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Castlevania Lament of Innocence Original Soundtrack :: Review by Mac_Tear

Castlevania Lament of Innocence Original Soundtrack Album Title: Castlevania Lament of Innocence Original Soundtrack
Record Label: Konami Digital Entertainment
Catalog No.: GFCA-32/3
Release Date: November 30, 2005
Purchase: Buy at CDJapan


Six years after the great success of Symphony of the Night, the creative team behind the Castlevania series returns and brings Castlevania: Lament of Innocence (known simply as Castlevania in Japan). Michiru Yamane returned to produce the score for the series, but decided to reject the traditional rock elements because it didn't fit the old timeline. Instead she blends the classic gothic elements of the series with orchestrations and, peculiarly given the timeline, quite a bit of electronica. The Castlevania Lament of Innocence Original Soundtrack features all music from the game as well as some bonus arrangements from Dawn of Sorrow and Lament of Innocence in the second disc.

Track-by-Track Reviews

Disc One

1) Prologue

The soundtrack starts off with an orchestral piece full of suspense and movement. It begins rather monononously with the use of timpani and deep strings, but when the brass and strings set in to accentuate the appearance of the two main characters, Leon Belmont and Mathias Cronquist, the piece reaches an heroic climax. A more mystical tone sets in around 1:12 when a mournful female voice joins in, accompanied by harp arpeggios to illustrate the mention of Elizabetha's death, Mathias' beloved wife. Thereafter the music gets a bit more rapid with use of whirring strings in the background together with pizzicato strings, woodwinds, and percussive effects to imply that something strange is happening. The piece proceeds to a triumphant conclusion with repetition of the first heroic section. Overall it's a pretty track and a solid introduction to the game and soundtrack as well. In a way similar to her work in Symphony of the Night, Michiru Yamane is able to illustrate the opening narration with a perfectly fitting theme. A great legend is about to begin... (9/10)

2) Forbidden Fate

The title screen music is just an nineteen second jingle with dissonant use of strings and electronica / percussive effects. Nothing spectacular really and I like other themes more than this. (4/10)

3) Cursed Memories

Michiru Yamane experiments here with some ambient sounds and strange voice effects. They sound very dissonant and mysterious like something from Silent Hill. It's superficially interesting, but Yamane can do much better tracks than this. I wonder why she packed themes like this on the soundtrack. They add nothing really. (4/10)

4) Traces of Malevolent Souls

Another strange track, "Traces of Malevolent Souls" features dissonant use of melodies and harmonies and a weird mix of percussion. With woodwinds, brass, an instrument that sounds like a bagpipe, and a bass line, everything doesn't quite fit together. The resultant sound is a bit chaotic, but nevertheless works quite well to build up to tense situations and confrontation with enemies. (7/10)

5) Prologue to the Black Abyss

A simple but very atmospheric track. The use of the lush string ensemble and the operatic female vocals are fantastic here and build a foreboding and eerie atmosphere. It's perfectly fitting for the beginning of the game in those empty and creepy castle halls. However, it's sadly a bit too short. (7/10)

6) Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab

"Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab" is a track that I have mixed feelings for. It features synth pads, electric bass drums, and some various male raps in conjunction with soft string sections and evil chants. The electronic instrumentation disturbingly out-of-place for the early 11th Century setting of the game even if the location itself has something to do with experiments. Apart from this, the theme is absolutely amazing. The melodies are quite catchy and the development is very enjoyable. It's very fun to listen to and makes the gameplay more entertaining, even with the sometimes repetitive stage design. (9/10)

7) Stone King Golem

"Stone King Golem" keeps the weird pseudo-techno style of the previous track, but develops a more harsh and frenzied atmosphere through use of different orchestral sections within. It's one of the more experimental tracks Yamane offers in this score, but it's enjoyable and works surprisingly well within the game. (8/10)

