Boomkat Product Review:
Arguably the best-loved game in the 'Silent Hill' series, 'Silent Hill 3' also boasts one of the most enduring soundtracks, draping Akira Yamaoka's chilly drones in references to trip-hop, dub techno, illbient and industrial music. Terrifying, honestly.
If the first two 'Silent Hill' soundtracks worked best as sample fodder, with Yamaoka's piano phrases and pads inspiring countless beatmakers, the 'Silent Hill 3' soundtrack is more of a listening experience. That's not to say its themes haven't been scraped - Flying Lotus snipped the eerie 'Never Forgive Me, Never Forget Me' for his rework of Kanye West's 'Love Lockdown' - but this one's assembled with a broader sense of narrative, interspersing Yamaoka's themes with dialog from the game and 'proper' songs from Joe Romersa and vocalist Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. Sadly, those songs haven't aged particularly well, and yet again it's Yamaoka's inventive productions that steal the show.
'Float Up From Dream' drops us directly into the abandoned town, with disorienting minor-key chords and a disembodied voiceover. "We've come to witness the beginning, the rebirth of paradise despoiled by mankind," she mutters, creepily. And Yamaoka's love for melodramatic, Barry Adamson-style trip-hop rears its head again on 'Breeze ~ In Monochrome Night', that sets his fluttery, romantic piano motifs over a dusty break and dubby echoes. 'Prayer' meanwhile is more like the interlude from an East Coast power electronics CDR, made up of hoarse ritual chants and grinding, factory-strength percussive drops, and 'Sickness Unto Foolish Death' sounds like a tinny juxtaposition of canned, Ferraro-esque soundfonts and lo-fi, bit-crushed drums.
The album really hits its stride when we reach 'A Stray Child', a gloomy 'Mezzanine'-era Massive Attack-style cut that's hinged around shaky, sampled strings and a tightly reverberating woodblock snare. 'Maternal Heart' picks up where that one left off, meeting Yamoaka's blowzy rhythms with unstable, uncanny operatic voices and electrified gong sounds, and 'Letter ~ From the Lost Days' introduces a vocal without slipping into complete overblown rock, maintaining the low-slung mood. Elsewhere, the jazzy 'I Want Love' sounds like it could have slipped off a Major Force album, and 'Memory of the Waters', with its submerged pulse and lysergic electronics, is perfectly in line with humid, sensual ambience you'd expect to hear from the West Mineral/3XL axis.