So here we are in 2017 and the blog is back! With a new year comes many things, and I'll do my best to explain the long absence and what to expect going forward in another post for now, it's time to dive right in with a little review of the fairly recent LP pressing of the soundtrack for arguably Konami's best work (at least in the mid 80's to 90's), Castlevania
So for a quick review, here's what the front, inside, and back looks like:
Pretty spiffy if I do say so.
Wait, did I say spiffy? It's incredible! It's almost worth the price of admission just for the artwork. Heck. I'm thinking of grabbing a frame to display this bad boy when I'm not listening to it.
While I do own several greatest hits albums for my favorite musicians, they aren't always what you are in the mood for, and when you listen to them all in one go it can feel a bit disjointed as you aren't getting the one tone/story that the artist originally intended. Thankfully, this LP by Mondo contains the goodness made by Kinuyo Yamashita and Satoe Terashima and doesn't confuse it with other installments in the Castlevania series. You get a crisp sound, great music, and the vinyl goodness you are looking for. One of the hallmarks of great NES and SNES games was that not only did each track for each level sound different from the last, but each one felt like you were truly building up to something epic. Soundtracks like the original Castlevania throw you into the feel of the game so much, you'll want to fire up a NES and play for hours on end. In its own odd way, the experience of listening to the game's soundtrack on an LP makes it feel like it has a richer quality.
Anywho, I could just have the rest of this Midweek Music Box be one long gushing session over the various tunes, soundbytes, and even the little ditty that plays when you get knocked back into a pit for the hundredth time by a Medusa head.
For those who haven't heard the soundtrack ever (where have you been?) or those just looking for a quick fix, here's the soundtrack in total:
Sounds great don't it?
Okay, that said, let's talk about some of the issues I do have with the vinyl. (Not the soundtrack itself, here I'm just talking about Mondo's cut of the soundtrack.)
"Always leave them wanting more."
Likely you've heard this quote associated magicians, musicians, and circus acts. Well, you can easily apply that saying to the Castlevania vinyl, but it goes beyond just wanting more. The overall album is just far too short. When it comes to the soundtrack of a beloved classic NES game like the original Castlevania, I have my expectations fairly high. Perhaps they were too high. I get it. When it comes to older games, the soundtrack tends to not only loop, but loop after anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds tops. However, this doesn't mean I would mind more than a two to a two-and-a-half minute loop of certain selections. Certainly this wouldn't work for the intro music as you go up to the castle or look at the map. But it would definitely work for individual level music. As it is, the record itself is slightly smaller than a regular LP and has an abundance of unused space which frankly baffles me. It really seems like they could have had longer tracks, or maybe even a reimagining or two thrown in for fun.
Summary: While I'm okay with the entry price of $25 plus shipping, I think if the cost were much higher I might have been more hesitant to pick this album up. I like the music, in fact, I love it. Yet when you get something like this and are disappointed in the length of the album, you need a saving grace to help convince you that you've made the right choice in picking it up. With Mondo's release they offer one of the sweetest covers and some of the coolest looking LP art I've gotten to date. I wasn't exaggerating earlier when I said I would love to get some special frame to put this in. Maybe it's just my love of Castlevania and any and all related artwork carrying this one over the finish line for me. Still, there's something to be said for the feeling you get placing needle to record and hearing not the latest Metallic album or some classic from the past, but some 8-bit goodness. Pick it up if you have the chance, if for no other reason then for some cool shelf candy.