Silent Hill 4 The Room Original Soundtracks
Silent Hill 4 The Room Original Soundtracks
Konami Media Entertainment
June 17, 2004
Buy at CDJapan
Continuing on with my opinions of the Silent Hill series, I’m going to take a look at the score for Silent Hill 4 The Room. This album, much like the previous game’s score, is a combination of heavy rock arrangements and atmospheric moods. The distinction, while obvious, is sometimes obscured in a fantastic blend of styles which are the signature of the Silent Hill series. Also in step with the rest of the series, many of the tracks display a certain quality which identifies them as being specifically Silent Hill — a certain instrumental sound which is unique to the series, specifically in the drum kits and guitar selections. As with my previous review, I’m going to take a look at some of the pieces which show off this quality, as well as a few other selections which I feel are quite strong in their own way. Also like my previous review, I won’t be looking at most of the atmospheric work, simply because much of it sounds the same. So with that said, lets jump in.
Let’s begin with “Fortunate Sleep -Nonne Disturb Her Dead-,” a piece which focuses on presenting an atmospheric mood, with a light percussive beat and a strong piano melody. The piano in particular does a fantastic job at mixing with the synthesizers, with just enough volume to be prominent without being overly loud. The piece itself without the piano is very light and airy, but the piano really gives it its edge, and is one of my favorite things about the track; a perfect example of decorative piano which not only attempts to add to the mood of the piece, but in itself creates a separate, melancholy mood. In contrast, “Traversing the Portals of Reality” is a rock piece which focuses on dissonance to create the atmosphere. The really interesting thing about this piece, in my opinion, is the drum beat. In and of itself, it’s fairly basic, but when combined with the rolling guitar and sweeping strings (in portions of the piece), it really brings the track alive. The small changes at the end of the eight bar segments really creates a cool transition into the next melodic section. While dissonance isn’t necessarily my most favorite thing in the world, it certainly helps to distinguish the track as part of the Silent Hill backdrop.
“Into the Depths of Self Discovery” is another track which uses synthesizers and a light beat to create an atmospheric rock combo. Again, the beat in this piece is what really gives it its edge. The syncopation allows the synthesizers (presenting the main “atmospheric” melodic theme of Silent Hill 4 The Room) to come through with some real punch. One thing about any Silent Hill atmospheric piece is the absence of any real melodic key, and in some ways, this is beneficial to the overall sound of the score. But the atonality on this album is more prominent than other Silent Hill albums and somewhat detracts from the quality of many of the pieces. “Remodeling” is another example where the absence of a melodic key adds to the atmosphere of the piece, but in general makes the track more confusing rather than abstract. The light beat in this piece is what makes it interesting, but when combined with the rest of the somewhat random synthesizer loops, it all becomes a bit much.
However, there’s more to a Silent Hill album than just rock pieces and atmospheric background tracks: time to look at my favorite part of these albums, the vocal pieces. Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and Joe Romersa return to the Silent Hill series, providing five vocals tracks to the album. Romersa contributes “Cradle of Forest,” but like his previous track “Hometown,” this one seems out of place. The orchestration on the track is definitely strong, but the vocals sound wrong. While his voice is more suited to this track than to “Hometown,” it still has the wrong sound to really blend with the Silent Hill sound. McGlynn however, hits her mark perfectly. “Tender Sugar,” which accompanies the official music video for the game, is somewhat repetitive, but the vocals really give a sweeping, almost emotional yearning sound to the track. While not McGlynn’s strongest vocal performance, her louder vocals during the chorus match the song well.
Perhaps one of the most emotional songs to appear in Silent Hill, “Room of Angel” evolves from “Letter – From the Lost Days” to mourn the death of Cynthia, one of the lead characters from the game. I’ll talk more about her later. The track has strong percussive beats, with atmospheric sweeps in the background, supporting McGlynn’s whisper-like vocals throughout the piece. From there, McGlynn takes on something a little different with “Your Rain,” perhaps the most pop-sounding song in the series to date. A little more upbeat than the rest of the vocal repertoire, this song comes to be identified with Cynthia while she was alive. The track’s fast chorus and memorable melody really give it a lively edge, while still maintaining the traditional Silent Hill sound. The guitar solo before each chorus really allows the song to build, creating a platform for McGlynn’s strong vocals. Indeed, the pop feel to the track can be seen in other places; the track was re-mixed and featured in DDR Extreme accompanied by a cinematic performance by Cynthia and her back-up dancers.
inishing off the album (and during the credits in the game), we get “Waiting For You,” my second favorite song in the Silent Hill series next to the studio version of “I Want Love.” Presented as a live track, McGlynn’s vocals come out extremely strong, and a first in the series, is given a harmonic melody (that I particularly love). The song on its own is a standard track that, after this many albums, you would expect to hear. But the vocals and the instrumentation of the rest of the track really give it a fun and highly addictive quality that will leave you humming for days to come.
Overall, the score for Silent Hill 4 The Room isn’t as impressive as previous albums. The addition of more atmospheric tracks and a smaller contribution from drum kits and guitars in those pieces somewhat hurts the series as a whole. Not that the album isn’t good; it just isn’t AS good as the other scores in the series. True, the subject matter of the game is slightly different than previous titles, but the absence of familiar musical styles and sounds is still disappointing. The vocal work, however, is solid and is definitely an asset to the album.
Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!
Posted on August 1, 2012 by Andre Marentette. Last modified on January 17, 2016.