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The film Queen Of The Damned is based on two books from The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice (The Vampire Lestat and The Queen of the Damned). The film is somewhat (very!!) different to the books, but i will review the film another time!
When I first heard the soundtrack on the film it was only a couple of weeks ago, and I must say it was very fitting and actually stayed with me for a while afterwards. I then decided that I would take the plunge and purchase the CD. I was dissapointed!
The songs that Lestat (the main Vampire who is a rock star in this film!) sings are fantastic, even the lyrics are fitting to the life of a vampire:
"You see I cannot be forsaken
Because I'm not the only one
We walk amongst you
Must we hide from everyone"
In the film Stuart Townsend mimes the songs, but the vocals on the soundtrack are done by various metal stars, but each one sounding eerily like each other (I wonder if this was done on purpose?)
This soundtrack is what you might expect, quite dark and rocky (nu-metal heads you can also enjoy this!).
+ THE MOVIE +
2002's Queen Of The Damned was the movie that combined the Anne Rice books 'Queen Of The Damned' and 'The Vampire Lestat', although not the actual plots (which resulted in childish tantrums from some of the author's anally retentive fans). Both vampire fans and the morbidly inclined flocked to the cinema for Warner Brothers' bloody offering and as with the majority of horror / occult-ish movies released nowadays, a host of rock and metal tracks featured throughout. However, since Lestat has stirred from his slumber and turns himself into a world famous rock star, this is more than fitting.
+ THE SOUNDTRACK +
KoRn fans will be pleased to know that frontman Jonathan Davis (who had a cameo as a concert ticket tout) and renowned composer Richard Gibbs wrote the five songs performed by Lestat's band in the movie and feature on the CD (denoted by a ). Although Davis provided the vocals for the songs in the movie and Stuart Townsend mimed a la Ashlee Simpson (albeit a damn sight better), he was unable to do so again for the soundtrack and so the heavyweights of the nu-metal persuasion were enlisted.
+ THE TRACKLISTING +
1. NOT MEANT FOR ME ; performed by Static-X's Wayne Static (4:09)
An eerie bass hum and distorted guitars lead us into the opening track, which quickly becomes a steady rhythm punctuated by brushed hi-hats and Wayne Static's occasional throaty growls. Definitely destined to be a favourite amongst the industrial / gothic persuasion, although not something you can rock out to. More... shuffle about to.
"I'm trapped in this world, lonely and fading
Heartbroke and waiting for you to come
We are stuck in this world that's not meant for me
2. FORSAKEN ; performed by Disturbed's David Draiman (3:39)
An eerie ambience that is supported by Eastern-sounding violins and determined drum beats brings us to this track that is both haunting and angst-ridden. David Draiman's vocals are effective without being threatening, and his passion for the lyrics (despite not being his own) are evident. As before, not a tune you can rock out to, but more shuffle and nod along to.
"I'm over it
why can't we be together, embrace it
Sleeping so long
taking off the mask
At last, I say"
3. SYSTEM ; performed by Linkin Park's Chester Bennington (5:03)
A dreamy riff, slow drum beat, lullaby-ish bells... like something sinister and beautiful at the same time, before taking a more darker turn with Chester Bennington's almost trademark tortured-soul vocals. Soon accompanied by the occasional howl and disturbing bellowing laughter over beaten drumskins and amped up axes, this is one of the 'nodding along and hunching your shoulders a little' tracks, regardless of the obligatory ranting bridge.
"Why won't you die?
your blood in mine
We'll be fine
then your body will be mine"
4. CHANGE (IN THE HOUSE OF FLIES) ; Deftones - 'White Pony' album (4:59)
A sombre riff and that trusty steady drum beat gently brings us to Chico Moreno's whispering vocals which climax to passionate levels throughout the chorus, which almost imitates the perverse sensuality of the track as the guitars are gently carressed then practically violated. Well that's how I perceive it, so there.
"I watched a change in you
It's like you never had wings
Now you feel so alive"
5. REDEEMER ; performed by Marilyn Manson's... err... Marilyn Manson (4:19)
A haunted, yet rhythmic intro is interrupted by crashing drums and distorted guitars as Manson launches into low throaty vocals that will shivers down the listener's spine if not make them check over their shoulder if they've got the lights turned off. Alternating between that and his trademark cries / shrieks, this would not at all be out of place on a Manson album. Which I suppose supports the bitchy 'all that music sounds the same' argument. Oops.
"They say I cannot be this,
I am jaded.
Hiding from the day,
I can't bear it,
I cannot tame the hunger in me"
6. DEAD CELL ; Papa Roach - 'Infest 'album (3:07)
Buzzing guitars haul the listener into this 'mother of all angst' song and rock out frenzy before Coby Dick unleashes a heavy load of furious anguish, confronting the listener and everyone in the vicinity with everything his therapist couldn't make better. So much so, the downstairs neighbours seem to dislike it. But they wake me up at 7am with their screaming kids and matrimonial shouting matches, so what the hell do I care?
"Born with no soul, lack of control
cut from the mould of the anti-social
Plug them in and turn them on
process the data, make yourself the bomb"
7. PENETRATE ; Godhead - '2000 Years Of Human Error' album (4:18)
An atmospheric start with a gentle throbbing bassline seduces the listener into submission with this track with Jason Miller breathing lyrics like a phone sex pest. We're torn from this safe and sultry state though as the guitars break in and the vocals alternately soar and bellow to get us worked up before returning to phone sex speak. I'd like to meet this man actually...
