Castlevania: Rondo of Blood OST Review by The Successor



Castlevania: Rondo of Blood

Download Complete Package

32 MB

Track Length File Size
1. Overture 1:03 869 KB
2. Requiem 1:36 1.5 MB
3. Bloodlines 2:58 2.7 MB
4. Vampire Killer 1:43 1.6 MB
5. Cross of Fear 1:41 2.5 MB
6. Bloody Tears 4:03 1.6 MB
7. Cemetery 2:30 2.3 MB
8. Beginning 2:27 2.3 MB
9. Opus 13 3:39 3.4 MB
10. Picture of a Ghost Ship 2:25 2.2 MB
11. Slash 1:23 1.3 MB
12. The Den 3:15 3.0 MB
13. Dancing in Phantasmic Hell 1:29 1.2 MB
14. Illusionary Dance 1:46 1.4 MB
15. March of the Holy Men 1:54 1.5 MB
16. Mary Samba 1:54 1.5 MB
17. Cross Your Heart 2:57 2.7 MB

ondo of Blood came out in 1993, when kids were grooving on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Super Metroid, and Batman: The Animated Series. Continued journey down the early 90's to mid 80's reveals something else – delightfully cheesy pop music about dancing and having a good time. In retrospect, the frivolous, playful, carefree, yet emotional music of Rick Astley, Aha, Milli Vanilli, and many more paint an incredibly tacky picture that manages to remain remarkably fun.

The Rondo of Blood OST is notable for having the sensibilities of pop music from that time, while originating from a video game rooted in gothic horror and dark fantasy.
Castlevania in nature is dark, so there are often interesting contrasts found in Rondo. The introduction sequence showcases an occult, gruesome scenario in which a girl is sacrificed to resurrect Count Dracula, followed by the blood curdling theme "Requiem" playing while the player creates a save file. At this point it seems like this is going to be a dark and morbid game. Then, all of a sudden, the tone sweeps from macabre to fun, and the excitement doesn't let up.

"Overture" kicks in with the structure, feeling, and execution of one of those great pop songs, teamed with early/mid 90's anime scenes, which were very impressive at the time.
Rondo marks Castlevania's first endeavor with CD quality audio and cut scenes with detailed anime pictures. This made a huge impression on early 90's gamers, and Rondo makes full use of the capabilities.

"Bloodlines" is a sort of anthem for the game, and the character, Richter Belmont. It's the same song as "Overture," but a bit slower and more developed. "Overture" is an excellent forward and supplement, but "Bloodlines" is the real deal. Every single part, big or small, is fashioned just right for the role it plays.

Leading it is a simple, but awfully catchy melody, backed by the synth representing a rhythm guitar, (which came out with way more funk on the SNES version). Constantly moving, the bass line adds backbone, and additional melodies serve as effective complements. About a minute in, the drums and bass join together, making a strong stand, while the main melody continues leading us along its flawless course, paying no heed to the change of pace, but working perfectly with it, anyway. We're then brought into a wonderful postlude where the rhythm picks back up and effortlessly soars to a grand finale.

Magnificent! That's the most apt description for "Bloodlines." The track steadfastly holds its own alongside the greatest of Castlevania's music. There is no ‘best' part, because every single thing "Bloodlines" does is luminous.

The OST presents one captivating jam after another with "Cross of Fear." It begins slower than "Overture" or "Bloodlines," allowing listeners a brief instance to catch their breaths while it establishes a main motif. After a little while, the whole thing crescendos into a majestic climax.

"Cross of Fear" demonstrates an enthralling aspect about much of Rondo's music. It is not eerie, sinister, elegant, or mournful, as Castlevania music tends to be. This soundtrack is very informal compared to some others in the series. Rondo doesn't often bother with elaborate compositions or lavish sophistication, but relies on being catchy, rhythmic, and approachable. For instance, "Picture of a Ghost Ship" is primarily concerned with establishing a powerful, danceable rhythm. The melodic accompaniment is easily hum-able and instantly appealing.

That's one of the big differences heard in this OST -- the type of music that is common to Rondo of Blood is made for dancing, and much of the series' compositions are meant more for reflective listening. Though Castlevania frequently fuses classical with modern rhythms, emphasis on a powerful and easily approachable pulse has not been stressed as much in any other Castlevania soundtrack, aside from perhaps Castlevania Chronicles.

Strong, prevailing beats and catchy melodies comprise this OST. An example of this is "Cemetery," a predictable track driven by a steady pulse from which everything else plays off of, adding in spice with the rhythm.

