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Vampire Hunter D

Vampire Hunter D CD cover
Purchase Epic Sony 32-8H-59

Composed by
Tetsuya Komuro

1. Mamonotachi no Yoru (Night of the Demons)
2. D no Fukkatsu (D's Resurrection)
3. D no Zetsumei (Annihilation of D)
4. Kyuuketsuki Rii-hakushaku - Toujou (Vampire Count Lee - Entrance)
5. Kizoku no Konrei (A Noble Wedding Ceremony)
6. Kyuuketsu Rii-hakushaku - Shi (Vampire Count Lee - Death)
7. D no Teemu - Toujou (D's Theme - Entrance)
8. Yakusoku - Paato I (Promise - Part I)
9. D no Teemu - Dorisu no Ai (D's Theme - Doris's Love)
10. Dorisu no Dakkai (Doris's Recapture)
11. D no Teemu - Wakare (D's Theme - Parting)
12. Yakusoku - Paato II (Promise - Part II)

12 Tracks 44:39

The Vampire Hunter D soundtrack is, like the world of its film, an intriguing blend of old and new - of orchestrals and synthetics never content to be conventional, and while the mix doesn't always work, it does consistently produce something interesting. The compositions incorporate a wide range of strange-sounding instruments (or strange sounds serving as instruments, such as something approximating helicopter blades underwater on the "Vampire Count Lee - Death" track) effectively implemented to induce the music's engulfing, oppressive climate of horror - witness the splendidly eerie "Night of the Demons", with its low, moaning horns, anxious strings, ominous percussion, and various incidental synthetic sounds, a skilled aural depiction of dark environs fraught with unknown menaces. Most tracks are very tense, yet still able to preserve the sense of meandering exploration that makes the CD so distinctive; it makes for a fitting score for a suspense film, since the tracks, in a way, are suspenseful in themselves - they keep the listener wondering in which direction the composition is going to go next.

As I've expressed, it's a very experimental soundtrack. Not everything comes out perfectly. Certain tracks, like "Vampire Count Lee - Death" and "D's Theme - Entrance", are allowed to go on for too long. Sometimes, the relentless drive to produce a daringly different style produces something merely cacophonous (like parts of, again, Lee's death track and "Annihilation of D"). But I applaud the effort and risk put forth and composer Tetsuya Komuro's willingness to take his score through such uncharted territory - though fourteen years old, the soundtrack still plays like a breath of fresh air.

And while the score is experimental, it is far from undisciplined, as proven by the emotion conveyed in the beautiful piano of the poignant, searching "Promise" tracks or by the triumphant and grandiosely conclusive "D's Return" - not to mention the inventive variations on the soundtrack's one strong recurring melody, D's theme (the most memorable, "Doris's Love", most closely resembles a (very lovely) wedding march). Greatly strengthened by outstanding performances by the musicians (on both the traditional and nontraditional instruments), Vampire Hunter D's originality, combined with the talent present in both composition and execution, produces a singular OST - there is nothing on the market that approaches its own brand of bizarre beauty.

Reviewed by Rebecca Capowski
(originally published on her site)

1. I could gripe about the absence of the violin piece that plays during D and Reiginsei's first fight scene or the strangely peppy end-credit J-pop song "Only You", but, considering the offerings already on tap...nah.

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