8) Rinaldo's Cabin

Rinaldo's home is somewhere to return to and let your guard down, so I don't know what Yamane was thinking about when creating this track. It's another of those experimental and out-of-place tracks similar to "Cursed Memories" with use of electronic percussion and some harmonies. It's quite cool and atmospheric, on one hand, but it's quite repetitive and uninspired otherwise if you ask me. (6/10)

9) Garden Forgotten by Time

Finally, with this theme the classic Castlevania sound returns to our ears once again. "Garden Forgotten by Time" is a beautiful piece with huge similarities to previous installments such as Symphony of the Night. It opens up in a similar dramatic way as "Tower of Mist" or "The Tragic Prince" until a playful and catchy woodwind section takes over with support from strings and horns. Around the one minute mark the music becomes surprisingly innocent and there is a lovely interlude with various bell and flute motifs. Eventually the string ensemble takes over once again and leads the track to its dramatic conclusion. How can such a beautiful place exist in such a creepy castle? Definitely one of my favorite tracks. (9/10)

10) Resonance with Malevolent Souls

This theme focuses more on building up a crisis atmosphere instead on relying on various harmonies like "Traces of Malevolent Souls". That's why this one is more effective in the context of the game in my opinion. The xylophone together with the tribal percussion is an interesting addition as it reminds me of battling all those skeletons. The brass, strings and woodwinds also make nice efforts to demonstrate a dangerous situation. Michiru Yamane really shows her experimental side with this theme. (8/10)

11) Fog-Enshrouded Nightscape

"Fog-Enshrouded Nightscape" is a slow developing piece of music that becomes very pleasant when you listen to it for a while. The first minute is kind of boring with ascending and descending harp and bell arpeggios together with some percussive effects and low strings in the background. But around 1:25 the music starts to develop finally; the strings get more brighter and a haunting and beautiful atmosphere builds up towards the end. It's definitely one of those tracks with a slight ambient nature, which work excellently during the game. On a stand-alone basis it can get a little repetitive, though. Not quite as effective as perhaps "Garden Forgotten by Time", but all in all one of the most beautiful pieces from this score. (9/10)

12) Death Flower Succubus

This is easily one my favorite boss themes from Lament of Innocence. Michiru Yamane portraits the appearance of the wicked Succubus with a theme full of tension, adrenaline, and emotion. While the steady snare drum creates a militaristic tone together with timpani and cymbal crashes, the strings and brass build up a powerful, dramatic, yet elegant atmosphere. Around 0:40 and 1:08, the woodwinds also give a feeling of despair and impending fate. But what I find the most interesting thing about this piece is the use of an operatic female voice, which symbolizes the disreputable female very well and fits the theatre location of the game excellently. The Succubus theme from Symphony of the Night, "Evil Banquet," is very similar, but this one here is much more effective and successful. If the snare line weren't be so repetitive I would give it the top score. (9/10)

13) Nightmare

This is one of those rare themes which are used during cutscenes. It fits its purpose very well while Rinaldo tells the sad truth about his family. It begins with dark, depressed strings and some harp arpeggios. Towards the end the track builds up a little, but stays rather focused on the dramatic and mellow side. It's one of those types which work in the game well, but are uninteresting on a stand-alone level. (7/10)

14) House of Sacred Remains

What would Castlevania be without its organ themes? Well, this time has everything a perfect themes needs: gothic church organ chorales, sacred choir sections, and some interesting electronic effects. After the development of the first section, a great passage sets in around 1:36 where Yamane integrates catchy and lyrical harp arpeggios together with strings and more upbeat percussion. It really gives you a feeling of awe while travelling through an holy temple. But this temple is sadly full of frightening monsters, so the church organ sets in again one minute later to perform an epic conclusion to the development section. This is really the type of piece which demonstrates the power of the music in this game. Easily one of my favorite area themes. (9/10)

15) Elemental Tactician

Another boss theme, this time focused on percussion and strings. While the bass line and percussion in the background are very pulsing and energetic, the strings and brass provide dramatic phrases that add a feeling of might. The addition of high xylophone chimes and woodwinds is also a fairly nice effect. But compared to others this one lacks somewhat in terms of memorability and is a bit too percussive for my tastes. A minor complaint, as this is still a worthy and well developed composition. (8/10)

