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Xenogears Original Soundtrack :: Forum Review

Xenogears Original Soundtrack Album Title: Xenogears Original Soundtrack
Record Label: DigiCube (1st Edition); Square Enix (Reprint)
Catalog No.: SSCX-10013; SQEX-10043/4
Release Date: March 1, 1998; February 23, 2005
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Written by Chris

Xenogears was Yasunori Mitsuda's first opportunity to express the Celtic-inspired styled that would become forever associated with his name. Chrono Trigger and Radical Dreamers followed the precedent of traditional RPG soundtracks while featuring great melodies, while Front Mission: Gun Hazard, Chrono Trigger: The Brink of Time, and Tobal No. 1 demonstrated versatility in areas Yasunori Mitsuda is not typically associated with. Xenogears combines melodic focus, stylistic diversity, and a Celtic touch while having an especially emotional and sentimental core. Heavily exposed due to the popularity of the game, this became Mitsuda's second major soundtrack in terms of mainstream attention and the one that allowed him to grasp the freedom of freelance work.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Light from the Netherworld (Written by Don)

Yasunori Mitsuda has always had a penchant for writing opening themes and this one is no exception. "Light from the Netherworld" is probably one of his best opening themes because it combines tons of styles and moods. Ranging from very atmospheric to very powerful, motivating motifs, the listener is taken on a rollercoaster ride for the ear. The violin's way of creating a very chilling, haunting and, at the same time, beautiful melody adds so much depth to this track over the heavy percussion and industrial rhythms. In addition, the introduction of chorals, in both a dramatic sense and in a more revered tone really contribute to a strong sense of variety. Militarism rears its head too as Mitsuda creates a nice rhythmic section reminiscent of warring nations. In addition, Mitsuda also introduces the main theme of the game, "Small Two of Pieces" as a fantastic way to end this track and as Miang stares out into the horizon from the beach, the gamer is instilled with a sense of peace and serenity. In the end, "Light from the Netherworld" is one of Mitsuda's most successful opening themes to date because every element instilled within this piece of music is representative of the overall style of the soundtrack and the overall tone of the storyline in which it is featured. (10/10)

2) Stars of Tears (Outtake) (Written by Chris)

The first of Yasunori Mitsuda's four Xeno pop ballads, "Stars of Tears" wasn't actually used in the game. It's an uplifting and airy piece that nicely sets the Celtic tone of the soundtrack. A light rock ensemble provides the functional accompaniment for the vocals while Davy Spillane's low whistle solo provides the Celtic undertones. The beautiful flowing melody is sung by the lead singer of progressive rock group Iona, but her vocals lead the song rather than support it unlike her Iona works. The piece transforms to a brief Irish jig at the end that seems to be a precursor for some of the more lively themes on an cinniùint. While stylistically derivative, it was at the time a novel innovation as Square's first vocal theme along with "Small Two of Pieces". Above all, though, it's still highly enjoyable and nicely sets up the sentimental feel of the soundtrack. (9/10)

3) Bonds of Sea and Fire (Written by Pandemonium)

The third of the important themes of this soundtrack is introduced here. The flute melody floats above a thick cushion of pizzicato strings and harp using syncopation in the accompaniment to add rhythmic vitality. It has a clear Celtic influence with the melody sounding almost like an ancient folk song, being very well balanced and addictively whistlable. The B section brings in a glockenspiel and string chords to bolster the flute. This second half of the tune has a much more mournful feel with a great deal of emotive impact. This track is Mitsuda at almost his best, the melody is sublime, and the instrumentation is perfect being well suited and interesting to listen to. Not much to fault in this one. (9/10)

4) My Village is Number One (Written by Don)

Good ol' Lahan. This theme plays in the town in which we are introduced to the main protagonist, Fei. As such, the entire piece has quite a jovial feel to it. The use of Celtic instrumentation is a strong aspect of this track and it blends together quite well. The combination of vocals, violin, some very interesting percussion instruments, and even a bagpipe make this theme stick out as one of the more memorable town themes in the video game world. Catchy and experimental in terms of town themes, "My Village is Number One" definitely isn't a misnomer and is a track that shouldn't be missed. (10/10)

