February 28, 2002

Long Live the Queen

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People who have seen the previews for Queen of the Damned, the movie based on the last novel of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, may have noticed a few minor stylistic differences between it and Interview With the Vampire, the 1994 movie adaptation of the first novel of the series. Where Interview had whiny Frenchmen, Queen has whiny goth punks. Where Interview featured angstful pretty boys debating undead existentialism, Queen has Matrix-esque vampire kung-fu free-for-alls. And where Interview had a moody, quiet, symphonic score, Queen features a loud, raucous, sonic blitzkrieg of a soundtrack. Fans, all five of them, who rushed to purchase Interview’s soundtrack will probably take a pass on Queen’s. The tracks run the gamut of hard rock to nu-metal, with a smattering of industrial overtones mixed in for good measure. Fans of these genres are in for a hell of a time.

The biggest selling point of the soundtrack is probably the five tracks created by Korn-frontman Jonathon Davis and former Oingo Boingo keyboardest-turned composer Richard Gibbs. The first three collaboratory tracks have an almost dirge-like quality. They’re close in sound to the slower Korn songs, right down to the inclusion of all the trademark Korn guitar distortions and samples.

Due to contractual stipulations, Davis isn’t the featured voice of these twisted mutant love-children, however. That distinction goes to some other talented frontmen: Wayne Static of Static-X on “Not Meant for Me,” David Draiman of Disturbed on “Forsaken,” Chester Bennington of Linkin Park on “System,” Jay Gordon of Orgy on “Slept So Long,” and Marilyn Manson on “Redeemer.” The varying vocalists add a unique sound to each song and keep things from getting repetitive. The Bennington-sung track is especially interesting, throwing the Park frontman into a darker musical and lyrical style than fans are used to.

The CD also features previously released cuts by rock heavyweights such as the Deftones, Papa Roach, Tricky, Disturbed, and Static-X as well as quality offerings from less well-known groups Godhead, Earshot, Dry Cell, and Kidney Thieves.

The loudest and angriest track of the CD is definitely Disturbed’s “Down With the Sickness.” This is the uncut, unfit for radio version of the song, so care should be taken not to play it near small children, the elderly, and Republicans of any age. That last statement is probably true for the entire album — being a soundtrack for a vampire-action movie, nobody is singing about happy sunshine days or cute, fluffy bunnies on this album. The nihilistic lyrics do get a little tiresome, but most people will probably find the stalking vampire lines more offensive. Taken out of context, some of the songs sound like they’re about either an angry rapist or a serial blow-job artist.

Interestingly enough, the recently deceased Aaliyah isn’t mentioned anywhere on the album despite being the film’s top-billed actress. Not a single track is by her, or even features her in an accompanying role. This breaks the long-held tradition of whenever a rap or R&B artist appears in a movie, at least 75% of the soundtrack is comprised of his or her works (i.e.: Romeo Must Die, Fast and the Furious, Exit Wounds, etc.). Whether this is a result of her style not meshing with the rest of the artists or her untimely death remains a mystery.

Archived article by Matt Chock