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Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin OST | chapelofresonance.com





















Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin OST Review by The Successor



Disc 1

Download Complete Package

102 MB

Track Length File Size
1. Gallery of Labyrinth 1:01 1.04 MB
2. Name Entry 1:56 2.07 MB
3. Birth of War 0:40 942 KB
4. Invitation of a Crazed Moon 2:31 3.05 MB
5. The Looming Threat 1:23 1.09 MB
6. OPERATION VK 1:46 2.04 MB
7. A Small Prayer 2:02 2.08 MB
8. VICTORIAN FEAR 2:15 3.01 MB
9. Piercing Silence 1:53 2.06 MB
10. Silent Prison 2:11 3.00 MB
11. Jail of Jewel 2:24 3.03 MB
12. DESTROYER 1:24 1.09 MB
13. Hail From the Past 2:51 3.09 MB
14. Chaotic Playground 2:16 3.01 MB
15. The Gears Go Awry 2:00 2.08 MB
16. Dance of Sadness 2:08 2.09 MB
17. Meeting of Destiny 2:09 3.00 MB
18. The Hidden Curse 2:41 3.07 MB
19. Gaze Up at the Darkness 2:39 3.6 MB
20. Faraway Days 1:59 2.07 MB
21. Bloodlines Bequethed 2:46 3.08 MB
22. Bad Situation 1:59 2.07 MB
23. Great Gate of Darkness 1:39 2.03 MB
24. Sandfall 1:19 1.08 MB
25. In Search of the Secret Spell 2:04 2.08 MB
26. Crucifix Held Close 3:01 4.01 MB
27. Behind the Gaze 1:54 2.06 MB
28. Iron Blue Intention 2:37 3.06 MB
29. Esquisse of Violence 1:43 2.4 MB
30. Thirst For Blood 1:53 2.06 MB
31. Overture 2:06 2.09 MB
32. Banquet of Madness 1:58 2.07 MB
33. Awaken From the Nightmare 0:17 420 KB
34. The Night Flows 2:56 4.00 MB
35. Portrait of Destiny 3:34 4.09 MB
36. Game Over 0:08 206 KB
37. Theme of Simon Belmont 2007 3:04 4.2 MB

ortrait of Ruin has two music composers, Michiru Yamane, and Yuzo Koshiro.

Koshiro is somewhat of a giant among video game composers. Some of his highlights include works for the Streets of Rage, ActRaiser and Ys series, all of which are known for their landmark tracks and progressive approach in view of the medium. Castlevania fans were giddy about him joining forces with Michiru Yamane, forming an all-star team to work on the second DS Castlevania game.

We're first introduced to "Gallery of Labyrinth". It sounds like the stuff they've been churning out lately for the series. Smooth string voices that take over the lead, which in turn step back and let an organ occupy it for some expected baroque note pattern, a quick drum beat, and nondescript, silky bass line that the untrained ear would probably not consciously notice or remember. The production and mix are good quality. It's a nice track but nothing surprisingly fresh is heard here.

An interesting thing about this OST is that there doesn't seem to be any overarching theme throughout.
Super Castlevania IV had slow, solemn tracks, giving it a dark feel. Harmony of Dissonance showcased its perplexing mixture of melodies and rather alternative sound. Rondo of Blood had intentions of being more upbeat and danceable. Lament of Innocence was tragic and operatic; Curse of Darkness largely coarse and fierce, and the list goes on. . .

I can't say much about the overall sound of Portrait of Ruin. If there is an exceptional Portrait of Ruin-esque attribute, it is lost on me, and probably will be on you, too. That is not to say there aren't any truly distinctive sounding tracks. "Invitation of a Crazed Moon" is unlike anything the series has had. There is no reason why you would even remotely associate this with Castlevania if you heard it elsewhere, and there's nothing wrong with that.

I have had conversations with people who have condemned spectacular songs like "Picture of a Ghost Ship", "Dracula's Tears", and others for not sounding 'Castlevania-ish' - whatever that means. I suspect these are people with no mind for eclecticism, which seems like a boring, narrow outlook to me. Those sorts will probably hate this song.

The bass line in "Invitation" is pretty beast. Koshiro is all over the place with it, and every note, every implication, is awesome. His presence is significant after all; such a bass line is something I don't think Yamane would ever come up with. Granted, she has "Ruined Castle Corridor" under her belt, but that was so much more. . . structured than this.

It's like the difference between the sort of musician that is schooled in music theory and classical training really well, but binds themselves with rigid rules and methods; compared to the seasoned guy you see playing hazy jazz clubs. The one you just tell, "Play in the key of C Minor" and he improvises some god-like stuff off the top of his head immediately, only paying heed to what sounds well to the ear.

