Review Summary: Te maldigo por siempre en nombre. Te bendigo para siempre en la muerte.
The Legend of Black Spain is one of the most controversial aspects of Spanish history. A recent movement has sprung up which attempts to paint the legend as simply a "legend". Indeed there is evidence to prove that much of the information regarding this period is propaganda made by other countries to damage the reputation of Spain, but on the other side of the coin; such a view can lead to dangerous revisionist changes to actual history. Nobody doubts that Spain was not as destructive or tumultuous as it was portrayed, but there is a reason the Spanish Inquisition had such a darker reputation than any other inquisition before and after it. No amount of political revisionism can change the atrocities committed by and within Spain during the black period, but defining the countries history on that alone is foolish and gullible.
The Black Spain Legend's influence is dominant in many aspects of entertainment; from books, movies, and comedy skits, to even Video Games and music. In 2019, no influenced creation is more popular than the game Blasphemous; a game developed by a Spanish developer who wears the dark legend's shroud with earnest conviction. A 2-D Metroidvania game with Souls-like elements; Blasphemous has quickly risen to become one of the more popular 2-D games of this year. Of course the biggest reason for its popularity can be attributed to its gameplay and art style, but one should not dismiss the the effect that Carlos Viola's soundtrack to the game has had on those who played it.
Blasphemous's soundtrack is a cacophony of dark, organic, Post-Rock mixed with calming, serene, orchestra. From guitar focused tracks like Dame Tu Tormento
to orchestral pieces like La Muerte de Los Relinchos
and Uma Senda de Pasos Blancos
; the game's soundtrack mixes aspects of light and dark to create shreds of gray that permeate the roads walked by the Penitent One. One of the defining plot points of the game is the lie of the light; as the curse wrought upon the fictional land of Cvstodia is ironically titled "The Miracle". Indeed the soundtrack boasts a dark sense of macabre irony that only enhances the beauty of its orchestration. One of the finest pieces of the record is Entregarás Tu Rostro a La Señora
a beautiful acoustic symphony punctuated by quiet electric droning and harmonic vocals.
One of the best aspects of the album is it's liberal fusion of both acoustic and electric guitars which, when combined, provide a harmonious drone loop that accentuates the blackness of the games story and atmosphere. However, there are tracks of a more beautiful and lighthearted nature. Cantes de Confesión
provides a more standard Spanish arrangement with its suave guitar strumming and Arpegios en Ocre
uses a much quicker arrangement with heavy electric droning in the background. Of course, where the game shines is in its darkest moments. Heavy Post-Rock tracks like Taranto a la Hermana Mia
and Lágrimas de Grana y Oro
create an unyielding sense of dread through simple droning and heavy percussion sequences. The best song on the album belongs to Por la Via de las Procesiones Antiguas
a song that utilizes heavy-paced drumming to create the illusion of a march.
Blasphemous is dark yet its soundtrack combines both darkness and the light. It is as if the soundtrack watches over the game itself with a smirk, watching as the player fights through a needless journey to an unbearable death. It lives the legend that has cursed Spain for generations, punctuating the game with its own pain and torment; inflicting its black wisdom upon the player through nothing but sound. Blasphemous is a game inspired primarily by a dark stain in human history; a legend that continues to infect Spanish history with either outright lies or misguided truths. Whether true or not, The Legend of Black Spain is a name forever cursed and its death forever blessed, and Blasphemous' soundtrack is simply here to help us march on through the pain of realization, because there is nothing else anyone can do.