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Reviews

Various Artists Underworld Soundtrack

By Amber Morrison, Contributor
Friday, January 30, 2004 @ 11:42 AM


(Lakeshore Records)

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The problem with most movie soundtracks is that they’re just compilation albums with most of the songs sounding out of place with the movie. The Underworld soundtrack avoids that thanks to first time producer, Nine Inch Nails guitarist Danny Lohner.

Lohner, although a first time producer, had a very good teacher in ‘90s Icon Trent Reznor. Reznor, who produced such outstanding soundtracks as Natural Born Killers and Lost Highway, would no doubt be proud of his bandmate’s first outing.

Lohner attracted a variety of musicians that include David Bowie, Tool and A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan, APC drummer Josh Freese, ex-Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland (check out the spectacular painting he did inside the CD sleeve), Helmet lead singer Page Hamilton, Filter mastermind Richard Patrick, Concrete Blonde’s Jonhette Napolintano, K’s Choice’s Sarah Bettens, Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, and Milla, aka actress Milla Jovovich of Fifth Element, Dazed and Confused, and Resident Evil fame. These vivid artists, along with Lohner, assemble positive attributes of dark, moody, and aggressive music.

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Responsible for the movie’s score, Lohner also appears four times solo with “Now I Know,” “Down in the Lab,” “Falling Through the Sky” and “Death Dealers Descent.” Lohner also co-wrote tracks with Jovovich, Bettens, Napolitano, and The Damning Well. The Damning Well is one of the supergroups on the soundtrack; featuring Lohner, Freese, Patrick, and Borland, they recorded four songs (including two with Evanescence’s singer Amy Lee that were shelved because of contractual issues, red tape, bullshit, etc.) *Fucking shame, too*. “Awakening” is the only one that appears on the disc. It’s a pretty heavy, aggressive song that you will be very surprised with. A few other heavies are Dillinger Escape Plan doing “Baby’s First Coffin” and “Worms of the Earth” by Finch. Two other songs I was pleasantly surprised by were The Icarus Line performing “ On the Leash” and Trust Company’s “Hover” (Quiet Mix).

Helmet fans will no doubt enjoy Page Hamilton’s song, “Throwing Punches.” Some great female vocalists are well represented on the soundtrack as well in Sarah Betten’s “All of this Past,” Milla’s “Rocket Collecting” and Lisa Germano’s “From A Shell.” Johnette Napolitano’s “Suicide Note” will send chills up your spine with her with her hauntingly powerful voice and dark lyrics. “I wanted to believe, you would win the war in your head that I did not understand.” Industrial legends Skinny Puppy contribute the previously unreleased “Optimissed.”

The final of Lohner’s remixes are David Bowie’s “Bring me the Disco King” and A Perfect Circle’s “Judith” and “Weak and Powerless.” Bowie and Keenan laid down vocals for their respective songs, and then Lohner rebuilt the tracks. For “Disco King” he added guitars from RHCP’s John Frusciante and backing vocals by Keenan.

Keenan is a ubiquitous presence on the album with both APC and Puscifer. Puscifer’s “Rev 22:20” is the best song on the disc. Starting with backing vocals by Jovovich and Germano, the exquisitely dark sexual song just sails from there. “Don’t be aroused by my confession, unless you don’t give a good goddamn about redemption” is the first line with other lyrics such as “she’ll eat you alive,” “she’ll suck you dry.” The song is also about the lead character Selene, played by the hotter than hell Kate Beckinsale.

Puscifer is the side project of Keenan and Lohner who have yet to release anything, but if “Rev 22:20” is any indication of their brilliance, we’re in for some great music.

The Underworld soundtrack ranks right up there with Natural Born Killers, Lost Highway and The Crow. If you liked those soundtracks then you will like this one. Danny Lohner did a great job on his first time as a producer and lets hope it isn’t his last one.

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