Soul Eater Original Soundtrack 1 – Review

Soul Eater Original Soundtrack 1 Cover

Album Title: Soul Eater Original Soundtrack 1
Anime Title: Soul Eater
Artist: Taku Iwasaki
Catalog Number: SVWC-7569
Release Type: Soundtrack
Release Date: August 27, 2008
Purchase at: CDJapan, Play-Asia

Track Title Artist Time
1. DEATHCITY Taku Iwasaki 4:35
2. Soul-Eater (so scandalous) Taku Iwasaki 3:30
3. PSYCHEDELIC SOULJAM Taku Iwasaki 4:08
4. 4242564 Taku Iwasaki 3:20
5. malleus maleficarum Taku Iwasaki 2:43
6. victor Taku Iwasaki 3:47
7. lady of gorgon Taku Iwasaki 4:06
8. mifune Taku Iwasaki 4:23
9. BLACK STAR (never lose myself) Taku Iwasaki 3:41
10. harmoNIZE Taku Iwasaki 3:09
11. masamune Taku Iwasaki 3:33
12. camellia Taku Iwasaki 3:36
13. krieg Taku Iwasaki 3:22
14. kampf Taku Iwasaki 2:38
15. lycaon Taku Iwasaki 3:33
16. soulmates Taku Iwasaki 2:55
17. selenic soul Taku Iwasaki 2:17
18. blitz Taku Iwasaki 2:31
19. Death The Kid (so crazy) Taku Iwasaki 3:41
20. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Have a Nice Dream Taku Iwasaki 3:59

Review: Long are the days in which I could pick up a Taku Iwasaki soundtrack and be confident that I’ll derive a lot of enjoyment out of it because his experimentation with different musical genres has had mixed results. With Soul Eater’s soundtrack, Iwasaki’s attempt at fusing rock and R&B with his traditional orchestral pieces captures the show’s atmosphere, the coolness of the characters, and the intensity of the action, all within the context of the show. But without that context, the soundtrack isn’t quite up to par due to some repetitive tracks and some of his experiments that flop. As such, I can recommend listening to this album only if you have background knowledge of the series; as a standalone listen, you’ve better options elsewhere.

This soundtrack opens with “DEATHCITY,” which has an ominous aura about it from the dissonant jazz trumpet. As you listen further, more instruments are added to the mix to create a chaotic, edgy feeling. In spite of the chaos, there remains a semblance of structure while imparting upon the listener a hint of the foreboding atmosphere that always seems to be lurking around the corner by establishing a heavy, ambient track that fits the series like a glove.

A lot of the dissonant ambient tracks that follow utilize “DEATHCITY’s” overall feeling. After “4242564’s” flute introduction, the muted trumpets borrow “DEATHCITY’s” vibe and follow it up with an ethnic chant that is barely discernible in the background while “Krieg” makes use of the theme through an electric guitar. What these pieces emphasize is the unsettling atmosphere that Soul Eater generates, and by using dissonance, Iwasaki keeps the listener on edge and alert.

Next up is the first of the character themes, titled “Soul-Eater (so scandalous),” which conveys Soul’s cool, laid-back attitude through the rap lyrics which include the refrain:

(So cool) Can’t handle us, so cool it’s scandalous

Although the repetitive nature of the track isn’t the pinnacle of creativity, this track is spot-on when it comes to distilling the essence of its titular character and putting it to music.

The other two character tracks, “BLACK STAR (never lose myself)” and “Death the Kid (so crazy)” aren’t quite nearly as compelling. Black Star’s theme uses a serious rock track to depict his personality through a dominant electric guitar baseline which conveys his desire to stand out from the crowd. Though the guitar work is enjoyable, I wish the same can be said for the vocals which are a bit on the plain side. Death the Kid’s track uses an R&B rhythm sung by a female duet. Their performance brings to mind the two sisters who serve as Death the Kid’s weapons as they describe his personality and sense of style. Overall, the atmosphere in Death the Kid’s track cultivates a certain degree of coolness even if it’s a tad repetitive.

In addition to rock and R&B, Iwasaki experiments with other genres too. Electronica is represented in “PSYCHEDELIC SOULJAM” which has a futuristic vibe punctuated by a robotic-sounding voice. “Masamune” combines a woodsy atmosphere and an ethnic dance beat while “lycaon” uses a strange mix of dissonance and moaning sounds to create an unsettling effect akin to those from tortured souls before moving into a heavy techno beat that becomes obnoxious by employing the moaning noises.

All of this experimentation may be slightly off-putting to those who prefer more traditional styles of music. Thankfully, Iwasaki still retains enough of his older style to please those who prefer it. For example, “selenic soul” has the peaceful piano and orchestral atmosphere found in “Quiet Life” from the Rurouni Kenshin Tsuiokuhen OVA Soundtrack and “mifune” is a classic action-packed Iwasaki track that he’s used in shows like R.O.D. and Witch Hunter Robin. The latter starts out melancholically before the tempo speeds up to signify the start of the action through the rhythmic percussion beat and the intense violin melody. The piece continues to pour on the action until the melody eases off and the piece slowly closes off on a dirge-like mood. Based on the mood and intensity of the track, “mifune” is my favorite piece on this soundtrack.

Finally, the album closes with “Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Have a Nice Dream,” which ironically doesn’t feel like a conclusion as much as an intermission leading into the inevitable Soundtrack 2. The vibe it gives off has a feeling lawlessness about it as it combines a harmonica motive and a guitar playing a coarse western-sounding theme before the rap part comes in on top of the western theme. It’s not the kind of track that I’d seek out to listen to since the music isn’t up my alley, but given the nature of the soundtrack, it definitely fits the mood and serves as a good way to wrap up the many themes and the mood surrounding the series.

