Nier, the PS3 RPG has one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard all generation. Now there’s been a tribute album released so I can’t be the only one thinking the same thing!
“Repose” opens remixed by Sexy-Synthesizer which is weaves the beautiful angelic vocal samples and acoustic guitar samples of a shimmering mirage of technical wizardry. It’s like the keyboard just showers all kinds of arpeggios of greatness upon your ears – it’s really beautifully put together. Matryoshka’s version of “Kaine / Salvation ~ Kaines Escape” is a hushed version of the vocal theme with lots of static noise purring through the arrangement. It reminds me very much of the original Shadow Hearts vocal theme.
“Temples of Drifting Sands” but millstones is a real drum n bass affair moulding the original vocals that are heavily processed around a quickly paced beat. There’s plenty of bright piano added in to keep you amused too. “Emil / Sacrifice” from Ametsub starts off like a fluffy Cocteau Twins track and spins itself into a whirlwind of clicks and real moogy keyboard samples. It’s nothing like the original and the track really flips its character over the five minutes it runs. Superbly diverse and genre hopping, it’s a great display of technical talent.
“Suite of Nier” from arranger Go-qualia however is a tour de force. Taking four tracks and fusing them together in a Gothic beauty. Complete with sharp, buzzing complex drum structures, industrialised keyboard synths and disquieting vocal performances – the whole thing works an absolute treat. “Shadowlord’s Castle / Roar” from Rafven is a great little polka number. Accordion, brass and whimsy guitar make it great fun and when it suddenly kicks into the full speed version, you won’t be able to keep still!
Nobu44 turns to a new genre with “The Incomplete Stone” which is neo-jazz with its slinky organs and low fi chords being lazily played underneath. Then give the monk style vocal some vocoder and you have another surprisingly awesome track on your hands. sasakure.UK’s version of “Song of the Ancients / Devola / Popula” is a hi energy affair with a rocking beat and some hugely complex noise riffs rolling constantly around the speakers. Add in some fantastic piano and string work over the vocals and you have a great mix.
KanouKaoru’s “The Wretched Automatons” is a sublime echo filled dreamscape of underwater currents, string arrangements and soft percussion. It’s a hard one to classify because its soft and dreamy but actually very densely produced. It works very well though, making a soft song have underlying tension. “Grandma” from Schroeder-Headz is an interesting take on the song which starts off very similar to the original and then grows into something more orchestral and grand. No-No2’s track “The Lost Forest” is a typical remake using woodwind, plenty of piano and soft tuned percussive elements giving a warm if mystical rendition. The closer is “Snow in Summer – The Dark Colossus Destroys All” from World’s End Girlfriend is a song that decides to throw in every type of tempo change effect possible, even making me think my speakers had gone wrong. It’s very much of the nature of Nier, Shadow Hearts, End of Eternity etc in its style and its a great dramatic end to a fantastic album.
As a tribute album, Echo is at the top of its game – so much so I’d recommend it as a must have accompaniment to the original soundtrack the expansions soundtrack. Gothic, haunting, slightly nuts but eerily beautiful from start to finish – I have not enough thumbs to up to Echo!