A Melancholic Masterpiece


9. Aug. 2005, 21:43

It's hard to describe my love affair with Silent Hill 2 Original Soundtracks, but I'll try. The care and dedication that Akira Yamaoka put into the music, just as the rest of the team did in the rest of the game, really shows. The powerful emotions you feel are unprecedented in comparison to the previous Silent Hill soundtrack, again just as in the game.

To say this is the best video game soundtrack ever made is a bit of an understatement. Granted, there have been a handful pieces of truly great video game music, but for the most part, video game music isn't reaching the potential that one would hope. Thankfully, this does.

I'll start with the main theme song, Theme of Laura. As soon as I heard it, I was in love. There's something about it that immediately struck a chord with me, and to this day, it remains my all-time favourite song ever produced. On the surface it seems like a standard alternative rock song, with the standard guitar, bass and drum arrangement. However, dig a little deeper and you'll discover the beauty of this masterwork. The song on its own paints a vivid picture, a melancholic but beautiful story, that races along with a suspense that slowly builds up to the climactic finish. I really could go on all day about this song, but there's another 29 that require my attention ;)

White Noiz is a minimalistic song that really evokes a sense of serenity and isolation, fitting for a game called 'Silent Hill'.

Moving on to Forest. On the surface, a beautiful and calm piano tune, but there's something building up beneath the surface that threatens to erupt any second, but never does.

A World of Madness sounds a little disjointed, representing the beginning of the downward descent of the world into something worse.

Ordinary Vanity continues with that idea, taking it a little further as industrial sounds begin to make their entrance, but subdue, albeit temporarily, for the next song..

Promise (Reprise). One word: beautiful. I know I use this word a lot when referring to this soundtrack, but it is. There's an almost child-like innocence to it that calms you deep down, and lulls you into a false sense of security, until the next song..

A return of the type of music that was prevalent in the first Silent Hill soundtrack, Ashes and Ghost has the industrial sound taking a more more key role than in Ordinary Vanity. First, racing with intensity, before boiling down to a more ominous sound.

Null Moon is a mixture of styles, each complimenting the other. For the most part, it's pretty calm. However, for the last thirty seconds or so, the relatively normal keyboard sounds gradually transform into a more brooding sound, reminiscent of church bells.

Heaven's Night, like Null Moon, is a mixture of styles. Largely trip hop in style, the piano gives it a certain warmth.

Alone in the Town also has a warm charm to it, sounding a bit like some of Angelo Badalamenti's excellent Twin Peaks music, especially with the guitar parts.

The Darkness that Lurks in Our Mind starts relatively calmly, but it's not long before the song gradually builds up into something unnerving. It works well as a song on its own, but it also acts as a great intro to the following song..

Angel's Thanatos sounds nothing like any Silent Hill music that has preceded it. The heavy distortion guitars work well in building up the anxeity for the listener.

The Day of Night serves as nice breathing space from the overbearing industrial ambience, but it's short-lived before Block Mind comes on with its industrial sound.

Magdalene offers more respite in the form of a slow, sad, minimalistic piano piece.

Fermata in Mistic Air combines an innocent percussion sound with a slightly unsettling undertone to it.

Prisonic Fairytale is a bit of a return to the isolated sound of White Noiz. There isn't much else to say about it.

Love Psalm, at least in terms of instrument arrangement, is very reminiscent of Theme of Laura. Although it isn't quite as complex and melancholic as Theme of Laura, it serves a different purpose. As the title suggests, it's a love song, although (rather fittingly) not without a hint of sadness.

Silent Heaven's misleading title hides a foreboding feeling that never quite materialises into something more sinister.

Noone Love You is another minimalistic song, that doesn't seem to serve any other purpose than as an lead-in to the next song..

The Reverse Will is completely unlike any of the music on this, or the previous, album. It's a nice enough song, and it shows the variation that Yamaoka is capable of. Playing the song backwards reveals a nice surprise.

Laura Plays the Piano is a charming little piano piece that calms things down a bit.

Terror in the Depths of the Fog brings a faux-industrial sound that could pass as backing music to a Nine Inch Nails song. Another song that shows Yamaoka's variation.

True is next. This is one of the most beautiful and emotive songs on the whole soundtrack, bringing feelings of sadness and despair - feelings which continue into the next song..

The apocalyptic Betrayal, while on paper you would expect this to be one of the scarier songs on the album, in fact amplifies the feelings brought by the previous song, True. The feelings of sadness and despair are, amazingly, even more powerful in this song.

Black Fairy follows it, and is relatively dull.

Theme of Laura (Reprise) is next. I'm not going to beat about the bush here - when I first heard this song I shed a few tears. It's the most beautiful song I have ever heard. There's a sadness to it that is unprecedented in an instrumental track. The piano, the violin, the glockenspiel(?) all combine brilliantly.

