Film scores

Soundtrack review: Parasyte (Naoki Sato – 2015)

parasyte

The Japanese movie and animation scene is a constant source of great musical surprises. I sometimes regret not having enough time to review more Japanese scores because there are quite a few extraordinary composers over there. From the more mainstream names that keep getting thrown in film music fans circles, Naoki Sato was the one I was the least familiar with. And since his score for the horror “Parasyte” is out this year and a friend whose tastes I trust recommended this score I decided to give it a spin.

The score tests me with some horror atmospheric pieces in the beginning. They are enjoyable and well written but nothing I haven’t heard before. In a strange way they just barely catch the lowest step of the magnificent musical ladder that was the score for “Oblivion”. The first few cues from “Parasyte” mirror the only moments of the M83 score I didn’t consider extraordinary (“Horatius”, “The library”). Still it’s a point of entrance and I am invested in the atmosphere. Then “A” turns from a normal cue into an insane, aggressive and relentless opera before getting back to the usual and it feels like I just had a dream in the middle of a cue.

I like music that’s thick and meaningful and this is what I get here. A cue like “Hesitation” hides layer under layer of emotions and it tells a story by itself. It’s suspenseful, reflective, intense, melodic and mysterious at the same time and I don’t want it to end. Like everything in the visual aspects of Japanese horror and anime, the music has moments when it just because brutal and exaggerated and doesn’t hold back. The effect is powerful and grabs your attention if it had ever slipped.

I get flashes of the way Oblivion made me feel in the ecstatic buildup of “Passed away”. This cue just rises and rises and I am afraid that Naoki Sato will not be able to stop it and it will take over the world and change it forever. Thankfully the super hero composer manages to cut its head and the cue hisses at us a few more times before collapsing.

The epic buildup is part of the spectacle and appeal of “Parasyte”. I found myself at unease during quite a few cues, looking over my shoulder because of the creepy sounds before the music just exploded into a flurry of revelations, sparks, fireworks, knives and whatever this wizard can conjure. Besides sounds he also conjures memories of the ambient of some of my favorite scores in recent years and I feel like I’ve known “Parasyte”, or that I’ve been waiting for it. It’s that thick darkness that shattered me in “Tron: Legacy”, “Oblivion” or “The dark knight rises”. This score is a parasite that fed on those legendary compositions and gave birth to a hybrid to match.

And all these words were valid until a certain point. From “Idol – the lords of creation” on, Naoki Sato takes his music and the intensity to a whole new level I didn’t know they could reach. There are no more doubts or hiccups, there are no more moments where I wonder what will happen in the final 7 cues because there’s no time to wonder, question or look behind. The music is simply perfect, epic, melodic and more inspiring than a dozen trailer albums. It’s just fantasy music at its best and I am glad I discovered this score. Do yourselves a favor and listen to it.

Cue rating: 92 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 50 / 62

Album excellence: 81%

Highlights:

A

Hesitation

Brutal Murder

Passed Away

Emotion And Mistaken

Idol – The Lords Of Creation

Parasyte

Maternal Affection

Leader Of Intermixed

Alarm Bell – Karma Of Mankind

Heartbreaking Farewell

Link – Memories Of Lefty, And To The Future

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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