Though much of Rondo's music is energetic and bubbly, it still gets you in the mood to take action against Dracula's monsters, and there are tracks that retain a more customary Castlevania sound. The version of "Bloody Tears" featured here is possibly the best the series has. The foremost motif is played on a pipe organ and other additional synth voices serve as accompaniment. There is even an added segment before the loop. Another familiar tune is "Beginning." It's been given a swaggering rhythm, not unlike what Akumajou Dracula X68000 did with "Wicked Child."

One of the best tracks is "Den." It's surprising that it hasn't been remixed outside the Dracula X games, but it's just as well. Pieces of themes from other Castlevania songs are subtly slipped in, but "Den" is definitely its own creature. It takes the synth rock approach that is heard in "Bloodlines" and "Cross of Fear" and adds Castlevania gilding by way of pipe organ.

"Illusionary Dance" has risen to be the definitive Dracula theme. The intro wails with grandiose fanfare, as if announcing Dracula's presence. The thunderous percussion and sinister organ sound with proud authority. This dance is perfectly suited to the Count, being stylish, menacing, and commanding.

Speaking of being menacing, fans often flock to Super Castlevania IV because of the gloomy and spooky atmosphere displayed therein. This is understandable, seeing as Castlevania IV is quite an impressive piece of work, but the virtues of Rondo of Blood are nearly opposite to those of IV.

Though it is a bonafide Castlevania in every respect, Rondo approaches the subject matter with a tongue tucked firmly in one cheek, making for a striking dissimilarity between it and its morose forerunner, Super Castlevania IV.
Rondo is a "creature feature" that doesn't take itself too seriously, as seen by its lighthearted, uncomplicated artwork, little blonde girl with animal helpers, young, bishounen Dracula with a massive collar, and straightforward, pleasant anime cut scenes.

It's a fine line between being spot on and screwed up when a more optimistic atmosphere (than usual) is being depicted in Castlevania. Rondo deserves applause for having the taste and style to go down that road successfully. An perfect example of Rondo's methodology is "Slash," a grooving, totally enjoying, and untroubled song that plays in a bonus stage. It's the epitome of the fun, danceable, and lighthearted sentiment of the Rondo of Blood soundtrack.

It can be argued that this does not reflect what Castlevania is supposed to represent, and looking at it generally, that may be true. Looking at it specifically, it is wholly befitting Rondo of Blood, and a wonderful suitor to the adventure it plays for.

This soundtrack is truly different. It breaks away from Castlevania's foreboding feeling. By including the sensibilities of 80's/early 90's pop music -- simple, but infectious melodies played on airy synths, echoe-y drum samples, and cheesy, but lovable guitar riffs -- it separates itself from the common familiarities of Castlevania. Whether this strikes a chord with the listener all depends on their open mindedness.

It's really great music. But if you're the sort that has no stomach for stuff that is somewhat facetious yet very endearing at the same time, or think that perhaps this approach should not be taken with Castlevania, you're not going to like it.

The Rondo of Blood OST stands as a shining highlight of Castlevania's music. It isn't just because there are excellent tracks to be heard, but like Harmony of Dissonance's soundtrack, it is different, creative, daring, and memorable (but in different ways). It's glowing with a living soul and personality all its own.



Castlevania: Bloodlines OST Review by Diplo

Castlevania: Bloodlines

Download Complete Package

41 MB

Track Length File Size
1. Beating the Darkness 0:14 255 KB
2. Vision of Dark Secrets 1:05 0.99 MB
3. Bonds of Brave Men 0:42 666 KB
4. Arduous Journey 0:13 210 KB
5. Reincarnated Soul 2:10 1.99 MB
6. The Sinking Old Sanctuary 2:02 1.86 MB
7. The Discolored Wall 2:04 1.90 MB
8. Beginning 1:47 1.63 MB
9. Bloody Tears 1:45 1.60 MB
10. Vampire Killer 1:37 1.48 MB
11. After the Good Fight 0:09 158 KB
12. Mysterious Curse 1:12 1.09 MB
13. Iron Blue Intention 1:55 1.76 MB
14. Prayer of a Tragic Queen 1:49 1.67 MB
15. Calling from Heaven 2:29 2.28 MB
16. Messenger From Devil 0:45 709 KB
17. Nothing to Lose 1:15 1.14 MB
18. 6 Servants of the Devil 1:17 1.17 MB
19. Theme of Simon 2:18 2.10 MB
20. Vampire's Stomach 1:14 1.12 KB
21. Stage Clear with the Red Crystal 0:19 299 KB
22. Together Forever 2:06 1.93 MB
23. Requiem for the Nameless Victim 2:30 2.29 MB
24. Moon Fight 3:09 2.89 MB
25. Ending 2:55 2.65 KB
26. Final Road 2:45 2.52 MB
27. Simon's Theme 3:37 3.31 MB