Overdose Delusion, again like Theme of Laura, has a slightly melancholic feel to it. There's a subtle tension below the surface that builds up through the course of the song.

Pianissimo Epilogue is a very soothing piano piece that signals the end of the nightmare.

Promise is a calming finish to the album. It's beautiful, but not quite in the same way as True or Theme of Laura (reprise). Instead of being sad, I think it's the opposite. It's a very uplifting song, perhaps the closest thing to a true love song on the album. That's not to say it's not without its Silent Hill-style suspense. On one or two occasions in the song, it feels like it could possibly boil over into something, but thankfully it never does. It finishes the album in a similar fashion to the way it started.

To conclude, this album is a masterpiece. There are some tracks that aren't quite up to the exceptionally high standard set by the whole album, but that's to be expected on a 30 track record. It's not perfect, but I guess, as Sato Takayoshi says, we love something because it isn't perfect. There's something about it that I could never explain, I feel the music itself does a much better job of it than I could ever do.
Akzeptierte Übermittlungen
Akira Yamaoka


  • Hungrylizard

    Very, very, very well described from what I remember.. very nice job. Unfortunately my entire collection was lost.. gone, and I don't knew where the hell it went. I'll get around to downloading it again eventually. Regardless.. I do believe Angels Thanatos is my favorite of the bunch, but I REALLY need to give it another listen before I set anything in stone.

    10. Aug. 2005, 15:58
  • Kilu

    Accepted to the group journal :)

    15. Aug. 2005, 19:18
  • Supersonic1425

    w00t! Thanks I thought te whole point of being able to link journal entries to music was to write about said music. What annoys me is how people are writing standard LiveJournal crap and linking to as many artists as they can for no apparent reason.

    15. Aug. 2005, 19:20
  • Kilu

    Yeah, some people don't seem to get the point :) Are you going to write more of this? I could give you automated permission to write in the group if you want?

    15. Aug. 2005, 19:24
  • Supersonic1425

    I might. It took a while writing this, and probably would have taken longer if I didn't know it so well. That said, I enjoyed writing it and I'll probably do more... eventually, heh.

    15. Aug. 2005, 19:33
  • hey_mr_crow

    Word man. Go for it. I'd be pleased to hear more stuff like Akira Yamaoka. Devil's lyric is the fucking intense.

    29. Okt. 2005, 3:33
  • layzee

    Just an observation... Listen to track 26 of the Silent Hill 3 OST: Rain of Brass Petals - Three Voices Edit (Bonus Track). At 2:05 you will hear If I should die, which is one of the lines you'll hear if you play The Reverse Will backwards. Just a bit of useless trivia (;

    14. Dez. 2005, 4:17
  • miketheraptor

    At the Play! Symphony Video Game concert in Chicago. Read this post earlier and figured you'd be interested in this: http://www.play-symphony.com/news.php?full=11 Akira will be performing guitar along with a live orchestra music from the Silent Hill series.

    16. Feb. 2006, 0:43
  • miketheraptor

    At the Play! Symphony Video Game concert in Chicago. Read this post earlier and figured you'd be interested in this: http://www.play-symphony.com/news.php?full=11 Akira will be performing guitar along with a live orchestra music from the Silent Hill series.

    16. Feb. 2006, 0:45
  • miketheraptor

    And sincere appologies for the double (now triple) post. Hope my posting this event info makes up for that ...

    16. Feb. 2006, 0:46
  • yoshi500

    Very good album, and a great review too... Greets! :)

    23. Mär. 2006, 20:31
  • 0megear

    Sad. In your description many tracks are closed back with an idiot description like like Null Moon, is a mixture of styles. Largely trip hop in style, the piano gives it a certain warmth. Man, in every ALL tracks i feel something different and much deeper than a simple music flow. You doesn't seem to be as receptive as me to the tracks and that's certainly why i don't agree with you on many tracks description. I could write undred of lines regarding to Akira Yamaoka's music ! So many moment of my life closed into this music energy.. This is so powerfull, i'm not abel to explain it.

    16. Jul. 2006, 1:04
  • yoshi500

    To 0megear: it seems that you're a big Akira Yamaoka fan, so why don't you just write your own, more detailed review of this album?

    16. Jul. 2006, 16:21
  • genyaavocado

    Theme of Laura just can't compare to Silent Hill from the original's soundtrack in my opinion. It is a lot less industrial ambiance than the first one, however.

    7. Mai. 2007, 4:25
  • qFenrisulfr

    I love this post! ^_^ However I think you need to give 'Prisonic Fairytale' another listen and more credit.

    3. Jun. 2008, 10:30
  • qFenrisulfr

    I love this post! ^_^ However I think you need to give 'Prisonic Fairytale' another listen and more credit. Try listening to it with headphones if you haven't already.

    3. Jun. 2008, 10:32
  • jsp1611

    Great journal post; only just discovered it.. ;-D Jon

    15. Jul. 2008, 12:38
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