5) The Valley Where Wind is Born (Written by Muzza)

Using the same melody as the previous piece, "The Valley Where Wind is Born" is, as the title suggests, a very carefree and amicable track. The melody is memorable and progresses satisfactorily, with numerous instrumental sections being added to the undertones of the song at various intervals, creating a complete and very pleasant listening experience. When compared to "My Village is Number One", this track is somewhat overshadowed, especially considering the tone that both pieces convey, this one being more gentle and the other being extremely jovial (and more captivating). But the melodic translation here is subtle, and different enough, making it easy to listen to on any occasion. (8/10)

6) A Faraway Promise (Written by Weabblewill)

This piece plays when Fei walks into Citan's laboratory room and watches a beautiful angel statue rotate. This piece calms Fei and reminds him of something in his previous destiny. The uniqueness of this piece is due to the fact it is played entirely on a musical jukebox and serves as a rendition of "Small Two of Pieces". This sensitive piece almost sounds like a lullaby fit to be sung at night for a baby. The piece doesn't seem to overwhelm or disappoint the listener in anyway, so it's rather average when you compare it against the other great pieces of this album. (7/10)

7) Steel Giant (Written by Pandemonium)

Battle themes have never been Mitsuda's strongest area but I think this album possibly has his best selection. You certainly can't knock "Steel Giant" for intensity; off beat brass chords, string melodies, and lots of cymbal crashes create a dynamic feel that is ideal for battling. However it has little to offer outside of it's dynamism and, after a while, it begins to feel a little clich�d and contrived lacking any memorable melody or original features. It achieves its intention successfully but lacks any heart. There are better battle themes on this album. (7/10)

8) Forest of the Black Moon (Written by Pandemonium)

One of the more unusual themes on this album, it starts with very eerie, dissonant string chords and progresses with lots of little disjointed sections creating an odd ambience. There are some nice tunes but they are so fleeting that they have little impact; however, this is made up for by the very effective ambience created and the interesting instrumentation implemented. It isn't amazing and loses potency after a while but it gives the forest feel very nicely. (7/10)

9) Shattering Egg of Dreams (Written by Don)

"Shattering Egg of Dreams" is one of my favorite Mitsuda tracks on this album. I love the serene and picturesque soundscape it produces. The combination of harp, piano, strings, and woodwind instruments come together in a way that is near perfect. The melody is extremely touching and the way it utilizes the instrumentation is superb. In addition of poignancy via the string section, sorrow from the piano and harp combination is created with a bit of hope from the woodwind section. This piece is filled with tons of emotion and will surely grip the listener in the same way it has gripped me. (9/10)

10) Back to Sleep (Written by Don)

This serves as one of the inn tracks and is one of the better ones in video game music. It's lighthearted and really uplifting. Unfortunately, it's very short and can't garner a score. (N/A)

11) Dajil, City of Burning Sands (Written by Pandemonium)

This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. It presents the desert town of Dazil perfectly with it's middle eastern vibe. It is a bit of a cliché with the traditional desert instrumentation of tom-toms, sitar, and violin but still manages to be unique with the interesting choral sections. The melody is one of the better ones I've heard in this 'ethnic, desert genre' being suprisingly well balanced and memorable as well as slotting in perfectly with the instrumentation. It may not be original but it is certainly cogent in its presentation. (9/10)

12) Emotions (Written by Argentis)

I believe this is the world map theme and an instrumental variation of the unused "Star of Tears." It is, like its original, very uplifting, to the point where one might sing the lyrics to the melody! It carries on the Celtic influence gracefully and beautifully making it more memorable and enjoyable. Naturally I feel that "Stars of Tears" is a much stronger and more emotional version, but regardless this is a beautiful theme that one could find difficult to skip. (9/10)

13) Grahf, Emperor of Darkness (Written by Argentis)

