|Album Title:||JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure O.S.T Phantom Blood [Destiny]|
|Anime Title:||JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure|
|Release Date:||January 30, 2013|
|01. Stone Mask ~Prologue~||Hayato Matsuo||2:17|
|02. Destinies Brought Together||Hayato Matsuo||4:29|
|03. Joestar Family||Hayato Matsuo||1:17|
|04. Two Boys||Hayato Matsuo||1:46|
|05. Intertwined Destinies||Hayato Matsuo||1:28|
|06. Lively Love||Hayato Matsuo||0:45|
|07. From The Dark Abyss||Hayato Matsuo||1:59|
|08. Parting Regrets||Hayato Matsuo||2:09|
|09. Hidden Feelings||Hayato Matsuo||1:38|
|10. Lightning Speed||Hayato Matsuo||1:54|
|11. Suspicion||Hayato Matsuo||2:25|
|12. Gaps Of The Heart||Hayato Matsuo||1:52|
|13. Stone Mask ~The Secret~||Hayato Matsuo||2:07|
|14. Results Of The Plot||Hayato Matsuo||2:31|
|15. Strutting The Ogre Street||Hayato Matsuo||2:30|
|16. A Fine Fellow Shows Up||Hayato Matsuo||1:20|
|17. Father’s Love||Hayato Matsuo||1:37|
|18. A Sudden Turn||Hayato Matsuo||1:06|
|19. A Superhuman Reborn||Hayato Matsuo||1:32|
|20. Transcend||Hayato Matsuo||1:09|
|21. Determination||Hayato Matsuo||2:13|
|22. Heart Of Darkness||Hayato Matsuo||2:02|
|23. A Duo Of Courage||Hayato Matsuo||2:36|
|24. Persistence ~Innocent Scream~||Hayato Matsuo||3:47|
Review: The ferocity of fisticuffs flailing forth from forces fair and foul fill this fixating feature. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure encompasses all of that as it takes great delight in detailing the conflict between Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando, all done with the subtlety and earnestness of a berserk warrior with a sledgehammer. The presentation is over-the-top, but it remains entertaining all the while. In contrast, Hayato Matsuo’s music for Phantom Blood, the first arc of JoJo, while as brash as the action and drama it accompanies, does not entertain. Sure, the music accentuates Jonathan Joestar’s nobility and brings out Dio Brando’s grim, twisted ambitions in an arena where their destinies collide, but it’s overmuch in its execution, sacrificing subtlety for a grandiosity that’s ironically plain.
The subtlety that I prefer is illustrated in “Stone Mask ~Prologue~,” which features an ominous motive borne by the cello to instill a sense of fear and dread within you. The melody progresses slowly, amplifying the creepy aura with every passing measure and lacing it with an imminent tragedy that never gets in your face. And when the crescendo comes, things take a grimmer turn as the cello thunders forth before letting the creepy motive resume. There is a light moment when the violins lay off a whiff of hope, but even that is ephemeral as the stark situation stands forth and in listening to this, you find yourself drawn into this grand tale.
Stone Mask ~Prologue~
The next track, “Destinies Brought Together,” is by far my favorite. Its introduction is exuberant as the violins unleash a bright and bouncy air that’s a marked contrast to the dark tone in the first track; in doing so it captures the life of privilege that Jonathan Joestar was blessed with. But then, Dio’s wretched beginnings come in, as the strings shift to a melancholy sound that is more empathetic than ominous. The piece grows quieter and colder in this transition, painting an image of someone biding his time as he methodically calculates the next step. This back and forth continues with the carefree, upbeat parts and the grim, scheming segments swapping in and out, and this dynamic is very engaging as one sees how different Jonathan Joestar and Dio Brando are and how their conflict materializes, as the second half of the track brings a tittering suspense as it builds into a tragic hero’s theme.
Destinies Brought Together
With that, the tension rises significantly as Matsuo’s compositions reflect the state of the conflict. “Intertwined Destinies’” rhythm is heavy as the strings weave a compelling melody to reflect an epic journey. But given what the story has in mind, the mood becomes more sobering, and the soundtrack offers such fare in “Parting Regrets” which features a downcast track that signals impending misfortunes, especially when the violins play out a sorrowful, melancholy air that is effective in conveying that sense of loss.
Up to this point, JoJo’s soundtrack still remains enjoyable as it draws you into the story. Once you approach the middle of the album, the music takes a turn for the worse with a pair of annoying tracks. “Strutting The Ogre Street” tosses a foreboding synth introduction which segues into a scraping segment that is as irritating as someone scratching a chalkboard. Granted, the track was trying to weave a disjointed, chaotic aura with its dissonance and eerie piano melody, but its use of synth is annoying as it removes you from the suspenseful atmosphere. “A Fine Fellow Shows Up” is even worse as a bland grinding synth makes way for a wailing blare that’s only interrupted by dreary piano measures that go nowhere.
A Fine Fellow Shows Up
The tension-filled tracks are much more bearable in comparison, but even then, Matsuo’s execution makes them tedious listening as they rain doom and gloom into your ears repeatedly. “A Superhuman Reborn” exemplifies this as the lower brass and percussion let fly with every bit of dissonance for what it’s worth. After that, the track as a whole, with the strings’ skittering sound to back up the frenetic, menacing brass lines, gives you the sense that Matsuo went overboard in depicting Dio’s evil ways, erasing the subtlety that would effectively express the horror of what Dio has done to himself in his mad grab for power. Then there’s “Determination,” which initially impresses with its morose atmosphere, but falls apart as the despair floods in, carried by the strings and lower brass to heighten the tension but done in a way that leaves little to the imagination. Even with the scattershot of heroic struggles amidst the ominous overtones, its overall execution feels heavy-handed. Perhaps the track that squanders its introduction most is “A Duo of Courage” which belts out a heroic theme, but quickly leaves it in favor of a rhythm-heavy section with a static, ominous theme that captures the suspense of battle without the dynamic structure that would vividly evoke its ebb and flow.
A Superhuman Reborn
A Duo of Courage
Matsuo’s multitude of music mixes the melancholy amidst misfortunes; mundane it isn’t, but the way some tracks ram its emotions into our ears robs us of the ability to imagine the scenes for ourselves. While soundtracks functionally serve as a backing for a visual medium, it ought to also stir emotions from deep within that allows us to empathize with a character or imagine a majestic or beautiful scene without the need for words. So given the scope of Phantom Blood, Matsuo’s compositions are appropriate as dignity and grace meets with doom and dread. But in terms of remembering and cherishing the melodies that Matsuo serves up? Well, let’s just say I’d sooner lock myself in a bomb-proof coffin to hide out until something better comes along.