|Album Title:||Attack on Titan Original Soundtrack|
|Anime Title:||Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin)|
|Artist:||Hiroyuki Sawano, Mika Kobayashi, mpi, Aimee Blackschleger, Cyua,
CASG (Caramel Apple Sound Gadget)
|Release Date:||June 28, 2013|
|Purchase at:||CDJapan, Play-Asia|
|01. ət’æk 0N tάɪtn (Vocal: MIKA KOBAYASHI)||Hiroyuki Sawano||4:17|
|02. The Reluctant Heroes (Vocal mpi)||Hiroyuki Sawano||4:27|
|03. eye-water||Hiroyuki Sawano||3:01|
|04. 立body機motion||Hiroyuki Sawano||5:43|
|05. cóunter・attàck-m’ænkάɪnd||Hiroyuki Sawano||6:07|
|06. army⇒G♂||Hiroyuki Sawano||3:26|
|07. Vogel im Käfig (Vocal Cyua)||Hiroyuki Sawano||6:20|
|08. DOA (Vocal AIMEE BLACKSCHLEGER)||Hiroyuki Sawano||3:26|
|09. 凸】♀】♂】←巨人||Hiroyuki Sawano||4:21|
|10. E・M・A||Hiroyuki Sawano||5:43|
|11. 巨♀～9地区||Hiroyuki Sawano||5:15|
|12. Bauklötze (Vocal MIKA KOBAYASHI)||Hiroyuki Sawano||3:56|
|13. 2chi城||Hiroyuki Sawano||6:48|
|14. XL-TT||Hiroyuki Sawano||6:37|
|15. Call your name (Vocal mpi & CASG )||Hiroyuki Sawano||4:28|
|16. omake-pfadlib||Hiroyuki Sawano||3:32|
Review: After listening to Hiroyuki Sawano’s compositions for Attack on Titan, I’ve concluded that this soundtrack is absolutely unpretentious. Sawano’s music, on its own, is nothing special. There are few subtle appeals to emotion since his pieces are raw and loud, getting in your face without showing a twinge of shyness. In doing so, they perfectly depict Attack on Titan’s gritty, harrowing atmosphere, where the eponymous monstrosities keep humanity cowering behind city walls that seemingly delay rather than prevent the inevitable. And when you do have appeals to emotion, they’re serviceable during the initial listen, but quickly de-evolve into cheesiness upon closer inspection.
So while this soundtrack is anything but subtle, its grandiosity appeals to that primitive part of my being that yearns to break free and wreak havoc. The first track, “ət’æk 0N tάɪtn”, is completely unabashed in this regard; the electronica growls and rumbles make way for a dread chorus that intensifies the danger, highlighting the dire straits in which humanity finds itself. After the suspenseful first half, the piece blazes away, complete with a sound comparable to many an ostentatious Hollywood score. Mika Kobayashi’s entry shatters any remaining restraint, unleashing a ferocious torrent of passion and energy that reeks of the desperation you sense from a cornered animal with nothing left to lose. While it’s hardly an exemplar of melodic refinement, “ət’æk 0N tάɪtn” is evocative, thereby succeeding in putting a very strong stamp on the album.
ət’æk 0N tάɪtn
Impressive though the piece is, it’s even more impressive when compared to many other tracks of its general bent on this soundtrack simply because of its greater emphasis on melody over purely rhythmic measures. “立body機motion’s” harsh rhythm bodes poorly because of its repetitiveness and intermittent blares. Although the piece opens up, heralding a sense of majesty and, appropriately enough, motion to bring energy and excitement to the fore, that melodic moment is too fleeting; the piece reverts back to a rhythm-heavy interlude that, as a person who prefers melodies to rhythms that lack a novel premise, is of little interest. A similar problem afflicts “凸】♀】♂】←巨人” which brings little more than an ambient piece with smatterings of the acoustic guitar you’ll hear during the eyecatch to keep the track absorbing.
The sense of compositional balance is also off in certain tracks. “E・M・A” is a prime example in which the choral hooting and hollering becomes obnoxious as it detracts from an otherwise enjoyable track with its majestic trumpet fanfares and string soundscape. But what’s even worse is that the piece goes off to a section with an enjoyable Middle Eastern that and then makes an unexpected turn into a measure in which electronica squeals and wails become extremely annoying to have to deal with all the way to the end. Also, while the electronica’s inability to draw me into “巨♀～9地区” is a pretty huge strike against it despite the decently-executed brassy swells, the appearance of a siren-like blare about three-fourths of the way through make the remainder of the track a segment to skip. Honestly, I’d prefer tracks take the form of “XL-TT” which does extremely well in crafting the aura of dread through the overwrought ominous chorus, heavy chords, and the bells to evoke the titanic titan’s impending arrival.
Finally, I did mention that there are bouts of cheesiness, which lie mostly in mpi’s vocals. “The Reluctant Heroes,” while as tragic and reeking of desperation as one might expect through its melody, becomes silly when one takes a closer listen to lyrics like:
It was like a nightmare
It’s painful for me
Because nobody wants to die too fast
Remember the day of grief
Now it’s strange for me
I could see your face
I could hear your voice
which are sung with a really thick Engrish influence. Mpi’s followup, “Call your name” is hardly better as his emo-y tendencies during the stanzas rob the song of its impact. “DOA’s” effort, featuring Aimee Blackschleger (whose performance on Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt’s soundtrack is rather prominent) is slightly better, but when the lyrics go like:
Can’t you see over there?
Such a horrible sight
They’re devouring all like you
Here come the giant hands
Breaking through the wall
As dawn arrives
We still survive
Nobody knows what’s going on
Tearing my town, limb by limb
Where are your mom and dad?
I’m reminded more of Monty Python than the fear one experiences when your loved ones are being mauled by giant humanoids.
The Reluctant Heroes
Oh well. Even with tracks like the poignant “omake-pfadlib” and the ethnically interesting “2chi城,” which combines measures of East Asian melodies before transitioning to a lively dance festival, Attack on Titan’s soundtrack is largely a disappointment. A disappointment because I expected much more structurally sound compositions from Hiroyuki Sawano or, short of that, bombastically satisfying music rather than bland electronica or repetitive rhythms. He, who composed the loud, yet satisfying Gundam Unicorn soundtrack and the widely-praised score for Guilty Crown and Ao no Exorcist, is capable of much better. Perhaps a part of me simply wishes that Sawano’s music, on its own, measures up to the context in which it’s used.