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Valdis Story: Abyssal City OST
Catalog Number: N/A
Released On: August 1, 2013
Composed By: Zack Parrish, Stephan Fischer, Kyron Ramsey
Arranged By: Zack Parrish, Anthony Morgan, Stephan Fischer
Published By: Zack Parrish
Recorded at: Unknown
Format: Digital
Buy this album from Bandcamp
Tracklist:

01 - In the Wake of Valdis
02 - The Ocean
03 - Beneath the Surface
04 - In Nomini Tuo
05 - Don't Back Down
06 - Down Here We All Have White Hair
07 - Place of Prayer
08 - Mightier Than Thou
09 - Lurking in the Chasms
10 - Primal Instincts
11 - Above the Chaos
12 - As Far as the Eye Can See
13 - Thriven With Life
14 - In the Beginning
15 - Watch Your Step
16 - Pancakes
17 - They Chose to Forget
18 - Sanctify or Die
19 - Frozen Tears
20 - Once a Mine, Now a Shrine
21 - Chants of Narcississm
22 - Ascending the Tower of Hell
23 - Accept Your Fate
24 - The Heir of Valdis
25 - Whispers in the Dark
26 - Spiritus Sancti
27 - Blood Ritual
28 - Blut Durst
29 - Stay in the Shadows
30 - Consequence
31 - A Morbid Reality
32 - Sanctuary
33 - Ultimatum
34 - Rise
35 - Fin
36 - Engraved in Stone
37 - Lost in the Abyss: Ghosts or Hallucinations?
38 - Lost in the Abyss: The Culprit
39 - Lost in the Abyss: Upon the Abyss
40 - Lost in the Abyss: Shimmer
41 - Lost in the Abyss: Filthy
42 - Lost in the Abyss: Ferals Have Feelings Too
43 - Lost in the Abyss: The Pits
44 - Lost in the Abyss: Legato
45 - Lost in the Abyss: The Stigandyr
Total Time:
209'39"

From the moment I first heard the soundtrack to Valdis Story: Abyssal City (composed by Zack Parrish), the sneaking suspicion that it would become my favorite album of 2013 lurked in my mind. With barely a scant detail on the game it was to accompany, I dove headfirst into this collection of over three hours of music, and, after listening for several weeks, have come away certain: this is undoubtedly some of the best music I've heard in 2013, and much like with HyperDuck SoundWorks' Dust: An Elysian Tail, is single-handedly responsible for selling me a copy of the game. However, that statement doesn't quite do justice to the music itself, which stands tall on its own.

Were this a four-hour collection of piano tracks or guitar-heavy melodies to accompany the plumbing of the titular abyssal cities, the music would run the risk of blending together and becoming indistinguishable. Instead, with nearly four hours of audio stretched across forty-five tracks, what is perhaps most impressive about this soundtrack is the sheer breadth. Some of the earlier tracks on the album lean toward the atmospheric (though unquestionably melodic) and piano-heavy, such as "In the Wake of Valdis" and "Down Here We All Have White Hair." As one progresses through their auditory journey (and presumably, throughout the game), heavier guitar riffs flow into the tracks, with songs like "Mightier Than Thou." The integration of the guitar work with the existing styles lends the music gravitas — I would be unsurprised to hear that many of them are combat tracks.

Songs like the epic, nine-minute "Primal Instincts" delve full-on into the rocking. Revisiting some of the earlier riffs from "Mightier Than Thou" gives the song the distinct feeling of being part of a whole, and indeed, this is the album's other great strength. Even as one cycles from the more melancholic tracks to the hard-hitting battle beats, familiar motifs and riffs are frequently revisited, ensuring that the listener gets a true sense of place — that this music is definitely one cohesive unit.

There are also several bonus tracks not featured in the game, each tagged as "Lost in the Abyss." These are equally well-produced songs that range from the goofy "The Culprit" (jam-packed full of what I can describe only as harmonious dog barks and funky backbeats) to the sparse and dark "The Pits." While these tracks perhaps veer a bit farther from the style set forth by the actual in-game tracks, they're still equally enjoyable listening and a great bonus for anyone picking up the album.

As I mentioned in episode 9 of Rhythm Encounter, I could choose nearly any song on this album as an exemplar of its many merits. Parrish's work is atmospheric to the max, but never loses a sense of identity and never blends together. Each track builds on its predecessors, and by the time the listener is engrossed in the fourteen-minute "Ultimatum" (with over ten more tracks to go), it is clear that a great deal of care was put into every facet of this music.

And listen to "Thriven With Life." Seriously, it's amazing.

Reviewed by: Stephen Meyerink



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