Review Summary: Silent Hill, beaten and bruised, finally gets laid to rest.
Considering where we are today, Silent Hill: Book of Memories
is a heavy one to explore. When you actually step back for a moment to realise both the album’s composer and the game series itself is deceased, it puts a weighty, blackened splodge on the whole thought process. For all of Konami’s infamous business decisions and Silent Hill’s contentious latter years, Daniel Licht, all things considered, did a pretty admirable job of filling Akira Yamaoka’s shoes. After all, he had it all stacked against him from the get-go. Silent Hill: Book of Memories
documents the straw that literally broke the back of the series’ unscrupulous era; a period riddled in controversy, irreverence and disparity, caused by the hierarchy’s lack of understanding for Team Silent’s games. It can’t be understated that Silent Hill: Book of Memories
’ OST is awful, but I can’t throw Daniel Licht onto the hot coals when the very concept of the game is a fundamental disaster. Who can argue with Licht’s creative decisions being so far removed from the creaking, scratching industrial horrors of previous scores, when the game itself is an isometric hack ‘n’ slash with lazy afterthought RPG elements being tacked on？ Yes, it’d be easy to put most of the blame onto the game’s score – an album that follows the ubiquity of TV/movie formulas, and would be better suited to, maybe, Dexter or some other humdrum TV thriller – but the truth is, Licht never had a lot to work with on this colossal failure anyway.
As such, there’s little here that represents precarious hostility, intense foreboding, or any other emotional associations with the genre. Silent Hill: Downpour
’s sound can be heard here, but the success story of that score was it used Akira’s template to some degree. Here, you’ll be exploring prosaic orchestrations and Licht’s signature ethereal electronic passages, without even a smidgen of danger being implemented into them. Poignant, reverb-soaked tremolo guitar lines over washy ambiances, bright keyboard notes, and pulsating electronics are the order of the day, but they don’t present an iota of intensity. At 63 minutes in length, this album is a fairly punishing exercise to sit through (although, I can imagine it’s far less insufferable than playing the game itself), not just because it’s inherently bad, which for the most part it is, but because it lacks passion or any real distinction. Even the closing track is an eye-rolling and borderline cringe-inducing finisher, yet on paper, it should be an exciting prospect. It’s a track that features Mary Elizabeth Mcglynn, Troy Barker and Akira Yamaoka on guitar, yet upon hearing the piece, it’s suddenly apparent there’s no chemistry to be found within it. In a way, this closing piece is a sadistically fitting end to the Western-interpretation-era of Silent Hill, considering Troy and Mary contributed to the egregiously insulting Silent Hill: HD Collection, and Akira himself played his part in the series’ creative ignorance and downfall while he was executive producer. It’s an ironic end to a dire situation that the games never got up from, so there’s a silver lining there, if you can laugh. Daniel Licht was a great composer, and his contributions to Downpour
were a welcoming change of pace to Yamaoka’s interpretations. However, the ill-focused wondering of Silent Hill: Book of Memories
’ OST did the game little favours, and it just isn’t fun to hear as its own thing, either.
SPECIAL EDITION BONUSES: N/A
ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://www.discogs.com/Daniel-Licht-Silent-Hill-Book-Of-Memories-Original-Soundtrack/release/3585545