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Shadow Hearts Special Sound CD :: Review by Resk

Shadow Hearts Special Sound CD Album Title: Shadow Hearts Special Sound CD
Record Label: Team Entertainment
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: August 24, 2005
Purchase: Buy at eBay


This album is basically a bonus CD with some extra tracks from Shadow Hearts II (Shadow Hearts Covenant in North America) and Shadow Hearts From the New World. Some of these tracks have appeared on the official soundtracks for the games, while other tracks are appearing for the first time. In this review, I'll be giving you a quick look at those duplicate themes, and a bit more analysis with the new tracks.


Since the majority of this album features music from Shadow Hearts II, I'm going to save that for later, and talk about the tracks that appear on Shadow Hearts From the New World first. As with every Shadow Hearts album, there is always some rendition of "Icaro..." Here, we have "ICARO ~acoustic arrangement~" which was featured on the Shadow Hearts From the New World Original Soundtrack. Violin and acoustic guitar make up the theme this time, and create a very nice contrast when compared to other renditions of "Icaro..."

By far, the best track on this album is "Lady Theme ~piano arrangement~." In From the New World we're never given a full version of "Lady's Theme". We only get bits and pieces of it in certain tracks, with the majority of her theme being presented during the final tracks on the soundtrack ("Lady Tears I" and "Lady Tears II"). This piano arrangement really gives you an idea of exactly what "Lady's Theme" sounds like. In my opinion, it's right up there with "Icaro..." in terms of quality. The Shadow Hearts series has always had the dynamic and memorable themes that really complete a soundtrack. One interesting fact about this track is that it is made specifically for this album. Nowhere in the game does a piano arrangement of "Lady's Theme" actually occur. I think this is a bit of a shame, mostly because there are quite a few instances where this track would have come in handy.

Moving onto the tracks from Shadow Hearts II, we begin with "Ladder to Heaven" and "Fatal Convulsion." This is the boss theme and corresponding insanity theme which appear in the second half of the game. The tracks feature heavy percussion and distorted vocals, with the hints of a melody strung in between. As is tradition, the insanity theme resembles a fractured version of the boss theme. "Trap of a Flying Cushion" is another theme which appears in the second half of the game. This is a theme which appeared on the Director's Cut of Shadow Hearts II. As the title would suggest, this theme was applied to Garan, a little sorcerer who rides around on a pillow, and one of his many traps. The piece's heavy percussion, steady beat, and scratchy vocals suit the little enemy quite well, as well as his evil plans for the characters. "The Last Alternative" also appears during the second half, inside the final dungeon. The track uses heavy percussion and electronic distortions to bring the track together with strict marching snare drum, creating an interesting and developed construct of sounds.

"Whisper of a Tree" and "Hermitage Palace" are two tracks which occur during the Europe part of the game. The former, is a very slow piece which makes use of light percussion and a slow bass line, backed up by piano, with the main theme coming through from a Rhodes organ; the perfect kind of track to accompany wandering around town and leisurely talking to people. The latter track is quite self-explanatory. It plays at the Hermitage Palace, home of Anastasia, while she's wandering around. The track uses almost exclusively a harpsichord/piano combination to produce the main theme, which creates a very cool mixture of sounds. The twang of the harpsichord surrounds the clear cut notes of the piano, with the entire thing backed up by light strings; quite a beautiful piece.

The final track, "nde/near death experience ~Prototype~," is literally the foundation of the Shadow Hearts series. This is the prototype of the battle theme from Shadow Hearts. It's a very interesting track. A heavy 3/4 time signature is held up throughout the track with deep beats. As we see in many tracks from the Shadow Hearts series, percussion plays a big part. Many different kinds of drums create pairs of rhythms which are repeated throughout the track. Sweeping strings come in overtop of the percussion to create a flowing motion for the track, as do the occasional piano chords. When you see how this track develops into the track on the Shadow Hearts Original Soundtrack, it's neat to make the comparisons of what changed, and what have since become important recurring traditions throughout the series.


This soundtrack is nice to have in your collection, however it isn't anything special. Besides "Lady Theme ~piano arrangement~" and "nde/near death experience ~Prototype~," there's nothing gripping about the remaining tracks to warrant purchasing this album. However, chances are you can't anyway, since it was released with the Premium Box Set of Shadow Hearts From the New World. For those who bought that version of the game though, it's a nice addition to the whole package.

Overall Score: 6/10