Alright, let me get this out of the way right now: I am a Silent Hill fanatic. I not only own all of the major release games (except for the Gameboy play novel), I’ve gotten all of the endings on most of them. I own all of the soundtracks. I saw the movie three times in theaters IN THE SAME DAY. I’ve got a mini-poster of Pyramid Head with a strip of film reel on either side of the poster framed on my wall. You get the idea.
So, as you can see, Silent Hill is kinda my bread and butter. When it comes to the soundtracks, in regards to my favorite, I honestly can’t decide between SH1 and SH2. The first game had a soundtrack that was literally a cacophony of nightmarish sounds. Pipes banging in the distance, doors screeching open and other terrifying sounds all put together that resulted in an insanely abstract calm. Honestly, I’ve had the soundtrack playing and fallen asleep to it without a problem.
The soundtrack for SH2 went along a slightly different path… Here, instead of the music that you hear when you roam the streets as well as the other various locations, you hear the music that usually comes up during cut scenes. Now, that isn’t a bad thing because the music during these moments is achingly beautiful and conveys a sense of deep longing and yearning. The music of SH2 is also more “musical”. There is little in the way of banging pipes or screeching doors. Rather, there are lush ambient pads, mellow keys, soaring string melodies and other beautiful embellishments. This is also a great soundtrack that one can fall asleep to.
So, now that I’ve gotten all of that out of the way, it’s time to focus on the Silent Hill: Shattered Memories OST that is given to people who pre-ordered the game from Gamestop.
The album starts off with a cover of the country classic “You Were Always On My Mind” which was covered by anyone from Willie Nelson to B.B. King to Elvis Presley. This version starts with a subtle, creepy pad that goes into a Goth-industrial beat that becomes the backbone of the song (think KMFDM or Combichrist). Layer after layer of instrumentation starts building along with Mary Elizabeth McGlynn’s beautiful voice. An interesting moment is when the chorus comes, nearly every instrument drops out except for a beautifully dissonant synth pad and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn crooning out the lyrics. It’s actually a very clever contrast.
The production is much the same as the other SH soundtracks. There is, even through all of the digital synths and pads, a very warm, analog feel to the production. Sometimes, just because of the overwhelming amount of layers, it is hard to discern one instrument from another. However, with some of the more simplistic tracks, each layer is easily understood and noticeable.
Personally, I’d like to hear Silent Hill tracks not have beats unless they are the theme song or specific tracks that require a beat (ending themes, cut scenes, etc…). Since I haven’t played the game yet (I’ve got the PS2 version pre-ordered), I don’t know where these tracks find
All in all, it’s a solid soundtrack that is very much worth getting a pre-order for, but doesn’t bring about the same feelings as the first two soundtracks.