16) Statue Enchanted by the Darkness

The electronic bassline and percussion from "Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab" returns here in a slight different variation together with choir, strings, and some wicked church organ passages. As this theme plays in the basement of that area, it's quite fitting to the gloomy and frightening scenery, but I find it a bit too repetitive and unspectacular compared to the other track. (8/10)

17) Bizarre Room ~Undead Parasite Theme~

A rather dramatic sounding boss theme with use of low-key tribal percussion, xylophones, frantic strings, and horns. The overall track is quite atmospheric and there is just the right development, from the bizzare beginning to the foreboding string section at 0:37 all the way to the climax around the one minute mark. Not one of the strongest themes of this type, but definitely effective. (8/10)

18) Dark Palace of Waterfalls

"Dark Palace of Waterfalls" is one of my least favorite area themes, because it has a very ambient nature and builds up its climax with a slow tempo. The piano is interesting and beautifully played and another highlight is the organ and choir passage in the second half of the track. The percussion is very low-key and brings up the ambient atmosphere together with the piano. In some ways it reminds me of "Crystal Teardrops" from Symphony of the Night. Definitely not bad, but one of the less interesting themes from this score. (8/10)

19) Water Prison

Another climactic cutscene theme, this time played when you first meet Joachim in the prison. The strings build up a nice tense atmosphere, while the woodwinds also give a nice effect to the overall track. Near the end some brass and piano motifs show up to symbolize the serious situation, but I don't like the abrupt conclusion. All in all, it fits in the scene well. (7/10)

20) Melancholy Joachim

Now here we go. After a dissonant introduction, percussion kicks in together with some electronic effects and strings. We finally hear the main melody of Joachim's Theme around 0:27 in dramatic orchestral form. Subsequently the piece enters a slow interlude with dissonant use of strings, percussion, and harp arpeggios, which remind me a bit of Hitoshi Sakimoto. It's sadly lacks the development it deserves, lacking well-constructed sections after the main melody and featuring repetitive frantic percussion. But all in all, it's a worthy and effective character theme and battle theme. (8/10)

21) Ghostly Theatre

"Ghostly Theatre" is one of my personal favorites of the area themes. It features some beautiful woodwind melodies, mellow strings, and a lovely harp together with some tenor vocals. After the soft introduction the piece enters a Baroque section around 0:47 with the use of harpsichord, horns, and ghostly choir to build up a dramatic atmosphere before the loop. In some ways, this theme reminds me of the Phantom of the Opera, because it features some operatic fragments within. Great tune. (9/10)

22) Nightmare Aria

"Nightmare Aria" is an interesting piece of dissonant music used on the top floor of the Ghostly Theatre. Sinister strings and once again ghostly tenor vocals are used together with some sound effects to provide a really creepy and anxious atmosphere. Though it fits really well, this is not one of those themes most would choose to listen to on a stand-alone basis, given it is ambient and unmemorable. (7/10)

23) Snake Head Medusa

This track is maybe the least effective of all boss themes. The percussion is somewhat similar to "Bizzare Room ~Undead Parasite Theme~", but more annoying and repetitive this time. I don't like the jungle rhythms, for example at 0:30, too much. The string and brass line sounds provides a sense of crisis and is a bit catchy, but also quite repetitive. Shortly after the one minute mark the strings become more bright and perform a nice dramatic section, which leads into a surprisingly light-hearted woodwind and harp passage. I'm not a big fan of this theme really. It's not bad, but it's also not interesting enough. (7/10)

