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Shadow Hearts
(Original soundtrack plus 1)

Shadow Hearts CD cover
Scitron scdc-00116~117 (JPN)

Composed, Arranged & Produced by
Yoshitaka Hirota
Yasunori Mitsuda

Disc 1 66:36
Disc 2 77:08

Audio Samples
"Conveyorbelt for Killers"
You will need Quick Time 6, Windows Media or Real Media to hear these files.

Another dark score to control my CD player in 2001 is composed by an old pro, Yasunori Mitsuda, and a relative newcomer, Yoshitaka Hirota. While Mr. Mitsuda's music is once again top notch, Mr. Hirota's blend of Chinese, industrial, and rock have a melancholy influence that rises from the darkness and shines like a black pearl. This is not bad for a guy who is composing his first game soundtrack, although Mr. Hirota has scored (with Mitsuda-san) several CAPCOM drama discs based on Resident Evil and Street Fighter, and has worked on sound design at SQUARE.

After you've heard and considered how great most of the music is, you will notice the sound quality of the disc and the instruments used. The combination of electronics, ethnic instruments and vocals is unbelievable: the best since Hiroki Kikuta's Soukaigi score.

Some really outstanding tunes by Mr. Hirota are the "Alice" tracks, which are two of the saddest, bust most beautiful compositions written in recent memory. They are dark, yet moving and will truly wrench your heart. "Beltconveyor for Killers" is a rich complex tune melding traditional Chinese sounds with modern electronics. Hirota-san twists both styles into a gritty tune with a cyber punk attitude.

Coming off his brilliant scores for Chrono Cross and Tsungai, Mr. Mitsuda gives us ten original tracks, nine of which are outstanding (although I like his Celtic music it seems a bit out of place). Two of my favorite Mitsuda tracks are on disc two. The creepy "Coffin Fetish" and the sweeping yet tender "Tanjou" are excellent examples of Mr. Mitsuda's moody music.

The last thing of interest for this 2 CD set are the track names. They are some of the weirdest, most absurd and coolest song names to appear on a soundtrack CD. Examples are: "Coffee with Bullet," "Bloody Kitchens," "Don't Cry My Vampire" and "Sicking F*cking."

This collection is a top notch accomplishment is video game music, but there is one tune that I really don't care for. "Bacon's Juice" is composed by both men, and in all candor, its cutesy sound is like a Chocobo reject tune. Sticking out like a sore thumb, it nearly destroys the atmosphere of disc 2.

I can't remember a time when there were so many great scores to horror based games (Silent Hill 2, Blood: The Last Vampire). Shadow Hearts adds its own stamp to the horror music genre, without relying on clichéd sounds and motifs. Instead, it pushes the envelope with the infusion of Mr. Hirota's and Mr. Mitsuda's unique styles, and then weaves them in to a dark, rich and complex aural atmosphere.

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