That's the variation between "Invitation of a Crazed Moon" and "Ruined Castle Corridor". One is more free, presenting new impressions as the song develops. The other is pretty much the same idea (or more technically, interval pattern) but on a different root note every now and then, and following a predictable path. I love the improvisational feeling of this track. Listening to it is a surprise. You can't totally hear where it's going until it gets there.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying one way is superior to the other, but it's nice to hear something so different that works. After all, variety is the spice of life, right?

By the same token, it's also nice to hear something familiar. "The Hidden Curse" has a rather domestic Yamane sound, and it's splendid. Its opening is grand and theatrical; afterward, it becomes mysterious and somewhat sad. If you were to ask me straight out, I'd say this is the best track on the OST. The funny thing is that it is without any outstanding gimmicks like bizarre synth sounds, electric guitar voices, luxurious harpsichord, or anything like that. It's fairly humble in its execution, but is a very well arranged piece that doesn't need to rely on any overt attention-grabber.

A track that evokes a comparable mood, and uses very similar instrumentation (probably the same) is "Silent Prison". It has a distressing melody but is contrasted by the steady beat of the drums and bass that compel the whole thing. It's like a lament with a strong backbone, giving it a sort of motivation and resolve that encourages you to push forward despite whatever is going on. A harp enters to add a lovely accent to the beginning and conclusion, contributing a beautiful whirling sound.

Reflecting on things a bit more, I believe if there is anything that links this OST together, it is that a number of tracks are moderately forlorn. Not at all in the sense that Lament's were. Lament had a more forceful and dramatic sound. This is more reserved, and exhibits less open anguish. Rather than express the feeling of being swept up in something heart wrenching, as Lament articulated, some of Portrait's music is like looking back on a regrettable memory. It's a different sort of sadness. Not grief filled, but touching nonetheless. You can hear it in tracks like "Meeting of Destiny", "Portrait of Destiny", and "Faraway Days".



Disc 2

Download Complete Package

102 MB

Track Length File Size
1. Gallery of Labyrinth 1:01 1.04 MB
2. Name Entry 1:56 2.07 MB
3. Birth of War 0:40 942 KB
4. Invitation of a Crazed Moon 2:31 3.05 MB
5. The Looming Threat 1:23 1.09 MB
6. OPERATION VK 1:46 2.04 MB
7. A Small Prayer 2:02 2.08 MB
8. VICTORIAN FEAR 2:15 3.01 MB
9. Piercing Silence 1:53 2.06 MB
10. Silent Prison 2:11 3.00 MB
11. Jail of Jewel 2:24 3.03 MB
12. DESTROYER 1:24 1.09 MB
13. Hail From the Past 2:51 3.09 MB
14. Chaotic Playground 2:16 3.01 MB
15. The Gears Go Awry 2:00 2.08 MB
16. Dance of Sadness 2:08 2.09 MB
17. Meeting of Destiny 2:09 3.00 MB
18. The Hidden Curse 2:41 3.07 MB
19. Gaze Up at the Darkness 2:39 3.6 MB
20. Faraway Days 1:59 2.07 MB
21. Bloodlines Bequethed 2:46 3.08 MB
22. Bad Situation 1:59 2.07 MB
23. Great Gate of Darkness 1:39 2.03 MB
24. Sandfall 1:19 1.08 MB
25. In Search of the Secret Spell 2:04 2.08 MB
26. Crucifix Held Close 3:01 4.01 MB
27. Behind the Gaze 1:54 2.06 MB
28. Iron Blue Intention 2:37 3.06 MB
29. Esquisse of Violence 1:43 2.4 MB
30. Thirst For Blood 1:53 2.06 MB
31. Overture 2:06 2.09 MB
32. Banquet of Madness 1:58 2.07 MB
33. Awaken From the Nightmare 0:17 420 KB
34. The Night Flows 2:56 4.00 MB
35. Portrait of Destiny 3:34 4.09 MB
36. Game Over 0:08 206 KB
37. Theme of Simon Belmont 2007 3:04 4.2 MB

Still, the OST has some bite to it. Yamane showcases her more aggressive side with "VICTORIAN FEAR". This song has a good amount of punch, but retains the sort of shadowy melody that led "The Hidden Curse" and "Silent Prison". This time it is the rhythm that is more intent on being hard lined. You hear the orderly patterns that Yamane uses in this. In fact, it's quite like "Followers of Darkness - The Second" from Curse of Darkness in that there is a repeating motif in the background sounding the same pattern over and again. Surprisingly, the rhythms of the two songs are quite parallel, too. Try listening to them together to notice the likenesses.

"Gaze Up at the Darkness" is another exhilarating piece. It's not very complicated or arranged captivatingly. The main things that it has going for it are a dire melody, and quick rhythm. Regardless, it sounds pretty good, developing a believable sense of pressure, and showing off a vigorous intro.

