Akira Yamaoka
Silent Hill 2


4.5
superb

Review

by ks1 USER (4 Reviews)
October 28th, 2011 | 36 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: (..)a near magnum opus in creating atmosphere with careful, almost intellectual, approach to composition and use of sound(...)

Akira Yamaoka – the famed Silent Hill games soundtrack composer would, in my book, be one of the people, whom I’d put amongst musical masterminds, who would not only innovate, but also in their experimentation, channel their vision, supporting it with their tools of artistic expression, rather that exploit them as the gimmick they could easily become.

The soundtrack to “Silent Hill 2” is not a dark ambient per se – not in a strict sense. It comprises of a large fraction of ambient pieces with a sprawling, ethereal sound and, on the other hand; ornery, assaulting sonic barrages. Somewhere in-between there’s a space for anthemic, yet somber instrumental pieces of loss, desperation, self-pity, and martyrdom.

The ambient part of the album is lush, but not in the strict definition of the word, rather – in the very sound of the word. Minimalistic, the sounds resonate, merge. They span and meander in a wave-like fashion, and just like waves on a surface of a dark lake, they are punctuated by small signs of activity. The sounds interfere in an asymmetric manner, creating an uneasy monotony – a sense of anticipation for something to emerge. Unnerving, they offer a sense of comfort, while constantly reminding of the presence of something wicked and twisted below. Only a thin veil separates the serenity from madness.

Another constituent of the album are the contrarious, skewed and forceful pieces. Their calamitous tone is the logical conclusion to the build-up carefully constructed by the means of the calm preceding them. Everything from the composition standpoint is still present here, but the framework is distorted, as if the structure is falling apart. Sounds are piercing, industrial. Dehumanization is the key to this part. Sounds of church-bells resound, they’re thunderous. The music evokes imagery of an ill-conceived dogma – of something evil from the moment of its conception. A moral construct of a person or a thing, that cannot be stopped or reasoned with - something inhumane, dangerous and mean-spirited.

Lastly – the instrumental pieces. These have the most human touch in their emotionality. Rock songs and piano pieces, they were, in my opinion, to represent the struggle the characters go through with their feelings. Distress, rage, coming to terms with a loss, overcoming their guilt. These songs also are rough around the edges, give breathing space because of their sound. They feel organic and emotionally genuine. A piano piece conveying an image of a person hunched over the instrument, trying to express their dismay, shivering, pressing on the keys. The song is dissonant, sloppy and progresses from sorrow to anger.

All of the above: the atonality, skewed rhythmic juxtaposition, cold emotional detachment contrasted with deeply felt segments, ease and anxiety – they give rise to an album for ages, that doesn’t rely on cheap trickery and violent pulling on heartstrings. Rather, its emotionality rises form methodically lulling the listener into placidity, foreboding a pandemonium … and sometimes not delivering. Disjointed and frustratingly arrhythmic to some, lacking in complex song structure, a collection of pieces rather than an album some may say – to me it’s a near magnum opus in creating atmosphere with careful, almost intellectual, approach to composition and use of sound, rather than puerile amp frequency manipulation that plagues dark ambient.


user ratings (127)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
Ben Thornburgh CONTRIBUTOR (4)
The coldest part of your house, an empty office complex, the walk to your apartment at night...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
ks1
October 28th 2011


55 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think this album deserves more recognition (going by the number of ratings it has).

My first review, put together rather quickly, has flaws, but I think that it does the album justice. I was actually writing a review for Throats EP, but noticed this doesn't have any. There it is, then.

small disclaimer; not a native english speaker - constructive criticism pertaining to style very much welcome.

MO
October 28th 2011


18986 Comments


Probably one of the best OSTs for a game ever. So haunting, perfect Halloween music. Crazy summary too.

"to me it’s a near magnum opus in creating atmosphere with careful, intellectual almost, "

sounds off, maybe you meant almost intellectual?

ks1
October 28th 2011


55 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, I tend to use inversion, as if I was stopping at a thought and pondering ;]. That's anachronistic, bad style these days - I know.

Thanks.

br00talkid96
October 28th 2011


85 Comments


this man is a freaking genius.

foxblood
October 28th 2011


6797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's awesome that you reviewed this, Akira Yamaoka is great

jayfatha
October 28th 2011


2882 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

MUST HEAR

br00talkid96
October 28th 2011


85 Comments


^1337 comments, QUICK NEVER COMMENT AGAIN

dammets
October 29th 2011


2035 Comments


One of the best games and soundtracks ever. You should try to review the Silent Hill 4 soundtrack.

seedofnothing
October 29th 2011


3425 Comments


dudes got the midas touch in everycatagory

everythings owns but im really diggin the "love psalm"

also btw, review is on point

ks1
October 29th 2011


55 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll consider the SH4. Actually, the SH2 is my favourite, even though the further you go the more well-structured and complete the albums are.Nevertheless, this soundtrack feels right in its structure - it's as fragile in its structure as the character is.

I have Gorgoroth on schedule (Twilight of The Idols) of all things, also the new Fuck The Facts. Once I'm done with these I'll probably give SH4 a careful listen.

I wanted to give my own take on "Twilight of..." (as if anyone cared :D), as I deem it terribly mistreated. Of all things it was my first metal album ... way to introduce oneself into the genre. My perspective might be a little biased because of that, but after so many years of exploring metal I still think this album holds up.

What do you think, ladies and gentlemen ?


Yotimi
October 29th 2011


6544 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great game, great soundtrack

Digging: Sand Circles - Motor City

ShousoStrip
November 5th 2011


574 Comments


I don't give a shit for the game, but this OST is better than ANY Death albums combined.

DarthMann
July 7th 2012


14272 Comments


BEST ALBUM EVER

Digging: Futures - 21st Century Chimney Sweep

ZedO
July 7th 2012


1096 Comments


cool stuff indeed

ZilbelPing
July 7th 2012


6164 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of the best OST to probably the best Survival Horror game ever.

DarthMann
July 7th 2012


14272 Comments


promise is literally the best song ever

DarthMann
August 30th 2012


14272 Comments


bumpy bumpy

ConcubinaryCode
August 30th 2012


2169 Comments


True is so sweet.

DarthMann
August 30th 2012


14272 Comments


errything is man

ConcubinaryCode
August 30th 2012


2169 Comments


Angels Thanatos is sort of an out of place song though for the soundtrack though.



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