|Album Title:||FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST Original Soundtrack 2|
|Anime Title:||Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood|
|Artist:||Akira Senju, Sukima Switch, Lil’B, Chemistry, SCANDAL|
|Release Date:||August 18, 2010|
|Purchase at:||CDJapan, Play-Asia|
|1. Golden Time Lover (TV Size) / Sukima Switch||Sukima Switch||1:34|
|2. Mount Briggs ~Overture~||Akira Senju||2:27|
|3. Pride||Akira Senju||1:55|
|4. Envy Revealed||Akira Senju||1:59|
|5. The Plot Thickens||Akira Senju||1:41|
|6. Xing Symphony ~Overture~||Akira Senju||1:30|
|7. Anticipation||Akira Senju||1:26|
|8. Nightmares||Akira Senju||1:38|
|9. Desolation||Akira Senju||2:16|
|10. The Fullmetal Alchemist ~Legato~||Akira Senju||2:26|
|11. Nocturne of Amestris ~Duet~||Akira Senju||1:38|
|12. Daylight in Amestris||Akira Senju||1:26|
|13. Nocturne of Amestris||Akira Senju||1:51|
|14. Tsunaida Te (TV size) / Lil’B||Lil’B||1:33|
|15. T.B.C.||Akira Senju||1:22|
|16. Entr’acte||Akira Senju||1:27|
|17. Period (TV Size) / Chemistry||Chemistry||1:33|
|18. No Answer||Akira Senju||1:23|
|19. Crisis in the North||Akira Senju||1:36|
|20. The Land of Ishvala||Akira Senju||1:46|
|21. Lapis Philosophorum ~Piano Solo~||Akira Senju||1:37|
|22. Mount Briggs ~Undulation~||Akira Senju||1:32|
|23. What Lies Beneath||Akira Senju||1:03|
|24. Versus Homonculus||Akira Senju||1:47|
|25. Battle Scherzo||Akira Senju||2:06|
|26. Far East Suite ~Pizzikato~||Akira Senju||1:31|
|27. Pastorale Rondo||Akira Senju||1:22|
|28. Stepping along||Akira Senju||1:34|
|29. Shunkan Sentimental (TV size) / SCANDAL||SCANDAL||1:33|
|30. To Be King||Akira Senju||2:02|
|31. Brotherhood ~Postlude~||Akira Senju||1:23|
Review: In an ideal world, Howard Shore would be scoring Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Though I haven’t heard his other works beyond the magnificent soundtrack to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, whenever I listen to Akira Senju’s efforts for FMA:B, I feel as though Senju is trying to evoke the atmosphere contained in Shore’s music. Trying, being the key word here because a critical component seems to be missing, thereby keeping this soundtrack from being on par with his previous works. Whether Senju’s just overworked or the demands that the producer or director placed on him didn’t give him much wiggle room, the soundtrack does not inspire. It simply does its job. No more, and no less.
As I went through the second soundtrack for FMA:B, the same standard litany of complaints that arose when I reviewed FMA:B’s first soundtrack comes up once more. The ambience continues to make up a large portion of the album and all too often, pieces build up in a repetitive fashion and peter out without ending conclusively. It’s not as overbearing as it was in the first soundtrack, but it’s still there.
The Plot Thickens
Part of the problem lies in the lack of development. For a soundtrack to become an engaging experience, the music needs to be more than just a collection of cues. It needs to ebb, tease, shift, and flow together in a cohesive fashion. So when Senju serves up something that is rhythmically and melodically repetitive like “Xing Symphony ~Overture~,” he’s not going to win me over without developing it so as to capture more facets of the piece’s titular land because there looks to be a lot of territory left unexplored. The same can be said for “Mount Briggs ~Undulation~,” which should have been combined with the “Mount Briggs ~Overture~” so as to yield a track that immerses you into the cold, bleak mountain and deliver a commanding aura akin to the music that played in Lord of the Rings as the Fellowship is going through the mines of Moria. As is, all “~Undulation~” does is reflect a grim atmosphere without giving me any melodic hook to grab my attention.
Xing Symphony ~Overture~
Mount Briggs ~Undulation~
If there’s one positive that can be wrung out of FMA:B’s OST 2, it’s that the music is a notch better overall than in OST 1. My preferences have always leaned towards some of the quieter fare like the “Resembool” tracks, and here, the “Amestris” tracks radiate a calming aura that complements the image one gets of a home. “Nocturne of Amestris” does well in setting the balmy mood through the strings and clarinets, creating a bubble that encloses the characters in a comforting sanctum far from the tumult of the main plot, allowing them to relax and unwind. It is a tad repetitive, but the melody is more enjoyable though.
Nocturne of Amestris
The other strong set of tracks is in the pairing of “Versus Homonculus” and “Battle Scherzo” which, together, depict the flow and intensity of combat well. “Versus Homonculus” starts off by weaving a grandiose fabric by using the strings and percussion to lay down the foundation. Once that’s set, the brass comes in with its ominous airs, interrupted by moments in which the strings lay down the tension really thick. “Battle Scherzo” picks up from there with its energetic introduction that builds up the grand struggle nicely. The brass fanfares weave in and out with the frenetic violin melody and together, those two components evoke a duel that will decide which destiny shall prevail.
With “Brotherhood ~Postlude~” the xylophones close out yet another chapter in the ongoing saga, beckoning for us to take in all that’s happened and to provide the dab of hope that things will turn out right in the end. I hope that it portends well for the third OST. The more I listen to FMA:B’s soundtracks, the more suspicions I have about Akira Senju’s contribution to this franchise. I just won’t verbalize them until I give OST 3 a go.