Coda & Roger and Me - Matt Uelmen
July 4th 2008 17:10
The legacy of Blizzard's everlasting game, Diablo, continues in Phantasmelodia with Coda and Roger and Me, two mellifluous tracks by Matt Uelmen that mark the end of Diablo II Soundtrack. This time the epic oboe tells the story of the victory of mankind while grieving flutes that open the song sing an elegy for a fallen hero whose heart was once young and pure.
However, traveling to the rotten depths of hell, being exposed to countless abominations whose plain sights corrupt human psyche no matter how courageous one might be and finally facing one of the prime evils of Underworld, Lord of Terror himself, had its grave consequences. The unnamed hero undertook a most blasphemous burden that would leave profane footprints behind as he/she traveled through water and sand. In order to hinder the evil from further corrupting the mortal planes, the hero contained the crimson soulstone (wherein the essence of Diablo was imprisoned initially) by carving the stone in his/her very flesh (forehead to be specific). By doing that, he/she presumed that he/she could control this demonic power from being released again.
Alas, the intent was genuine and clean! However, how can timeless evil be suppressed by a passing, ephemeral being whose lifespan resembles a grain of sand in a vast desert? The nameless hero thought that defeat meant being greater.
Not necessarily. Not necessarily, at all.
Many a times, success is a cul-de-sac with its intoxicating emotions of grandeur. It is through this deadfall, the heart, blinded by victory, is crushed under the weight of reality. By no means, the triumph should be underestimated. However, when overestimated, it is as deadly as the black widow. It spins its web around the ego of man and strikes when least expected. Ah, such an ironic sight it is, when one who had everything once is reduced to nothing. Unfortunately, that ironic sight is the very reason behind the fall of many kingdoms and empires throughout history...
...And history is a crude master, indeed. if you do not learn its lesson, it repeats itself in a vicious cycle, in the most deceptive, devious ways that one does not understand why such misfortunes keep finding them. History does not care about victims. It gives every victim a chance to be a hero of their own story. It is the victim in his victimized state of mind who cannot see that chance and repeatedly makes the same mistakes.
The unnamed hero had no intention of being a victim, yet, in a moment of fleeting superiority, he/she believed he/she could hold great ancient power within and in the end, paid a great price by falling prey to the demon he/she once defeated.
It is befitting to quickly tell the story of Diablo to those who meet him for the first time. Diablo, alongside his brothers Baal and Mephisto, is one of the Prime Evils that reigned the Hell until he was overthrown by the Lesser Evils. He and his brothers were banished to the mortal planes which caused a divine war between Heaven and Hell. The Horadrim, mortal magi forces of Heaven, captured the overthrown Prime Evils and imprisoned their essences into what they called as soulstones. One of these soulstones, which carried Diablo's essence, was hidden deep amongst the caverns under a cathedral. In the outskirts of this cathedral lied the little village of Tristram where centuries of generations passed oblivious to what lied beneath. Until there came a time when the power of the soulstone began to wane and Diablo's consciousness awakened. He reached out to find himself a puppet and in the corrupted mind of Archbishop Lazarus, he found himself a new toy.
Lazarus, whose strings were pulled by the Lord of Terror, kidnapped King Leoric' son, infant Prince Albrecht, to be used as a vessel for Diablo. This is when the good-hearted king lost his grip of reality and became prone to Lazarus' manipulation. The Archbishop first accused a nearby, greater kingdom of the kidnapping of little Prince and caused his King to send all his mighty warriors in a war that was destined to be lost. The remaining knights were led into the depths of the cathedral by Lazarus himself to (supposedly) rescue the Prince yet only a few managed to return to tell the unspeakable horrors they had to face. The terror Diablo caused in the heart of the boy caused the veil between the mortal and immortal realms to be torn apart hence, demons leaked into the world of Sanctuary to do Diablo's bidding. This is right where the original story begins with the unnamed hero returning to his/her hometown, Tristram, to find it overrun by sorrow and death.
Matt Uelmen continues to create a dramatic and alluring atmosphere with his music for Diablo II. This time, he is casting his hands on fully orchestral realms in order to pull the gamer deeper into the world of Sanctuary. Slovakian Radio Symphony Orchestra helps Uelmen melodify and enable his vision come alive in this sequel.
Many songs presented throughout the game are unique but there come moments when nostalgia strikes since Uelmen strategically reprises his unforgettable songs from original Diablo in his new compositions. Sisters and Wilderness are two songs that pay a modest homage to Town (Tristram Village) while Spider harbors snippets from Dungeon (The music played during the first 4 levels of Tristram's desecrated cathedral). Town can be listened in its original form when the hero from Diablo II revisits Tristram to rescue Cain the Elder. This mission is not only a sentimental return to the setting of original Diablo but also features cameos from what is left of characters such as Griswold and Wirt.
Alongside the above, there sure are other songs that carry the traces of Diablo's original score. However, they shall be left for the listener to discover.
Coda and Roger and Me are the last two songs from Diablo II Soundtrack. They adorn the very end of the game/soundtrack. Although they are two separate tracks, I combined them in one due to their complementary structure and one's merging into the other. The divine dance of soothing flutes, bardic 12-string guitar and mystic oboe is unmatched in form and style while the song reaches its finale with an excerpt from Town (Tristram Village), thus completing a cycle by returning to the very beginning of Diablo saga.
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