Year One in the North

Michiru Oshima

" Dramatic listen with a knock out theme, endlessly repeated ... "

Written by Thomas Glorieux - Review of the regular release

Year One in the North is one of those surprises you stumble upon when you give unknowing titles and composers a chance. And Michiru Oshima's music is totally worth it, if only for that amazing main theme. It reminds me in its beauty and tempo of Exodus' stellar theme. And it indeed makes the album. Too bad it makes the album monotonous as well, considering it's all over the place. It's endlessly repeated and it appears mostly in the very same form. The beginning with "Year One in the North – Main Title" introduces you alright to it, knocking you off your unknowing feet. But by the end of the album you have heard it too much. Even though it does give you a glorious send off in "A Miracle to Hope" when it's supported by choir and Glory like bells and trumpets. But in between we have an overlong exercise of theme statements, underwhelming "action tracks" and just not enough variation. "The Flower of Awaji" is an exception. Even though it states the theme, it's also a wonderful dramatic listen with lovely string writing. And the noble horn solo's in tracks 11 and 12 give you some respite. But alas, those overlong tracks bring more underscore than action. Furthermore the main theme is repeated to the death in "As Far As I Dream" before it concludes with the epic version in the very next track. Too much is never a good thing, not even for a stunning theme as this one. Again, make this album 30 to 40 minutes shorter and you have a wonderful listen. And the female composer must be commended for writing a theme that sticks in the mind, sadly also due for the fact it's heard just a tad too much ...

The theme of all themes. It opens and closes this score with a bang.
In between various tracks that bring beauty and hope to a dramatic tale.
Alas this theme is all over the place, in the same tempo and in almost the same fashion.
Album lacks variation and should have been shortened immensely.

Track Listing

1. Year One in the North – Main Title (3.25) Excellent track
2. The Decision of Husband and Wife (5.42) Excellent track
3. Winter in the North (3.09)
4. The Flower of Awaji (6.46) Excellent track
5. The Refugees of the Time (3.01)
6. Reluctance to Move On (2.31)
7. Dreams Come True (2.33)
8. Kurazou's Thought (1.50)
9. The Pleasures of a Happy Home (2.13)
10. A Small Miracle (1.57)
11. The New World (0.50)
12. A Bright Future (1.42)
13. The Attack of the Locusts (7.40)
14. A Heartrending Cry (2.09)
15. The Hand That Knows Trouble (2.51)
16. The Day of a Decisive Battle (2.07)
17. Our Country – Confrontation (3.33)
18. A Surprise Attack (1.32)
19. As Far As I Dream (8.28)
20. A Miracle to Hope (5.59) Excellent track

Total Length: 69.58
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Released by

Jroom Instrumental CME COCQ-83925 (regular release 2005)