“Zone of the Enders Z.O.E.” Soundtrack Review

makikiriokaZOE (Zone Of The Enders) is a techno-based bonanza, which is enveloped in lush string arrangements, stand-out vocal tracks and peppered with heartfelt piano pieces to make it stand-out as a classic soundtrack that could appeal to most listeners’ senses.

“Title (The Origin)” starts off the album in an ethereal vocal piece that sets the mystical and tense scene for “Introduction” which is an ambient piece building up into “Leo Stenbuck (break out)” which glides effortlessly between ambient and techno ambient as the build up continues to produce a nice string piece at the end before finally the soundtracks legs are let loose at full speed after a long build up.

“Factory (Vivid Transparency)” is a snyth infested early 1990’s rave/techno hybrid that’s easy on the ears but great to stomp along to, leading, as many of the tracks do, effortlessly into “VR (The Forth Dimension)” which is a faster paced techno piece that’s full to the brim with grizzly sounds. “Flowing Destiny (Piano Arrange)” takes the soundtrack to new uncharted areas with a beautifully pristine piano piece that’s understated and heartfelt.

“Global 1 (Forever And Ever” is more melodic than most of the beat fused songs, with soaring electronic arpeggios fading in and out before the album slows down again for “Are you alright, Celvice?” which encases each aspect of the album in one song. “Boss (Neves)” gets the pace flowing again with more balanced hardcore beats layered with high-pitched vocal lines and hard panned bass lines making for a panic fused song that will raise your blood pressure somewhat! “Celvice! This way quickly!” is a short and elegant piece lead by strings and piano with a slow beat making it unique to the rest of the album, this standing out.

“Resident Block (SO2)” is a song lead by a very muffled and quiet drumbeat showing underlying tension, while various sound effects and white noiz take the lead intertwining with a synth-guitar. “A Light With A Name Of Hope (piano arrange)” is short but since the main tune doesn’t really jump out on you, it does seem rather lost and easily forgettable.

“Radar (Pandemonium)” returns to the SFX smothered techno/rave hybrid with some nice extra drum effects to make this track fluster you, which can also be said for “Global 2 (Virus)” which has some nice rolling wooden percussion throughout. “City (The Earth Light)” continues to edge the soundtrack towards the rave end of the electronic music scale with a piece like something you’d expect The Prodigy to release before it finds its ambient roots again with “Mountain (Who Can Read The Future?)” which is a song of two halves, one ambient and one very much full of discord and drama.

“Rock Thunderheart (function)” is a dramatic piece like a showdown before “A Light With The Name Of Hope” takes you on piano/violin piece that’s a beautiful bitter-sweet collaboration of a great tune that you’ll hear in different guises throughout the album. “You Need This Done To You” is a tension-building piece that comes across like a space oddity before dying before your very own eyes. “Flowing Destiny” is a continuation of the song that leads it into peace and tranquillity making you smile.

“Ada (Promise)” is a piano piece that takes its time to tread its path, and sounds all the better for doing so in a downbeat performance. “Flowing Destiny (memories)” is a full piano/violin rendition that is more heartfelt than the previous versions that have been sprinkled throughout the album so far. “Neith (Risky)” screams danger and battle from the start as we hit the final boss themes. The intricate little details and drum rolls make this an exciting track, but it doesn’t sound full enough to be a real boss track, despite all its dramatics. “Viola (silent death)” is another piano song that is made ten times better by its dramatic pauses and lack of rush to get anywhere, making it much more heartfelt and saddening as it reaches its low-key crescendo.

“Anubis (impossible)” has the opening song of the album running throughout as the song instead of focusing on being intense, focuses on being giant in scale and overpowering. The piece is very refreshing for an end boss track and is unique again from the rest of the album. “Juhuty Will Self-Destruct?” is an orchestral piece that highlights the fact this soundtrack can do anything, and do it above par with this bitter and subtle end.

However, ZOE saves the best until last, with three superb vocal songs to treat us to. Each one stands on their own two feet and are among the elite in the VGM ending songs. “Flowing Destiny – Ending Theme 1” is a perfect orchestral and vocal song with a nice pop beat helping it along the way. “Kiss Me Sunlights – Opening Theme” is an original song that borders the dance genre, but is bittersweet (like much of the albums set pieces) with a hint of sadness in the seemingly very lively song. “A Light with A Name Of Hope -Ending Theme 2/Celvice’s Theme” closes the album on a quiet note with a sensitive song and a beautiful voice.

ZOE is a soundtrack that does everything and does it with panache. If you have a soft spot for dance/rave/techno-orientated music, I suggest you pick up a copy immediately. The rest of us however should only look at the other standout pieces and if you love those, the rest of the album quickly grows on you around those pieces. A very pleasant surprise!

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Categories: abstract, composer, electronica, game music, music, piano, review, synth, techno, VGM

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