Tenpei Sato on a non-Disgaea-ish soundtrack. It's about time, dag nabbit! There's only so much awesome Halloweeny music I can take.
"Antiphona" is part of the Marl's Kingdom (Rhapsody) series; and though this series is known for having an emphasis on music, particularly vocal performance, to date no retail soundtrack release has come about. All that exists is this here two-disc promotional album that came with LE copies of the game. The soundtrack currently (as of late 2010) sells for as much as $150 on Yahoo! Japan Auctions. It's quite the rarity.
Question: is it really worth that much?
Answer: ...um... I actually have no idea how to answer that.
Here's the thing - Someday down the road, this soundtrack might get a retail publishing. In which case, spending tons of money for that rare LE won't have been worth it. Even if they did the common "distill the two discs into one disc" it wouldn't be a problem. There are definitely enough filler tracks here, and the two discs just barely add up to 80 minutes as it stands right now anyway.
But, if we cut about 20 minutes of filler music away, this is a spectacular soundtrack. It's certainly on par with the other Marl's Kingdom soundtracks. The vocal songs grow on you, but the good instrumentals are immediately noticed. See, for example, "Bird of Dawn ~ Flight" on disc two. This has all of Sato's best traits as a composer built into one track. When you hear it, you'll think that Iwadare, Gust Sound Team, and Falcom Sound Team got together to write the piece. But it was just Sato in a moment of brilliance.
I hope that the Marl's Kingdom franchise continues to grow, and that NIS survives the bad weather to keep going strong. I also hope NIS America takes notice and localizes the rest of the series. Whatever happens, in the end, I do want you the reader to know that Sato is still a great composer, and his talent/technique is not limited to the Elfman-esque music of the Disgaea series.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann