Akira YamaokaSilent Hill 2 Original Soundtrack
Grade
A
 
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Nine Inch Nails
Masami Ueda

In Silent Hill 2, the heavy, dark industrial sound of the music took it's first evolving steps forward to offer moments of far more accessibility. Unlike the low-toned soundscapes of the first soundtrack, Silent Hill 2's provides a larger variety of songs, though many manage to retain the uneasy feel from the first game. This time around, though, there is far more depth in terms of the musical quality found.

The opening track, Theme of Laura, is a soft combination of piano and guitars that produces are more modern instrumental that feels like a true soundtrack theme song. A variation of this theme makes an appearance later in the album with Theme of Laura (Reprise), which is built upon piano and strings. Track two, White Noiz, is an odd offering that slowly produces eerie tones as it moves towards the rolling piano and humming keyboards of Forest. While the first couple of tracks, including the reserved bubbling tones of A World of Madness, play things more laid-back, it doesn't take long before hints of the metallic industrial notes start to show up.

Ordinary Vanity feels like a more modern version of previous tracks from the first soundtrack - metallic percussion lurches through the piece. This is followed by another piano piece in Promise (Reprise). Just when you think things are far too low-key, Ashes and Ghost tosses a panicked pace at you. Both Null Moon and Heaven's Night draw the listener in with soft techno, playing a more alluring angel to the music. Alone In the Town comes right behind with an infectious beat and Twin Peaks-like groove.

The Darkness That Lurks In Our Minds sends up a signal that the mood of the album is about to change. It sends dark ripples in the audio water of the album, only broken by Angel's Thanatos, a heavy metal rock theme. The Day of Night begins a mild tone that flows into Block Mind, establishing a metallic beat that drags along. Magdalene returns more of the piano to the mix, only to be followed by the eerie wail of Fermata In Mystic Air.

Love Psalm breaks in as a more mainstream instrumental, offering a very emotional yet depressing guitar line. This is followed by the off-tone and off-kilter Silent Heaven, which eventually lurches towards its end. Noone Love You feels a lot like a soundscape intro to the more upbeat alternative techno of The Reverse Will. After this, Laura Plays the Piano once again returns the soundtrack to it's piano roots.

Clocking is as the longest song on the album, Terror In the Depths of the Fog is a strong slow-techno/industrial track that feels a bit like Downward Spiral era Nine Inch Nails. True is yet another piano interlude that's followed up by the industrial/synth Betrayal, a charging emotional theme that flows into the grainy and depressing Black Fairy. After Theme of Laura (Reprise) is Overdose Delusion, yet another mainstream effort, following by another piano piece in Pianissimo Epilogue and finished up with a strong guitar theme in Promise.

Oddly enough, if you dig around and look for them, there are some rare tracks for Silent Hill 2 on the web, most of which are just different versions of the Theme of Laura. Letters From Silent Heaven is yet another reserved track and Nursery Cryme is a twisted little ditty. The music for two of the alternate endings are also available. The real prize to be found (quite easily) are the three tracks from the Art of Silent Hill DVD that came out around the time of Silent Hill 2. Both Fu Ku Ro and Ki No Ko are excellently deranged tracks that point to the direction the music starts to take and well worth your time to find.

Overall, this album is far more laid back and low key. The piano and keyboard moments hold back a lot of the heavy industrial that permeated the first soundtrack. Far more accessible to the average listener, the Silent Hill 2 Original Soundtrack isn't as dark and creepy as the first but works for the tone of the story.

- - Kinderfeld

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