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Valkyrie Profile Covenant of the Plume Original Soundtrack :: Review by Dark Cloud

Valkyrie Profile Covenant of the Plume Original Soundtrack Album Title: Valkyrie Profile Covenant of the Plume Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Square Enix
Catalog No.: SQEX-10125/6
Release Date: November 5, 2008
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


In 2008, Motoi Sakuraba worked with tri-Ace once more to score the DS spinoff Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume. He decided to revisit the personal approach of the original Valkyrie Profile than the more dramatic sound of Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria. In fact, about half of the pieces on the resultant two disc soundtrack are resynthed arranged versions from the Valkyrie Profile. Though these themes are often pleasurable to revisit, the reusage of old material is bound to disappoint those who already bought the Valkyrie Profile Original Soundtrack. The remainder of the score features original compositions, which bridge the Valkyrie Profile sound with the new approaches of Motoi Sakuraba. However, there is a lot of unimpressive material on this soundtrack and it feels like a relatively lazy work overall...


On first listening at least, the soundtrack is a little different from the usual Sakuraba sound. The opening theme, "The Accused One," blends a soft section reprising "Epic Tale of a Holy Death" with a progressive rock action section to unusual effect. "Delusional Extremities" and "Ray of Darkness, Ray of Light" are the first showings of an less inspired Sakuraba. However, we get a mix of keyboard, synth, swift percussion, and a choir in both themes, which actually makes the two more appealing than other tracks. The next piece, "Epic Poem to a Sacred Death," reuses the famous Valkyrie Profile main theme also heard in "The Accused One"; while it's nice and comforting, it gets old really fast due to the generic arrangement.

The rest of the first disc seems to be composed mostly of various soft themes and basic progressive rock compositions. "Desperate Hymn", for instance, is a sad theme as the title indicates; though emotional at first, nothing moves it along meaning it becomes rather monotonous. Tracks like "Endless Suffering," "The Counterfeit Self," and "All Becomes Twilight" just sound like the same old stuff you hear on every major RPG. I'm sure that the tracks work well inside the game, but outside of it, all you get is just bland dragged-down music. What really saves the first disc from becoming a borefest is the prog-rock tunes such as "Emergency Line of Drawn Swords", "Confidence in the Domination", and "Raging Sword". I'm glad that Sakuraba is experimenting with his styles, such as adding all of the orchestral sounds and the choir to already great battle pieces. However, even a few of these themes are generic.

"Tomorrow" starts off the second disc in a continuous fashion. As much of a Sakuraba fan as I am, by this time in the soundtrack, I want to hear different things throughout it. It isn't until we get to the track "Hopeless Resolution" that we hear something interesting with its mixture of organ and backing choir; however, like quite a few other pieces on the soundtrack, it is more or less a direct reprise from the superior soundtrack to Valkyrie Profile. Most of the other highlights of the disc are also arrangements. "Mission to the Deep Space," an arrangement of a previous Sakuraba theme from Star Ocean: The Second Story, makes a nice return even if it can't surpass the Star Ocean: Till the End of Time version. "Unidentified Battle with God Syndrome" is a pretty interesting take on the Valkyrie Profile battle theme in contrast to the mostly linear arrangements found otherwise.

Close to the end of the soundtrack, there are a few interesting tracks, such as the ballroom dance "Maddening Reputation" and the simple contemplative "Music Box Memento". "To the Unhallowed Ground" is a precursor to the final battle with a heroic, uplifting, yet somewhat bittersweet sound. "An Abyss of Niflheim", a favorite of mine from the arranged album, sounds quite good in its original form. It's not very "exciting," but it's nice to listen to, unlike a lot of the tracks on this album. "Black Bullet" is also a shadow of its interpretation "Jet Black Killing Shot" on the arranged album; while this version lacks the prog-rock, it's still nice as a stand-alone string- and brass-led theme. "Between Distress and Relief" is the final track. While it's a nice composition on it's own, I find it to be an odd closing track, as it just suddenly ends without leading up to a big climax or anything. A sensitive composition nonetheless.


When it comes down to it, the Valkyrie Profile Covenant of the Plume Original Soundtrack is just a big letdown compared to other Motoi Sakuraba projects. There was nothing that just jumped out and said "Hey, listen to me!" on here. I liked the majority of the prog-rock tunes, but after a while, it just began to sound the same. Luckily, there are tracks like "Black Bullet," "An Abyss of Niflheim," and "Unidentified Battle with God Syndrome" to keep us from getting completely bored. However, the majority of the highlights are actually straightforward arrangements from the original Valkyrie Profile. If you need a fix of new and inspired Valkyrie Profile themes, pick up the Arrange Album instead. You'll be much happier with your purchase.

Overall Score: 5/10