Shadow Hearts was always an underrated series of RPGs. We do not have that many JRPGs that embrace such a dark and Gothic style outside of Shin Megami Tensei, and those games also have a high barrier for entry due to their difficulty. The original Shadow Hearts felt very similar to PS1 era JRPGs with the exception that it was a fuck ton darker. Your first town in the game is populated by cannibals and your main character is a schizophrenic for fucks sake! Naturally, this means there will be dark and ominous music to accompany it. One of those is the boss theme in the second half of the game, “Demon’s Gig.”
Yeah, I don’t know what the title is all about, do we have a rock band made up of demons or something? To be fair, Shadow Hearts has a lot of weird track names, some examples being “China Ogre,” “Brain Hopper,” “Much Hatred Still Rankles,” “Coffin Fetish,” “But-Dad-Dead-Bed,” “Bacon’s Juice,” “Sicking Fucking,” and “Bate Me Bate Me.” I have no clue whether they are intentionally weird and freaky or if they were mistranslations but they were weird regardless. Anyway, this track is utterly brilliant.
Nothing gets one more amped up for battle than the screen transitioning with that choir and organ playing full force, and hearing the organ go out for second only to return after a few seconds instills a foreboding feeling of danger against something sinister and demonic. Hell, this song is great at sounding like a possessed house in song form with lack of melodic structure and chords that seem to just go in random directions to sound intimidating. It reminds me of how a possessed house will randomly shut the lights off and toss furniture all over the place in an attempt to either kill its inhabitants or invoke fear and unease.
The repeated violin chords in the background resemble a ticking clock, signifying that your time is almost up. Those low pitched guitar notes couple with heavy drums emanate a feeling of chaos and disorder. And the tambourines increasing their pace as the choir comes in exudes a spectral air to it. Also I like how you realize that the song started mid track after it loops, and how it still possesses harmony despite its chaotic nature. I can’t think of any symbolic shit about them, but I like them.
Anyway, that is about it for this week’s VGM, and see you all next time. Just be sure to keep those sanity points up.
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