If you’re as much of an Exemia fan as me you’ll already know that he was signed up by NGDEV to work on Gunvein’s OST. I was definitely planning to give the soundtrack a mention anyway, but for full disclosure I was kindly gifted a promo copy by Exemia around the time of release. It seems the ‘freeform loving shmup fan’ demographic is marginally bigger than I expected, and for us especially this was one of the most interesting releases of 2022.
Like Gunvein itself, the OST has plenty of late-era Cave atmosphere to it, but (unsurprisingly) a much more authentic hardcore feel to most of the tracks. One of the drawbacks from a freefrom DJ’s perspective is the short running time – you’d need some nimble mixing to get many of these into a set. That’s obviously not the main goal here though, and the variety is what makes this a fine listen even unmixed.
There’s more drum and bass here than I was expecting, but if anything less guitar – this is a very DoDonPachi inspired game, after all. No surprise that Exemia absolutely nails the stage 1 theme, with enough of a shmup feel to start things off followed by full freeform in the second half. Another favourite for me is Exhaled Haven, both a superb boss theme and a track that would easily fit into an Exemia freeform set. An extra mention too for the chilled ending track with its lovely drums and chirpy main lead.
Lately I’ve been back to trying to 1cc Guwange among others (I’ll take talk of that to Mastodon, not here) so I haven’t yet given Gunvein the time it deserves. With the reception it’s had so far and the best OST since Blue Revolver (or GG Aleste 3 if we’re including non-freeform) it’ll likely be worth the wait.
How does Exemia keep coming up with so much stuff?! Could it be he actually LIKES production? Nah…
What a nice selection of music, anyhow. Venom Hell may be my favorite from the initial skim for its Karous-like feel. As a non-DJ I very much like that they get to the point without wasting time, especially Exhaled Heaven.
(By the way, I see your GG Aleste 3 and raise you one 100th Black Market.)
Right, getting straight to the point is something I love about all of Exemia’s tracks! Trying to mix a 3 minute long track is where the problems start… As a standalone listen though, the OST works a lot better than I expected, a really nice listen.
Good call on 100th Black Market by the way, but genius though ZUN might be I’m personally not a fan of Touhou music (freeform versions aside). And anyway, it was hard for me to look past Manabu Namiki doing miracles with the Game Gear!
Definitely a big fan of Namiki here too, especially before he fell into his cliches!
When it comes to GGA3 you can feel the inspiration flowing from everyone involved! Those visuals are outrageous too, especially after playing the GG games in sequence like I did 🙂
Thank you very much for taking the time to write this awesome review, this made me feel so happy!
It was my pleasure! You did such a great job, I’ve seen so many of the Gunvein reviews talking about the banger soundtrack 😀