Descendants of Darkness OST
Descendants of Darkness is one of my favorite anime series, and listening to the music just reminded me again of why I love this tale of tragic supernatural shonen-ai so much. The aim of any soundtrack is to create and/or enhance the mood, to the point where music becomes a character itself, able to stand alone and still be enjoyable. Crimson Moon does this perfectly.
"Ju Oh Cho" sets the stage with a dramatic, yet fluid piece that fits the crisis mood that premates Descendants of Darkness, a tone that also continues throughout the majority of Crimson Moon, oddly enough. Tracks range from smooth classical pieces ("Bloodstained Gem," "The Hunter Named Death") to abstract, industrial keyboard sounds ("Mortal Combat," "Crimson Labyrinth," "Bewitching Captive"). "The Netherworld of Cherry Blossoms Silhouette" sounds like a song from Chrono Trigger, with its determined focus, while "Pursuit of Sorrow" has a Spanish rhythm, blended with strings and guitar to make a toe-tapping song that blends rapid movement with sad wails from the strings. "The Hunter Named Death" is a hauntingly soft flute and keyboard piece, as is its following track, "A Meeting of Fate." As a former flutist, I have a weakness for my instrument being featured, and I appreciate songs where the flute plays well.
"The Devil's Trill," a violin piece that plays a key role during one of the three arcs of Descendants of Darkness, is featured in its entirity. Since it does play such a major role in the anime, it's nice to finally hear what Hisoka, Tsuzuki and the other characters were talking about so much.
Sound producer Tsuneyoshi Saito shows a playful side on "From the Graven Garden," with its nimble air, while the following track, "A Locked Heart" is a sad piano and flute piece. As opposed as these songs might be, somehow they sound perfect, paired up as thus.
Although the majority of Crimson Moon is instrumental, vocals are found on "Eyes of Sharp Lightning," "Hisoka - The Memory of the Cursed Moonlit Night," "Family of Darkness," "Blade of Demon Flame," and "A Face of Glass." "Family of Darkness" is a loud operatic piece, and "A Face of Glass" a somber choral, whereas the vocals in "Eyes of Sharp Lightning" and "Blade of Demon Flame" play as just another instrument, much as can be found in many pieces by Juno Reactor.
The opening and ending songs of Descendants of Darkness are included at the end of this collection. "EDEN" and "LOVE ME" have had a place in my collection for a long time, but it is nice to have the TV cuts of these songs. Another vocal piece can be found midway through Crimson Moon: "Amethyst Remembrance", the theme song for one of the supporting characters. The lyrics come from Emily Dickinson's poem "I Held a Jewel in my Fingers," and the song itself is perhaps the worst Engrish song that I have ever heard. It's so bad that it's amusing. I don't know if this effect is intentional or not; Maria Wong, the character who sings it in the anime, is Chinese, to the point where she wears a traditional dress and hairstyle, so the bad English might be another obvious sign of her status as a foreigner.
With the majority of tracks between two and three minutes, Crimson Moon manages to maintain complex melodies and a concise opening and closing for each song, making this feel more like an instrumental/vocal album than a collection of sound bites from the anime. In fact, the only sound bite is the commerical break music, "Eyecatch," which lasts nine seconds.
The cover of Crimson Moon is fairly clean, with a picture of Tsuzuki casting a spell. The back cover has a picture of a smug Dr. Muraki. Inside, the booklet contains screencaps from the series, a list of song titles, lyrics to "EDEN," "LOVE ME," "Amethyst Remembrance," and Emily Dickinson's poem, and blurbs from director Hiroko Tokita and sound producer Tsuneyoshi Saito. Also included are the credits for the main cast, main staff, musicians and soundtrack staff, a nice addition to see.
I would definitely recommend this OST for everyone, fan or not of Descendants of Darkness. With a wide variety of music, Crimson Moon is bound to capture your taste in one track or another. If you do enjoy Crimson Moon, then try the anime! It's yummy!