Hymn of Death: A Tragic and True To Life Drama Review

Hymn of Death Review


I have heard about Hymn of Death or Death Song months before it aired and I was really looking forward to watch it.

In short – I was expecting a bit. Did I like it? Yes, at times. Though I guess I am not a fan of the storytelling. It felt very monotonous throughout its run of three hours. We have our main leads described as having a tragic love story. And it truly was. However, the way they have gone about it felt a bit underwhelming. Even more, quite an anticlimactic end (we’ll go into more details about this down the line). 



Lee Jong Suk and Shin Hye Sun looked absolutely stunning. They were so gorgeous. And they are great actors on their own. At the first episode is the part where they meet each other and fall in love. That part was okay for me. I guess that’s the thing that bothered me throughout its run  it had its moments where it was really great and I was right there along with the characters. I cried when Sim Deok cried. I loved it when they were together. They did spend quite some time apart from each other and in those times – we see more of their individual struggles.




For me something felt amiss. At first, I couldn’t feel their chemistry. But now in hindsight, the most heartbreaking part was actually when she found out he was married. It was so sad. All those build up at first really compounded the sadness. It felt like they were done before they even began.


Fallen in Love - Death Song



Their lives were filled with suffering and although from the outside they might look like well-established people looking from their careers – they have a never ending suffering inside them. 

The storytelling in Hymn of Death was different and because it is such a short drama with lots to include, it showed us from a third person’s view rather than from each character’s POV. Sometimes it felt a bit detached in a sense where I failed to empathise with the main characters at times.

It felt underwhelming overall. I think that’s the only way I can describe how I felt about it. It’s not a drama that would stay with me for a while. I think it doesn’t need to be mentioned that the couple that inspired this story makes people want to know more about them and really feel for what they went through. 



I felt for the couple and for the sufferings they have individually. The story never went into a full blown passionate love affair where it felt like their love would conquer all. No, it was quiet and calm, simmering just under the surface. Which was surprising.  


Hymn of Death OST


The first time I heard this song I couldn’t decide if it was Ailee or someone else. However, listening to it again – I thought of SoHyang. This song and her voice is so freaking sad. It really did give such a helpless and hopeless feeling in this drama. I especially like this OST plus the male version.



It reminded me of One Litre of Tears which is a Japanese drama. Man, that was one sad drama. I couldn’t stop crying. The tone of the song, the voices, was really sad. And with that instrumental background, I was just crying along with our leads. I feel like SoHyang can do us no wrong. She was amazing in one of my favourite drama and ost too – Sad Wind (Go Back Couple OST).


Overall Verdict:


Honestly, this was a bit disappointing to me overall. From the hype it got before it aired, I was just expecting more. The PD of this one is the same one from Lee Jong Suk’s previous drama, While You Were Sleeping. Thus, we see quite a lot of his co stars from that drama in this one. The cinematography was good – they all looked so stunning. Especially Shin Hye Sun – she was gorgeous in almost everything she wore. I was honestly surprised when they revealed she was poor. It didn’t look like that at all. Even her younger sister looked prim and very neat with her clothes. They scream expensive, despite them being plain and simple. 



It probably wouldn’t have mattered as much but because them being poor was such a massive factor in the way their tragic life played out, I couldn’t help feeling bothered by this in the back of my mind. 


Hymn of Death as I’ve already said was very monotonous. It had such a grey? coloured/faded coloured filter throughout most of its play. To indicate maybe the timeline it is in and also to help the drama give more of the sombre feel to it. I hate to admit but I was left feeling bored by a lot of the parts. They did spend a considerable amount of time apart so when they weren’t together in the screen – I just wished they could fast forward to when they’d be reunited again. 



Considering also that it’s only a three part drama, you’d think things will go by in a more steady, fast pace. It wasn’t like that. That’s why if you are expecting to see, a fast, passionate love affair – it’s probably better to proceed with caution and tone down that expectation a bit.


It is, after all, about their story together. For me, it ended up being okay. They had a good chemistry but that wasn’t explored and used as good as it could have been. Needless to say, they are top actors and they did their characters justice. I was surprised at how regal and mature Lee Jong Suk came across here. He always seemed quite boyish so when I started this drama – you immediately know that this is one mature and very different character to the most he’s played before. And he pulled it off so well.


Shin Hye Sun as Sim Deok – was a.ma.zing. She’s established herself as one of the leading actresses of her generation over the years. I first saw her in Oh My Ghost and it’s amazing to see how far she’s come. Another great performance.


Their last night together.

Will I recommend it? I’d say you are not missing a lot if you happen to not watch this. However, it is also a nice treat and because it’s so short, it’s worth checking out. It had its really good moments. They both delivered especially in those heart wrenching scenes. The OSTs definitely helped a lot too. 


Few happy moments.


Only thing preventing me from going out there and recommending Hymn of Death to people was that it felt very anticlimactic.For me there was nothing wrong with the actors/ensemble. Cinematography didn’t fall short. Looking back now, it’s how it was all put together and how the story flowed. For such an exciting start, the ending just fell short of my expectations. After all, everything, from the very beginning, were building us up to that very moment. It was implied rather than showed to us. I’m fine with that. However, I felt like it needed a follow up. We needed a release of emotions even if it’s from their family. I felt like there was a lot of bottled up emotions from our main lead that they really didn’t get to fully express even to the end. 


Hymn Of Death - the last kiss


It was the it could’ve beens and the what ifs that were really heartbreaking. They could have been the greatest couple, the best for each other, if only they weren’t from that time. If only he wasn’t married. If only she wasn’t poor. If only they had freedom.

I’m a bit reluctant to post this as it tend to be on the not so great side of the review but like always – my honest thoughts and my personal view. A lot of people definitely loved this and I’m glad I gave this a try. So like with everything else, don’t take my word for it and see it for yourself. You might completely love it.


Hymn of Death Squad – the fun squad! 🙂


P.S. It’s been a while and Happy New Year!! We have a temporary source of broadband at the moment. It’s taking longer than expected. Please continue to bear with me – more reviews to come up soon.