There were two things that interested me in this soundtrack enough to purchase it. First, the game itself was developed by Flight-Plan, and I’ve found myself attracted to the music in their “Summon Night” series. The other thing was that I heard the opening song “Rainbow” performed by DayLightFever. The song was so excellent, I figured I may as well get the soundtrack to see if there was anything on the three disc collection that could top this awesome, awesome vocal track.
Boy, was I in for a surprise.
DayLightFever’s opening and ending vocal tracks are great, but they don’t break new territory. It’s Japanese pop-rock at its best. The OST, in contrast, stretches the typical boundaries of VGM, particularly for a Strategy RPG. Takashi Okamoto, the game’s composer, really shocked me. I am used to Flight-Plan’s “Summon Night” crew (Chiaki Fujita and Minako Adachi), so this composer was completely new to me. And he really has an incredible range of talent. A lot of this soundtrack is influenced by techno and acid jazz, but I also found the occasional classical ballads, pop ballads, rockin’ battle themes, and even some world/fusion stuff.
This soundtrack is a lot of fun to listen to with the intent of really taking it in and listening. It does not qualify as easy listening, and I doubt it makes for good background music. This is the sort of music where the act of listening is the only thing one ought to be doing. That said, I wonder if the music ever felt like a distraction to the player? At present, I may never know since there are no plans to bring this great Strategy RPG to English-speaking gamers.
One drawback to this album is that “Rainbow” is used one too many times in instrumental varieties. In my opinion, nothing can beat DayLightFever’s performance, but the melody for “Rainbow” is found no less than seven times on this soundtrack (there may be more instances that I missed). There are enough original tracks to balance it out I suppose…but I could’ve done without half of the arrangements.
Disc three is a special treat: some interesting arranged tracks, as well as unused/unreleased compositions, were stuck on the final disc, which only runs to 30 minutes in length. I really enjoyed everything on this disc; it too is something worth studying.
Takashi Okamoto is a name I’d never heard before. I’m sure there are people out there who know his whole discography, but because he’s new to me, I was that much more impressed by this album. I will be vigilant in following this composers’ works in the future, because I have to say that I didn’t expect something this good from a “no-name” composer. If you’re willing to add something new and different to your OST collection, Dragon Shadow Spell is definitely a worthy candidate.