A beautiful soundtrack with a variety of printing mishaps: that’s Grim Grimoire for you. First, the CD was released as a promotional item in Japan in April of 2007. Gamers who bought the “limited edition” got the soundtrack as a bonus. It came as just a disc, with no cover. However, it also came with a huge problem: the tracklist printed on the front of the disc did not correspond at all with what was actually on the album! It didn’t take NIS long to realize this, and they released the tracklist’s true order on their website within a few days.
Then, in June, the game came to the US thanks to NIS America. And, as has become tradition, NISA’s “Rosenqueen” store released the album for a reasonable price. The soundtrack was the exact same as the Japanese release, only now its tracklist was in proper order, and the album came in a real case. For once, Americans got the better deal. However, the first shipment of the CD to come out was a disaster! Instead of having CD-DA tracks (i.e. – a regular Audio CD), the disc was somehow printed faulty as .wav files on a data disc instead. This looked awful on NISA’s part, and customers were quite disappointed. Fortunately, NISA made up for this goof by re-shipping the album to all their customers over the next month, this time as an actual Audio CD. The misprinted batch has since been tossed, and now the album is finally released properly. Third time’s the charm, I suppose.
With that history out of the way, let’s talk about the music itself. This RTS-esque RPG features a lovely soundtrack from Sakimoto and the rest of the Basiscape crew. Released one year after the Final Fantasy XII OST, I’m shocked to say that I believe Sakimoto wrote a more consistently good soundtrack here than with XII. Granted, the rest of the Basiscape team is there to support him, each of them writing beautiful songs while using the traditional sounds that Sakimoto has been providing VGM fans since the days of FF Tactics. To put it simply, if you know and love Sakimoto, this album features more of Sakimoto doing what he does best: cascading harps, orchestral percussion, swelling strings and brass, beautiful melodies from the wind section, the works.
The game’s Main Theme sets the course for the entire album. Soft and enchanting, the harmonic structure holding your attention at all times, this song is wonderful (if only it were longer than two minutes!). From there, we hear “Book of Days,” a wintry, Elfman-like song with all the elements to bring together a world of fantasy. When I hear a song like this, I’m convinced that the game’s character/world art helps to influence the composer’s ideas a great deal. This song fits so well with the art of Grim Grimoire, it’s just uncanny.
Not every track is as good as these first two, but for the most part, the album is filled with fun and enjoyable musical melodies. It surprised me, and I suspect it will surprise you as well.
As I said earlier, the Japanese version was a promotional disc-only release, and you probably will not be able to obtain it, short of buying a used copy of the entire limited edition game. The American version of the album, however, can be purchased at NIS America’s Rosenqueen Store for $15–at least, it was still available at the time this review was posted. That said, get it while it’s still available!