Well, you know what month it is folks, it is now October… unless you’re reading this in the future when it isn’t October. Anyway, this is a gimmicky excuse to focus on horror or Halloweeny material, and what better way to start off with music coming from literal torture porn? What do you mean I’m going to hell?
Anyway, I talked about Euphoria before and will be talking about it again later this month in full review. Music wise, Euphoria is mostly atmospheric background music meant to invoke atmosphere, but this track is quite different. “Madness,” otherwise known as “Sekiryou,” breaks the trend set by most music in Euphoria by being direct and powerful as opposed to subtle and atmospheric, yet still evoking an intimidating feeling. However, all I need to mention are the word “church organ” and that will be enough to make my case.
This song is undeniably stereotypical, as it uses both an organ and an ominous choir in a way that harmonizes perfectly. Despite both being common musical tropes, I have rarely seen them used in the same song. Euphoria’s soundtrack tends to suffer from the typical visual novel trapping of its songs getting repetitive after repeated use, yet this track is an exception to that rule. In order to maintain maximum effect for when this track is used, it is used sparingly. Even the absurdly demented track “Brutality” that plays during especially violent and brutal scenes starts to lose its effect over time, and fittingly, it contrasts to “Madness” in both sound and the scenes it is applied to.
Unlike “Brutality” which is a very harsh and dissonant track, “Madness” is very harmonic and is much more easy on the ears. Despite its intimidating nature, it is still an addicting track. It also is nothing special melody wise but holy shit does it harmonize well. It has an overwhelming divine feeling to it that is almost church like. Similarly to NieR’s “Shadowlord” this is not just used for style either.
SPOILERS beyond this point! Also trigger warning for rape and violence! Yeah, wouldn’t be Euphoria without it.
Most of Euphoria’s first act takes place inside a research facility where our main character Keisuke needs effectively rape his classmates in order for any of them to escape, and if any of them don’t comply, they die. To complicate things even further, Keisuke is a literal sadist who gets aroused by other’s pain and torment, but he also has the capacity for empathy like most other human beings. As a result, Keisuke has even more cognitive dissonance going on than Giegue, and he is actively trying to fight against his urges while simultaneously needing to embrace them for his own survival. However, he always finds solace in the fact that everything will be back to normal once he escapes the facility, but he returns to his school to see a large group of his male peers at his school brutally raping their female counterparts (image omitted for obvious reasons) accompanied by the subject of this article.
In this scene, the song completely captures the absolute madness and insanity going on in addition to the feelings of shock and horror that Keisuke is experiencing. Additionally, the religious element comes into play because Nemu rules over the school campus and a large chunk of the student body practically worships her like a Goddess; and she lets do whatever sick and depraved thing they want. Oh, and anyone who tries to leave the campus will get killed by an unknown force.
The plus side is that there is a resistance force forming against Nemu that is lead by Rinne, another of Keisuke’s classmates who was kept in the facility with him. So at first it looks like things are going well, that is until you realize that the resistance force is basically a demented cult of people who worship Rinne as a Goddess and believe that you can cleanse people of their evil ways by raping and torturing them until they decide to be good, and respond to every one of Keisuke’s objections with a cryptic “you don’t get it now but you will soon.” This same track plays during any of their ominous cult ceremonies.
On Rinne’s route, you get to see a rather frightening scene of Nemu being “cleansed” which is code for being branded three times and repeatedly gang raped. Note that Nemu’s entire character is essentially trying to be an evil sadistic cunt, yet this scene still makes you feel bad for her. You then see Keisuke watch this in horror and disgust at this cult that is in fact, no better than Nemu’s own. To make things worse, Rinne thinks that she needs Keisuke’s seed to give birth to the chosen one that will lead them to paradise, so he is kept as a sex slave and repeatedly raped, and for once this is NOT presented as a good thing. It was seriously surprising to see a game like this actually present female on male rape in a realistic manner. Hell, in a bad ending where Keisuke makes the mistake of deciding to stay with the cult instead of escaping, this song plays during the ending credits after the realization that this is all Keisuke exists for now.
Oh, and this also plays during the credits of “The Brute Ending,” and as we all know, rule number 1 is “do not talk about the brute ending,” and rule number 2 is “DO NOT TALK ABOUT THE BRUTE ENDING” so I’m not going to give any details about it, but this song is immensely fitting there as well.
Anyway, that is enough for this week’s VGM, and tune in next week for another super spoopy Halloween themed VGM. On a side note, am I the only one who can not take the word “spooky” remotely seriously? Even the meme typo version is easier for me to take seriously than the word spooky. “Spooky” makes me think of a kiddy Halloween house, and I can’t help but cringe whenever the term is used even ironically.
If you are interested in playing this game for yourself, the trial version can be downloaded here, and the full version can be purchased here (download), here (physical) and here (physical with a wallScroll).
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