Castlevania Original Soundtrack

Catalog #: GFCA-32~33
Publisher: Konami
Release date: 2005
Price: 2800 yen

Review by CapcomMDB:


For starters, the album name is really 'Castlevania Original Soundtrack' which is of course confusing to Western audiences where most games have been labeled Castlevania -- in Japan, it's apparently not that confusing. Still, I'd like to refer to the soundtrack as the 'Castlevania -- Lament of Innocence Original Soundtrack' instead to avoid unwanted confusion.

The album is presented similar in style to the Curse of Darkness soundtrack with character art in the background of each page, excellent CD cover art, but aside from this nice picture of Joachim, there isn't much extra. Again, there are in-depth interviews with Iga, Ayami Kojima as well as pages and pages of liner notes (wish I could translate it all!). I actually like the cover art for Lament's soundtrack a bit more than CoD -- the Japanese art is just gorgeous. Those who preordered first presses of both the LoI and CoD soundtracks received that Castlevania paper-holder thingy. The Music:

Lament of Innocence was awesome because it featured liner notes WITHIN THE GAME ITSELF. Of course, these are nowhere near as detailed as the ones within the CD booklet, which gives detailed notes (in Japanese, of course) to all tracks, but that was a killer inclusion and I hope more developers go this route.

Michiru Yamane took a step away from her traditional Castlevania fare, adding plenty of new instruments, including a digeridoo! She really experimented with Lament's soundtrack and hits the themes right on the money most of the time. However, the decision to eliminate the rock guitars is puzzling -- how come they don't fit in a 13th Century castle and yet rave music does? I suppose that's all explained in the liner notes, which are unfortunately in Japanese for all us Westerners to puzzle over. The individual tracks are also out of order of appearance, perhaps reflecting the choice of level available to the player -- the game can be tackled in any order, so why not the soundtrack?

The first CD contains most of the game tracks while the second CD contains a large number of remixes, most of which were available on preorder CDs, though the final one, Joachim of Blue River, is a new mix. This might put off a lot of customers as (1) they might have had preorder CDs already, and (2) they might have downloaded them already. I suspect this is also why the CD is several dollars cheaper than the Curse of Darkness soundtrack. For those who don't download, and couldn't get a hold of the discs, it's a godsend and great to have them all in one place. Of course, all the fantastic cutscene tracks are also now available without the voice-overs. Some such as Dracula Appears run a bit long and make one wonder -- why did we have to sit through a six minute cutscene in the first place?

Many of the in-game tracks are superb, with House of the Sacred Remains and Ghostly Theater easily being the best. A lot of the battle themes make use of a wide variety of instrumentation, as in Stone King Golem, and interesting composition -- use of piano as percussion in Elemental Tactician. The compositions rarely stray from being pleasant listens, aside from a few atmospheric tracks. Lament of Innocence also stands tall as one of the best tracks compositionally and instrumentally, almost aria-like and full of the despair and loss Leon experienced -- pay special attention at 1:13 for the pops representing teardrops. Pure brilliance!

Lament is a bit light on remixes, with two reminiscent tracks, Death Flower Succubus (better than Enchanted Banquet, IMO), Dark Night Toccata, and a couple remixes -- Castlevania Resurrection (THAT'S where all the rock guitars went!) and Admiration towards the Clan.

Most of Disc 2 is composed of remixes, most of which we have heard before. The three Aria of Sorrow mixes -- Cross of Fate, Holy Cross Obsessed by the Moon, and Requiem for Black Souls are, of course, fantastic, though the Lament tracks are more subtle and a few are somewhat less inspiring. Castlevania --2003-, A Stranger Met by the Wind, and Young Nobleman of the Water Prison are some of the best. The only original mix on the CD, Joachim of Clear Blue Riverside, is a jazz/lounge mix of Melancholy Joachim.

Lament is a fresh take on the Castlevania series, though some of the tracks are a bit more subtle as they rely more on composition and instrumentation rather than melody. As such, many listeners may not appreciate all the tracks as much as say House of the Sacred Remains, Ghostly Theater, and Cross of Fate. Don't let that put you off -- each track deserves an open listen, and music students especially should listen closely. The soundtrack is two discs and runs $28 plus shipping most places. IMO it's worth buying (and not just because the cover art is so beautiful), but if you already snagged the promo discs (in one form or another) you may lean more towards skipping the purchase.


Disc 1
Disc 2

Track List

Disc 1

01 Prologue
02 Forbidden Fate
03 Cursed Memories
04 Traces of Malevolent Souls
05 Prologue to the Black Abyss
06 Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab
07 Stone King Golem
08 Rinaldo's Cabin
09 Garden Forgotten by Time
10 Resonance of Malevolent Souls
11 Fog-enshrouded Nightscape
12 Death Flower Succubus
13 Nightmare
14 House of Sacred Remains
15 Elemental Tactician
16 Statue Enchanted by the Darkness
17 Bizarre Room ~Undead Parasite Theme~
18 Dark Palace of Waterfalls
19 Water Prison
20 Melancholy Joachim
21 Ghostly Theatre
22 Nightmare Aria
23 Snake Head Medusa
24 Prison of Eternal Torture
25 Bloodstained Demise

Disc 2

01 Castle Keep Entrance
02 Despair
03 Rear Garden
04 Pagoda of the Misty Moon
05 Lament of Innocence ~Leon's Theme~
06 Darkness 1:04 07 Dark Night Toccata ~Walter's Theme~
08 Dracula Appears
09 Demonic Symphony Poem ~Death's Theme~
10 Castlevania Reincarnation
11 Admiration Towards the Clan
12 The Cross of Fate 3
13 Holy Cross Obsessed by the Moon
14 Requiem for the Dark Souls
15 Christmas Carol ~From House of Sacred Remains~
16 A Stranger Met by the Wind ~From Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab~
17 Castlevania -2003-
18 Cursed Lady ~From Snake Head Medusa~
19 Young Nobleman of the Water Prison ~From Melancholy Joachim~
20 Destructive God from the Past
21 Leon's Belief ~From Lament of Innocence~
22 Candy and Whip
23 Joachim of the Clear Blue Riverside

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