Soul Eater Original Soundtrack 1 does manage to juggle multiple genres though by virtue of it trying so many different genres, you’re not going to find much in the way of consistency. So while its many genres keep this soundtrack from being boring, it’s not exactly absorbing on its own either. The effect that context has on this soundtrack cannot be understated, which is why Soul Eater fans will get the most mileage; everyone else’s will vary quite a bit.

Rating: Decent

Music Sampler

Track 1

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Track 2

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Track 8

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Track 11

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Track 20

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zzeroparticle

Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

17 thoughts on “Soul Eater Original Soundtrack 1 – Review

  • December 16, 2008 at 1:09 am
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    Since I really like Soul Eater, so long as I can relate to most of the pieces, I am fine with it. Plus it also depends on taste, for this particular one I guess. Now I am just waiting for OST 2 because I want the music that played during the battle between Kishin and Shinigami in the anime.

    Reply
  • December 30, 2008 at 11:04 am
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    @Panther – Yeah, the main purpose of a soundtrack is generally to provide a good complement to what’s taking place on the screen rather than cater to the listener who wishes to give it a look on its own. If I get the chance, I’ll definitely follow up with a review of OST2

    @Omisyth – You mean aside from me not having a clue as to whether it’s supposed to be “0harmoNIZE” or simply “harmoNIZE”? 😛 Well, the introduction was a bit too repetitive with that overwhelming percussion beat and I’m not a big fan of that style of singing. In fact, the big issue with this track is that it’s overly repetitive which makes it easy to tune out after awhile and the electric guitar solo around 1:39-1:50 doesn’t hold my attention all that much either. It’s definitely one of those tracks that I’d skip on the album.

    So yeah… it’s easy to see that my biases tend to go in favor of mellower fare or anything orchestral really. Rock tracks usually don’t work too well with my unless it’s something like the Guilty Gear XX type of rock.

    Reply
  • January 12, 2009 at 2:20 am
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    “Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Have a Nice Dream” and “PSYCHEDELIC SOULJAM” are my fav. in this album…

    I hope that OST 2 come out soon, I really want to get the BGM that played when Maka swinging her Majin Gari…

    Reply
  • April 9, 2009 at 9:45 am
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    Just on a sidenote, the album is quite heavily influenced by Western big beat and rock acts, with a lot of tracks bordering on plagiarism. For example, listen to “harmoniZE” and then NIN’s “Know What You Are?”, and tell me you don’t hear the similarity. Ditto for “PSYCHEDELIC SOULJAM”, which I think straight-out samples Chemical Brothers’ “The Private Psychdelic Reel”. This wouldn’t be a problem, if Iwasaki’s “tributes” weren’t so plainly inferior to the originals.

    Reply
  • December 17, 2009 at 2:16 am
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    Wow, I just watched the anime and I was sure harmoNIZE was a remix/cover/version of Nine Inch Nails’ “Know What You Are?”

    Reply
  • December 17, 2009 at 11:31 am
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    @asdf
    You may be right as Negative_Creep seems to have noted above. :p

    Unfortunately, I’m not as familiar with the band, so I can’t really give an opinion one way or another.

    Reply
  • February 16, 2010 at 5:44 am
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    One thing I have come to learn from listening to just a few of Iwasaki’s OSTs is how daring he can be. But frankly, I dare not just pick up any of his soundtracks to listen. Those experiments which flop can really be a little disturbing. XD Then again, it’s those daring experiments which bring us masterpieces like “Libera Me” From Hell. ^=^

    Reply
  • February 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm
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    @Jen
    It’s a matter of picking and choosing, though it does help to have watched the series that he’s composed music for just to get a feel for how that soundtrack will turn out. That’s what I did for Soul Eater and will most likely do for Katanagatari.

    Reply
  • September 12, 2010 at 8:12 pm
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    you guys know what the name of the jazz tune in ep 12 where soul dreams with the blood demon beta

    Reply
  • May 17, 2011 at 11:58 am
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    I love Soul Eater, it is the best Anime EVER!! and the music is also amazing!!!!

    Reply
  • July 7, 2011 at 3:04 am
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    the soul eater anime was indeed one of the most entertaining anime I’ve seen in my life (although the second part of it made me want to stab my wrist) the soundtrack on the other hand was quite passable the tracks conveyed the humor and action but that’s it

    Reply
  • November 24, 2011 at 11:59 pm
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    what an ok soundtrack.

    Reply
    • November 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm
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      @some random guy
      Thankfully, Iwasaki’s continued to astound us with a lot of good stuff. I should do Katanagatari’s OST sometime…

      Reply
  • December 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm
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    what is the song in soul eater anime episode 24 that plays when death and asura are fighting each other? please find it, I need to know, cause its driving me nuts

    Reply
  • January 30, 2012 at 12:41 pm
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    Hi! I just wanted to ask if you know the title of the piano instrumental on episode 31? The one that plays on the first part, wherein Crona was asking himself why everyone’s nice to him. It’s really driving me nuts. I can’t seem to find it on OST 1 and 2. Please help. Thanks! :)

    Reply
    • March 3, 2014 at 1:02 am
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      I have been looking for that song for a few hours now! This is literally the only mention of it that I found online. Did you ever figure it out?

      Reply

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