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Akira Yamaoka – Silent Hill 3 OST Review

Silent Hill’s soundtracks have with each turn become more and more involving. Silent Hill 3’s OST continued the trend with the franchise becoming more melodic and less ambient. This time it’s all about layering loops of sounds on top of each other. In between them are ambient rushes and some incredible vocal works.

“Lost Carol” is a vocal piece that is very sparse and haunting. This suddenly bursts into “You’re Not Here”, a full on rock anthem song. The vocalist (Mary Elizabeth McGlynn) is a superb choice and the guitar work is very intricate but gritty as it builds up the tension and stress. It’s a perfect blend of sex and rage and we love it.

“Float Up From Dream” is an ambient keyboard background with a whispery speech over the top with provides a haunting start to the soundtrack itself.

“End Of Small Sanctuary” is where the “average” Silent Hill 3 song comes into play. The layers of guitars continue to build up over an almost trip-hop beat to provide an ethereal but rocky ambient texture. “Breeze – in Monochrome Night” then takes us into an empty ambient place that feels cold and desolate. After a small time the keyboards and clunks are joined but the beats and guitars again to keep that almost never-ending journey feel going. The piano parts in this song are exceptional in this dramatic track.

“Sickness Unto Foolish Death” starts off with evil and haunting sounds and then begins to enwrap itself in a mean bass line and heavily distorted drums. That combined with the soft but haunting sound of an electric piano makes it for a sickly sweet but evil song. The added strings and swirling distorted vocals finish off this piece perfectly.
“Clockwork Little Happiness” begins with daunting church organ music before using various monstrous noises to give a percussion beat in a track that’s very cleverly put together. “Please Love Me…Once More” is a sombre guitar orientated track that is peppered with nifty drums loops inside drums loops. The result, which is seen through the soundtrack, makes the music sound much fuller.

“A Stray Child” gives us the return of those tormenting sirens that plagued us during the first two games with fear before empty sweeping pads of sound fill up the speakers to give us a down tempo song to make sure we stay depressed, but its dramatic and great music, so we don’t mind!

“Innocent Moon” begins with what sounds like an underwater radar system going wild before a piano takes up the tune is a subdued tone before leading into “Maternal Heart” which revolves around various distorted sounds held together by the now familiar drum beats and an operatic male voice giving this song its distinction.

“Letter – From The Lost Days” is the next vocal track, which is less riff rock and more alternative pop rock. This sound is more haunting and scary. The nearly whispery vocals of the chorus are angelic but you know they are more spiteful than they let on. The closing part of the song is perfect whispering, “We were put here on this Earth, put here to feel joy”. Not scary in their own, but in the context of the eerie background, its chilling.

“Dance With Night Wind” has an almost tribal percussion to it, with a solemn violin and piano playing in tandem which has a perfect ebb and flow to it. “Never Forgive me, Never Forget Me” is a cold as ice keyboard piece with a piano embellishment that is something that you’d expect from “Ico” but is an excellent variance for ambient. “Prayer” is pure evil, with screams, moans, awkward noises and a demon chanting. This is what we expect from Silent Hill! Excellently unnerving.

“Wait On Vanity Ruins” is a dramatic piano and drum piece with a distorted speech that delivers a sense of real urgency that leads fittingly into “I Want Love” which is a good vocal theme and a short and far more sparse and depressing version of the actual song that appears at the end of the album. This version is not as good as the real version as it lacks any kind of hit to it, but the superior song writing skills of Akira Yamaoka still shine through.

“Heads No.2” follows with ambient rumbles and thuds before “Memory Of The Waters” picks up the pace with what sounds like a heartbeat and various machinery interconnected by a keyboard synthesiser to make a random ambient track. “Rain Of Brass Petals” brings the part full circle with a disturbing chord arrangement that suggests pure darkness. The rocky ambient textures and creepy undertones keep this track alive until its last chord.

“Flower Crown Of Poppy” uses some evil chilling ambient noises to create the background for what is a very bass fused song with excellent use of some of the classic Silent Hill sounds. “Sin” begins with the best monologue on the album (there are many throughout) about God. Note that they call God female! “Uneternal Sleep” is a bitter peace of ambient waves and sirens, which leads into “Hometown” that is actually a vocal revamp of “She”, the opening theme of Silent Hill! This surprise song is done in the Silent Hill 3 fashion (looped drums, organs and little guitar until the end). The male vocalist is a taste that’s a little hard to acquire at first listen, but the more you listen to more the whole B-Movie feel he has. I can see many fans disliking the revamp but it definitely has its own legs to stand on.

“I Want Love (Studio Mix)” is the superior version of the song, in full rock mode and some superb vocal and guitar work that makes it a stunning track.

The closing track is a bonus one called “Rain Of Brass Petals – Three Voices Mix” which takes the meanest chord-involved song on the album, pumps it full of guitars and gives it death metal vocals! The lyrics are evil, the voice too and it’s a dark and devilishly wicked way to end an epic album.

Silent Hill 3 OST is an incredible piece of art. Many will feel that the ambient roots have been largely ignored, but they have merely taken a more backseat approach while the songs take on a more accessible root. The rock songs are nothing but pure class and the way in which it feels like a whole new journey again is inspired. Also take note that a chunk of the music from the film began here so if you liked the atmosphere of the film, then times it by 10 and you’ve got this soundtrack. Put simply: it ends the trilogy of music with another piece of perfection (and there’s more excellence to come still).

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