Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

Composed By: Oscar Araujo

Distributed by: Sumthing Else Music Works

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                I remember playing Castlevania all those years ago when it first appeared in the late 1980s.  Made by Konami for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the game followed the adventures of vampire hunter Simon Belmont and his journey through Dracula's castle.  Created almost twenty years later, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, created for the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3, presented a drastic change in the Castlevania mythos, a reboot in the whole series which shed new light on the origin of Dracula and his relationship with the Belmont clan. 

                Released in February 2014, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 reveals a much weakened Dracula seeking to shed his immortal bonds.  In order to accomplish this feat, he must regain some of his power and the only way to do that is to get back to his castle.  But his former family is still out there, seeking to destroy him.  The musical score of this latest entry into the Castlevania franchise was released in conjunction with the release of the video game.

                The musical score of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 was created by Spanish composer Oscar Araujo.  A composer, photographer and filmmaker, Oscar Araujo is a very talented artist.  Musically, Araujo has worked on the scores for movies such as the animated film El Cid: The Legend, the horror flick The Appeared and the action film Neon Flesh, but Castlevania fans know him as the composer of the musical score for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror Fate.

                First, let me warn you longtime fans of Castlevania that this score is nothing like what you listened to when the franchise first began.  Oh no, this is not your mama's Castlevania 16-bit musical score.  This score is much more sophisticated featuring orchestral sound mixed with electronica.  Choir vocals are used for effect, especially in tunes like Man of God and Satan, making those tracks appear to be much more ominous than if they were created without the choral effect.  The themes of Dracula and Carmilla are very similar, making the listener wonder as to the link between the two.

                As I understand it, this latest entry into the Castlevania franchise has been met with mixed reviews, but I am definitely of the impression that this has more to do with the gameplay than the soundtrack.  As far as I am concerned, Oscar Araujo has created an incredibly dramatic musical score that would work just as perfectly with an epic fantasy/horror film as with this video game.  Composed with the idea of creating an intense gaming experience as well as adding dramatic flare and ominous undertones to the storyline, the musical score of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is an excellent listening experience that works perfectly as a stand alone album.  A must listen for all fans of video game scores who can truly appreciate the value of such well-made compositions.


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