Bounty Sword Ongakuhen

Bounty Sword Ongakuhen. Case Front. Click to zoom.
Bounty Sword Ongakuhen
Case Front
Composed by Kouhei Tanaka
Arranged by Akihiko Mori / Masami Kishimura
Published by Pioneer
Catalog number PICA-2005
Release type Game Soundtrack - Official Release
Format 1 CD - 31 tracks
Release date November 22, 1995
Duration 01:10:34
Genres
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Overview

Bounty Sword is a strategy RPG released for the SNES in 1995. While Kohei Tanaka is traditionally known for his orchestral scores for games and animes, this title demonstrates his prowess using more retro styles; while there is an orchestral influence in this soundtrack, retro sounds resonate throughout the experience. Though the soundtrack fell into obscurity like the game, it is worthy of more attention, stacking up well against other SNES RPG soundtracks from the series. As might be expected for a strategy RPG, there is a decent range of pieces, spanning heroic marches, action-packed battle tracks, and an excellent main theme.

Body

"Prologue" serves as a brief introduction to the soundtrack, creating a suitably dark, epic mood with chorals and bell chimes. The main theme is introduced with "Invincible Knight", a militaristic composition with a robust brass melody and a strong percussion line. It is the first track that demonstrates Tanaka's ability to blend retro synth with solid orchestration. "Meeting Those from Far Away" fleshes out the theme further and give it a more personal feel.

The battle themes resonate with Tanaka's brass leads, but carry variations in their underlying harmonies that give each theme a character. "Attack" reflects Tanaka's signature dark style — building tense layers of sound with underlying piano riffs, strong percussion, and dominating brass lead. In stark contrast, there is the uplifting march theme "Wind of a Battlefield", reminiscent of Hitoshi Sakimoto's strategy works. "Everyone Forward" follows a similar structure, a very brassy and sweeping war theme. "Battlefield" boasts some interesting chord progressions and sweeping harmonies that give it a sense of urgency.

There is quite a bit of diversity in the soundtrack. Peaceful tracks like "Loose Flow", "Star's Guidepost", and "Looking Up at the Night Sky" feature tender use of the SPC sound chip and enhance the fantasy feel of the score. "Unexplored Regions" provides the soundtrack's mystical forest type theme, while "Messenger of the Orient" and "Foreign Land" incorporate more ethnic approaches. There are also small hints of Wild West influences here, demonstrating Tanaka's long-standing influence from Ennio Morricone.

That said, my favourite theme on the soundtrack is "Fighting for Victory". It is one of the most heroic themes on the soundtrack and, for me, it sums up the soundtrack's approach to development — not relying heavily on looping leitmotifs but instead developing the build up of instrumentation and harmony. "Desperate Struggle" seems to follow Tanaka's usual structure for a boss theme: high-pitched edgy brass, rhythmic malevolent string chords, and a development into a resounding valiant tune. "Nine Despair, One Hope" is the last boss theme, and a good one at that. It is more atmospheric than melodic, but is rich in it's chord progressions and rhythms. Bell chimes, choir, and percussion provide a dark and urgent intro. It progresses into a war march and builds-up into a laudable climax.

"Victory Bells" begins the epilogue of the soundtrack, followed by the majestic "Triumphal Return". The soundtrack concludes with "End Title", reprising the main theme. This ten minute epic is a mix of peaceful melodies and majestic sounds. Finally, there are two vocal themes featured at the end of the soundtrack, which was something quite novel for 1995. "Battle Wind" is a prog rock theme sung by Tomokazu Seki — it's catchy and amorously cheesy! "Distant Memories" is sung by Masami Suzuki and is a bit more relaxed, but equally fun.

Summary

Overall, this is a good title to check out if you're a fan of retro melodic RPG soundtracks. Despite not playing the game, I found it an enjoyable work to get into. The only pang I have with the CD is that tracks only have a single loop; though the pieces are strong enough to hold there own, it is disappointing to hear them only once before being thrown on to the next track. It easily matches other classics of the era such as Romancing Saga, Ogre Battle, and Final Fantasy IV.



Album
8/10

Music in game
0/10

Game
0/10

Christopher Jones

All BGM composed by Kouhei Tanaka & arranged by Akihiko Mori.

Tr.31 "BATTLE WIND ~Wind Blown On A Man~"
Compose: Kouhei Tanaka
Arrange: Masami Kishimura
Vocal: Tomokazu Seki

Tr.32 "Distant Memories"
Compose: Kouhei Tanaka
Arrange: Masami Kishimura
Vocal: Masami Suzuki
Album was composed by Kouhei Tanaka and was released on November 22, 1995. Soundtrack consists of 31 tracks tracks with duration over more than hour. Album was released by Pioneer.

CD 1

1
Prologue
01:18
2
Invincible Knight
02:04
3
Legend of a Star
01:36
4
Meeting Those From Far Away
01:57
5
Rising Power
01:25
6
Kingdom of Death and Ruin
01:52
7
Peaceful Moments
01:36
8
Dark Premonition...
01:47
9
Foreign Land
01:52
10
Attack
02:03
11
Wind of a Battlefield
01:41
12
Everyone, Forward!
01:25
13
Forgotten Emotions
01:35
14
FUYURISU
01:55
15
The Soldiers of a Rebellion
01:31
16
Battlefield
01:41
17
Fighting For Victory
02:11
18
Loose Flow
01:51
19
Star's Guidepost
01:58
20
Messenger of the Orient
01:41
21
Becoming Mighty
02:16
22
Looking Up At The Night Sky
01:35
23
Unexplored Region
01:52
24
On The Other Side of Sadness
02:05
25
Desperate Struggle
02:28
26
Nine Despair, One Hope
03:49
27
Victory Bells
02:21
28
Triumphal Return
01:14
29
End Title
10:47
30
BATTLE WIND ~Wind Blown On A Man~
03:15
31
Distant Memories
03:53
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