Although the thread topic is "CastleVania Order of Ecclesia Soundtrack" and the thread had 60+ posts already, there has hardly been any discussion about the actual soundtrack yet. My thoughts on the matter are as follows...
Dais does have a point that threads like this one often approach self-parody, its often easy to predict what people are going to say. That considered, however, I'm still going to continue on that track and say that, after listening to the Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia soundtrack six or seven times, I'm pretty disappointed, though hardly surprised. I was half-hoping for Yamane to do a Meguro-Persona 4-style revival, but no such luck here.
Its basically what I thought it would be: a few nice gems buried in a lot of boring filler. Compared to Yamane's two earlier DS Castlevanias, the tone is a little darker and more somber, so it doesn't sound "exactly" the same, but its still pretty much the same sound. There are a few very nice themes, like "Unholy Vespers" (my favourite so far, really good), "An Empty Tome", "A Clashing of Waves", "Chapel Hidden in Smoke", "Rhapsody of the Forsaken", and "Emerald Mist". Most of the really good tracks seem to be stage themes (which isn't surprising), but there are also some good non-stage themes, like "Sapphire Elegy" and "Requiem of Star-Crossed Nights". Then there are a few tracks that hardly could be called "great", but still win points on being somewhat more original and fresh-sounding, like "Wandering the Crystal Blue".
There's also three very weird and distinct tracks that, to my ear at least, stand out in stark contrast in comparison with the rest of the soundtrack: "Ecclesia", "Stones Hold a Grudge", and "Gate to the Underworld". These three sound like no other tracks on the OST, having electronic undercurrents backing piano/tubular bells sounds, and they sound like cutscene/incident music. I rather like them, they sound cheesy in a 80s B-horror-movie way (I'm thinking Fright Night), but I like the dramatic sound of them. I have a strong feeling we're seeing the hand of second composer Yasuhiro Ichihashi in these pieces: it sounds like nothing I've ever heard Yamane compose for the Castlevania series. I don't have the info on hand for which composer wrote what track, but I'd be very surprised if these were Yamane's. If they are, my hat's off to her for it, but the inevitable question then immediately arises: why does the rest of the score sound so same-y, why no more of this new style?
As usual in CV-scores, there are a few tracks recycled from earlier entries. There's "The Tower of Dolls" from Akumajou Dracula X68000/Castlevania Chronicles. Its pretty OK, although no way near as awesome as Sota Fujimori's rearranged version from Chronicles. There's "Enterprising Mercantilism", which is basically identical to Dawn of Sorrow's shop-theme "Speaking of Equipment" (its not remixed or rearranged in any way, its the exact same synth and all). And then there's also "Riddle", the second-to-last stage theme from the classic Castlevania 3 soundtrack. Although I'm a huge fan of CV3's soundtrack (I can basically hum all the themes from memory), "Riddle" was one of the few tracks I didn't like on it. I'm going to commit 8-bit-heresy here and say that this new version actually gives the melody the extra kick it needs to shine: the Order of Ecclesia version is much rockier, and although its on a superior soundsystem, it actually sounds more like a classical, high-octane chiptune than the NES original (GoldfishX, I have a hunch you'd like this one). Apart from these three, all the rest of the music is new (although shades of "Vampire Killer" creep into the end of "Ecclesia", of course we wouldn't escape yet another rendition of that one...).
I've gone to great lengths to really pinpoint the positive aspects of the Ecclesia soundtrack here, because I wanted to give it a chance and try avoid falling into the "predictable"-trap. But alas, there's no covering up that the great majority of tracks are exactly what one feared: the same old, same old clichés. I've really tried to keep an open ear, but when only one fourth of the soundtrack (a generous estimate) is actually worth listening to on it's own, and the rest is really, really mind-numbingly bland, the writing is pretty much on the wall. The majority of Ecclesia exactly follows the trend of most newer Castlevania music: rushed, bland, lukewarm, clichéd, and just overall half-assed, and to top it off, the stand-out tracks are merely "good" and "passable", none of them really stick or have the promise to become future classics. One thing that really gets me is that the same crap that bogged down the PS2 scores - half of the soundtrack being boring-ass cutscene music that no one cares about or likes - is creeping into the handheld scores as well. Ecclesia has a plethora of really shitty, boring tracks that sound like stuff that has no place on a Castlevania-soundtrack (which is probably why they stretched out our misery to two discs). Arghh! *bursts an artery out of sheer rage*
It is worth noting that I haven't played the game yet, so I'm fully aware that I might be missing out on the emotional attachment-factor that goes with that. But good music is still good music, and when we're talking about this kind of music, you shouldn't really need to brainwash yourself with 15 hours of gameplay before you "get" it. I remember there was a time before this series stagnated when you could pick up a Castlevania OST and pretty much count on it being full of awesomeness (Dracula X, Symphony of the Night, Castlevania 64, and Castlevania Chronicles all fall into this category for me, as I dug them a lot before playing the games the music was taken from). It seems that time has passed, as the series has clearly devolved into mediocrity on the music-front. We all know there's only one way out of this, namely:
some one could smash her computer with all of her samples