Great Monster War (Perfect Collection 2)
International Title
 Invasion of Astro-Monster
Music By: Akira Ifukube
Record Label: Toho Music
Running Time: 45:40 Discs: 1
Release: December 2004 CD Number: G-006 (Set)
Anthony Romero
Akira Ifukube's fifth score in the Godzilla franchise sees the maestro construct one of his most memorable themes, the "War of the Monsters March" which is a modified version of the "Japanese Army March" from Godzilla (1954), while simultaneously dabbling in creating the foreboding music to accompany the Xiliens. One has to hand it to Ifukube, as despite having a similar cast of monsters the composer opts instead to take the soundtrack in a different direction from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964). Yes, some of the better cues from the previous film return, including Rodan's and King Ghidorah's themes, but eerie tracks like "The P1 and Jupiter" and "Electromagnetic Waves" give the disc as a whole a totally different vibe from its predecessor. It's a good score, but sadly falls into the pit trap of being a bit repetitious, as Ifukube tends to reuse some of the same general themes a bit too much here. Thankfully, the music is great enough that it never outstays its welcome, but a more diverse score would certainly have been appreciated all the same.

Now in terms of what the "Perfect" edition of this score brings to the table, sadly, not much. There is about six minutes of new music, but it feels lacking on account of the runtime still only being 45 minutes. The new content is one outtake, for "Leaving Planet X", and some additional cues for the music heard in the background at the cafe (tracks 27, 28, 32 and 33), which is not too enticing. So what about the audio quality on this release? Sadly, this disc gets off to a mixed start with the "Main Title". I'm not sure what it is, but the track sounds a little subdued. In general, Invasion of Astro-Monster doesn't have a very rousing score, opting for more subtle and sometimes eerie pieces, but the "Great Monster War March" is one of the great exceptions and for whatever reason sounds a little on the flat side here. To make sure I wasn't hearing things, I tried to find other uses of the theme on CD to compare and contrast. In doing so, I can say that the cue sounds the clearest on the Perfect set, with others having a more rough sound at times, but it also lacks the impact once the drums and other instruments kick in. To me it sounds like Toho ran the theme through some sort of program to clean it up, and in turn kind of equalized the volume range. This is also apparent, although not to the same degree, on the other more instrument rich tracks, but the majority of the score sounds fantastic. To be honest, I feel like I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill by saying this, as it's really not that apparent at all. Still, it's worth mentioning, and Toho has done some questionable things with these sets before, such as the mono Biollante tracks with film dialogue faintly heard in the background on Box 4, so it's not out of the realm of reason that they might have attempted some things on the Invasion of Astro-Monster score that didn't work out as well as planned.

Overall, despite some minor qualms, this is a pretty nice release of one of Ifukube's more memorable endeavors. Many of these themes would live on in later pictures, some redone in movies like Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) and some as stock for Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), but the plethora of music related to Planet X still gives this score a unique sense regardless of how heavily used some of the other cues became in later years.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Main Title (M1)
  2. The P1 and Jupiter (M4)
  3. The P1 Descends (M5)
  4. The Mystery of Planet X (M6)
  5. Underground Passage (M7)
  6. Monster Zero (M8)
  7. The P1 Returns (M9)
  8. Washigasawa and Lake Myojin (M10)
  9. Godzilla at the Bottom of the Lake (M11)
  10. The Flying Saucer Appears (M12)
  11. Electromagnetic Waves (M13)
  12. Returning to Planet X (M14)
  13. Arriving at Planet X (M15)
  14. The Three Great Monsters on Planet X (M16)
  15. Namikawa on Planet X (M17)
  16. Leaving Planet X (M18-T2)
  17. Giant Mayhem on Earth (M19)
  18. Monster Control I (M20)
  19. Monster Control II (M21)
  20. The Fury of the Three Giant Monsters (M22)
  21. Great Monster War March (M23)
  22. Great Monster War (M24)
  23. Ending (M25)

    Bonus Tracks
  24. Leaving Planet X (M18-T1)
  25. The Star Flower Club I (M2)
    By: Pablo de Sarasate
  26. The Star Flower Club II (M3)
    By: Jean-Philippe Rameau
  27. Cafe BGM 1 (Cembalo A)
  28. Cafe BGM 2 (Cembalo B)
  29. Cafe BGM 3 (Cembalo C)
  30. Cafe BGM 4 (Cembalo D)
  31. Cafe BGM 5 (Cembalo E)
  32. Cafe BGM 6 (Cembalo F)
  33. Cafe BGM 7 (Cembalo G)