Unless they were carefully constructed purpose-built suites of music, think Paris, Texas or Blade Runner, soundtracks can be a bit of a rag-bag of easily available tracks, cover versions and/or stuff you didn’t want anyway. Luckily God* clearly got fed up with this state of affairs and intervened in human affairs for the first time since creating Angus Young and brought forth the Judgment Night soundtrack, mixing hip-hoppers with alt-rockers was a stroke of genius. However as we all know in the music industry lightning is never allowed to just strike once and some bright spark at Sony had the idea to copy the successful formula, this time mixing dance acts with a veritable galaxy of metallers and near rockers and Spawn – The Album was born.
Of course I bought this purely for the music and the concept. The fact that it was released on 3 10″ red vinyl records was neither here, nor there. Honest.
It is by its very definition a grab bag of tracks, probably more so because it’s based upon collaborations, rather than individual bands and all the varied permutations for excellence / suckingosity that gives you. Out of 14 tracks here I really like 7 and so whilst there’s nothing so awful here I feel the need to rant about^ I’ll just deal with the bits I like in order to keep the 1537 vibe positive, positive, positive – just like a scary pseudo-religious cult like this should be. The good folks in charge of Spawn – The Album knew their job and it is majorly front-loaded.
Kicking off with Filter & Crystal Method ‘(Can’t You) Trip LIke I Do’, the LP opens in fine style. Crystal Method were briefly touted as ‘Digi-Rock’ along with the Prodigy et.al in the States**, but the term really seems to fit this track well, it rocks out in a dancified manner with strong vocals; I can barely remember Filter at all. Next up is my fave track Marilyn Manson & Sneaker Pimps ‘Long Hard Road Out of Hell’, which Mr MM named his brilliantly entertaining biography after. I loved Marilyn Manson briefly around the time of Mechanical Animals and this is very much in the same, ahem, vein with some added vocal textures courtesy of the Sneaker Pimps, who I remember having a great, sexy single out called ‘Roll On’. And how does this side of the LP end? with Orbital & Kirk Hammett ‘Satan’ that’s how! Kirk jamming some tasty, tasty guitar over the Orbital classic. Just three brilliant tracks and perfect gym fodder too.
Next up are the big boys, Metallica & DJ Spooky ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls (The Irony of it All)’, now this is a bit of a difficult one because on the one hand it is probably about my 3rd favourite Metallica track and therefore sacred and on the other hand I find what they do with the song’s opening really exciting, sacrilege though it is those breakbeats really work well with it. I’m a bit less enamoured with the bit where they isolate and sod about with the vocals in the middle section. So it moves from the sublime to the ridiculous in seconds, a bit of a microcosm of the whole LP.
Mansun & 808 State ‘Skin Up Pin Up’, is an unexpected treat too – Mansun were an indie band from, just up the road from here, Chester, who had a good line in titles but not much else too memorable, but their match-up with pioneers 808 State, led to a great lump of SpaceIndie, which is a new genre I have just invented (population:1), they actually sound like a far more inventive Oasis on this one. Next up is a great moment Prodigy & Tom Morello ‘One Man Army’, whilst Tom does all his wonderful guitar bleeps and bloops the prodigy lay down a barn-storming rocker here; altogether now ‘Taste the back of my crystal fist!’^^. I forget sometimes just how good the Prodigy were at the time.
The last really good track here is Slayer & Atari Teenage Riot ‘No Remorse (I Wanna Die)’. Just like the Slayer & Ice-T track on the Judgment Night soundtrack this one really sorts out the men from the boys and the girls from the women. Words fail me a little, listening to this song is a bit like being strapped inside a truck tyre and rolled down a mountainside; repeatedly. It’s a shrieking, treble-heavy maniac of a tune. I would imagine this is how all music would sound after drinking 50 cans of Red Bull. It’s a great collaboration too, the sound of two extremists from totally different ends of the bangy-bangy spectrum coming together and just joyfully laying everything to waste. I love it, but approach with maximum caution.
So there you have it all, about half excellent. To be fair that’s more than most LPs. I listen to individual tracks rather than ever listen to it as an entire album. I like the idea of genre clashes like this, so what next? well I’ve been grooving to a spot of easy listening recently so I reckon the next big superhero movie should be sound tracked to the awesome sounds of Burt Bacharach & Slayer ‘Twenty Four Hours From Hades’, or ‘What’s New Beelzebub?’, or even ‘(There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me (Your Severed Head)”. Any high-flying record company execs out there want to get in on this project at the ground floor? just me again then.
*in whatever aspect of divinity you choose, or not, to worship him/her/them/it … look this is exhausting – you get what I mean.
^although I really don’t like Korn, like really, really – it’s sort of anti-music to me, so Korn & Dust Brothers ‘Kick The PA’, won’t be getting a single mention at all, no sir, not a single one for Korn & Dust Brothers ‘Kick The PA’ in this entry.
**It’s a God-awful term, Crystal Method’s LP Vegas is a damn good one though.
^^if that’s not really what he’s singing, I don’t want to know. Don’t spoil it for me!