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Perfect Selection Dracula Battle II :: Review by George

Perfect Selection Dracula Battle II Album Title: Perfect Selection Dracula Battle II
Record Label: King Records
Catalog No.: KICA-1162
Release Date: June 21, 1995
Purchase: Buy at eBay


Perfect Selection Dracula Battle was an incredible and memorable album that fused Castlevania arrangements with rock performances. After this success, Konami released other "Battle" albums that featured music from its various game franchises, all produced by Naoto Shibata and bearing his iconic musical style. Fortunately for Castlevania fans, a second volume titled Perfect Selection Dracula Battle II was released. While it's not as impressive as the original, in part due to its track selection, it still manages to impress and entertain a lot.


Strangely enough, the second volume starts once again with an arrangement of "Beginning" from Castlevania III. It's almost identical to the version from the first Dracula Battle, but it has a slower tempo and the guitar solos aren't as good. It is soon followed by the arrangement of the legendary "Theme of Simon". This track stays pretty faithful to the original, keeping even the same anthemic trumpet motifs, in conjunction with various keyboard layers, synths, and intense guitar work. The improvised guitars solos throughout the middle of the track are particularly remarkable.

"Road of Enemy #1" is quite different from the rest of all Dracula Battle arrangements, featuring a slow, juggernaut-like progression. Its powerful and heavy percussion is accompanied by screaming electric guitars throughout. The arrangement doesn't really stand out during the first listen, given its slightly repetitious nature, but with repeated listens, it starts to become addictive and fun, thanks to its intricate solos. The album takes another unexpected but interesting turn with "Theme from the Legend of Dracula" which is a calm acoustic folk tune. Starting with melancholic piano notes, it soon introduces a soothing flute that plays a very beautiful folk melody. While it is totally out of place in this album, and potentially alienating during a single sitting, it is still an impressive interpretation of a relative unknown.

The entire rest of the album is just an awesome blast of epic proportions. The version of "Thrashard in the Cave" is the best I've heard. With its raging guitars and drums at full force, it manages to sound raw, intense, but also very melodic. Truly one of the most outstanding tracks of the album. "Iron-Blue Intention" and "Reincarnated Soul" are both from Michiru Yamane's score for Castlevania: Bloodlines. Thematically, that soundtrack had a lot in common with Baroque music. The arrangements of this album reflect this with a neo-classical metal approach to those amazing Baroque-inspired motifs. In both arrangements, there is an intense blast of progressive guitar riffs accompanied by prominent use of synths and keyboards. Yet while "Reincarnated Soul" is as much classic heavy metal as one can imagine, "Iron-Blue Intention" takes a slower and more epic musical approach.

"Ascension to the Castle" is an extreme ramp that turns the original ominous theme from Super Castlevania IV into one hell of an epic and climatic anthem. It's sure to inspire visions of ascending to the glorious castle of the lord of darkness himself. "Illusionary Dance", on the other hand, is the memorable music that accompanies the final battle with Dracula. The arrangement is spectacular. It manages to be a dark and bombastic orchestral battle theme fused with intense percussion and hard-edged electric guitars, progressing with complex solos in later sections.


Ultimately, Perfect Selection Dracula Battle II is yet another incredible arranged album featuring the memorable music from Castlevania. Largely through reusing some ideas that were introduced in the first volume, it manages to entertain and impress both game music fans and rock/metal aficionados at the same time. Despite being marginally inferior to the first album, it improves on sound quality and the latter half of the arrangements manage to blow away most tracks from the first Dracula Battle. If you enjoyed the original Dracula Battle, then this album is an absolute must.

Overall Score: 8/10