Resurrection: Panzer Dragoon Saga 20th Anniversary Arrangement OUT NOW digitally - my review!
Jan 30, 2018 — Hello again,
As you know, one of our favorite games celebrates its 20th anniversary today! It's also today that the re arranged album is available digitally.
Since BraveWave has been kind enough to let me preview the album a bit early, I have been able to get a final opinion on it - after many listenings - and I'd like to share it with you. Of course this is a fan & personal short review. Although I am musician at times, I have no professional expertise in the field of gaming music. Regardless I'd like to share this with you so that we can discuss your own licking or dislicking of the songs or entire album later.
How did I listen to this album? Well first I didn't listen to the original soundtrack. I didn't want to make a comparison side by side. Instead I focused on emotions: do I feel the same as the original songs. And if different, is it still the magic and mystery of the Panzer Dragoon universe? I hope you will find the answer below and apologies for my English.
I mainly listened to this album in my car initially. Mainly because my best audio system happens to be in my car at the moment. And it was gorgeous on the B&O... oups, did I just start my review here?!
So here goes for the review. Not all songs are in the order because I have listed some of them as a group when I found similarities:
1. 'Ecce valde generous ale (Behold, The Precious Wings)' gives the tone of this album: modern but both staying true to the original songs and finding nice ways to re explore them. The keys at 00:36 gave me goosebumps. A beautiful addition with the violins too.
Am I the only one who imagines the Panzer Dragoon Saga 'remastered' main menu screen on my Nintendo Switch, with this main theme playing?
2. 'Noble Rebel Army' : efficient & stays true to the original. Martial rhythms, epic drums & keys.
3. 'A premonition of Battle' : the introduction of flute & piano is a nice way to modernize it.
4. 'Mutant Species 1" : initially I found the "buzzing" key a bit annoying but got used to it & finally liked it. There is like a sort of "mutation" in the song itself, like the melody is duplicating somehow. That's interesting given the title of the song. The keyboard solo is nice too. Also true to the original song.
5. 'Gigantic Creature 1' : the song is as epic as ever, true to the original song in the sense that it conveys the idea of progression & evolution through an epic battle.
9. 'Tornado' : another amazing version. Very true to the original, we get the melody but with a new arrangement. Love it.
10. 'The Ark' is a beautiful medley, it lets us wander in a world of color and musical textures. Very true to the original but with more depth. The addition of simply piano is gorgeous.
12. 'Gigantic Warship' : I don't remember the original one very well. But this one is is beautiful, I feel the Orta influence on this version, don't you?
13. 'Holy Chariot', 16. 'Forest Shriek' : both very true to the original too and beautifully re recorded here with some new additions & variations.
The essence of the original songs is kept & revitalized, I love them.
6. 'The Breath of Life' has a sound of crystal, pure & ethereal like a liquid melody. Makes me think of a strong and immutable nature, may it be the actual Nature or a state of mind.
I shouldn't compare, but I think I prefer this new version to the original that I already liked very much.
14. 'Interception' & 19. 'Visions' are also very true to the original song melody-wise & they convey the feeling of going through enemy lines but I don't remember them being my favorite tunes. It seems these versions changed my mind! I love them!
Interception, more then ever, translates into music the feeling you are travelling through computer technology. There is still this feeling of vertical travelling & progression. Something Saori has always been a genius at. I wish we had a new RPG game with more locations to explore. I'm sure Saori would master in creating themes to new game locations: forest, desert, mountains, seas & underwater, old ruins/excavation sites.
7. 'Nomad', 11. 'Village of Zoah', 15. 'Seekers Stronghold' are the songs that benefits the most of this rearrangement in my opinion. These arrangements are simply gorgeous. They have so much depth. I can remember spending time in the "caravan" or with this kid in Zoah during my many gaming hours 20 years ago. It's like this game is more real than it's ever been.
8. 'Atolm Dragon' : I'll have to admit this is maybe the one I like the least: fast paced. I have the feeling the melody is lost & diluted. Maybe too much electronic vibes to it, especially the opening drums & the bridge 02:10, not fan of this part at all :/
It's just my opinion though.
Atolm Dragon was one of those important songs but on this album, Mutant 1 or Gigantic Creature 1 feels more epic which is kinda odd as Atolm was always more threatening. With all my respect to Saori's work, this is the one I liked the last.
17. 'Towards The Promised Land' : Another very iconic song from the original soundtrack. I understand it was not easy to re arrange this one as it was already so good. So I guess Saori tried something quite different here which is understandable. I also thing the melody is a bit too diluted here. I don't mind the song being differently arranged but it doesn't feel as epic. But again, that's also a beautiful song.
18. 'Tears' chooses to convey the emotion in a very different way from the original and wow, it works very well, piano & violin do wonders here.
20. 'Sona mi areru ec sancitu' is probably the one song with the biggest heritage from Panzer Dragoon Saga. The epic ending song to an epic game. And for the same reasons as Towards The promised Land, it would have probably been risky to do little rearrangements without risking hurting the fans. I actually like this version. It's giving us a different perspective on the game's ending with a more serene & calmer rythme. That is almost an invitation to reconsider the events of Panzer Dragoon Saga's end.
For me, it's a near perfect 20th Anniversary Arrangement album. Close your eyes and you have riminescent images of the game.
I just love these new songs, there are just two song I had a few difficulties finding the essence.
So it's a gorgeous & vibrant tribute to the original game and score.
I give it a 9 out of 10.
I am curious to know what you guys think about the album.
Anyway, I think you should share this music with your friends, wether they played the original game or not. Wether they like video games or not. Because this soundtrack and those re arranged songs are going beyond video gaming. They can be enjoyed outside of this frame.
Hope all of this made sense to you. I lack a bit of precision in this langage to make a very elaborate review. I might do a deeper review in French. So if you can read it, stay tuned.
Remember you can win a copy of the anniversary album signed by Saori Kobayashi.
Details on our Twitter
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