The most openly assailing song in the soundtrack is "Piercing Silence" - a boss theme. This is one of the best boss track a 2-D Castlevania game has had. It's creepy and mean. The front melody stretches out at times with prolonged notes, but builds intensity as they sustain, during which the organ, drums, and bass play all kinds of cool stuff. Great track! There's never a dull moment in it.

Speaking of battle themes, as usual, they can be hit or miss. I'm not sure what it is with Castlevania, but there is a surprising amount of lame boss music to be heard in this series. Why do these games with great music have such a negative history with boss themes? It doesn't quite add up, but seems to be a tradition they wish to continue.

"DESTROYER" is pretty stupid. I don't know what they were aiming for with this, and I'm not sure if they did, either. It's not exciting at all. Bad silent film music - that's an easy way to describe it. The game and OST would be better off without it, and utilizing "Piercing Silence" for all regular boss fights.

"Portal to Dark Bravery" from Dawn of Sorrow makes a cameo appearance.

What in the world?

That track was terrible, why'd they resurrect it? What's more is it's the exact same thing, just as bad as it was in the last DS game. If you're going to bring back a song, at least make it a good one, not arguably the worst track on the entire OST. By the way, it's been renamed "Great Gate of Darkness" for some reason. Different name, same big, clumsy, lumbering mess.

A number of tracks should have been dropped from the OST. The first 20 are constantly solid, past that point, however, the quality becomes scattered. I'd have preferred the excess fat be cut and they stick with the good stuff. That'd make for a leaner, meaner machine, and ultimately, a better album.

Considering it with the interest of the game and not the soundtrack, it needs those songs because the adventure is drawn out longer than it should be. It is a lose lose situation. Both the game and OST are bogged down by things that should have been cut to improve the flow.

Going back to boss tracks, a song along the lines of the Lament of Innocence sound is "Dance of Sadness" by Koshiro, a standout on this album. It features melancholy classical piano playing bursting with drama and suspense. A pipe organ enters to give it an element of fearfulness and dread. It is spot on appropriate for the twin Vampire Sisters, with its elegant, dark stylishness.

Classiness is a premise that's frequently revisited when Yamane is holding the reins. She's a classy girl who writes classy music. And she's really good at it!
"Gloomy Memories" from Dawn of Sorrow is a hard act to follow, but Yamane keeps giving it a run for its money. First "Blue Serenade" from Curse of Darkness and this time the aptly dubbed (if uncreative), "Name Entry". Many different emotions are presented here. It's both spooky and mysterious, yet has parts noble and courageous. Interesting how she manages that without making any giant variations during the song. It moves at a mesmerizing pace, and is genuinely catching.

"A Small Prayer" has a dignified, yet humble representation, "Birth of War" and "Awaken From the Nightmare" are foreboding and aristocratic. Yet again, Yamane prevails at bestowing a gloomy sophistication upon Castlevania.

Like most Castlevania games, this one remixes songs of yore. What's presented here is not as impertinent as those found in Dawn of Sorrow, yet on the other hand, they're usually not great. Though performed well enough, most don't match up to the glory of the originals. "Overture" was a true surprise, which was pulled off very well. "Bloodlines Bequethed" was somewhat necessary (or at least understandable) due to a facet of the game's story. Aside from those two, the other redone songs - "Crucifix Held Close", "Iron-Blue Intention", and even "Theme of Simon Belmont - should have hit the cutting room floor.

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot!
There's a second disk to this collection. It's exactly the same as the first disc, only the music is arranged with higher quality synths. The difference isn't usually enough to make it a big deal, and many times the arranged tracks come out worse. In any case, it's nice that it was included, even if all of that space could have been put to much better use. Being that the songs are virtually the same in most instances, there's not much I can get into here that hasn't already been addressed.

So, the final verdict: *drum roll*
This is good, but leaves me slightly unsatisfied. There aren't as many full-blown duds in this soundtrack as in, say, Aria of Sorrow, but it still suffers the same fault. The music is above average, but out of 37 songs, there are relatively few that will leave a true, lasting impression.

Every good writer knows that you don't keep everything you have just because you have it. You keep what's best and get rid of what falls short, or is just not needed. The same applies here. Had this been a 22 - 26 track OST with the lacking or unnecessary songs removed, it would have been much improved.

However, I can't give this a bad review because it's generally not bad music. I was hoping for more from Castlevania, though. The envelope was not pushed enough musically for some of the latest 2-D games.

They seem complacent with just putting out more of the same, which is why it is difficult to pinpoint a distinct sound for this OST. Aria of Sorrow, Dawn of Sorrow, and Portrait of Ruin all enmesh together in a zone of music that, collectively, is not bad, but is not spectacular.

This is a good OST that stalwartly lives up to this series' legacy, but it will not go down in the Castlevania history books as a major standout. If comparisons are to be drawn, it's around the same level as Dawn of Sorrow's. If anything can be said to sum it all up, the level of quality remains consistent.


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