CD: Godzilla Minus One Original Soundtrack


Godzilla Minus One Original Soundtrack

Japanese CD Title

ゴジラ -1.0 Original Soundtrack
[Gojira -1.0 Original Soundtrack]

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Naoki Sato
Rambling Records

Based On:

Godzilla Minus One



By: Anthony Romero

This CD contains most of the score for the 2023 Godzilla film, missing only a few themes which have yet to be released. It's scored by Naoki Sato, a longtime collaborator of director Takashi Yamazaki. For this soundtrack, Sato shows incredible range, going from subtle atmospheric themes to bass heavy tunes and finally reworking some of the classic Godzilla music. While the result isn't always the most engaging when removed from the film, it has some stellar highlights.

First, let me preface this review by saying that I love Sato's work. His scores for Space Battleship Yamato (2010) and K-20: Legend of the Mask (2008) are among my favorites of all time. He also, probably uncoincidentally, has adapted Akira Ifukube's work before, having featured the Godzilla theme in Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 (2007). For years I really wanted him to craft his own Godzilla soundtrack. In 2023 it happened, although on a production that feels almost like a mismatch for Sato's style. At his best, Sato is somewhat bombastic, with marches and sweeping orchestration that is highly overt. That style would not have fit Godzilla Minus One, and so we see Sato, admirably, adapt. Here we get a foreboding and sometimes subdued body of work, one which rarely feels uplifting and instead leans into the atmosphere of the film.

As a result of this style, we have a soundtrack that works incredibly well as part of the movie but isn't always as enticing as a stand alone experience. This is apparent from the start with "Fear", "Portent" and "Confusion" which for long spans of time are rather subdued and eerie. Other tracks are similar, but as the CD goes on they tend to build on being more engaging. For example, "Mission" is very subdued for the first two minutes before it transitions into a deep bass track which has one of those few uplifting elements to it.

In terms of Sato's best work here, it's by a mile "Resolution". In fact, it's one of his top themes ever. It starts off with such a great tempo that slowly builds into a choir, perfectly capturing the scene it's tied to and the amount of pressure riding on the upcoming mission and the Shinden. "Unscathed" is also another fantastic theme from here, evoking a sense of devastation from the power of Godzilla. There is also "Last", which has a nice transition from being subdued to a more restrained crescendo to mark its place during the climax.

When talking about highlights, one also must look at the three Ifukube adapted themes. These are, uncreatively, called "Godzilla Suite" followed by a number. It starts off with a fantastic rendition of the main title for Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964). This theme is not note for note, taking a different approach for the intro and also extending the overall motif. I have complaints about its use in the movie, with the Mothra elements of the motif just not working at all for the attack on Ginza, but as a stand alone experience this is a treat. The next suite starts similarly with the Godzilla theme before weaving into adapting the end title music from Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995). It's a wonderfully energetic track, which in this case fits the rousing climax. Now I'm connecting this to the Heisei series, although Ifukube's themes were revisited so often you could attribute these to any number of sources. Anyway, the final suite has an almost "record scratch" crescendo by the orchestra before going into another take on the Godzilla theme.

Bottom line, this score is almost like a good horror soundtrack. It works really well to heighten the atmosphere of the movie, oftentimes evoking a sense of uneasiness, but also isn't the most engaging as a stand alone experience. That is then juxtaposed with a few phenomenal tracks that excel on their own combined with great renditions of Ifukube's work. Consequently, it's a hard CD to rate. I'd say it's a recommended purchase, as long as the listener doesn't mind a few tracks that are subdued before getting to some real crowd pleasers later in the disc.

Now this is a review of the Japanese release, although worth bringing up that Milan Records released the same music a month later on digital. For those wondering if the physical release is worth getting, I'll comment on the booklet. It's brief, but does list the entire team behind the score (in Japanese). It also has a two page spread of stills from the movie, which is nice but the booklet is small all the same. It concludes with a several page commentary, or review almost, by Hidekuni Maejima that is in Japanese. I'm not familiar with him, but he has done similar things for some of Joe Hisashi's work. Maejima is very skilled in his analysis, even talking about some of the perceived techniques about how modern the soundtrack was with its use of bass, evoking Ifukube's style while also noting how often it goes below 50Hz and that robust subwoofers are advised for better enjoyment. While it would have been better if someone from the staff wrote this, it's still well done and reviews each track. Of particular interest was his review of "Godzilla Suite II", where Maejima sees this more of a medley of Ifukube's concert work and King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), in contrast to my interpretation of this mostly being an ode to the Heisei scores.

Note technically the titles for this CD are all in the format of "Godzilla-1.0 [title name here]" in English. So for example the first track would be "Godzilla-1.0 Fear". This is a bit redundant, so the movie title was removed. Also worth talking about the track order on this disc. They are accurate, but from the point of view of the last time the theme was used in the movie. For example, the "Pain" motif is actually utilized several times during the film and is one of the earliest themes. However, it's also used pretty late in the movie, and its placement here represents that. While an odd creative choice, this allows the famous Godzilla theme to play earlier in the CD than one would expect, and was probably the motivation behind this.

Rating: Star Rating


  1. Fear
  2. Portent
  3. Confusion
  4. Godzilla Suite I
    By: Akira Ifukube
  5. Divine
  6. Elegy
  7. Mission
  8. Hope
  9. Honor
  10. Pride
  11. Pain
  12. Resolution
  13. Godzilla Suite II
    By: Akira Ifukube
  14. Unscathed
  15. Last
  16. Pray
  17. Godzilla Suite III
    By: Akira Ifukube