Game Music, Reviews

Scare Your Neighbors With Game Music This Halloween: The Cursed Mountain Soundtrack (Review)

September 9, 2009 | | 5 Comments Share thison Facebook Scare Your Neighbors With Game Music This Halloween: The Cursed Mountain Soundtrack (Review)on Twitter

As if the creepy cover image wasn’t enough. While there wasn’t a major announcement made about the contents of the Cursed Mountain Limited Edition, we’ve discovered that it contains a double-sided disc featuring a behind-the-scenes interview on one side, and the game’s entire soundtrack composed by Darren Lambourne on the other. A pretty nifty bonus for those unsuspecting gamers who happened to spot the Limited Edition at the store!

So, the music’s here, but is it worth listening to? I sure think it is. It’s immensely dark and minimalistic like the game itself, and while there’s only 25 minutes of music found here, it provides some killer ambiance. And I guess it’d probably make a great “Halloween” CD to spook those trick-or-treaters next month as well!

Hit the jump for our review of the Cursed Mountain Limited Edition Soundtrack!

First off, the opening track, “Incarnation,” is a narrative with some VO work, allowing the soundtrack to put you into the setting of the game. I normally hate these tracks, but for an album that focuses so much on atmosphere, it actually works. Also, while many albums ruin the underlying audio track with the narrative, Cursed Mountain features the music all by its lonesome later on, which is a plus. The track contains a self-recorded message from the game’s protagonist describing the abandoned city that acts as the gate to the Himalayas where his brother has gone missing. It sets the mood quite nicely.

“Cutting Through the Ignorance” is incredibly tense although it features only two instruments. The synthesized pads keep a single note steady throughout the entire piece, creating an eerie sensation while a bass drum pounds quietly in the distance. “Liberation Through Hearing” is equally minimalistic, but the addition of deep bass notes to the dreary pad progression adds a warm foundation despite the chilling sound of the pads.

“What is Real?” gets into film score territory with its powerful string stabs that are paired with heavy bass drum hits. The piece builds in intensity with more rapid drum hits and a screeching pad that comes in towards the end that sends chills down my spine. “Gone Way Beyond” is probably the lightest piece on the album with its angelic choir pads that shine through the darkness as a heavy bass drum sounds off in the distance like a heartbeat. It’s a beautiful piece of music, but it’s grounded by the brooding dissonance that lurks in the background.

Getting towards the end, “Dege Gonchen Monastery” makes use of some chaotic woodwind instrument and a startling voice that is only present briefly, making you wonder if it was ever really there at all. This creepiness carries over into “Death Cometh To All,” which features a deep, throaty voice in the background while various chanting voices are layered over the top, creating a cacophony of sounds that’s downright distributing. It’s the longest track on the album at 4:31, and it’s consistently creepy throughout, taking the cake as the best “Halloween CD” track.

The final track, “Reincarnation,” is the backing track from the opening track, “Incarnation.” It features these deep bell tones that sound like they’re coming from giant bells buried deep within the Earth. They resonate for long durations of time after each strike, creating lasting tones that trail off into the distance. It’s a nice way to bring the album full circle, but the foreboding sound doesn’t offer any sort of comfort or closure.

There are a number of other ambient tracks here. They work at building the mood, but aren’t particularly memorable like some of the others I’ve mentioned. However, as a soundtrack release that wasn’t even announced ahead of time, this is definitely an awesome bonus. The ambiance is great, and while I haven’t played through the game yet, I’m sure listening to this album afterward will bring back all sorts of dreadful memories. I can’t wait! In the meantime, I recommend picking up the limited edition of the game for an additional $10. The sleek tin case with the scary, demonic monk, and the double-sided soundtrack/DVD are well worth it!

Are you surprised that they decided to bundle the soundtrack in with the limited edition version of a horror game? Are you into this sort of dark ambient music in horror games, or has Akira Yamaoka spoiled you with his “songs?”

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