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Perfect Collection Sorcerian Vol. 2 :: Review by Nathan Black

Perfect Collection Sorcerian Vol. 2 Album Title: Perfect Collection Sorcerian Vol. 2
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-1035/6
Release Date: September 21, 1991
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Round two on the Perfect Collection Sorcerian series nets us a similar experience to the first, in that the tracks run the gamut in style as well as arrangement and execution. Generalizations are hard to make when speaking of an album composed by so many different people, so I am once again forced to do a track-by-track breakdown of the soundtrack. Clocking in at thirty pieces, this may prove to be a bit of a read, but a necessary one to capture the varying contributions of each composer.

Once again, the discs are split into two, with the first carrying "Perfect" version renditions of the game's music (those of you familiar with Falcom soundtracks will recognize the nomenclature), while the second is composed of special re-arrangements. These include Vocal, New Age, and Super Arrange Versions. The very last track is another one of Ryo Yonemitsu's Megamix synthesized extravaganzas.

In general, the first disc carries its weight in a rather mediocre and lackluster manner, with spurts of catchy tunes and arrangement that are nonetheless forgotten soon after. A select few of the tracks are truly memorable, whether in a famous or infamous manner. The second disk is a crap shoot, to put it simply, with half of the pieces being complete snoozers and the rest impressive. This soundtrack is not quite as strong as the first, but definitely has its moments.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Tower

This track opens with a percussive and hard electric piano which sounds almost like a set of bells, giving way to a breathy wind instrument (perhaps shakuhachi) and then bass synth. The melody itself is moderately melancholy, but not very touching. "Tower" sets a precedent for quite a few tracks on the soundtrack, a style that encompasses what can be described as smooth jazz; it is relaxing, yet not attention-grabbing or memorable. Laid-back rhythms give the piece an even more elevator muzak-like feel. Not bad, but not that good. (7/10)

2) Underworld

Possessing a regal and militaristic feel perpetuated by snares and synthetic brass, "Underworld" is a piece that starts a bit weakly but gains momentum throughout. The overall atmosphere of the piece is rather driving, and quite successful at instilling a sense of duty and the spirit of adventure into the listener. It only builds as time passes, but does not truly begin until almost a minute into the track. By then it is already just about halfway to being over, but it seems a necessary evil for the purpose of the piece. (8/10)

3) Rooftop

Ambient and boring are the two best words to describe this track. Its aim is far from clear, which is never a good sign, but best guesses would be along the lines of an evil or foreboding atmosphere. Regardless, "Rooftop" is wholly unattractive and wandering. (4/10)

4) Major Demon

Quite the confusing piece, this track seems to bounce from between a latin-rock and a jazzy lounge feel. A bit reminiscent of work from the last collection (Bloody River), it is a moderately entertaining piece. Unfortunately, it is entirely out of place for a piece describing a demon of any kind, unless said demon is a monster on the dance floor. (5/10)

5) Shadow Dragon

Another presumed battle theme for a major enemy, "Shadow Dragon" starts with an oddly panning synth and rock-like rhythm that carries throughout the entire piece. A few dramatic sound effects, and we have the obligatory electric guitar shredding in the background. It does its job, winding its way into many parts of the piece. Oddly enough, the piece seems to be stuck in a perpetual state of the rising action, never truly achieving a climax. As such, it leaves the listener unsatisfied when it completes itself. (6/10)

6) The Seal

The theme of this piece will be familiar to anyone who has heard the first volume, as it is another rendition of "Bloody River." Instead of an in-your-face rocked out salsa jam, "The Seal" takes a quieter approach, a more laid-back but similarly entertaining version of it predecessor. Instead of electric guitar, a brass synth does most of the work in leading, a bit of syncopated piano keying keeping rhythm. No real surprises here, and nothing out of the ordinary, but a simple and well-organized track. (8/10)

7) Dark Swamp

I could not help but feel like I was taking a time-warp back to the days of the early Arc the Lad series when enjoying this track. Its design is dreadfully smooth, jazz drums and electric piano chording setting a relaxed pace that sly brass plays around for the length of the piece. Eventually, more piano enters the scene to close out the track. More simplicity, but effective use of it. (7/10)

8) Red Dragon

This piece begins with arpeggiating synth that speaks of a certain build and rising action, only to give way to an overtly dissonant and unsettling theme, aurally speaking. Electric guitar strikes up to only add to an already confused theme. It gets feet under it at length, but it does little to help the disorganized mess. There is even a blues guitar interlude that does little more than increase the general "what?" atmosphere of the entire piece. (4/10)