I love this theme. A classic Mitsuda villain theme, it's an industrial meets orchestral track with a very fearful melody and wonderful militant feel to it. Very hard to forget. The tracks start off with a short industrial build up before entering this maniacal melody, military percussion rhythm, and prodominant brass segments that takes up most of the sequence before having a slighter calmer but creepier segment before finally looping. A fantastic and enjoyable listen. The definition of cruelty and evil works wondrously in the game and on its own. (9/10)

14) Fuse (Written by Don)

"Fuse" is used as a hurry theme or sorts or when the party is in danger. As such, you'd expect a sense of urgency to the composition. Well, "Fuse" definitely delivers in this aspect. Dominated by a strong brass melody, it really gives off a feeling of danger. However, the accompanying instruments also play their part. The percussion used is fairly rhythmic and increases in bombast to accentuate the brass. The use of strings also help add some depth to the track. All in all, this is one of the best hurry themes in video game history as it isn't boring. While it may be a bit repetitive, I think the strength of the instruments helps makes it a more regular listen. (8/10)

15) Leftovers of the Dreams of the Strong (Written by Mori)

With percussion laying down a rhythmic foundation straight from a marching band tune, the brassy staccatos supplying the main melody evoke an heroic image of departure into battle, quite fitting to the in-game parts when its being used. Also, the alteration of the rhythm into the more melodic second part provides the track with one thing it needs: opening up the military vibe towards a softer, more hymnic feel and adding a broader texture in contrast. The fact that the main theme here harks back to the theme of "Bonds of Sea and Fire" also is one of the many cases that give the soundtrack its coherent feel. (8/10)

16) The Treasure Which Cannot Be Stolen (Written by Pandemonium)

This is one of the most serene tracks on the album with hushed strings, harp, and piano forming the main accompaniment for the oboe sounding instrument which carries a lot of the melody. It is certainly a beautiful track with typically gorgeous Mitsuda melodies and, although I have skipped it a few times in the past, it grows on me and becomes a bit more enjoyable with each experience. The atmosphere is spot on with a good choice of sampling to aid the tranquility of the piece and the instruments gel especially well. However, it still lacks major impact for me and I can feel a lack of flow in the piece. It is not something I would purposefully seek out making it drop out of the top 10 spot, though is excellent otherwise. (9/10)

17) Aveh, the Ancient Dance (Written by Pandemonium)

I have a certain fondness for this piece. It superbly uses the "Bonds of Sea and Fire" theme with a great hurdy-gurdy drone and interspersed children shouting. It perfectly encapsulates the festival which is going on at this point in the game and has a great rhythmic feel to it. The Celtic influence is strong again here with a definite Irish jig temperament making it one of the most lively pieces on the album. (9/10)

18) Invasion (Written by Chris)

This track creates a very good sense of infilitration as you travel through the game's sewer system. A jazzy style is established meaning it sounds quite easygoing overall. However, the continual repetition of a bass guitar riff and the use of dabs of suspended strings, Ethnic flute, and percussion adds some dark ambient undertones. Quite a fun track, but as it's based around layering upon repeated fragments over 3:13, it becomes, at best, boring, at worst, grating. One of the weaker additions to the soundtrack but hardly bad. (6/10)

19) Stage of Death (Written by Don)

"Stage of Death is the normal battle theme for the game and is one of his stronger normal battle themes. There is just enough bombast to motivate the player to battle and the melody created by the strings and the brass countermelody really help to create an interesting blend of sounds. The percussion is top-notch and helps breath life into the track by having a very militaristic feel. Overall, this is a very enjoyable track. (7/10)

20) In a Dark Sleep (Written by Don)

This inn theme is a very dark rendition of the main theme of the game "Small Two of Pieces." The violin adds a lot of atmosphere to the track and it's a very nice theme. (N/A)

21) Singing of the Gentle Wind (Written by Pandemonium)

If there was ever a track that perfectly fitted it's name this could well be a contender. It is one of the most beautiful and poignant tracks on the album and captures the peaceful Nisan wonderfully. The song-like melody glides over a piano and guitar accompaniment with some oboe counterpoint added in at the repeat to make things a little more interesting. This melody is divine and certainly one of the best on a particularly melodically soundtrack making it lovable from the first listen. This one of the highlights of the soundtrack, for me at least. (10/10)

