Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight – “Enchanted Banquet” (Michiru Yamane)

January 25, 2010

Nocturne in the Moonlight is a fantastic soundtrack. It has been consistently one of the top-rated and top-selling albums since 1997 and is the album that vaulted Michiru Yamane to star status as one of the best vgm composers around – and perhaps the top female composer in the industry. The soundtrack gets a lot of love, particularly for popular pieces like “Dracula’s Castle” and “The Tragic Prince”, but I always felt that “Enchanted Banquet” doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. The vocals in the song are performed by Michiru Yamane’s sister, Kahori.

Dracula X: Nocturne in the Moonlight – “Enchanted Banquet” (Michiru Yamane)

“Enchanted Banquet” is the fantastic battle theme of the Succubus and Medusa, Castlevania’s two female bosses. This technical masterpiece features the outstanding call-and-response of Kahori Yamane’s disturbing operatic virtuosity and Michiru Yamane’s strings and organs, an interplay that is only matched in the intense “Death Flower Succubus” from Lament of Innocence. Drums and discordant trumpets add to the piece’s powerful menace and depth, giving form to banshee-shrieks echoing off cold stone floors and dark, cobwebbed ceilings, demonstrating that a female monster is something truly to be feared, a fact Beowulf knew all too well. As listeners, we are usually inclined to avoid this discord and unpleasantness to seek harmony, but to sit back and embrace this operetta from hell is truly breathtaking. There simply isn’t much else in vgm like it, which is a damn shame.

The cool thing about Nocturne in the Moonlight is that it is available on iTunes for $9.99 (under the English title Symphony of the Night), which is a steal, considering the album was worth every cent of the $30+ it used to cost to import. Give the album a try if you haven’t heard it already – you WON’T be disappointed.
Now I admit I don’t normally listen to “Enchanted Banquet” when I put this on CD. In fact, I remove several tracks such as “Door of Holy Spirits” that are just not any fun to listen to and replace them with tracks from the Sega Saturn version of the game as well as the new ending from Dracula X Chronicles. As a result, I am able to arrange the album how I would like it to sound. I suppose the ideal version of the album would contain every single song (and I would still skip some of those) but we tend to design our albums based on the 80-minute limit imposed by the CD-ROM. MP3 players have kind of destroyed the concept of the album, bringing us to an age of the single and the mix. I believe vgm will remain in the album mentality though as the albums tend to be designed around an entire soundtrack to a game arranged based on the order in which a player encounters the tracks, making them easier to treat as a complete work. Of course, the beauty of it is that a listener can still arrange the album any way he or she wants.
One final note about the song title. “Enchanted Banquet” is being referred to now on vgmdb as “Demonic Banquet” thanks to a new translation and standardization effort. The old title was found in the game’s sound test, and so is what the track has been called for the past 10 years. I’m not sure what they’ll decide as far as official track names go: while there is something to be said about using an accurate translation, official translations and fan recognition must vie for dominance. I suppose I don’t really care what they call it at the end of the day: the music by any other name is just as good. Who knows – maybe I will have to edit this post a few months from now!

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