Silent Hill Book of Memories Original Soundtrack :: Review by Harris Iqbal
The Vita's Silent Hill: Book of Memories features gameplay nothing like other Silent Hill titles. The shift has upset many Silent HIll fans, though wider audiences have responded to the spinoff well. Daniel Licht simultaneously scored this title while working on the higher-profile Silent Hill: Downpour. While the game has been delayed several times since its announcement, its soundtrack has still been commercially released as planned by Milan Records.
The themes for Silent Hill: Book of Memories are really refreshing to. Take the main theme "Opening the Book", for example, with its slow build-up into jazzy acoustics. The slow tempo and groovy rhythms underlay a surprisingly upbeat and inviting melody. While there are dark undertones, the overall track is much lighter than most Silent Hill pieces. In fact, Licht really hybridises the classic Silent Hill sound with his Dexter works here. "Wood World" expands on this scoring approach, combining the bright instruments and jazzy tempo with some great drum beats. The end result is a great track. In contrast, "The Shop Room" is actually an arrangement of the main theme for Silent Hill: Downpour. It's great to see that Licht has tried to create a link to the main Silent Hill titles in doing this, while asserting his own sound.
Asserting a stronger horror sound, "Blood World" and "Rust World" are both slow ambient tracks inspired by past entries in the series. Distinct in style, the blood version has vocals and industrial sound effects in it, while the rust version incorporates some interesting acoustic rhythms. A particularly impressive scene-setter, "What's On The Menu?" is a slow and ambient track from start to finish. The reverb and electronic shuffles bring depth and texture to the melodies played by the piano. Licht further blends piano solos with electronic process on the relatively brief "Save Yourself" and "You're on the Menu Today"; the former, in particular, channels further influences from television's favourite serial killer with its moody, pensive sound.
Even though there are numerous boss tracks, they are distinctive in style here. There are orchestral tracks like "The Light Boss" and "The Fire Boss" that are likely to bring plenty of gravity to the boss encounters. The latter, in particular, sounds like it could come from a Hollywood action movie with its suspenseful rhythms and thick textures. Other tracks incorporate electronic samples that relate to the Silent Hill. The adrenaline-pumping "The Earth Boss" is a particularly remarkable example of Licht's electronic approach; the percussion rhythm at 0:30 is really memorable and the staccato cello riffs that replace it are even more interesting.
Saving the best news till last, vocalist Mary-Elizabeth McGlynn makes a much larger appearance on this soundtrack, following her backing role on Silent Hill: Downpour. The main theme song "Now We're Free" incorporates the game's main theme as the backdrop for some excellent lyrics reminiscent of old Silent Hill games. Troy Baker's adaptation of the Silent Hill 2 theme of the same name, "Love Psalm" is also an impressive listen. While it opens with rocking guitar riffs and hard-hitting drums, the song slows down when McGlynn's vocals come in and create an altogether different mood. There is a nice surprise waiting at the 2:40 mark, where "Theme of Laura" is incorporated in the guitar riffs. It's a subtle but welcome nod to old-time Silent Hill fans.
Daniel Licht has once again made an excellent soundtrack that is a pleasure to listen on a stand-alone basis. Although it has little in common with old Silent Hill games, a connection is definitely there and Licht offers a mixture of old and new. There are plenty of fine tracks here and the vocal themes are especially effective closers. Musically at least, Silent Hill: Book of Memories is a worthy addition to the series.
Overall Score: 8/10