by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Castlevania is a legendary franchise and forever changed the platforming genre with its unique brand of challenge and a bit of homage to the Hammer horror films. What would a good horror/platformer be without iconic music, though? Nothing, that’s what. Music is one of the most powerful ways to set the scene, and back in 2017, I reviewed Ressurection of the Night, which is a tribute to one of the most popular titles in the franchise, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Now, Symphony of the Night is a two-part game, with the normal castle and the reverse castle, where everything is literally upside down.
Ressurection of the Night: Alucard’s Elegy is available in a variety of storefronts, so please go check it out. It was arranged by the immeasurably talented Wayne Strange and Tim Stoney, and as always, I can’t possibly talk about every song on this album, I’d be here all morning. I almost have to at least mention Bloody Tears, since it is definitely on the album. If you could think of one single, iconic song that defines Castlevania, it would be Bloody Tears, and you know it. That’s just a fact, a law of nature, one might say. The album has a wealth of different musical archetypes and isn’t stuck on one style, which I appreciate. So I’m going to highlight a few songs that definitely stand out in an album full of gold.
Wandering Ghosts (Track 6): Wandering Ghosts certainly starts the brief first seconds like a classic horror film, with a truly eerie sound. But the tone and pace is shifted straight away with a jazzy 70s sound. This includes a smooth electric guitar, trumpets, and a steady rolling beat. This fits because when I first heard the original SOTN track, it felt almost out of place with the game’s atmosphere. It had this same smooth style, and it’s one of my favorites in the game. I mean, if you’re already dead, why not party, right? It maintains a Castlevania feel with what sounds like a harpsichord, which strangely does not feel out of place with the brass and guitar. The sounds blend nicely and certainly gets the toes tapping. I love the guitar solo and would be fitting for Alucard stabbing and slashing his way through his incorporeal foes.
A Creature of Chaos (Track 11): A Creature of Chaos starts off with piano music that one might hear at a funeral, or during a tense moment in a horror film. Paired nicely with beautiful stringed instruments, it doesn’t have a lick of chaotic energy. That is until about 50 seconds in when the electric guitar starts to whine to life and the drums kick in. A Creature of Chaos is one of the iconic SOTN pieces, and one of the first songs I think about when I consider SOTN as a game. There’s another transition though, with deep brassy horns that would not be out of place in Lord of the Rings mighty Orc army. Mixed with a haunting choir chanting, I can practically see Richter Belmont climbing the stairs, where Dracula lounges bored on his throne, waiting for the Vampire Killer.
Crystal Teardrops (Track 8): Crystal Teardrops is another song that genuinely sounded different than the rest of the game. It has a smooth, funk feel, and the percussion sounds like it is echoing off in the distance. Perfect, because this is an underground watery area, which feels like it goes on for absolute ever. I hated this area as a younger man but loved the music for it. A song like this would not go amiss on a piano in a high-class establishment but still manages to be eerie and unsettling. It carries the themes of Castlevania well, and the addition of electronic music is a nice overtone. The shift to using percussion that is reminiscent of water dripping is a nice touch and one that really adds some class to an already brilliant piece of music.