"I've got nothing to penetrate
and I've got nothing to elevate
I can't seem to concentrate
coz I've got nothing to consecrate"
8. SLEPT SO LONG ; performed by Orgy's Jay Gordon (5:29)
A second helping of those Eastern-sounding violins and a slow and almost mechanic drum beat coupled with Jay Gordon's deep vocals almost hypnotise the listener over a repetitive keyboard. As the lyrics mount towards confrontation, Gordon's voice becomes a bit more empassioned (if that's a word. If not, it bloody is now) without becoming violent, as the volume and instruments go up a notch (these go to eleven...). Goes on a bit, not one to rock out to. Best to avoid if depressed after a breakup maybe...
"I see hell in your eyes
taken in by surprise
Touching you makes me feel alive
touching you makes me die inside"
9. DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS ; Disturbed - 'The Sickness' album (4:38)
A primal drum beat, distorted riff... then an almost animalistic roar courtesy of David Draiman on his 2nd appearance on the CD while the guitars burst into life. Draiman's voice is strong and melodic, and effortlessly changes to a sneering roar for emphasis. Sure to fill the moshpit, especially for the bridge alone where there's a violent vocal confrontation at which all mosh novices should vacate the dancefloor.
"Looking at my own reflection
when suddenly it changes
Violently it changes
there is no turning back now
You've woken up the demon in me"
10. COLD ; Static-X - 'Machine' album (2:58)
Short, deep riffs and strange twinkling keyboards make this a difficult track to ignore, especially with Wayne Static (his 2nd appearance on the CD, like David Draiman) whispering the brief and enticing verses before taking cue from thrashing guitars to launch into his powerful vocals with the odd growl. Would likely be played at an 'alternative' pole dancing club. (If anyone knows of any near me, drop me a line in the private guestbook... hehe).
11. HEADSTRONG ; Earshot - 'Letting Go' album (4:55)
We hear something like raindrops and gently picked guitars before thundering distorted riffs breach the peace. This rock-out is shortlived though, as the bassline dominates and Wil Martin delivers the first verse with a gentle and almost vulnerabilty that's not always so genuine these days. When it comes to the more 'feeling' chorus, he easily belts it out and carries the melody well over the instrumental assault. This is a song any self respecting rock-metal type band will wish they'd done first.
*NOTE* Not a very well known band at the time, it was a fairly clever piece of marketing by Warner Bros to feature them on a high profile movie's soundtrack shortly before the band's debut was even released (naturally, on the same label).
"Strapped down and heavy
tied up and bound
This weight I carry,
this weight I've found
So, let me be the one to say
I've really had enough"
12. BODY CRUMBLES ; Dry Cell - 'Disconnected' album (3:07)
It's evident from the quiet near harmonic riffs at the start that this track is going to be guitar driven. With a pretty obvious Linkin Park influence, these guys even look like half the poser feckers you see in rock pubs and clubs (or hanging around inside Glasgow Central Station since they've defected from the Gallery of Modern Art). Jeff Gutt's vocal capabilities are all too generic for my liking, and the same has to be said for his compadres' musical skills. And on an album where it's almost the same 'quiet / loud / distortons / angry bits' in each track, that's not a flattering deduction. Still, it's alright to listen to.
"Finally recover and the mood is right
looking up into a neon sky
The child in me takes over
Guess it's been too long
since the last time that I tried to fly"
13. EXCESS ; Tricky - 'BlowBack' album (4:43)
Another atmospheric start as one by one different instruments / layers of this memorable track come in to build up 'trip-hop' artist Tricky's laidback and catchy collaboration with Stephanie McKay and Alanis Morissette. Tricky's spoken words and slightly gruff voice supply the observational verses, and McKay and Morrissette serve the beautifully melodic choruses and backing, which add to the appeal of this.
"I believe in people lying
I believe in people dying
I believe in people flying
I believe in people crying"
14. BEFORE I'M DEAD ; Kidneythieves - 'Zerøspace' album (4:36)
A strange sound ebbing in and out, electric humming, and then deep distorted riffs joined by booming drum beats meld with Free Dominguez's vocals which could be welcoming you like an angel, or luring you like a siren. The steady snare drums throughout the verses and bridge hold the rhythm and mood well, while the guitars work well regardless of whether they're just there in the background, or grinding at the forefront. Quite a sultry track, not for a pit though.
"Moon hangs around,
a blade over my head
Reminds me what to do before I'm dead
Night consumes light and all I dread
reminds me what to do before I'm dead"
+ THE CONCLUSION +
This is an outstanding soundtrack, and regardless of whether you loved or hated the movie, it is an album that should feature in any nu-metal / hard rock appreciator's collection. Unless you think it all sounds the same and will never compare to the gods of old (all hail Ozzy, et al). I do too, usually, but find it damn near impossible not to sing along or start associating the tracks with a couple of particularly sexy moments in the movie. Ahem.
+ THE PRICE AND AVAILABILITY +
I was ripped off at Virgin for £15.99 shortly after this CD came out, and naively assumed it wouldn't be censored but no... (I was young and nowhere near as cynical as I am now!)
* Amazon.co.uk - £5.97 (from £4.29 at marketplace)
* ebay.co.uk - currently from 99p onwards
* play.com - £10.99 in all it's swear-y glory (from £6.40 at playtrade, which I'm guessing is like amazon marketplace)
- or from £8.77 in playtrade for the edited (crap) version like mine
* hmv.co.uk - £7.99
(only Play.com specifies if the CD is edited or swear-y... thoughful wee so and so's)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Not Meant For Me
5 Slept So Long
6 Dead Cell
7 Change (In The House Of Flies)
8 Down With The Sickness
12 Before I'm Dead
14 Body Crumbles