Cosmic discord! Irregular time! Polyrhythm! Flashing keyboard solo! Wailing distorted guitar! Uninterrupted flow of melody...now it's time to go: SHINING WISDOM!
With these words, and some other bits of cheese (like "music is...THE BEST" - quote source being Frank Zappa), an English announcer/narrator introduces us to the zany, silly world of Shining Wisdom, arguably the dumbest game in the series.
Motoaki Takenouchi, who had previously worked on Shining Force II and other "Shining" projects, put a lot of effort into this synth prog-rock album. To my knowledge, its only peer in terms of musical style is the Ogre Battle Image Album "The Entrance." But if I had to listen to one or the other, I think I'd choose "The Entrance" for its quality.
None of the songs on here are slow or depressing. They are either upbeat and uplifting, or they are dark and intense. Transitioning right out from the cheesy introduction, "Novae" is the defining piece of the puzzle. All of the musical jargon that the announcer shouts about at the beginning is put into place here.
Each song continues using the neo-traditional style, at varying tempos, sometimes with the occasional traditional chord structure put into place (rather than crazy atonal or 12-tone pattern-based music). Then it all comes to a big climax in the eight minute track "Into the Court," which builds upon itself more and more until it transitions into "Prestissimo," which is the explosively-fast ending to this medley of bombastic craziness.
Honestly, I wouldn't have expected an album like this from Takenouchi. Knowing what I know from this composer's previous Sega work (Landstalker, Shining Force II), my thoughts were that I'd be hearing more synth orchestra pieces.
Being the strangest album in the Shining series (and probably the strangest game as well), I wouldn't even expect a "Shining" series collector to hunt this album down. Only those with unique tastes would really get a kick out of it. Personally, I enjoyed it, but like I said, I enjoyed its rival "The Entrance" (from Ogre Battle) even more.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann