Oh, how the wait for Drakengard 3‘s English PS3 release kills me! It says 2014, though there’s no specific day or month yet. I stopped by Datablitz last night and the staff confirmed there’s no pre-order queuing for DoD3 yet, but what can be pre-ordered for now is Lightning Returns: FFXIII for 500PHP downpayment, and get it on February 11. Anyway, cool enough, Square Enix decided to keep the fans busy by releasing the original soundtrack along with the game’s JP version last December 2013. Lucky I was able to get my hands on one!
Not really a fan of the Drakengard series, but I am a fan of their latest installment NieR– a spin-off that others consider to be the true Drakengard 3, which, by the way, has a very masterful soundtrack! The awesome part? The guys who did Nier’s OST also worked on Drakengard 3’s songs! Good thing this is a prequel of the series so you don’t have to know anything about Drakengard 1 or 2 to be able to relate. Check the tracks out:
One would expect that the OST would totally have a NieR feel to it since since Keiichi Okabe was back to spearhead the project. It does, but not quite. Although Okabe mentions he was able to create music here that would perfectly portray Nier, they strayed off the mellow-ethereal genre and followed the orchestral approach of Drakengard- that, while adding the twist of modern techno and metal to keep it interesting. Disc 1 would comprise the orchestral battle stage songs while in disc 2, the boss battle themes: heavy metal versions constructed based on the melodies of the songs in disc 1. It’s amazing on how they were able to pull it off!
Nier, DOD1 and 2 all shared the same “world view” musical concept . With DOD3, we have regular stage and boss battle themes, but while it feels like a soundtrack from a completely different game series, by constructing stage and boss themes that use the same melody as a motive, we can create a strong awareness of such expansive colors that are born from this sheer contrast.
It was the gorgeous Utahime Sisters that added their colors to the music and drew out the maximum appeal. If you compare the production of the normal instrumental BGM themes with adding the vocal line on top, it’s an extremely difficult task, but at the same time there’s a sense of unity between the game and the music, and even the story and design. –Keiichi Okabe
Commendations for the talented Eir Aoi, Nami Nakagawa, Maaya Uchida, YoRHa, Emi Evans, and Chihiro Onitsuka for their beautiful voices!
Hearing ‘This Silence is Mine‘ the first time in the original trailer immediately won me over. Just the song itself was enough to relay the emotions and feelings the story of the game wants to deliver: despair, misery and anguish towards the world and yet trying to find a faint light of hope within such desolation. The song starts out with melancholic chimes and a gloomy synth accompanied by Chihiro Onitsuka‘s beautiful coarse voice. Around 2:27 it builds up a bit with low-pitched strings bowed simultaneously with the bass drum parts, giving it a sense of the impending intensity. Then everything blows up at 3:40 where the string quartet comes in to blast some emotional high-pitched tones of man-tears. Chihiro would also heighten and louden her voice at this point, then ends the song whispering ‘This silence is mine.’ Just beautiful.
The next notable track is the game’s theme song named Kuroi Uta or Black Song, which has two versions: the original and the international. I’d choose the latter due to personal preference, but they’re both good. The piece is composed by Keiichi Okabe and sung by the wonderful Eir Aoi who also happens to be a Drakengard fan. The song sounds more like narrating the sad predicament of Zero rather than the vocalist representing Zero herself with her singing. It’s all piano and Eir at the start but suddenly becomes fast-paced with a strokeful orchestra and a continuously pumping digital percussion at 2:34. Eir maintains her style of singing, but it still fits perfectly nonetheless.
Battle stage songs would be indicated by ‘Battlefield’ on its suffix in disc 1 and the boss battle themes, a unique angel-ish name for each track in disc 2. Each boss battle theme has at least two versions, with my favorites being Four’s theme Arrival of the Guards‘ Armaros & Zophiel, and Two’s Celebratory Dance’s Egregori & Raphael. These songs can really pump you up for some action!
Here’s a video of the boss battle with Two featuring Celebratory Dance / Egregori: