|Album Title:||Death Parade Original Soundtrack Digest Edition|
|Anime Title:||Death Parade|
|Release Date:||March 11, 2015|
|01. Death Parade||Yuki Hayashi||5:27|
|02. VS||Yuki Hayashi||2:21|
|03. Saigo no Uso||Yuki Hayashi||1:56|
|04. Jin wa Ikiru Mono||Yuki Hayashi||1:55|
|05. Memento Mori||Yuki Hayashi||2:35|
|06. Gemu B||Yuki Hayashi||2:33|
|07. Gemu D||Yuki Hayashi||1:42|
|08. Semarikuru Ketsumatsu||Yuki Hayashi||2:21|
|09. Omoide||Yuki Hayashi||3:35|
|10. moonlit night||Yuki Hayashi||4:43|
Review: The games Death Parade throws at the participants unfortunate enough to be sent to the Quindecim bar are tense and enthralling. So enthralling that it’s easy to miss out on Death Parade‘s solid soundtrack. While subtle, Yuki Hayashi’s compositions for the anime stand strongly on their own, without eclipsing the on-screen context in which it’s used.
Given the anime’s plotline, Death Parade‘s soundtrack switches between the melancholy and madness, giving both facets their own flavor. Hayashi’s melancholy tracks are poignant and the pieces that capture the sheer insanity of the games are distinct in their use jazzy lines to propel the games along.
Of the two, it’s the melancholy tracks that catch my attention most. The eponymous opening track, “Death Parade”, accentuates its mournful atmosphere through the bass, and then the saxophone. As the piece progresses, a sense of doom creeps in and the music grows more ponderous. A momentary halt lets the tension build up, which is released through a tragic air played by saxophones. The weight of emotions continues to build, amplified by the fitting use of backing vocals and chants to pave the way for some heart-rending violin and saxophone solos near the end. The manner in which “Death Parade” captures the struggles and pains arising from the individual tragedies is adroit as it lays down the expectation for what’s to come.
After the tragedy dies down, it’s game on! The first of those tracks, “VS”, doles out a hurried rhythm carried primarily by dissonant banging piano chords. The frenzied mood becomes heightened when the violin and the jazzy piano line leave a chaotic atmosphere in their wake, thereby augmenting the anxiety and increasing mental unraveling. Like the games shown in the anime, this track is enthralling through its instillation of schadenfreude, making you curious as to the participants’ mental state all the way until “VS’s” final, doom-filled note.
The jazzy tones in “VS” become the trademark sound for the anime’s game music. Yuki Hayashi’s choice of music blends the class of the Quindecim bar with the unpredictable moments the game brings forth. “Gemu B” is largely methodical, and the various solos that drift in and out of the piece capture the human component of the game, with its machinations and ensuing drama. “Gemu D”, in comparison, is more laconic as it plods around repetitively in a matter-of-fact manner. Of all the tracks, this is by far the least interesting, especially when compared to the more dynamic pieces in the album.
All games must come to an end and the results of the game are laid bare in “Saigo no Uso”. When the excitement dies down, the somber piano and violins provide a sincere delivery rich in emotion as the players face the tragic outcome. “Jin wa Ikuru Mono” provides a glimmer of hope, but the soundtrack refuses to back down from the dread that permeates the show’s atmosphere. We hear the doom and gloom in “Memento Mori” when the grim violins fill the air with suffering and regret. Each note and measure is heavy, as though the players’ mind was torn apart by the weight of the suspicion and anger that plagued them when they were alive. And when these emotions reach a peak, the strings resolve the piece with a movingly cathartic release, offering some hope despite the dark fates looming ahead.
As the album winds down, the dark fates materialize in “Semarikuru Ketsumatsu” when the quiet electric guitar opener paves the way for a scary and chaotic delivery. The sounds that flash in and out, along with the mournful violin and tense rhythms, give this piece a domineering air. But it’s the quiet moments that have the biggest impact; their eeriness allows you to feel the mind unraveling completely. “Semarikuru Ketsumatsu” provides a nice segue to “Omoide”, where the track’s barren introduction evokes a person that’s a shell of their former self. The somber mood continues through the combination of strings and piano. As they ride to the end, they leave behind an unsettling aura that’s just heartrending.
With “moonlit night”, the sorrowful vibe scattered throughout the album lingers. While the melancholy aura overshadows much of the piece, there’s also a sense of panic, apparent in the piano’s frantic, anxiety-filled delivery. As the introspective piece winds its course towards the end, all that’s left is a resigned sense of finality that’s captivating in its grief-stricken anguish.
The games that Quindecim’s participants are forced to undergo are cruel and maybe even a necessity, but Yuki Hayashi’s superb music elevates those games to a whole new level by capturing the participants’ unraveling minds in the face of such horror and tragedy. Although Yuki Hayashi’s work on Death Parade is his least diverse, it’s his best as he captures the very soul of what makes this anime such a riveting watch.