22) The Wounded Shall Advance into the Light (Written by Pandemonium)

This track is in the form of a hymn and flaunts Mitsuda's vocal writing talent superbly with a powerful chorale. The parts blend perfectly although the bass is a little boring being mainly the underlying chords of the piece. However, this only emphasises the gorgeous alto melody which soars above and would certainly not sound out of place in a proper church repetoire. The slight snag is the iffy sound quality in places which does hamper the effect slightly but it is still a great piece and, as game music choral a capella pieces go, this is one of the best I've heard so far. (9/10)

23) Lost... Broken Shards (Written by Don)

"Lost... Broken Shards" is the game over theme for this game and quite a lengthy one at that. Following Mitsuda's recognizable pattern of using another piece of music as the basis for his game over theme, we are treated to a very heartfelt arrangement of "Shattering Egg of Dreams." The piano and violin duo are able to create a more effective display of emotion than it's counterpart, but I feel that is necessary for a game over theme. (9/10)

24) Tamusu, the Man of the Sea (Written by Bryan)

This is the theme that plays on the ship you find roaming the seas. I can't remember anymore game detail than that as far as the setting, but I will say that this track fits the ship very well. The piece has a "sailor" type feel to it mixed with Mitsuda's signature Celtic sound. While there are other town themes in this game that I enjoy more, this one is nevertheless a very nice addition to the incredible lineup of town themes here. (8/10)

25) The Blue Traveler (Written by Bryan)

Wow, at first I thought this piece was going to be something that went with the last track. It retains that sailor feel I mentioned in the previous review, but takes it a step farther melodically. After the intro, the main melody comes in on synth strings. The melody in this section doesn't fit with the original feeling that you get from the intro, but it's still beautiful nonetheless. On a slightly more negative note, I do see this piece as a bit more of a "generic" one for Mitsuda. If you can see past that though, I think this piece can be enjoyed by everyone inside or outside of the game. (9/10)

Disc Two

1) Ship of Regret and Sleep (Written by Pandemonium)

The melodic and melancholic opening to disc two is a stark contrast to disc one's dramatic opening. The harpsichord sampling is amazing here, bringing out the minuet-like theme perfectly while accompanied by ethereal choir chords. The melody is lovely, being emotive yet quite stately as well, giving the track an interesting atmosphere. I would have liked perhaps a little more to this track, the track is basically the melody going round and round and as nice as it is perhaps it could have had more of a B section to add contrast. However it is a heavenly track to listen to. (9/10)

2) Jaws of Ice (Written by Pandemonium)

This track is the main ambience track of the album. Eerie string chords and odd intermittant motifs appearing and then disappearing quickly after giving a rather disconserting feel. This track has similarities to "Forest of the Black Moon" but it feels slightly more cohesive and works more as a whole. It uses woodwind colour and texture quite effectively combining with some interesting harp passages to give the track its threatening feel. However, it suffers, as most ambience tracks do, from a lack of memorable features. It is a good track as a piece of ambience but, in amongst such emotive tracks as "Ship of Regret and Sleep" and "Knight of Fire", it seems dull and boring making it very tempting to skip over. (7/10)

3) Knight of Fire (Written by Weabblewill)

This track plays during Fei's battle with Ramsus and Dominia in their mechas when they are underwater and also when they reach the Tower of Babel. In addition, you'll hear it in many of the boss battles you encounter in the game. You'll hear an out of place intercom announcement in the background at 0:43 that may make your eyebrows twitch a little for the first time. However, it has to do more with the game's sound effects for the designated scene. The strings and horns compete with each other sharply at the beginning A section like a clashing fight. Then the blending of the timpani and percussion section adds to the resonating forcefulness of the piece in the background. The piece works well to set the suspense and tone for the intense battle and, although this track is a step above "Steel Giant", I can't help but feel this piece mimics some of those same ideas. (8/10)