24) Prison of Eternal Torture

"Prison of Eternal Torture" is the theme for an optional boss called The Forgotten One, a creature which reminds me a little of Final Fantasy X's Anima, only more horrid. The music itself begins suitably horrifyingly with a dramatic build up of suspense and fear; brass, strings, turbular bells, timpani, and some creepy roar samples at the beginning perform a perfect introduction. The theme becomes an interesting mix of elements from "Melancholy Joachim" and "Death Flower Succubus"; it's sometimes straightforward and fast-paced with use of help and brass and strings, but it's sometimes more militaristic with female operatic vocals. This is exactly the variation "Melancholy Joachim" was missing. There isn't a real melody inside here, but that doesn't matter because the arrangement is superb and fits the scenery extremely well. One of the most interesting battle themes around here in my opinion. (9/10)

25) Bloodstained Demise

Just the game over theme. It's a short organ jingle. (4/10)

Disc Two

1) Castle Keep Entrance

The second disc begins with several cutscene themes. With "Castle Keep Entrance" we are introduced to the Vampire Walter Bernard for the first time. He surrenders Leon's beloved Sara and the two are reunited once again as the music becomes more lush. (7/10)

2) Despair

Leon finds out the truth about Sara in this theme. The atmosphere is full of despair and grief in the first section with mellow strings, but there are plenty of twists and turns along the way. Around 1:36 the strings and brass perform a dramatic and frantic section, whereafter the motif of Joachim appears taking the piece towards a dramatic conclusion. One of the better developed pieces for a serious scene. (8/10)

3) Rear Garden

This theme is divided into three parts. The first section features one of the most beautiful and emotional moments of the score with lush flute, harp, strings, and piano as Leon talks to Sara about her sad fate. In the second part around 1:40 the mood becomes more tense with the use of electronic percussion and dark strings, while Rinaldo performs his ritual for both of them. The last part features a choir with female operatic vocals in the foreground and sinister strings to end the track with the help of timpani. It would have definitely been one of the best pieces from the score were it not for the out-of-place electronic part. But luckily the section is rather short so it doesn't matter too much. (8/10)

4) Pagoda of the Misty Moon

"Pagoda of the Misty Moon" serves as the first of two final area themes and does it job very well to convey an atmosphere of determination, climax, and suspense. The harsh piano chords in conjunction with steady percussion are the most interesting feature here. Strings and brass beautifully perform dramatic, sometimes abstract, sections inbetween. Around the one minute mark Yamane uses some male tenor vocals to perform an ascending and descending melody, which may sound a bit peculiar out of context, but fits with in the game. It's not one of the strongest themes on a stand-alone basis, but it one of the most interesting area themes from this score. (8/10)

5) Lament of Innocence ~Leon's Theme~

So the main hero from this story gets finally his own theme, huh? As Michiru Yamane said in the liner notes, "Lament of Innocence" is "a piece that shows Leon's grief and anger". Well, she is right. The piano melody is really emotional and memorable, telling a sad story about his determination to confront the cruel master of the castle and revenge his beloved girl. The use of strings and brass is also excellent here, particularly in the grand and dramatic introduction, where they bring up various emotions. Though the percussion is a little too emphatic and "poppy" for my tastes, it also helps to emphasise movement and excitement in this piece. Around 1:13 the piece enters a somber and slow interlude with female operatic vocals, soft strings, woodwinds, and some bell arpeggios, until the second part of the main theme is played with an interesting use of piano at the end. By the way if you listen to the theme closely, the structure resembles "Calling From Heaven" from Castlevania: Bloodlines (Yamane's Castlevania debut work) and the middle part resembles "Dracula's Room" from Super Castlevania IV. This is a nice tribute to the series. (10/10)

6) Darkness

A cutscene theme which plays while you meet Walter in the throneroom before the confrontation begins. The track is highly reminiscent on Michiru Yamane's work in the follow-up Curse of Darkness with its use of choir at the beginning and torgan at the end. Fitting in game, but too short. (7/10)

