Silent Hill: Downpour Original Soundtracks

Daniel Licht – Silent Hill: Downpour Original Soundtrack

Label: Milan Records – M2-36565
Format: CD / MP3
Country: USA
Release date: 2012.03.13

Daniel Licht – Silent Hill: Downpour Original Soundtrack

Label: Milan Records – 399 396-2
Format: CD / MP3
Country: Europe
Release date: 2012.04.30

When we say “Music of Silent Hill”, we mean “Akira Yamaoka.” The Japanese composer was tightly connected to the series for seven games, but after Shattered Memories he left Konami. Probably, it’s for the best: his last albums didn’t bring joy to the fans of the series music as much as in the past when the grass was greener and Silent Hill was still Japanese.

The series needed a new composer. This position was entrusted to Dan Licht, best known for the music to the popular TV series “Dexter” as well as a composer to a variety of films, including a large number of horror pictures among them.

Licht’s creative works are quite different from Yamaoka’s. The newcomer didn’t try to copy previous Silent Hill soundtracks following his way instead, bringing his unique style and rich 20-year musical experience to the series. His music is more cinematographic evoking strong associations with the scenes from the game. This defines the character of the album as a typical soundtrack – a background accompaniment. It’s pretty common for the game soundtracks, however, Yamaoka managed to make his compositions sound more self-sufficient. He also often included inspired theme tracks that weren’t featured in the game (a good example of such a track is the magnificent “Waiting for You” from Silent Hill 4: The Room). This is the essential difference between the two artists.

So the difference is evident from the point of view of the listener. With Yamaoka’s retirement trip-hop and rock became things of the past. Downpour’s tracks are more theme-based representing various characters, places, and so on: rain, kids, ambient noises of various locations as well as a theme of religion (cult?). All these components create a special attitude and bring to mind particular episodes from the game. The style of action tracks is a bit more close to what we used to hear in the past. For example, a demonic laugh from “Clowning Around with Monsters” reminds me of “Devil's Laughter” from Shattered Memories, while “Basement Fight” features some industrial notes like in Silent Hill 3. Licht also uses a mandolin in the soundtrack quite a lot, which could be called a certain homage to the famous main theme of the first Silent Hill game.

The cinematic style of Licht is evident from the structure of the compositions which reflect the scenes and which often sound as if consisting of several tracks. “Downpour Intro”, which can be conditionally separated into three parts, is a striking example of this. The composition starts with a slow-paced intro utilizing a guitar and a hammered dulcimer, then switches to a calm ambient and ends with an anxious section with heavy percussions.

The album is well-balanced and smooth – Lich knows his trade very well. But it’s a bit too smooth. Somehow I was lacking the experimental nature of the early works of Yamaoka with rough sounds and queer noises. Maybe it’s because the nature of the game is different too.

It’s not so easy to pick out memorable tracks here, but I would like to make special mention of some: aforementioned compound “Downpour Intro”, “Monastic Tendencies” with unexpected electronic broken beats, “The Downpour” used in the debut trailer of the game and finally “Intro Perk Walk” with tender vocals by Mary Elisabeth McGlynn. Sadly, her participation this time is best described as symbolic – her wonderful vocalizing is heard in a couple of tracks and that’s it. That’s a pity because many fans got used to “the voice of Silent Hill”.

Talking about songs, there is one on the album. The opening song was written and performed by Jonathan Davis, a vocalist of Korn, which provoked a lot of diverse commentaries after the announcement of his participation. As it turned out in the end, this fast-paced, groovy rock song is really not that bad. If you still find the song out of place, fear not. The song is played only in the attract mode of the main menu which you can easily skip.

One more thing I’d like to complain a bit about is the track titles like “Downpour Intro” or “Basement Jump” which are just too banal and plain. I believe music compositions for the series could have more elaborate and mysterious names.

To sum up, Silent Hill: Downpour Soundtrack is a pretty good album, but above all, it sounds like a soundtrack judging from its structure and contents. It’s hard to perceive it the way it should out of the context of the game. So my advice would be: play the game first, then listen to the soundtrack. And be prepared that the creation of Dan Licht is quite different from the works of Akira Yamaoka. And it’s definitely not a bad thing.

01 Silent Hill (by Jonathan Davis)
02 Intro Perp Walk
03 In the Ravine
04 Bus to Nowhere
05 Meet JP
06 Stalking for Dinner
07 Don't go in the Basement
08 Railcar Ride
09 Downpour Intro
10 Jump Monster
11 Monastic Tendencies
12 Clowning around with Monsters
13 Welcome to Devil's Pit
14 Basement Fight
15 Cablehouse Blues
16 Town Rain
17 The Caverns
18 Monastery Otherworld
19 The Downpour

Silent Hill: Downpour Original Soundtracks mp3, 99 mb