To be honest, Mistlarouge ~Music Festival of the Spirits~ is a game I know nothing about at all. But since when does knowing a game have to be the basis for reviewing music? Either way, this is another predominantly Tenpei Sato soundtrack with only the opening and closing vocal pieces contributed by Kazuhito Fujiki. Shall we?
"ZENITH," the opening vocal performance, has a club feel to it. The techno bass line over the vocals is a different blend, at least for game soundtracks, which now tend to focus on very poppy sounds. The vocalist, Mie Sonozaki, has a very pleasant voice and there are several great moments, such as the acoustic guitar solo. However, overall, I find the song to be rather repetitive. "ZENITH" also makes a reprise as the soundtrack closer. However, it differs from the original in that it focuses more on the acoustic guitar. Everything else sounds rather similar though.
As for Tenpei Sato's compositions, there is truly a variety on this soundtrack. "Strawberry Phrase" has a very classical feel to it and the string work is absolutely stunning. It's easily my favorite work on the soundtrack. The next track, "Chocolatte," breaks with the classical and has a very quirky sound. The rhythm is really nice and the various synth sound effects match the beat and melody quite nicely.
You'll also find jazz on the soundtrack as well. "Punk Panzer" is a really decent jazz piece. While nothing about it sticks out, it just seems to ooze atmosphere and reminds me of a jazz bar filled with the smell of cigar smoke. Sato employs the use of piano as well. In what is rather out of character for Sato, you'll find that "Untuned Memory" features no other instrumentation rather than a piano. There is just a rather melancholy, yet happy, tone to the entire piece. It's one of my favorites on the album. "So Sad..." is another piano-focused composition which, unlike "Untuned Memory", uses some very soft accompaniment to accentuate a rather sad atmosphere.
Are you craving a bit of Spanish flair? Well, you'll find that "Café la Mist". While not entirely Spanish in style, the jazzy feel of the track, combined with the use of flamenco guitar, provides a rather interesting fusion. To finish off with the stylistic approach, you'll also hear militaristic sounds as well. "Against the Pressure" is a really bombastic militaristic piece with a fantastic melody. The instrumentation really drives the piece forward. "Zenithal Spark" is also another militaristic piece with the inclusion of chorals that makes for another epic theme from Sato.
However, I can't always point out the positives without mentioning the negatives. "LA-LA-LA Lummy" is a really quirky track as well, but unfortunately, I don't really enjoy too much. The melody is playful, but it just sounds rather plain to me. "Terrorin' Eyes," is another example of plain and boring. It has a really suspenseful melody, but at the same time, it sounds rather clichéd. Aside from these two pieces though, and the vocal theme I mentioned previously, this album is pretty solid.
Mistlarouge ~Music Festival of the Spirits~ is a solid album. Aside from the vocal theme, its arrangement, and the few plain and boring pieces aforementioned, you'll find tons of stylistic diversity on this album. On the whole, it's really quite pleasant and definitely worth seeking out. Sato proves that he's quite versatile with this album.