7) Dark Night Toccata ~Walter's Theme~

Truly, I was a little disappointed with the absence of the traditional Dracula battle theme "Dance of Illusions" in this score. However, as this one fits in the context of the storyline and the overall plot, it is forgivable. "Dark Night Toccata" is an adrenaline pumping theme full of suspense and movement. It begins with a militaristic tone through use of snare drums and strings until it reaches a passage which begins in a similar way to "Toccata into Blood Soaked Darkness" from Curse of Darkness. The percussion together with brass, organ, and strings later perform a nice climatic section which leads cleverly into a dramatic variation of Joachim's Theme. Definitely one of the most impacting boss battle themes thus far. (9/10)

8) Dracula Appears

With a length of six minutes, the final cutscene theme is the longest track from the entire soundtrack. It begins with some eerie sound effects whereafter a female opera singer performs a short interlude. Shortly after, a solemn synth choir takes over and takes the track to a climax near the two minute mark. Later sinister strings perform a gloomy passage while woodwinds and later an piano emphasise a feeling of despair and fate. After the three minute mark, the strings roar and a elegaic passage from Joachim's Theme and "Prologue" is performed to portrait the determination of Leon and his opponent. The track ends similar to how it begun with a choir and some additional orchestration, which prepares you for the final showdown. Michiru Yamane shows her skills to create a fitting music for a scene and provides just the right atmosphere with this. (8/10)

9) Demonic Symphonic Poem ~Death's Theme~

The final battle has begon. After a pompous introduction, the strings soaring and the brass together with percussion perform a climactic and tenee passage with up and down runs. This theme is much better than Symphony of the Night's final battle theme "Black Feast", even if it is quite similar in some parts. It has more power, tense, drama, and builds up an incredible atmosphere, even though the melody lacks a bit. She does the best she could to provide a worthy last boss theme, which works excellently during the game's context even if it's a little uninteresting on a stand-alone basis. (8/10)

10) Castlevania Reincarnation

"Castlevania Reincarnation" is an very interesting piece of music. Actually used as a boss battle theme during the Joachim Mode, the track is an arrangement of two Symphony of the Night tracks, namely "Black Feast" and "Dracula's Castle". The second theme is performed by an live electric guitar — the one and only track in this score which uses this traditional instrument — by Atsushi Sato. The track is beautifully arranged and everyone will get the classic Castlevania feeling immediately. (9/10)

11) Admiration Towards the Clan

Michiru Yamane ends the original score with this elegant theme which plays during the staff credits. It begins in a very dramatic way, then strings, harp, and woodwinds take over to a more soft and melancholy section. Afterwards, a piano performs the main melody, which leads into... the famous "Vampire Killer" theme from ancient Castlevania times! The melody is performed by an oboe in a very emotional way to portrait the legacy of the Belmont Clan. After that little interlude, another traditional theme is used, namely "Bloody Tears" with a usual organ melody and phenomenonal supporting orchestration. Michiru Yamane shows again her skills for creating such an powerful and emotional theme for the end of the game. She saved one of the best till last. (10/10)

Minuet of Dawn / Aria of Sorrow Bonus Arrangements

12) The Cross of Fate

The first of the Aria of Sorrow arrangements, "The Cross of Fate", is actually an arrangement of the "Ruined Castle Corridor" theme. It begins with dissonant use of strings and organ in conjunction with pounding percussion. Thereafter the main melody sets in, which is more melancholy and elegant than the original and later given an even more beautiful orchestral rendition. At 2:35 the organ takes over again together with vocals, military percussion ,and piano until the track fades out. If these tracks only were used in the original game... (9/10)

13) Holy Cross Obsessed by the Moon

The second arrangement is a rendition of "Demon Castle Top Floor". A wicked organ introduces us to the piece while the fantastic percussion kicks in a way similar to Curse of Darkness's "Baljhet Mountains". The main melody is provided by orchestral strings together with soft harp arpeggios and brass. After two sections, the organ makes a nice interlude with percussion and the mood gets more deep and serious while the brass is performing the main theme. Again, a fantastic arrangement worthy of listening. (9/10)

