That was the fuck'n point!!!
lol I know SNK did it on purpose. I personally think it was very unsatisfying and took away from the action to not have some energetic music - and as we can see, after '97, they went back to having music in every stage and not mere background ambiance.
Here are some more inflammatory opinions I have about KOF 97. I remember back in the day, eagerly anticipating '97, and then seeing the new Orochi team and being very let down. I felt that they didn't come close to matching the 96 boss team in terms of style, and that their character designs and fighting styles (especially Chris and Shermie) were a big stylistic departure from the previous KOFs and the other characters in the game. In my mind, seeing them and playing as them for the first time and looking at Shermie and Chris's unusual and improbable moves was similar to checking out KOF2001 for the first time and looking at how Eolith stuck in Angel and K9999. Even Orochi Iori and Orochi Leona with their sickly idle stances and gorilla sounding voices looked cartoonish and cheesy. And as cool as the orochi story idea was, I have to admit, making Yamazaki an orochi was also pretty cheesy - it's like all of a sudden everyone was popping up as orochi. Yamazaki is supposed to just be a bloodthirsty criminal psycho, not have some deeper riot of the blood reason behind it! It took away from his Fatal Fury background and seemed really stuck in - especially since he didn't really do anything in the Orochi story, and certainly wasn't on the same page with the other orochi characters (outside Leona) in terms of understanding the greater orochi significance and working for or against bringing back Orochi itself. Finally, I liked the Orochi boss characters' design, but he was a piece of cake to beat, especially compared to Goenitz and Chizuru.