October 17, 2007

CD Review: Resident Evil: Extinction - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Resident Evil has become one of the most successful video game to movie adaptations to ever hit the screen. None of them blew away any box office records, but the audience was there. It was because of that audience that the series made it to a third outing, which brings me to today's topic, the soundtrack to Resident Evil: Extinction. Now, if the Resident Evil title means anything, it means an album filled with rocking tracks. The promise of music to kill zombies to, a little something to get your blood flowing while splatting the stagnant brains of the living dead. Oh it is a glorious promise. It is just too bad that my heart sank, just a little, before I even got to listen to the album.

What could get me down so early in the process? Well, the line-up is a little underwhelming. While the first two soundtrack albums were filled with dark and/or heavy music this third album leans a little further to the emo/screamo side of life. Not to mention the bigger names are fewer and farther between, gone are the likes of Slipknot, Mudvayne, Marilyn Manson, Fear Factory, Coal Chamber, Rammstein, Depeche Mode, The Cure, I could go on. This time we get the likes of Bayside, Aiden, The Bled, and Poison the Well. Never mind, enough complaining, perhaps this un-zombie-like mix will deliver the goods.

Before getting to the songs I must mention a big positive that is also part negative. Former Nine Inch Nail member turned film composer Charlie Clouser composed the score. He does not have extensive film experience, but has turned in good work in films like the Saw series and Dead Silence, not to mention television series Numbers and Las Vegas. His work is included, but is sampled in such small pieces that it is hard to truly get into what he was doing. The score snips give a peek inside an electronic score of the damned, inviting and creepy at the same time. In total there is less than three and a half minutes of his work, but it is excellent. The highlights would have to be the opening "Main Title" which draws you into the dangerous world and "Convoy" which brings back the main theme as well as other elements into a more
upbeat finish.

The album kicks off in earnest with "Stupid Crazy," an excellent song from Shadows Fall. This gets things off right and is the one song that is most reminiscent of the earlier soundtracks. The driving drums and in your face guitars will make you want to put your fist through a zombie's rotting face. Next up is the first showdown between rock and tech with "I'm So Sick (T-Virus Remix)" by Flyleaf vs The Legion of Doom. This is a solid cut that is catchy, if not memorable. Emigrate offers the next song, "My World," an interesting track from this Rammstein side project. The song is more rock than Rammstein, but it still retains a bit of their industrial edge. The singer sounds a bit like a processed Billy Corgan.

It took a few tracks but we have found our first stinker, Bayside's "Duality (Project Alice String Mix)." At first I thought this was going to be a cover of Slipknot, silly me. This song sounds really out of place, way too emo and too little rock. Don't even get me started on the strings, ugh, they sounded like someone on a synth. Please tell me that there is a band version and that it sounds better than this. Next up is emo by way of Legion of Doom as they remix Aiden. The track is called "One Love (Extinction Remix)," and it is definitely on the emo side of life but it definitely is a bit more fitting the setting of the movie with the Legion of Doom work.

Fightstar injects a little more energy with "Deathcar," a screamo/emo cut that kicks off with a blast of noise and screamed vocals before settling down. Perhaps placed to wake you up after that Bayside mistake. Throwdown keeps the energy going with their heavy blend of hardcore and metal in "I, Suicide." Actually, I am surprised I haven't heard these guys before.

The next song played over the end credits, but appears about halfway through the soundtrack. There goes the idea that the album is somewhat in the sequential order they appear in the film. It is Collide's "White Rabbit (SPC Eco Mix)." It is a electronic cover of the classic Jefferson Airplane song. There is something trippy and alluring about this take, and while it isn't the original, it is pretty cool. Pair it up with Iron Butterfly's "Ina Gadda Da Vida" that appears in the movie but not on the soundtrack and you have a classic connection. Chimaira brings the metallic sounds back with their growled vocals, galloping guitars, and blast beats in "Paralyzed."

Up next is the emo block with The Bled's "Asleep on the Frontlines (Appliantz Mix)," City Sleeps' "Catch Me," and Searchlight's "Contagious." I gave them a shot, but I would have to say that you can safely skip over this block of tunes. The life is brought back with Emanuel's "Scenotaph (DJA Infected Remix." This song isn't great, but the remix has a good distorted groove that is easy to get into.

The energy is kept going by the speedy double bass of "Sixth of June" by It Dies Today. It definitely has some emo leanings, but the drums keep the energy up allowing you to focus on something other than the voice. The album comes to a close with Poison the Well's "Wrecking Itself Taking You With Me," another medicore entry. The medium pace is nice, and there is a certain heaviness to it, but it ends up as another song that seems out of place considering the zombie setting.

Perhaps that was the goal this time around. Fearing a potential outbreak of the undead in major cities, the producers of this soundtrack have decided to collect songs that will get you pumped up and ready to throw down some fisticuffs (Shadows Fall, Chimaira, Throwdown) and mix them in with songs that will make you really want to beat someone up to make up for being subjected to them (Bayside, City Sleeps, Searchlight). You never now when some decomposing T-virus laden undead relative will try to claw its way into your bedroom for a snack. Just make sure you have this CD handy in order to get yourself ready to do what must be done.

Mildly Recommended (there are a few worthy tracks on here).


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