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Ogre ~Grand Repeat~ :: Review by Dave

Ogre ~Grand Repeat~ Album Title: Ogre ~Grand Repeat~
Record Label: Datam Polystar
Catalog No.: DPCX-5019 (1st Edition); DPCX-5221 (Reprint)
Release Date: October 25, 1996; January 13, 2000
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The first thing that I have to say is that orchestral arrangements of such supreme standards are hard to come by in the game music world. This is one of those moments where game music fans like us should jump up and shout, as we have one of those right here. Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata produced the music for the original scores of Ogre Battle, and Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, which are arranged here, but this album is arranged by Masatsugu Shinozaki, who is a renowned string performer for Square. He has performed for many of the recent Final Fantasy albums, including the Final Fantasy X Original Soundtrack, Final Fantasy X-2 International + Last Mission Originl Soundtrack, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Original Soundtrack, whilst also featuring on the Unlimited SaGa Original Soundtrack and the recent Romancing Saga Minstrel Song Original Soundtrack. He also has his own group, the Masatsugu Shinozaki Group, which play along with him in the orchestral arrangements of the themes given in these games and recently featured in the anime score, the Arjuna Original Soundtrack - Into the Another World. What we have here is a rare and impressive album, and despite its lack of availabilty today, it is still highly acclaimed as a superb album, despite its short length.

Track-by-Track Reviews

1) GRAND REPEAT / Overture Neo-Overture

"GRAND REPEAT / Overture Neo-Overture" opens the album in majestic style. The use of instrmentation is perfect throughout, though extremely varied. The percussion really ring out during the first part and the transition to a more dramatic section through the use of a series of string run is also effective. This new section utilises a deep timpani line to give an imposing effect, while the backing vocals added give a unique and charming effect. It is a track built up on many different parts, which all contrast in nature, yet still manage to flow together due to Masatsugu's effortless transitions. This is definitely a good start to the album and sets precedent for the great items that follow. (10/10)

2) Chivalry and Savagery

"Chivalry and Savagery" begins with the steady beating of a drum to which a dark melody, which accelerates, is added. The track becomes livelier at the 0:40 mark, where a mass of brass instruments are added to give the track a militaristic feel. The trumpet and brass use is once again sublime, yet there is more variation in timbre this time, as the whole orchestra is used. The melody heard at the 0:40 mark is later repeated on strings and is enhanced even further into the track with a brass rendition. With each rendition, the extremely effective bass line provides a solid support, remaining simplistic yet creative. At the end, the track fades away, allowing the album to transition into the next theme without even a hint of abruptness. (10/10)

3) Chaotic Island

Following a grandiose introduction, we are lead into a dance-like section, which seems to be reminiscent of a Tango. Latin instruments, chromaticism, and rhythmic devices are used to portray this. The feel of the track changes at the 1:25 mark, where we change to a more flowing section. There is a dominance if brass here, and a lovely moving accompaniment makes the scene seem all the more dramatic. The track is eventually brought to an effective end with the use of a series of chords that undergo a dimuendo to silence. There is a mass of diversity in this track, not only melodically, but through the use of dynamics and other expression features too. (9/10)


"VENDETTA!" starts off with a slow moving string section part, which gradually rises in volume as more instruments are added. A beat added at the 0:50 mark really seems to get the track going, while a xylophone plays a frantic motif above this in irregular places, giving a track an element of surprise. The string melody is possibly the most important part of this track, as it gives a great deal of dynamic variety to the track. Overall, this a very experimental orchestral track, which like the others deserves a lot of credit, but is a little less effective than the others due to the lack of a strong harmony and some underdevelopment. (8/10)

5) Revolt

This track begins with a rampant brass opening. A drum accompanies the hailing trumpets as this theme is introduced. The period between this section and the next is very quiet and surreal, but the use of a sforzando to throws us straight into a more powerful string section from this. Feelings of nationalism and pride are given through the use of regal brass as we move back into the original section. The power lost in "VENDETTA!" must have gone into this track, as this is definitely the most robust track up to now. The short length of this track certainly doesn't do the album any favours, however; since there are only ten tracks, and by not developing a theme like this to its full extent, the listening time of the album is considerably reduced. Although this track is enjoyable to listen to, the lack of development lets it down. (8/10)

6) Breath of the Earth

Cymbals and drums open this track in an interesting manner. When this track first started I thought it was just going to be a percussion track, but what we get here is totally unexpected. The cymbals and drum intensify and then die away unexpectedly. A jumpy string section, to which a brass section joins, is then reached. We then move into another string section, in which a newer and darker melody is introduced. This is then added to as even more strings and rampant percussion roll over it. The tracks dynamic variety, and the manipualtion of the timbre is extremely impressive. This track is powerful, and the orchestra's wonderful performance makes it even better. (10/10)

7) GRAND REPEAT II / Fog of Phantom

The beginning of the track is an ominous orchestral glissando. Following this is a commendable glockenspiel melody, which accompanies a dark trumpet melody. The melody first heard in "GRAND REPEAT / Overture Neo-Overture" is repeated by vocals for the majority of the track. Their melody is somewhat clouded and darkened by an organ which plays in the background of the track. A feeling of fear and sadness is created in the track, and strangely, this seems rather fitting too. Despite the perfect orchestration of the track, its development is minimal and again this is a downfall to an otherwise perfect track. (9/10)

8) Fortune Teller 2

This track is a lot calmer than the others. A gentle harp introduction beams a sense of purity down on us straight away. The timbre of the harp is especially interesting, as at the start it seems to be a harp and nylon guitar duet, yet on futher notice, one can tell that it is just the harp playing at the top and bottom of its range. Violins gradually enter in tremolo fashion, to which an oboe melody plays over. This gentler approach to a track adds something special to the album. Indeed, this is a beautiful track, and once again its superb orchestration deserves to be praised. (10/10)

9) Fight It Out!

This is an action track which expresses danger right from the start, as a rampant brass section thump out a powerful melody straight away, as accompanied by some energetic drums. From here, the theme transitions into a rather lovely string melody that has a slight militaristic edge. Frequent accents and large rises in volume make this an absolutely superb arrangement of an action theme. This track is a great example of how a smooth string melody, some bursting brass, and a militaristic accompaniment can work together perfectly. A ritardando leading to a suspended chord ends this track before we move on to the finale. (10/10)

10) Passing Moment

We end this arranged album with "Passing Moment," which is a very heartfelt and wonderful track. An oboe plays the melody with a sense of glory and a flute then takes over and expands upon the melody a lot more. It is at the 1:20 mark when strings take over the melody and from here, the track develops spectacularly. The accompaniment remains simple until the 2:00 mark where a timpani roll marks the transition into a grand section. The accompaniment becomes almost march-like with its snare drum background and stately beat, and hence it ends in a grandiose manner with sforzandos, accents, and suspensions. This is a superb ending track, which is wholly conclusive. (10/10)


If you love orchestral music and game music, then this album is definitely for you. This is one of the best arranged albums I have heard for a long time, and although it is under 40 minutes in length, it boasts quality nonetheless. Most of the album is intense and militaristic like the original scores it was based upon, though "Fortune Teller 2," and "Passing Moment" make sure that it has a somber side too. The album is great in the way that its arrangements don't destroy the melodies in the Original Sound Version. Each track is obviously better than in the Original Sound Version, but far too frequently do arranged themes murder the themes they are supposed to represent by being completely transformative. While it does have artistic features, it is hugely melodic, too, meaning it appeals to the casual listener and the trained musician alike. If you ever see it around on eBay, get it. It's a great addition to the Ogre series and possibly its best score.

Overall Score: 10/10