Talk to most video games fans, and they'll probably also be fans of video game music. Both seem to go hand in hand, and it's not hard to see (hear?) why. Well, that is, if you're the kind of wonderful human being who doesn't wave your hand away and scoff when the names and professions of Kenji Ito or Hitoshi Sakimoto are mentioned. Speak of Sega Genesis soundtracks, though, to such appreciators, and you're prone to run into a snag. There just isn't the same love for its voice in comparison to ... most every other console. While the Super Nintendo did its darndest to emulate instruments, the Genesis had a universal sound that emerged in every one of its children: an update of the rough noise of arcade machines, a metallic, springy version of 8-bit chiptune resonance.

Yuzo Koshiro, like, to pull a series parallel, Soshiro Hokkai, used the synth to his benefit in the Streets of Rage series. It was electronic music that sounded like electronic music. People could accept this. Each score had the enthusiastic, blippy rhythm and melody of any catchy 90's dance song, minus any horrendous lyrics, and the bass approached audacious levels in the third installment. And as Castlevania made its quirky switch over to Sega's dark, smooth system for a new entry, Michiru Yamane was hired as its composer. Despite the reasoning being unclear - her previous handful of works being far removed from what she would come up with - the choice provided marvelous results.

Kobe reached into Bloodlines' bag to help build up the content of their soundtracks, though returning to the source shows how much more accomplished the originals are. For "The Sinking Old Sanctuary," Circle of the Moon made it leap and pop on the Gameboy Advance, but Yamane's is endowed with quirky harmonics that sound untouchable. After the mysterious introduction leans into view, quizzical melodies glitter and swoosh as, in the back, a cool darkness climbs up and down, weaving honest, haunting thrill into game-y flair.

That's one big reason why the score functions so well - honesty. Listen to Portrait of Ruin or Dawn of Sorrow's endings, and hold back the vomit as their idiotic, Disney-esque demeanor assaults your ears with schlock and emulated conclusiveness. On the other hand, there is Bloodlines' "Requiem for the Nameless Victims," which hushes and shudders and proclaims, and makes you feel like maybe, just maybe, there should be the hint of a tear in one eye. It's unreservedly affecting, as if the player has gained something, but also left an unnamed connection behind in their final victory, similar to Super Castlevania IV's finale.

"Reincarnated Soul" is the tune to start the adventure off - and what a tune! If you've heard "Victorian Fear," but not this, you've sort of got the idea. Each segment slams into the other with dashing Baroque scales, lending superb motion and energetic atmosphere. "Iron Blue Intention" and "Prayer of a Tragic Queen" speak in a similar tone, yet convey separate attitudes. The first is urgent, and whips about as meticulously structured notes stack upon one another with the type of craft that would please a Swiss machinist. The latter, then, is defined by its regality, being a sister to the also-excellent "Garibaldi Temple."

Separated from others by rich dissonance, "The Discolored Wall" is sure to make players wary during the darker stage it plays on. It's not as ... accessible because of that. Regardless, it is a favorite of mine. At the other end of the spectrum is "Calling from Heaven," a confident, climactic anthem resembling "Lament of Innocence"'s headstrong mood. As a sentimental touch, "Simon's Theme" is redone with crackling power and inserted near the finale.

Analyses look weird when lacking complaints, but the soundtrack for Bloodlines is short enough to remain stable, its composer talented enough to maintain freshness and excellence to the end. Even the quaint cinematic segments are given blessings. "A Vision of Dark Secrets" and "Together Forever" share relevant parallels in their flow, and exhibit Yamane's classical side in top form. Defeating Dracula yields a brief jingle that erupts with stunning glory. And within all this is the Genesis' sound at the apex of potential, a mechanical propulsion matching the game's bold aesthetic and splitting effects.

Hear the music in-game: marvel at the ambiance being uplifted without breaking a sweat. Hear it on iTunes: appreciate how gracefully the transition is handled, in light of the natural habitat being removed. Superb!

Diplo


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Rondo's soundtrack is a prime example that fast paced, pop-like songs aren't necessarily bad for Castlevania, they just need to be done right. Good review, by the way.

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