Composer: Akira Yamaoka
The Silent Hill games are rightfully known for their intense brand of horror, both visual and psychological. While the twisted monster designs and blood red, rust covered hell of the otherworld are enough to strike fear into those who witness it, like any effective piece of horror, a lot of the uneasiness comes from the soundtrack.
From the ominous static that screeches from the pocket radio signaling an impending demon, to the thick sound of a large metal blade being dragged toward you, none of it sticks with you quite as much as the melancholic music that orchestrates the purgatorial journey. Silent 1, 3 and even The Room, all have tracks that fit their experience, but I would easily say it’s Silent Hill 2 that has the most complementary scoring of them all. The music doesn’t simply set the tone for this game, it drives it just as much, if not more, than the narrative, characters and town itself do. This is apparent right from first time you hear “Theme of Laura”, which plays over the games intro video you’ll see from idling in the main menu.
This song perfectly illustrates the rollercoaster of emotions the game is determined to send you, and protagonist, James Sunderland on. Composer Akira Yamaoka said he created the piece by combining “a sad melody” with a “strong beat”, and this mixture is very evident throughout the track. The track starts as uplifting but gradually descends into something darker and mysterious, much like James who starts hopeful but progressively becomes more doubtful, sad and confused the further he delves into the abyss. (literally, at times)
James isn’t the only unlucky tourist to be wandering those foggy streets though, as on his journey he meets a few others with their own personal demons they’re out to conquer. Just as each of them have their own calling to the town, each meeting with them is given its own theme that often reflects their personality or struggle. One of them in particular is Angela, a woman who just might be having the darkest trip through Silent Hill that we only get a glimpse of. The second and final encounter with her provide some of the best scenes and music in the game.