The Bouncer OST is one that is full of life and energy. Coming across like something from late Tekken soundtracks rather than the fighting/RPG hybrid the game tried to be, the bulk of this soundtrack is a techno rock fusion. Sadly, its these tracks that prove to be the soundtracks downfall.
“Prelude: The Bouncer” is a superb but short opening track capturing the life of the music is a short space of time, which is followed the guitar hook filled “Sion Barzarhd” and possibly the best track on the album from the techno side “Volt Krueger” which incorporates a great bag pipe snyth into the song making it stand out.
Sadly after that, the music begins to drop off. “Kou Leifoh” has no hook to the song so is instantly forgettable, while “Echidna” struggles to get going at all. “Mugestu” has some nice eastern touches to it that brings it out of the gutter, and some nice dramatic rising chords also propel “Kaldea Orchid” into the top songs list on the album.
“PD-4” is a panic driven piece that shows exactly what this album could have been. The song is dramatic throughout with lots of hard-edged instruments to get your pulse racing.
“Dominique Cross” takes a bizarre stance with a lush string background, which is just too quiet and despite its best efforts to catch your attention, fails to do so because the percussive instruments drown it out leaving this track as a missed opportunity.
“Mugetsu: Destruction” suffers from a lack of production polish. A drum roll is present throughout most of the song and had it have been made more of, it could have made the song more dramatic and compelling. As a result, the song is very muffled as all the instrumentation fights for the same space in the speakers. “Dauragon C. Mikado” seems tired by the time you get to this point in the album. Once you’ve listened to the same beat with the same guitar churning out half-hearted riffs, each song becomes tedious. It’s at this point I must declare that The Bouncer OST is much easier and more rewarding to listen to if you dip in and out of the tracks so they don’t blend into one long dirge. Then the weaker songs feel more alive.
Thankfully “Dauragon C. Mikado: Madness” adds some new material to the mix with some vocal snippets and some exceptionally fast acoustic guitar overlays making for a piece of disarrayed music, which holds its own. “Dauragon C. Mikado: Awakening” actually spends the first 25 seconds or so without guitars before giving us a more clear up, riff rock track that stands out because it doesn’t slip into a river of sound and lose its definition and form as a song.
“Prologue” suddenly hits you in the face, as a completely vocal and orchestrated piece full of suspense, fear, adrenaline and also peace and is the most mature piece of music on the album. “Disquietude” is another orchestrated piece that is very disjointed and eerie to listen to, especially in the dark, and shines through as the most ambitious piece on the album. “The Escape” is a dramatic orchestral piece that doesn’t go wild very often but keeps the suspense to the highest level.
Suddenly, The Bouncer has become like the game, a jack-of-all-trades. “LUKIS Covert. Op” sounds like something from Metal Gear Solid with its funk induced keyboards and its quick fire string bursts that personify sneaking around so well. “Distant Rain: The Cross Children” is a sad piano lead piece that once again has an eerie haunting presence, like most of the non techno rock orientated music. “The Pursuit” rounds off the orchestrated section with a dramatic discordant piece that is very basic but does its job.
“OWARNAIMONO: Forevermore: The Theme from The Bouncer (Japanese Version)” is a real treat for getting to the end of the album however. A beautiful heartfelt string introduction brings us to the song proper, with song strong vocals from Reiko Noda which impacts you with some soaring string arrangements with a great ballad beat.
“Kou Leifoh Remixed Version” ends the CD with a slightly stripped down version that works just as well as the original, but one feels that ending on the vocal track would have left people thinking the soundtrack was better than what it really is.
The Bouncer is a tale and an OST of two halves, and it suffers by having them completely separated. Maybe if the orchestrated pieces were scattered between the techno songs, maybe they wouldn’t seem so mundane, and with many of them sounding so very similar, it ruins the great tracks left. If your not a fan of rock or techno dance music, I suggest you try before you buy as this is not a traditional soundtrack by any means. Like the game itself, it tries to be a jack of all trades, but fails to master any.