Hello all, it me Jamie! I generally blog over at "Jamie Talks Anime" but I'm here to discuss a very unique, airy yet earthy, memorable anime soundtrack. After a thousand repeated recommendations from James The Reviewer, I plunged through the 1997 anime Berserk a couple weeks ago! It was definitely as good as he'd said, and I’m determined to read the source material this year!
However, one of my favorite things about Berserk was, hands down, its soundtrack. It added SO. MUCH. DEPTH. to each and every scene that it was used in. It created such a stunning, atmospheric sound that brought that entire, medieval world to life. Somehow it tugged on my heartstrings too, and now I can’t stop listening to it!
Track 08: Earth. It starts off very airy, with harps, a couple voices, and a bagpipe, just filling the air with atmosphere for the first two minutes. Then, as the rhythm picks up, the pipes go much faster, driving in rhythm of ambition and the taste of ancient times. I get lost almost immediately in the male and female vocals and the sound just swallows me whole by the four minute run time is over. I’d like to note that the synthesizer is used many times in this OST and it’s one of the key elements to gave Berserk such a wonderful sound.
Track 01: Behelit. The first track of Berserk’s OST begins with the urgent movements of the harp and an uneasy wind instrument. The tension grows and remains high through the track’s entirety before softly ending. This melody is definitely a fantastic tone setter for the more mysterious moments of Berserk as it dances around the supernatural wonder of character Griffith and simply the world of Berserk its self.
Track 04: Guts. “Earth” and this track “Guts” are the two I’ve listened to most the past few weeks. This piece has several layers of emotion, just like character Guts himself. Firstly kinda eeiry and mysterious. Then full of rich longing with hope and wonder. This track in particular also executes the electronic sound very well! You can especially hear it in this piece, as reverbs become a intricate part of the musical sound. Somehow it works perfectly with the medivial setting in the anime!
Track 05: Murder. This soundtrack incredibly long with a 9 minute running total! This has got to have one the most ominous, deep, dark sounds I’ve ever heard in an anime soundtrack though, so I'm sharing it anyway. It starts off quiet, and strings and electronic reverbs slowly begin to grow as utter darkness swallows the air for the first two minutes. Then the pace begins to quicken followed by pounding percussion at the 3 minute mark. At about the 5 minute mark, vocals take charge for a bit, soft but haunting and rather disturbing, rejoined later by the percussion. A truly captivating piece of haunting darkness if ever I heard one!
Forces. Ok, I can’t end without talking about this song. It plays during the final bit of each episode during “Next Time” and it’s fantastic! It’s loud, it’s brash, it pounding like horses on a battlefield, and yet it’s also triumphant and full of longing and glee. The voice work is incredibly strong, especially during the chorus. There’s just a driving fire in this piece; it’s wild and fierce and electric; it captures the spirit of Berserk incredibly well!
Have you seen Berserk? What did you think of its soundtrack? Have you heard any more of the great composer Susumu Hirasawa’s music (if not, go listen to this immediately!) Let me know which track is your favorite!
Jamie writes on her personally chaotic blog "Through Two Blue Eyes" about her life as a maturing fangirl in the center of Arizona. She also enjoys anime enough to write about it, and often times its music, on a second blog "Jamie Talks Anime." Drop by anytime! ;)