Review Round Up #67

This special soundtracks edition rounds up two film soundtracks, one from TV, one for a video game. And just to be different, some Irish hip hop. Check out "Punisher: War Zone Original Motion Picture Soundtrack," "Heroes Original Soundtrack," "Saw V Motion Picture Soundtrack," Lisa Miskovsky's "Still Alive," and "Irish Hip-Hop Volume 1."

Punisher: War Zone Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Punisher: War Zone
“Punisher: War Zone Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”
(Lion's Gate Records 2008)

Along with the third film iteration of Marvel Comics' skull-rocking, psychotic vigilante, Lionsgate has offered up an album filled with some of metal's more commercial acts. I suppose the main "draws" are an uninspired new song from Rob Zombie, a toss-off bonus track from Slayer's "Christ Illusion," the lead single from Slipknot's inferior new album, and Hatebreed's stock remake of Sepultura classic "Refuse/Resist." The rest of the songs are fairly unremarkable, and the inclusion of Static-X is further proof that the action and/or horror movie soundtrack is truly the last bastion of nΓΌ-metal.

Sounds Like: Punishing (HA!) collection of modern metal heavyweights

Key Tracks: Rise Against's "Historia Calamitatum"

D+
buy it!
Heroes Original Soundtrack

Various Artists
“Heroes Original Soundtrack”
(NBC Records 2008)

There are only a handful of musical cues from NBC's hit show Heroes featured on this soundtrack. The album is more or less an opportunity for the creators and executives behind the show to showcase their favorite artists, and has little direct relation to the actual series. If you're in the mood for the sentimentality of pop acts like Panic at the Disco, Wilco, and Death Cab for Cutie, you're in luck. If you were hoping for something more befitting the show's weighty and serious nature, you may in for a letdown.

Sounds Like: Pop compilation with weepy leanings

Key Tracks: Bob Dylan's "The Man in the Long Black Coat," The Chemical Brothers featuring Spank Rock's "Keep My Composure"

B
buy it!
Saw V Motion Picture Soundtrack

Various Artists
“Saw V Motion Picture Soundtrack”
(Artists Addiction Soundtracks 2008)

Accompanying the fifth installment of the highest-grossing horror movie franchise is a soundtrack filled with both metal and industrial artists. Notable appearances include Testament, Prong, Skinny Puppy, an incredibly out of place Clutch tune, and a double shot of Al Jourgensen (Ministry and the Revolting Cocks). Similar to the Matrix soundtrack, this one doesn't blend to two styles nearly as elegantly. Just like Jigsaw's mechanized traps, this soundtrack is unwieldy but effective.

Sounds Like: Appropriately dark industrial and metal collection

Key Tracks: Testament's "True Believer," Clutch's "Power Player"

B
buy it!
Still Alive - the Remixes

Lisa Miskovsky
“Still Alive - the Remixes”
(E.A.R.S. 2008)

"Still Alive" is the theme from the video game Mirror's Edge, which according to the commercial entails running around and jumping off of buildings or something. Included on this album is the original song by Swedish pop star Lisa Miskovsky, along with electronic remixes that range from thumping club jams to bouncy bubblegum beats. While it's cool to hear the varied takes on the original, and much as I love listening to the same lyrics over and over and over again, you have to wonder if this whole production is really necessary.

Sounds Like: Electronic artists dissecting a pop song

Key Tracks: "Still Alive," "Benny Benassi Mix"

C+
buy it!
Irish Hip-Hop Volume 1

Various Artists
“Irish Hip-Hop Volume 1”
(80 Million Records 2008)

Completely ruining today's soundtrack theme is "Irish Hip-Hop Volume 1," the title of which is unbelievably self-explanatory. Showcasing some of Γ‰ire's best rappers, it features streetwise tunes that shares little with the glossy hip-hop found stateside. The best tracks are the ones that ditch the self-aggrandizement in favor of lyrics that tackle the trials of everyday life. You won't find any jigs on here, but the brogues are inescapable.

Sounds Like: Gritty hip-hop with an Irish flavor

Key Tracks: Rira's "25 O' Clock in the Mornin'," Project 77's "Takin' on the Planet"

B-