4) June Mermaid (Written by Don)

"June Mermaid" is another one of my favorites on the Xenogears album. The combination of vibraphone and woodwind makes for a very nice piece. The melody itself is rather poignant and, while it may be a bit simplistic, I feel that it helps draw out the melody even more. I rather enjoy the vibraphone's introduction and the development that the woodwind brings out. Overall, this isn't the best piece on the album, but it definitely can fill the listener with emotion. (8/10)

5) Shevat, The Wind is Calling (Written by Don)

This piece plays in the town of Shevat. As with every track involving wind in its name, the woodwinds are featured most prominently within this piece. The flute creates a very uplifting melody and one that is very easy to listen to. The accompanying instrumentation, comprised of soft percussion and electric guitar, really helps to heighten the track and really make it feel like the wind is calling to you. Another fantastic track from Mitsuda. (9/10)

6) The Sky, the Clouds, and You (Written by Weabblewill)

This is probably the only other lighthearted theme in this album with exception to "Solaris, Eden of Heaven". It plays when Chu Chu is present; that's right folks, it's our loveable pink piece of fluff that we can't get enough of. The flutes and xylophones begin the melody of this funny but somewhat predictable piece. Then the clarinet section joins to produce almost a clumsy, ultra-cheesy, and ridiculous sound at the same time — just like Chu Chu's character. Mitsuda obviously didn't take this piece as seriously as the other tracks on this album, but it is still enjoyable to listen. (7/10)

7) Gathering Stars in the Night Sky (Written by Weabblewill)

Perhaps one of the more sensitive pieces on this album that almost reaches out directly to the listener. This piece reinforces some of the ideas from "Shattering Egg of Dreams", but Mitsuda somehow manages to fine tune the piece to maintain its uniqueness. The electronic keyboard plays slowly in the beginning but produces extremely reflective piece that points out Marie's dilemma in the critical scenes of the game. The lines of the harpsichord and electronic keyboard blend together to form a melody that rivals "Treasure Which Cannot Be Stolen". Even though the track is emotional, it lacks the exaltation and bombastic flair of "Flight". (8/10)

8) Tears of the Stars, Hearts of the Strong (Written by Bryan)

What a beautiful song this is! While I cant remember where it plays in game, it has to just grab you by the heart and pull you into the scene I'm sure. Its basically a piano, with a string melody over top. The melody is somewhat somber, almost sounding bittersweet. Maybe something good just happened at the expense of something else really bad? Other than that, I absolutely adore this song and advise everyone with access to it to listen! (9/10)

9) Flight (Written by Bryan)

This song plays at a certain event battle that I wont mention. It is an amazing arrangement of "Gathering Stars in the Night Sky". The intro consists of the standard industrial drums and brass that Mitsuda had flooded this soundtrack with. Then, the most amazing thing I've heard on this soundtrack happens. The strings come in playing the melody from "Gathering..." and WOW. I cried when I first heard this song in game. Its just that moving! I cant say anymore about it without crashing the server here, so I'll leave it at this: You must listen, now! (10/10)

10) Wings (Written by Don)

This piece is the airship theme for the game. As such, it has a nice light feeling and is probably one of my favorite airship themes of all time. What makes this track stand out in my opinion is the excellent arrangement of "Small Two of Pieces." While the main melody for that piece may be hard to discern for some, I assure you, it is there. The bombastic nature of the piece, in conjunction with an already perfect melody, make for an excellent contribution to this album and makes for an amazingly motivating piece of music. (10/10)

11) Solaris, Eden of Heaven (Written by Scherzo)

A happy, stalwart theme, it bounces with a quiet stubborness. The slow unintricate percussion section contrasts nicely with a playful chromatic melody. Though its lightheartedness means this track isn't epic and of grave thematic importance like the couple that precede it, it's still an enjoyable and effective piece. I've not played Xenogears, but I still can't help being amused by "Solaris" theme's obvious charm. (9/10)

12) Back to Sleep (Written by Hengun)

