Death Waltz (2014)
Before I type another word, I cannot give enough thanks to my friend @chris_whitehead for his help in acquiring this record for me. Death Waltz records couldn't sell this to anyone in America due to licensing restrictions, so Chris bought it for me, had it shipped to his house, reinforced the packaging with extra cardboard and then shipped it to me in America. Record collectors get a bad rep sometimes, but I've found that they are mostly great people. Thanks to Chris, I have this record, if it wasn't for him I wouldn't. Go follow him on Twitter, he does a pretty great radio show as well.
Even though it is 60 years old, the first Godzilla movie had never had its complete soundtrack issued on vinyl before. There were a few score compilation albums out of Japan that highlighted some tracks and there have been CD versions of it, but this is the first time it's seen vinyl in its entirety. For the most part, I'm glad it was Death Waltz that was the one to release it.
They've obviously taken great care to make this a special package. The Blue & White Atomic Breath version was limited to 400 copies and to make it even more special, it is the only version that had a gatefold cover. The quality of this album cover is unreal. It's so thick if feels more like a hardcover book than it does a vinyl sleeve. The quality is off the charts.
Musically, everything sounds as great as a 60 year old soundtrack could. Limitations in the recording technology at the time surely cut down some of the fidelity, but if you are looking for the music to sound exactly like it does in the movie; welcome to paradise. Akira Ifukube's soundtrack is just mesmerizing. Dark, foreboding and then uplifting and triumphant when needed. The Main Title Theme would eventually become Godzilla's theme in many, many movies going forward. I spent so much of my childhood watching Godzilla movies when I was younger and though I appreciate the 1954 original much differently now than when I was a kid; hearing this score just takes me right back.
I do have a few complaints, but they are relatively minor. The first is that the price of this thing ended up being pretty insane. It wound up costing me $72 in total with all of the shipping and currency exchange rates. It's worth it to have this in my collection, but that's quite a punch in the wallet for one record.
2nd is I'm slightly peeved at the artwork used. I think the artwork as art is great, like I said earlier the packaging is beautiful. But I don't think that the representation of Godzilla being used is really accurate to the 1954 ShodaiGoji suit. The images used on both the cover and the gatefold are much more in line with the bulkier look that Godzilla was sporting during his 1990's films. It's a small issue, but considering the effort that went into this package, I personally would have preferred that the imagery on the cover represent the Godzilla in the film that the soundtrack is of.
Even with those minor complaints, I would recommend this album in a heartbeat to anyone. It's such a wonderful tribute to the amazing soundtrack of an equally amazing film.
Godzilla Main Title: