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Monday, June 27, 2011

Poll Question: What Film Do You Think Has a Damned Good Metal Soundtrack?

Half the experience of a truly memorable movie is its score. Sometimes the music becomes even more memorable than the film it represents. As fun a flick as Tron: Legacy is, there's no denying its true amplitude comes from Daft Punk's heroic cyberscore. A lot of people remember Grease more for its cavalcade of fifties-via-seventies pop smear than the fact it's a pretty hilarious popcorn film. Then there's anything bearing the name of either John Williams, Danny Elfman or Hans Zimmer where the cinematic experience is gelled by an equally triumphant musical vehicle. Many consider the Forrest Gump soundtrack the creme de la creme of all, while I lean more towards American Graffiti for the all-encompassing atmosphere gained between celluloid and audile textures.

Given the fact most movie soundtracks are gimmicky ventures to pimp new bands the host label has "carefully" selected (the more recent Saw and Punisher soundtracks come to mind), said film soundtracks are dubious by nature. Not every soundtrack can be wholly representative of the films they decorate, such as Repo Man, Return of the Living Dead, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Spartacus (Alex North's gorgeous and valorous score from the 1960 Stanley Kubrick film), Goodfellas, Stand By Me, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Gladiator, Blade Runner, John Carpenter's chum-dripping take on The Thing and the aforementioned Tron: Legacy.

Heavy metal has historically been exploited as a tool in films, largely threaded towards horror and action than most other genres. The opening of Adam Green's Hatchet II wastes little time jumping into Ministry's "Just One Fix" for the opening credit roll. Gloriously, it ends with Overkill's jokey jam "Old School." Bands ranging from Static-X to Rob Zombie, Fear Factory, Type O Negative, Napalm Death, Deftones, Rammstein, Soulfly, Marilyn Manson, Ill Nino and Mudvayne are scattered upon one if not many of the Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat and Valentine soundtracks. Consider the Roadrunner Records mutant dance party that was the Freddy vs. Jason soundtrack featuring Killswitch Engage, Slipknot, Stone Sour, Powerman 5000, Hatebreed, Type O Negative, Sevendust, In Flames, Sepultura with Mike Patton and Blank Theory.

Somehow those metal-glommed film soundtracks are skullcrushers, wisely used by their benefactors to juice up the more intense scenes if not the films at-large. Then you have the soundtrack to The Crow, which might be one of the finest collections of metal and alternative groups there is. Consider the samplings of Helmet, Pantera, Rage Against the Machine, For Love Not Lisa, Rollins Band and Stone Temple Pilots hobknobbing with The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Jesus and Mary Chain, Violent Femmes and My Life With Thrill Kill Kult. Strange, though, how Dio's "Hungry For Heaven" appeared in 1985 on a virtually un-metal film soundtrack for Vision Quest, strange until you find Sammy Hagar's "I'll Fall In Love Again" and Foreigner's "Hot Blooded" on the same slab.

Still, there are few films birthed of pure metal culture from which a truly damned good soundtrack derives. The original Heavy Metal soundtrack comes to mind, even if not every tune is metal. You can't go wrong with the Devo, Donald Fagen, Cheap Trick and Blue Oyster Cult tracks, admit it. Fastway's happy-go-lucky fist pumps throughout the Trick Or Treat soundtrack is always a sure bet, even if they swiped a couple of previously-released tunes to fill it out.

I personally recommend the 1987 soundtrack to The River's Edge, a chilling story of disturbia before such a term was ever coined. Consider the soundtrack is largely culled from early-years Slayer, tunes like "Tormentor," "Die By the Sword," "Evil Has No Boundaries" and "Captor of Sin." Groovy? Yup. Add some Fates Warning, Agent Orange, Hallow's Eve, The Wipers and reggae-splashers Burning Spear and you have yourself a cult classic soundtrack with some teeth.

Of course, we can't overlook Penelope Spheris' scary-accurate 1988 documentary film The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. Even though her punk-oriented first Decline is perhaps more important as far as the bands and the scene she profiled, it was well overshadowed by its metalhead counterpart. It helps Spheris' cause she has the sounds of Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Motorhead, Rigor Mortis, Lizzy Borden, Metal Church, Queensryche, Armored Saint, Seduce and Faster Pussycat booming throughout.

