October 28, 2005

CD Review: Masters of Horror Soundtrack

As a collection of songs to showcase the current hard music scene, this does the trick. As a soundtrack to an anthology of horror, it is mostly lacking. It's a shame too, I was really looking forward to listening to this album. That's not to say it is awful, just not what I expected, and the songs generally skew away from my tastes.

When I think of music to go along with a horror theme, I think of dark metal and gothic tinged rock. I would expect bands like Marilyn Manson, Coal Chamber, Type O Negative, and Danzig. Of course there are other bands that would fill the bill, but they don't appear here.

I guess I should talk about the album a bit. The two disk set is bit bloated with sub par music, you could probably shave this down to a pretty solid single disk release. But, I guess you need enough music to use for the 13 episode series this is coming from.

The compilation takes a different tack than the series. The show's episodes are all being directed by proven masters of the moving image. The soundtrack is filled with primarily up and comers to the music scene, unproven talent, if you will. There are a few with proven track records, but not too many.

Let's start with disk 1. The first disk is led off by one of the best tracks of the set, Mudvayne's "Small Silhouette." Not their heaviest work, but it is a strong song and a great way to start off. Next up is a good track from a band I had not heard before, Norma Jean's "Shaunluu." Not a bad song. Other highlights include Andrew W.K.'s "You Will Remember Tonight," Shadows Fall's "This is My Own," and Mastodon's "Megalodon (live)." Not to mention the band with the best name for this set, Scary Kids Scaring Kids.

The second disk starts with the best song of the set, "We Are One" by Buckethead with Serj Tankian. It has an old school System of a Down feel mixed with that distinctive Buckethead guitar shredding. The second disk also gave me my first taste of Avenged Sevenfold, I have been hearing some good things about them, and they fit in with an act I do like, Killswitch Engage. Other highlights include In Flames' "Discover Me Like Emptiness," and Fear Before the March of Flames' "237."

To be sure, there are some very good tracks mixed in. A good dose of heaviness, tempered by some acoustic flavor by the likes of Bedlight for Blue Eyes, Thursday, and Alkaline Trio. Sadly, I think the overall focus on this emo-punk-metal that's been all the rage. What is needed here is a good dose of sheer heaviness.

Hopefully the skills of the directors can use this selection to their advantage.

Bottomline. For the price this is a decent collection of music. Just don't go expecting anything that fits the definition of horror. Get it for the Mudvayne and Buckethead. A word of warning, this disk has that lousy digital rights management junk that has been turning up on some disks. You will not be able to make MP3's without compromised audio quality. That really burns me up, I do a lot of my music listening on Mp3 CD's culled from my own collection, I don't appreciate it when I am not allowed to listen to the music I acquired through legal channels in the method that is most convenient for me. Thanks a lot.

Mildly Recommended.


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