Various Artists

Hagane no Renkinjutsushi

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The first soundtrack for the Fullmetal Alchemist series covers primarily score material rather than what's now considered to be soundtrack material (multiple opening and ending themes from popular artists). The music, composed primarily by Michiru Oshima, walks a careful line between modern and Victorian, and between Japanese folk and European classical. There's a tentative tone to the proceedings, aided by a focus on woodwinds and light strings. The music is always reaching somewhere, following the characters' journey ably as program music. As the album progresses (to follow the progression of the story), the music becomes contemplative at certain times, journey-based at others. It maintains a focus on the woodwinds, however, and retains a slight sense of suspense. Fans of the anime series may prefer to find the soundtracks from pop groups. Fans of original scores may find much to like here, however.