you really quickly.
The only thing I’d fault the soundtrack on is the length of it. There’s thirty-three tracks combined, and of those thirty-three, four are under thirty seconds. At least eight aren’t much longer than a minute. Surely an entire MegaTen game couldn’t be expressed in only this much music. Whether this actually the entire OST for the game I’m not sure. It calls itself the Complete Music Works, so I’d be led to believe this is all there is. Quality over quantity, I suppose, but I still wish there were a little more bang for the buck.
Still, what is there is the excellence I’ve come to expect from Meguro. For those not in the know, Meguro has a peculiar style of guitar music. Typically in RPGs you expect guitar rock ala something more like Final Fantasy. But Meguro’s cup of tea is something heavier and less boppy. It takes a few listenings to get used to at first, I have to admit. The first time I listened to music from Digital Devil Saga, I didn’t really understand the ravings over it. To give you a few examples, both “Formidable Foe” and “The Fated Showdown” showcase what I mean. Formidable Foe is almost plodding, where Fated Showdown brings in a somewhat unusual piano/guitar combination that’s quickly followed up by a blast of sax before rocking out at a much perkier pace.
Overall, I’d say the soundtrack is definitely worth of a listen. I wish there were more of it, but what’s there is really, really good. If anything, it’s a good primer for Meguro’s music. Since Raidou Kuzunoha is soon to release in the States, this soundtrack will probably be fairly easy to buy for a bit. Considering the albums for both Digital Devil Saga games as well as Nocturne are becoming a little pricey since I last looked, this might be a good album to get before you consider sinking the dough on the other ones. And on it’s own as a simple soundtrack, this is certainly a keeper. I’d recommend it to most anyone; you’re sure to find something here to enjoy.