Various Artists

Godzilla: The Best 1954-1998

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This collection of themes from the Japanese Godzilla films of the last 40 years is a wonderful surprise, filled with memorable and beautiful songs that betray the cheesy films they spring from. Most of the first half of the album is dedicated to the music from the first four films in the series, and these are some of the best themes on the album. "Godzilla Main Theme," which is featured in several of the earlier films, is the best song on the album. A dark, rich piece enhanced by a deep brass section, it is reprised in several forms throughout the album. Several of the military themes included are strong and forceful with the tight trumpets and staccato drums. What is even more unusual is how beautiful some of the songs are. "Mothra's Theme" is a gentle ballad with rich harmonies and a wonderfully understated string accompaniment. The theme to Godzilla 1985 is a dark and driving effort with bursts of dissonance. And the bleak "Godzilla Vs. Destroyah Death Suite" is a haunting effort filled with mournful strings and a sweeping build. Some songs are out of place, the "Super-X Theme" is a terribly blatant reworking of John Williams' theme to Superman, and "Son of Godzilla Theme" is goofy and dull. Still, there are audio clips from the movies in between some songs, and most of it is really good, so Godzilla fans and fans of good Japanese neo-classical music will probably enjoy these tracks. Be warned, almost the entire packaging is in Japanese, and the song titles are not printed in English.

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