It's one of these "Good-Night" tracks, known by several RPGs. In contrast to the other "Back to sleep" on Disc One, which was performed just by a solo piano, this one is orchestrated with flutes, strings, and an electric piano. It seems nice to me, but it is too short to give a rating though. (N/A)

13) The One Who is Torn Apart (Written by Hengun)

Starting with an echoing bell-sound, which keeps repeating as an ostinato and a deep bass line which keeps playing the same note, this track seems to be an ambient one. At 1:05 chimes set in and develop a simple melody. Rather in the backgroud, several other instruments try to alternate the rather boring structure. But you can't blame ambient tracks for being boring, in-game they seem to fulfill their job. Yet on its own, this may sound a little bit dull. (6/10)

14) Pray for the People's Joy (Written by Pandemonium)

This is basically an organ version of "The Wounded Shall Advance Into the Light". It still retains the beauty of the original and, due to the fact that the organ sampling is much better than the choral sampling it, may have a slight notch up on its predecessor. However I feel it lacks the emotional power somehow of its previous incarnation so it maintains the same score in spite of better sound quality. (9/10)

15) Omen (Written by Pandemonium)

This is easily the best ambience track on the album. Low strings and a little piano motif create an ominous yet quite serene atmosphere as the violin melody from "Light from the Netherworld" soars in. The piano motif is the best part of the track, it is such a pleasing little tune but seems quite threatening as well. It repeats insistantly throughout the track translating itself through the chord progressions fading into the background as the main theme takes centre stage and then reappearing before sliding into silence as the piece loops. It has a similar feel to "Light from the Netherworld" with the religious/industrial combination working to full effect; it also forms an incredibly fitting prelude to the next track. (9/10)

16) Awakening (Written by Don)

"Awakening" is one of Mitsuda's best final battle tracks. While it may not serve as the final battle theme for the final boss, it does play during the more substantial of the two, akin to that in Chrono Trigger. The piece itself relies on heavy orchestral and industrial sounds. In addition, the motivation behind the track is based solely on the strong brass melody that continually builds up tension until it is broken by the addition of choir. The tribal and exotic sounds of the choral work really helps to bring this piece to life. Over top of the industrial percussion, the track really seems to heighten during this time. In addition, the motif first introduced in "Light from the Netherworld" is implemented before the loop, helping add some suspense to the piece as a whole. (10/10)

17) One Who Bares Fangs at God (Written by Baltimoore)

Hm, infamous track this one, really. Throughout my ventures in game music I have seen many respectable people both look down on the piece with an intense hatred and raise it up with praise about a masterpiece of music. Needless to say, it has certainly awoken a lot of controversy. Then what do I, a lowly little man with virtually no history of the piece whatsoever, have to say about it? Well... let me see.

This piece, if I'm not wrong, accompanies the very final battle of Xenogears. This piece certainly doesn't fit into any regular standards of final battle themes, but as I've often heard, Xenogears is no "regular" game and therefore doesn't require a theme of any normal standard. Trustworthy sources tell me the piece fits like a charm in the game, and I can't really say anything else, since my lack of playthrough.

If anything is to back up this evidence, it is most certainly the fact that, as it is in many ways heard, the spiece is built up in an almost solely atmospheric setting, through continuous repetition of layered ostinatis of instruments such as xylophones, chimes, flutes, and more. The only melody found lies within the choral writing, which, as a result, also offers a lot of repetition, and few development sections.

I do encourage people to listen and form their own opinion, as I have a hard time forming my own. I actually like the piece, through its impeccable sense of atmosphere and mysticism. I can only dream of what kind of final fight Xenogears has to offer. Highly inspirational. Very individual, it seems to come down to. (9/10)

18) The Beginning and the End (Written by Pandemonium)

This for me is another highlight of the album and is one of the most effective VGM choral pieces I have ever heard. The melody is gorgeous, the counterpoint is enticing, the vocals are exciting and yet it still has an original quality to it. It reminds me slightly of Karl Jenkins' 'Adiemus' with its ethnic vibe and archaic sound. It is incredibly powerful with a great performance by the choir, the texture is incredibly deep and complex with a great deal of polyphony going on making it easy to find new aspects or lines of melody. It may not be to everyone's taste but I find it particularly envigorating. (10/10)

