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Schell Bullet ~Thanaphs68~ :: Review by Don

Schell Bullet ~Thanaphs68~ Album Title: Schell Bullet ~Thanaphs68~
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-516
Release Date: July 21, 2000
Purchase: Buy at eBay


An image album for the Schell Bullet manga, Schell Bullet ~Thanaphs68~ is an short work by Tenpei Sato. It features vocalist Maria Kawamura and creative artist Kunihiko Ikuhara, who co-wrote the Schell Bullet novel and also sings on some of the tracks here. Since the manga is based on organic robots, there are a lot of interesting sound combinations on the album. Is it worth a purchase?


While I could mention each track, because I find them all to be superb, I'll only be mentioning a few of my favorites. The overall sound of this album combines a nice organic approach, using classical instruments, as well as a futuristic approach, attributed mainly to the synth and electronica base that some of the track have. It's a really interesting fusion of sounds.

"Schell / G-SCHLL-1554" is one of my favorites on the album. Opening up with a rhythmic whispering, the track immediately stands out. As for the meat of the track, there's a really interesting combination of emotions. You'll hear a rather sinister tone throughout the piece, however, at times you'll hear some rather peaceful sections that really seem to contrast with the overall message of the piece. The female chorals, the spoken vocals, and violin all combine rather nicely with the rhythmic nature of this piece. The futuristic accents heard occasionally make for a really interesting piece of music.

"Riot Bluster," my personal favorite, just exudes a really interesting melody. The combination of strings and techno beat in the accompaniment makes for an interesting driving force that goes well with the distorted synth used in the melody. It's quite addicting! As the track develops, more additions are included, such as the use of electric guitar. It almost has a disco-like sound to it. I highly recommend this one!

"Marker Launcher" has another interesting style. The very soft synth introduction of spoken voice, which focuses mainly on a throbbing bass in the accompaniment, sets a very mellow mood. However, don't fall asleep yet! Approximately halfway through the track, the pace and tone of the track takes a major turn! The bass line gets more intense. The vocals also turn rather strange, and there is also reliance on a strange echoing rhythm.

Now, the entire album doesn't have a futuristic sound either. "Thanaphs68"is the perfect example of this and is easily my favorite slow piece on the album. I like that Maria Kawamura has a very nice voice for this piece. It's a bit kawaii, but it really fits the rustic feel of the melody. It's a really simple piece, focusing on dual acoustic guitars, but there is definitely an intrinsic beauty to the entire piece. Occasionally, strings and a harmonica enter into the mix to accent the melody, but aren't the driving force of the piece.

I'll end with "Karnighan Drive." It's another futuristic based composition and the inclusion of vocals makes for an interesting piece. In fact, you could probably dance to this in a club as the vocals are more for dramatic effect rather than producing a solid melody and are fairly sporadic in nature. Interestingly enough, it also includes a motif found in "Rhone Balt," another peaceful track on the album. It's a nice way to tie together the entire work. There are moments of peace, but for the most part, this is very electronica focused.


While I wasn't able to cover each track, I assure you that they are all excellent. In fact, there isn't a single piece from the image album that I'm disappointed with — not even in the slightest. It's a really interesting work for Tenpei Sato, who nowadays tends to focus more on the violin in his strategy RPGs. In fact, this is the Tenpei Sato I wish would surface again. He appears from the shadows every once and a while in his current soundtracks, but this version needs to be the dominant player. It is albums like this that really showcase Sato's true creativity.

Overall Score: 10/10