Released two years after Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, Castlevania: Curse of Darkness was set in the year 1476, three years after the story of 1988's Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Michiru Yamane was again responsible for the musical score and delivered a huge number of creative and unique compositions. After she was sometimes criticised for not using electric guitars and rock elements in Lament of Innocence, Yamane went back to the roots with this score and returns the traditional rock and synth style among other interesting variations. More about this in my personal track-by-track review here. Enjoy.
The promotional album opens with "Baljhet Mountains". After the remarkable introduction, which sounds like traditional Indian or Libyan music with deep violins and male chanting, the rhythmic percussion sets in together with a pulsing string line, harp arpeggios, and a catchy and playful melody. In the second part of the melody an woodwind joins and the strings take over to a more dramatic and lush ending. Thereafter the male chanting from the beginning returns in a little interlude together with tribal bongos until the theme loops.It works also excellently during the context of the game for the adventurous journey through the wide mountain range. Some people find this kind of track too cheerful to fit into the dark story of Hector's travelling, but that's exactly what is fun about it. It's a memorable and very well-developed piece and I'm glad that Michiru Yamane came up with something so fresh.
For "Garibaldi Temple", Yamane offers a masterpiece of classical music. It reminds me of "Wood Carving Partitia" from Symphony of the Night because of the similar style and instrumentation, but this theme is more glorious and epic. From the baroque harpsichord passages over the woodwinds to the use of strings and choir, Yamane manipulates the track so excellently and beautifully that is is hard not to like it. Moving to the third track "Legendary Belmondo", the fight against Trevor Belmont is underlaid with this epic theme in traditional Castlevania rock style. It develops from an anthemic introduction into a foreboding piece with fast-paced percussion, strings, and electric guitar goodness by Atsushi Sato. Around 1:15, there is a really nice interlude with choir to demonstrate the cruelty, egotism, and strength of the Vampire Hunter. Definitely one of the best battle tracks from this score.
The exclusive entry on this album is the fourth and final track, "The Portrait of Zead", an arrangement of event themes used to represent the mysterious and villainous Zead. While most of the event themes on the main soundtrack were somewhat dull, this track is much more impressive. The opening segment is reminiscent of Castlevania: Lament of Innocent with its haunting use of chorus and piano, while the introduction of ethnic vocals from 1:13 from the adds a more sinister feel to the track. The most emotional moment is at 2:27, when the track segues into an epic but sombre orchestration, while the final dissonant notes end the soundtrack on a sudden and horrifying note. Classic Yamane, this arrangement is a fascinating perspective on death itself.
Overall, Overture to Revenge is a solid sampler of the Castlevania: Curse of Darkness approach, giving a taste of how Yamane approached the stage, battle, and event themes for the score. While there are only four tracks, they are all successful for their own reasons and the bonus arrangement is excellent too.