19) Small Two of Pieces (Written by Pandemonium)

What a way to end the soundtrack. I initially found this track incredibly cheesy and Disney-like, but I have grown to appreciate it and it is now probably my favourite game music pop ballad. The melody is simple but incredibly potent — the chorus in particular. The best part is the B section where a new melody appears suggested by the flute earlier on in the song (and even earlier in tracks such as "My Village is Number One"); it has a killer modulation from C major to C minor as the guitar kicks in and we get an epic solo before the theme is sung in all its glory. We then get a climactic shift back to C major as the main melody is sung again to bring the song to a close. I find this song incredibly moving and that is clearly its intention and, although quite contrasting to the mostly instrumental tracks in the album, it somehow seems appropriate and brings the main theme of the game to a fitting close. I can't think of another soundtrack with such a good ending selection as this one. (10/10)


Written by Chris

A diverse, emotional, and rounded work, Xenogears demonstrates Yasunori Mitsuda experimenting and gaining individuality for his Celtic style. An in-game connection will help one to assimilate the album, as a lot of it is lost on me due to the lack of that context, but it's still very enjoyable on a stand-alone level without it. Technologically, it's not as accomplished as his subsequent works due to the primitive MIDI technology, though technical achievements like the two vocal themes are worthy of a nod. Overall, a solid album that should inspire a positive reaction, be it wildly enthusiastic like many fans or mildly respectful like mine. (8/10)

Written by Don

Xenogears is a smorgasbord of musical tastes and styles. Featuring militaristic, religious, and his signature style, Celtic, Mitsuda is able to create a wonderful soundscape to such an epic game. He is able to create pieces that instill both hope and sadness, pieces that are truly terrifying, and pieces that are awe-inspiring. The diverse amount of material on this album should be enough to garner the casual listener's attention and Mitsuda fan alike. Showing that Mitsuda is more than the Celtic style's posterboy, Xenogears is an album that shouldn't be missed by anyone and also offers some musical influences to his later works, such as an cinniùint and Xenosaga. (8/10)

Written by Bryan

While I wouldn't go as far as to say this is Mitsuda's best album ever, it is his best work for Square in my opinion. The mix between industrial, Celtic, and some religious based choral themes makes this one of the most well rounded soundtracks in history. That doesn't say that this album doesn't have its weak points. Some of the battle themes, for example, seem to have that generic Mitsuda feel to them. He has never been very good at writing "normal" battle themes. The boss themes, however, are the exception here. They fit the scene of the game and the playability outside of the game very well. This album also houses one of his best vocal themes in game music, "Small of Two Pieces". Even though I've only mentioned a few highlights here, the rest of the album is still mostly gold in my opinion. If you're familiar with Mitsuda at all, you must give this album a listen! Fans and haters alike have been known to say this is one of his greatest albums. You be the judge of that. (9/10)

Written by Pandemonium

This is arguably Mitsuda's most diverse work with a multitude of different styles to accomodate the complex world it represents. It may not have the orchestral grandeur of Xenosaga I nor the cut-glass synth of Chrono Cross but it copes well with the resources available creating some very pleasant tracks. Battle themes have never been Mitsuda's strong point but he makes a good effort here with the final boss themes being very memorable indeed (I am a closet fan of "One who Bares Fangs at God") however "Steel Giant" and "Stage of Death" are distinctly average in terms of impact. There are some nice ambience tracks with "Omen" being particularly effective but some there are others which get boring after a few listens. The stars of the album are the opening and closing tracks which are so full emotion and power that they are deserved classics in the video game music repetoire. Overall a high quality soundtrack, perhaps lacking in a few areas and in sound quality but makes up for it in sweeping diversity and epic proportions. Not Mitsuda's absolute best but a classic nonetheless (9/10)

Average of Summary Scores: 9/10