Lizzy and Hallow's Eve return on the seldom-seen Black Roses soundtrack, along with King Kobra, Tempest, Bang Tango and the namesake pseudo band, Black Roses. Speaking of pseudo metal bands as star of a movie, does anyone else come to mind before Spinal Tap?

For an overall metal-meets-film overview, I'm tempted to hang with Spheris since the broad perspective is gained through both the visual and audile senses, even if I'm stupidly nostalgic for Heavy Metal and Trick Or Treat and well, big bottoms, baby, you know what for.

So chime in, folks. What film do you think has a damned good metal soundtrack?


Ed said...

Strangeland Soundtrack has some jems...I'm a Dee Fan, and the movie is a favorite of mine:

Dee Snider - Inconclusion
Sevendust - Breathe
Megadeth - A Secret Place
Pantera - Where You Come From
Anthrax - P & V
Snot - Absent
dayinthelife - Street Justice
Coal Chamber - Not Living
Bile - In League
Marilyn Manson - Sweet Tooth
Soulfly - Eye For An Eye
(həd)P.E. - Serpent Boy (Radio Edit)
Kid Rock - Fuck Off featuring Eminem
The Clay People - Awake
System Of A Down - Marmalade
Nashville Pussy - I'm The Man
Crisis - Captain Howdy
Twisted Sister - Heroes Are Hard To Find

I think you nailed it with the "Decline..." and "Heavy Metal soundtrack" submissions though.

Crescent Shield said...

you covered the good ones

Metal Mark said...

Shocker was a shit film, but it had a half decent soundtrack. The first Wayne's World had a fair soundtrack too with Black Sabbath, Cinderella and others. Last Action Hero has a decent soundtrack as well with Megadeth, AC/DC and more. Bill and Ted's excellant adventure had Tora Tora, Extreme, Shark Island, but some forgettable bands too. Don't forget Airheads with songs from Motorhead with Ice-T and Whitfield Crane, White Zombie, Prong, Anthrax, The Ramones and others. Judgement Night from the early 90's with it's matching of metal bands with rap acts had some good songs and some clunkers too. Tales from the crypt:Demon Knight had Megadeth, Rollins Band, Sepultura and others. It seems like almost every soundtrack made between like 1987 and 1997 that had any kind of metal had Megadeth on it.

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Ed, thanks, man. I was about to pull Strangeland into the mix of this post and it's a pretty good one, definitely. Are you psyched for SL2?

CS, thanks, lol... When are we getting new tunes from you guys?

Mark, all the ones you mentioned are a viable soundtrack contenders. Shocker really WAS a bad film; didn't we see that together? Ugh. I was going to mention the Dudes soundtrack, though all I can remember off the top of my brain is Keel's "RNR Outlaw" cover and I think they had another song, too. That movie stunk too. And yep, you're right on about Megadeth appearing on so many soundtracks. And I could've mentioned AC/DC and Iron Man 2, even if there was no original tracks. Ditto for Who Made Who/Maximum Overdrive, though yet again, they force-fed existing tracks with the three newbies.

DPTH International said...

I like "Last Action Hero" and "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" Both are great albums.

Kris said...

The "Judgment Night" soundtrack is one of my all-time favorite albums. Each song is a collaboration between a rock/metal band and hip-hop/rap band. F'n brilliant, esp. tracks 1, 4, 6, & 7.
Track listing:
1. Just Another Victim - Helmet/House of Pain [4:24]
2. Fallin' - Teenage Fanclub/De La Soul [4:28]
3. Me, Myself & My Microphone - Living Colour/Run-D.M.C. [3:08]
4. Judgment Night - Biohazard/Onyx [4:36]
5. Disorder - Slayer/Ice-T [4:59]
6. Another Body Murdered - Faith No More/Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. [4:25]
7. I Love You Mary Jane - Sonic Youth/Cypress Hill [3:52]
8. Freak Momma - Mudhoney/Sir Mix-A-Lot [4:01]
9. Missing Link - Dinosaur Jr./Del The Funky Homosapien [3:59]
10. Come and Die - Therapy?/Fatal [4:26]
11. Real Thing - Pearl Jam/Cypress Hill [3:32]

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

I have the Judgment Night soundtrack too and it's damned good. I've only heard bits of the LAH soundtrack and barely remember the Bogus Journey 'track. God helps us, they're remaking Bill & Ted.