9) Romancia Kingdom

One might be tempted to assume that true blues is hard to find in video game music, but "Romancia Kingdom" gets mighty close, at least for the first ten seconds. It then sinks into a cute and lounge-reminiscent theme with flute as the lead. The peppy feeling remains for the rest of the tune, joined by guitars later. One can only wonder at the cuddly nature of Romancia Kingdom. (7/10)

10) Castle Romancia

Very upbeat and cheerful, "Castle Romancia" steals your attention with a fast introduction that gives way to funky and fresh guitars. Make no bones about it, this piece is fun and highly enjoyable, and perhaps is the first track to be encountered with a memorable theme. The happiness is infectious, and in the best way possible. Variation is minimal throughout the track, but that seems to detract little from the overall enjoyment. (8/10)

11) Azelba Kingdom

I was surprised to hear foreboding and full-barred organ start this piece, but pleased as it progressed into a deliciously pernicious mix of harpsichord and chromatic percussion to weave a classy and evil tune the likes of which other pieces on the soundtrack could only hope to attain. Well arranged and definitely worth a listen. (8/10)

12) Vaides

The introduction begins with a very dark sounding arpeggiating synth, that, once again, gives way to a smooth-jazz style ensemble of guitar, drums, and synth lead. The piece itself is not bad, but the bait-and-switch style of arrangement on many of these tracks begins to wear old at a certain point. It does not stand out, in and of itself, for neither good nor bad reasons. Rather mediocre when all is said and done. (6/10)

13) Forest

"Forest" is one of many examples of the least contributing artist on the soundtrack, Kishi Saitou. Overly goofy without any sense of purpose, the music seems to bounce all over the place without ever sitting down establish a real presence, aside from the type of presence attributed to annoying children kicking your shins (or ears, as the case may be). An exercise in masochism. (3/10)

14) Moss Giant

More weak arranging from the infamous Saitou, this track clocks in at a painful two minutes that somehow make you feel the passing of every second. A miserable industrial aura is forced upon this piece, along with completely pointless use of, of all things, tubular bells. Lacking any real sense of build, excitement, or action, the drums and fast-paced organ work does not serve their purpose. Do yourself a favor and skip this one. (3/10)

15) Peaceful Forest

Sometimes, one might find oneself wondering about the strangest things. For example, "just what exactly would a chorus of midgets high on helium sound like, singing the lead for an entire piece of music?" No, I have not been guilty of this daydream, but apparently, Mr. Saitou has, throwing at the listener a mix of everything that could possibly go wrong between a lounge tune and a Disney musical. Staggering, really. (2/10)

16) Dungeon

Way to go, Saitou! Apparently, you were simply luring us into a false sense of security, only to release a surprisingly smooth and clean industrial jazz piece. Well, perhaps I am giving him too much credit, but the fact remains that "Dungeon" has a wonderful retro feel, along with excellently executed polyrhythm via drums and various industrial sound effects. Saxophone Kenny G would be proud to play leads the piece through its winding length, topping off this enjoyable tune. (8/10)

17) Gedis

This track left me speechless. Repetitive basslines and completely random sound effects in lieu of rhythm are the driving force of this piece. Near the halfway point of the piece, it completely changes gears into a speed rock version with bright synth leads which then collapses into the aforementioned bassline. Worry not, it was all equally bad. (4/10)

18) Blue Dragon

The time warp "Blue Dragon" throws you into, one of cheesy electric guitar chugs and whiney lead synths, is jarring, to say the least. Every so often, the track takes a different approach and tries to redeem itself with spurts of enjoyable string layering, but it never lasts long enough when pitted against the misguided rock influences of this track. (4/10)

19) Aboard Ship

"Aboard Ship" opens with mellow electric piano that promises more, and Saitou, in rarely fitting form, does weave an acceptable arrangement from the melody given. While he does not stray from the machine gun style bassline he has become known for on this album, it does not detract from the general feel of the piece. Pizzicato strings appear here and there to show another take on the track's theme, and are enjoyable. This is a piece worth a listen, at the very least. (7/10)

20) Landing Party

By far my favorite track on the entirety of the first disk (and an arrangement by Saitou, no less), "Landing Party" has a certain charm that I cannot deny it. I was put off by the introductory sounds of gears cranking and whizzing about, but was delighted to be greeted by a very memorable harpsichord lead. The heli-midgets make another short appearance, but only as an element to the already goofy piece. This track does not take itself seriously, and it is much more interesting because of it. One of the few tunes to feel entirely self-contained in and of itself, "Landing Party" is a definite success, finishing strong with a rising string pad and harpsichord. (9/10)

Disc Two

1) Wink In My Soul (Vocal Version)

