ZAN -Kagerou no Toki- “Spring of His Life” (arr. Sargent Wolf Band)April 8, 2010
ZAN -Kagerou no Toki- (Age of Heat Haze, 1990) was posted recently on Slightly Dark. This is an early example of Motoi Sakuraba‘s work (more famous for Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile), back when he was working for Wolf Team (they made a lot of games with great soundtracks in the early 90s). The game appears to be a tactical war game set in feudal Japan, and it’s got a few interesting songs on it. My favorites are the arrangements by Sargent Wolf Band, composed of Masaaki Uno, Motoi Sakuraba, and Yasunori Shiono, who later collaborated on Arcus II. I guess the name is slightly inspired by the Beatles, and come to think of it, Wagayo no Haru (“Spring of His Life”) has a bit of a Sergeant Pepper’s feel to it.
The game’s ending theme, “Spring of His Life”, is my favorite track on the album. It has a pretty calm opening with a lazy piano and strings that feel like cherry blossoms falling in the breeze. However, the most memorable part of this track is the trumpet and guitar sequence added at 1:35. The soothing notes relieve the tension of work and battle as the triumphant warriors drift off into the sunset. There’s some nice percussion here as well with wonderful timing on the drums. The track has another calm break at 2:05-2:54 before returning to the rock section and ending with a nice guitar solo. I suppose that’s what you’d expect for the ending to a samurai western.
I also kind of like “Ransen” (Melee) a bit, too. It’s a short battle theme that has a whining guitar that fits the chaos of battle and is oddly memorable. The rattling percussion and voice effects of warriors makes for a fun, unique tune. The original X68000 version of “Age of Heat Haze” also ends with sampled sounds of a horrific battle.
I also like this album’s cover art. Though it isn’t exactly the ‘heat haze’ you see in the title screen to Sunset Riders, it does have horseback warriors emerging from a hot, dusty cloud. I wonder if this image is from the same source as the sampled battle sounds.