14) Requiem for the Dark Souls

Finally, we have the "Chapel" theme being remixed with "Requiem for the Dark Souls". Unlike the two ancestors, this piece is not upbeat and instead very atmospheric and dramatic with the use of various orchestra, percussive, and operatic forces. It is still a very good arrangement, but it lacks memorability compared to the previous tracks. Absolutely worth a listen. (8/10)

Music Inspired by Castlevania Lament of Innocence

15) Christmas Carol ~From House of Sacred Remains~

Michiru Yamane uses the melody of "House of Sacred Domains" and transforms it into an solemn hymn with a slight touch of drama. In the middle of the arrangement, the percussion becomes more prominent and the melody is played in a faster tone. It's an interesting remix, but it's too wishy-washy for my tastes and not as good as the original theme. I don't like the male operatic vocals. (8/10)

16) A Stranger Met by the Wind ~From Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab~

A very repetitive arranged version of the original theme with bells, piano, and annoying percussion samples. I wish Yamane had offered a bit more variation and originality with this track, because the melody isn't that bad. If the percussion were better it wouldn't have been such a dull theme. (7/10)

17) Castlevania -2003-

An electronic remix with some newly added harmonies and melodies. It's a very experimental track and maybe Michiru Yamane used this to train herself with the electronic side of the album. Still, it's too chaotic and repetitive for my tastes. (7/10)

18) Cursed Lady ~From Snakeheaded Medusa~

A track with eerie sound effects in the background and some strings performing a variation of "Snake Head Medusa". Actually nothing spectacular musically, but it would have been effective were it used during the cutscene with Medusa to build up a suspenseful atmosphere before the battle. (6/10)

19) Young Nobleman of the Water Prison ~From Melancholy Joachim~

The theme of Joachim is rearranged here in a slightly more interesting way than previous tracks. Michiru Yamane uses the piano line from "Dark Palace of Waterfalls" together with percussion and water dropping effects as the background for the track. She then presents the melody from "Melancholy Joachim" in a really melancholy variation performed by woodwinds and strings. It's a nice arrangement, but nothing spectacular. (8/10)

20) Destructive God from the Past

This is possibly a theme for an unused boss or an alternate version of an original boss track. It sounds very climactic and is focused mainly on percussion, brass, and strings together with some weird sound effects. It's a bit uninspired so luckily it didn't get put inside the game. (7/10)

21) Leon's Belief ~From Lament of Innocence~

A low-key variation of Leon's Theme with use of harp, piano, and strings together with light percussion. It's slower and has a slightly emotional feeling, but I wished that Yamane had done something more with the melody. Maybe a piano solo version or piano and violin duet would have been better. But every time she offers this electronica instead. (8/10)

22) Candy and Whip

Haha... Actually a short slapstick variation of Joachim's Theme "sung" by Pumpkin while he's walking through some kind of fair and disappears with a door slam. Funny, but nothing musical at all. (5/10)

Bonus Arrangement

23) Joachim of the Clear Blue Riverside

Last but not least we have a final variation of Joachim's Theme. This time luckily Michiru Yamane integrates a different style by offering a jazzy arrangement. The piano is delightful and very harmonious together with the soft percussion and bass, but like all these arranged tracks she doesn't develop the melody enough. Diversity is missing here but, all in all, it is a refreshing light-hearted arrangement of the dramatic theme. (8/10)


The Castlevania Lament of Innocence Original Soundtrack is a marvelous solo comeback by series' veteran Michiru Yamane following her work on Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The soundtrack features a mixture of orchestral, gothic, and electronic elements in contrast to most earlier scores in the series. Probably the biggest highlights are the stage themes, which are wonderfully composed and very varied. Yamane also decided to give every boss their own theme, which makes the battles a lot more fun and diverse, as the themes fit their counterparts very well. She renounced her traditional electric guitar work here, because it would't fit into the storyline, and only "Castlevania Reincarnation" features this style. But this isn't a bad thing overall, as she is still able to color the game's scenery perfectly with diverse compositions even without those elements. An excellent selection and a worthy addition to the series.

Overall Score: 8/10