The introduction to "Wink In My Soul" is representative of what one can expect throughout the entire piece — cheesy, retro, and everything we thought we had escaped with the downfall of disco. There is little chance you possess pants big enough or hair outrageous enough to fit this piece of music. The rhythm is simple, but not infectious, and the instrumentation is predictable and vocals less-than-ear-catching. It is not a bad piece, per se, but far from anything you would find yourself listening to by choice or often (unless you have a soft spot for dead music genres). (6/10)

2) Eternal Prayer (Vocal Version)

Take a trip to the Middle East and have a seat to enjoy some skillful tabla percussion that is soon joined by Hindukush soundtrack styling that I found enjoyable. The lyrics are in Japanese, but are piece in a manner that cause them seem Arabic or Hindu. The vocals are haunting and beautiful, and accent the piece itself rather well. There are hints of retro musical styles in the organ and snare choices, but, in general, the atmosphere of the mystic and reverent is well maintained. I envisioned a harem of beautiful women dancing before me to this piece, but that is more a function of my own ego than the music itself. Regardless, "Eternal Prayer" is definitely worth a listen, time and again. (8/10)

3) Secret Paradise (Vocal Version)

Painfully cheerful from the get-go, this once again takes heavily from 80s pop rock style. The piece itself is rather unremarkable, aside from the cuteness it spends all of its three and a half minutes shoving down your throat. If you can swallow it, then you will have little trouble enjoying this. Otherwise, steer clear. Boring rhythms and lackluster vocalizations keep this in the strictly mediocre category. (5/10)

4) Oasis (New Age Version)

Now for something completely different, "Oasis" brings us a smooth and laid-back composition lead by acoustic guitar. Perhaps I am biased towards these pieces, but the arrangement is superb here, with mandolin strumming its way into the listener's heart without fail. The mood is somewhat somber and forlorn, with simple but unobtrusive percussion to keep the pacing. This piece remains constant throughout, which is far from unfortunate, as its simple but haunting guitar work leaves you completely satisfied when it comes to a close. (8/10)

5) Ending II (New Age Version)

Once again, the New Age compositions never fail to impress me, "Ending II" rising with similar instrumentation as the previous piece, but with no percussion. Comprised of only guitars, basses, and mandolins, it somehow manages to keep the texture of the piece complete at all times, never leaving the listener without something to pay attention to. A piece to sit back and enjoy in the quiet evening as the sun sets on yet another adventure. (9/10)

6) Combat (Super Arrange Version)

Well, all good things must come to an end, but "Combat" proves capable in delaying that inevitable eventuality. While not overtly impressive, the driving synths and stop-and-go rhythmic styling keeps you interested, even if the instrumentation itself is not your cup of metaphorical tea. Near the middle of the piece, almost Sakuraba-esque organ charges to the forefront, along with a whining synth that solos for a good while. I can feel the heat of battle, even if not its inherent dangers, and later string work introduces the suspenseful feeling necessary for almost any accomplished battle theme. (7/10)

7) Underworld Dungeon (Super Arrange Version)

"Underground Dungeon" begins in a continual build, an organ taking the lead as drums work their way up, only to give way to somewhat disappointing brass-versus-organ instrumentation. Classic rock elements are constant throughout, but even my appreciation for our musical past cannot force me to ignore the rather boring aspects of this piece. It just goes and goes and goes, clocking in at four minutes, 17 seconds, and not a moment too soon (but several too late) for an exit. (5/10)

8) Underworld Dungeon (Super Arrange Version)

More of the same here, and that is saying a lot, but not in the favor of Mr. Rei Atsumi. While a different theme, itself, the actual arrangement and instrumentation might lead one to believe they were listening to the same piece. To be honest, they might as well be. Pass. (4/10)

10) Sorcerian Super Megamix Part 2

And now for eight minutes of pure synthesized greatness. No, I am not being sarcastic (for once). Yonemitsu never misses a beat for the entirety of this track, more than likely because it never changes for the entire thing. Even so, the smooth transitions between keys and themes keep it interesting for all of its considerable length. Everything here you will have heard before, either on this soundtrack or the previous, but Yonemitsu adds a certain freshness with his wild and zany synthesizing. Not bad at all. (8/10)


While not as strong as its predecessor, the second collection of Sorcerian Perfect albums is capable as a standalone compilation of works. The first disc is, in general, a whole lot of disappointment, with a few gems of true enjoyment. The second half of the soundtrack has a much more mediocre achievement rate, overall, with more pieces being worth listening to than on the previous disc. As stated before, styles are far and wide-ranging on this soundtrack, and it would be worth your while to sit down and listen through, just to see how varied Sound Team J.D.K. can be in one collection of music.

Overall Score: 7/10