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Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria OST Vol. 2 - Silmeria Side :: Review by Nathan Black

Valkyrie Profile Silmeria Original Soundtrack Vol. 2 - Silmeria Side Album Title: Valkyrie Profile Silmeria Original Soundtrack Vol. 2 - Silmeria Side
Record Label: Team Entertainment
Catalog No.: KDSD-00104/5
Release Date: July 26, 2006
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


This soundtrack is the second installment of the Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria soundtrack, and it follows faithfully in the footsteps of its predecessor. Unfortunately, these steps are nothing to be proud of. Pairing the two volumes together makes for something akin to the Dynamic Duo of Drab Drudgery, to put it simply. It is entirely possible that I am painting a picture much darker than the realities deserve, but make no mistake; this collection of themes suffers much the same as the first volume, and from the same problems. After a time, it grows difficult to tell one track from another, and the esoteric titles do little to help alleviate this.


In all fairness, the tracks of the second volume have more to offer than the great majority of those on the first, but that is saying very little. Listening to these tracks one after another, one has to wonder what could possibly be so dramatic all the time. The upbeat pieces, in general, are in a constant state of near-climax without ever reaching said culmination, which results in what I can only describe as aural blue-balls. Slower tracks, on the other hand, only serve to lull you to sleep. Intense letdowns abound as the album winds on and on, but a few songs manage to stand out from their cookie-cutter counterparts.

The fourth track on the disc, entitled "Neighboring Infinity," is quite the pleasure. Led by plucky strings (my best guess is two guitars, with one having a very odd attack which gives it a rounded sound) and some very ethnically charged woodwind work, the theme conveys a sense of tranquility that somehow alludes to something more hidden within. It may be only a trick of the mind due to the name of the theme, "Infinity" has something to offer that little else on the soundtrack does, and that, my friends, is what we like to call a memorable theme.

"Straying Truth" comes from left field, a stunning work by a cello ensemble. It carries a sense of darkness and foreboding that all of the other tracks on these albums aimed at the same goal fail to. That being said, it also becomes quite boring by the midpoint of the tune, as tension can only last for so long before turning into stressful annoyance. "Dancing Without Malice or Mercy" is much the same, starting strong with some teasing guitar work before turning into somewhat plain and vanilla rock.

By far, the shining gem of the first half of the volume is "No Knowledge of Wisdom," a delicious throwback to Sakuraba's more well-known style. A pumping rhythm is kept strong with backup provided by epic strings that sing so well of the first Valkyrie Profile. Woodwinds trill over the piece to add the melody necessary to bring the entire piece together. "Terrible Assault," a track which appears a bit earlier on the disc, is also a moderately entertaining tune, with excellent interplay between low brass and piano. It, however, is no match for "No Knowledge..."

The rest of the disc is quite torturous until the last several tracks, at which point Sakuraba decides to reward the patient listener with a string of overpowering and moving final themes. "Unrestrained Struggle" is at the top of this list of wonderful tracks. It begins with a typical timpani roll and roving strings, but quickly builds with the help of a skilled choir. In fact, this choir helps immensely in carrying the tune to new levels, accenting the rhythmic beats of the deep percussion almost sinfully well. A listener can envision any number of epic battles or struggles taking place with this as background. I am not exaggerating when I say that I contemplated buying this game just to see firsthand the context of this track. Every piece falls together perfectly in this, as Sakuraba once again proves that he is the king of battle themes.

Sakuraba stays strong for the last few remaining tunes, even through the six-minute "Each Lullaby." Presumably an ending theme, it revisits the main theme of the game, which is most assuredly not a good thing. However, kudos to Motoi for managing to create something much more beautiful over the rotting corpse that is the game's main theme. Swelling strings, choir, and powerful piano weave a tale through music that one would hardly believe has anything to do with the game in question (or at least its component music).

I would love to say that the soundtrack ends on a good note, but for reasons beyond my comprehension, there is an improvisation of "Confidence in the Domination" at the end of the disc. The texture of the piece is utterly baffling and inconsistent. The only actual use of the melody is quite recognizable in the beginning of the tune, but disappears without a single trace soon after, only to be followed by aimless roving and bothersome work by each of the instruments. It was a crying shame to break the winning streak the soundtrack was on by this point, but it has always been difficult to leave well enough alone.


Much like the previous volume, the Valkyrie Profile 2 Silmeria Original Soundtrack Vol. 2 possesses a handful of completely wonderful tracks with the rest being hardly worth listening to at all. It is hard to deny the extreme disappointment experienced while sampling this soundtrack, so I will not try. However, when Sakuraba shines, he truly, truly shines. It can be argued that this disc features his best battle theme yet, and there are several other tracks that are definitely worth anyone's ear. Unfortunately, there are only several tracks that are definitely worth anyone's ear. A decidedly unimpressive return to the arena of Valkyrie Profile's epic story, Silmeria leaves a bittersweet taste in your mouth and seems not to care.

Overall Score: 5/10