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Monster Hunter Frontier 2nd Anniversary Soundtrack :: Review by Chris

Monster Hunter Frontier 2nd Anniversary Soundtrack Album Title: Monster Hunter Frontier 2nd Anniversary Soundtrack
Record Label: Suleputer
Catalog No.: CPDA-10059
Release Date: July 1, 2009
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Monster Hunter Frontier is the moderately successful MMORPG extension of the Monster Hunter franchise. Its soundtrack was not initially released but, after much demand, Suleputer produced a limited edition soundtrack release for fans as an anniversary commemoration. The resultant soundtrack is superficially less striking than its main game counterparts, but it still often wonderful despite its subtlety...


The first track on the album, "Mezeporta Wind", immediately reflects the pastoral sound of the series in a somewhat modified setting. The composer uses a typical palette based around nasally woodwinds and earthy percussion to reflect the natural environment of the title. In order to reflect the nature of the MMORPG, the instruments are layered in a way that creates a sense of vastness of both time and space. However, the composition also revolves around several core phrases and motifs, ensuring that it sounds continuous in the environment it is used in. As such, there isn't a dramatic arch to speak of, though the whole composition is still quite likeable. This sort of developmental approach is quite common in MMORPGs and has been used effectively in a somewhat modified way in Final Fantasy XI and World of Warcraft too.

The rest of the first half of the album maintains the same feeling of an ancient rural life. "As You Like", for instance, inspires a restful state with its gentle, lulling guitar arpeggios and soft, slow flute melodies. "In the Unknown Sky" meanwhile offers a gentle but motivating orchestral overture a little different from the other entries on the album. Some compositions are more dynamic, such as "Will You Stay Next To Me?" with its playful recorder lead or "Reliable Comrades" with its adventurous fiddle solos, yet even these lack even a hint of danger or drama. These compositions aren't the most interesting in the world, but they are serviceable in the game — in fact, videos reveal that few tracks could be so fitting in the specific scenes they are used in — and they are perfectly pleasant outside of it.

That said, the album is not without its dramatic moments. The team offer two arrangements of "Mezeporta Wind" theme, a 'Premonition Version' and an 'Attack Version', to create a sense of foreboding. Given they are thematically continuous with the main version, they provide a fascinating insight into how a 'perfect world' has turned dark. Such arrangements give way to a much darker second half of the soundtrack featuring a much more diverse palette. The composers blend ethnic instrumentals and dramatic orchestrations in "Bottomless Fear", "Vertigo -Dizzy-", and "Unending Labyrinth" to reflect the chaos, uncertainty, and desperation within the dramatic dungeons of the game. With Masayuki Endou handling the sound design, listeners can be assured that the sampling and mixing is absolutely top quality.

The dramatic climax of the album comes with the successive "Raging Fate" and "Ancient Struggle to the Death". The former is a much more percussive theme that gradually introduces epic orchestral and choral elements during its extended development. The latter meanwhile reminiscent of Masato Kouda's earlier battle themes with its repetition of rasping brass and string motifs inspired by avant-garde composers. As it develops, it gains even more rhythmical energy and timbral richness, though for contextual reasons never quite goes over that boundary of being hyper-dramatic like many equivalent action themes do on the main scores for the series. The album closes on a simple and sentimental note with an arrangement of the main theme from Monster Hunter 2, "Diva's Memory".


Given Monster Hunter Frontier is an MMORPG, the three composers had to modify their scoring approach in both expansionist and reductionist ways. The resultant soundtrack isn't as dramatic or emotional as the main titles in the series for contextual reasons. However, it does produce some extraordinary soundscapes and incredible moments despite the somewhat continuous feel. It is well worth checking out for those wanting more organic stylings from the series in a slightly more consistent environment.

Overall Score: 7/10