by Scott Hefflon
Sanctuary Music Group teams up with Capcom to release this, uh, soundtrack to a video game. That’s right, we’ll sell just about anything these days… But seeing as there are mostly big names here, this is a good chance to see how the old metal dudes are doing without having to buy their latest release. Sanctuary is the facelift given to CMC, for those who either didn’t pick up on it or don’t follow who’s pushing what down yer throat. Luckily, CMC stopped carrying the badly-beaten carcass of glam (how many more Slaughter, Winger, Warrant, etc, CDs do we need?), and their “cooler” stuff like Maiden, Priest, Halford, Megadeth, well, they made the cut and are now on Sanctuary. (And just to kinda finish up the topic, Spitfire picked up Twisted Sister, Alice Cooper, Sebastian Bach, Yngwie Malmsteen, and a handful of others, and the rest are stuck doing “tribute” songs for Deadline that make most of us laugh, cringe, and cry before smashing the CDs into little bits so no one else will accidentally hear them again.)
This soundtrack supposedly has sketches and tricks to the game. Fine. I’m steering clear cuz Heavy Metal 2000 was absolutely awful, completely missing all the humor of the first and taking itself, like, seriously. And that’s like taking any of b-movie queen Julie Strain’s movies serious (she’s the model and wife to lucky dog Simon Bisley). They’re schlocky, campy fun, like sorority-house slasher flicks, and that’s all they are.
Megadeth opens with “Moto Psycho,” a song as clueless as it sounds. Biohazard follows and really hits home with “Uncivilized,” a song about new warfare, especially biological warfare, and it is as jarring musically as it is lyrically. While never really into these beefy tattooed rap/grunters (they were nü metal before it had such a name and got so goofy, sounding kinda dumb, bulked up, but having the sense to throw in odd chords, samples, and hardcore shout-a-longs to break up the Fear Factory pigfucking), this song is worth extracting and putting on a mix to remember nü metal selections that didn’t suck. Dust to Dust kick in a couple tracks, and I wish they hadn’t. Monotone, boring stuff. Following is Rollins Band, sounding as Rollins Band as ever. They struck a chord in the early ’90s, but unlike single-song losers like Body Count or something, they just keep playing that one freakin’ song 50 slightly different ways. Luckily, Entombed clomps in next with “Say it in Slugs,” clods of blood-caked dirt on their boots, dust billowing off their clothes when they move like that cool-ass fight scene in The Matrix where Neo fights that dude in the subway. While this ain’t my favorite song by them (by a long shot), it sure sounds gorgeously ugly compared to over-produced prancing tantrum-throwers with funny hair.
Halford screeches in for a quickie or two – the first being the ploddingly dumbed-down “Locked and Loaded,” the second being the searing “Cyberworld,” a Defenders of the Faith-worthy anthem with thunderous Painkiller production. (That means it’s good.) Corrosion of Conformity slip in “Gittin’ It On,” one of my least favorite tracks from the much-misunderstood America’s Volume Dealer, this cut sounding especially drum-peaked and yelpy. The CD got slagged for being so processed and soulful (that’s how I see it, many just considered it weak shit), but the tunes, man, the tunes… Next up is W.A.S.P. with “Hate to Love Me,” and you know where ya stand with these shock metal veterans, so I ain’t gonna try to sway you one way or the other. Motörhead‘s “Ace of Spades” is included, as if most of us don’t have it on a dozen comps already. But seeing as you can never hear this vintage sucker too many times, it’s always welcome. Funny how the sound stands up, when a lot of “classic” stuff just, ya know, doesn’t. Megadeth closes this mixed bag with “Burning Bridges,” a slithering, predatory groove with a nice, dark chorus, and only a bit of annoying prog wankery to remind us that Dave wrote his best tunes wasted, near-suicidal, filled with jealousy, anger, self-loathing, and all the shit that pushes the artistic soul to crank out inspired material as it tears itself apart.