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Music Review: Underworld: Rise of the Lycans – Original Soundtrack

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I usually don’t pay much attention to soundtracks, especially those comprised of a gathering of older songs strung together because they fit the “mood” of a motion picture. A score is a different story, as music created exclusively for a motion picture can often be very moving and exciting. Henry Mancini and Nino Rota come to mind.

In the case of the soundtrack for Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, I wasn’t expecting much. But as I started to thumb through the press and scan the track listing, my curiosity was piqued. There amid the standard guyliner-wearing rockers lay a few names well worth checking out: Puscifer (the alias of Maynard James Keenan), Deftones, Perry Farrell, and Milla Fucking Jovovich.

After pausing a bit to lust after Rhona Mitra, in it went and the thundering sounds of Puscifer’s “Lighten Up Francis (JLE Dub Mix)” blasted out like a Lycan kicking somebody’s ass. The song crunches with a firm groove, punching forward with Maynard’s distinctive vocals and Joshua Eustis’ beats. It’s the type of track that would be entirely at home in one of those S&M clubs. Not like I’ve ever been…

Maynard and the notorious Milla Jovovich contribute background vocals to a startlingly touching remix of The Cure’s “Underneath the Stars.” Milla’s voice meshes with Robert Smith’s to form a sad little duet, while Maynard accents the scene caringly. It’s a poignant number, probably the best on the soundtrack.

Perry Farrell’s “Nasty Little Perv (Renholder Remix)” is a taut track that swirls with Carl Restivo’s guitar and Danny Lohner on the switches. And Lohner’s remix of the Deftones’ “Hole in the Earth” crackles with shady ambience. The bleak “Board Up the House (Renholder Remix),” a cut from Genghis Tron, thumps with necessity and Mookie Singerman’s strident vocals.

“I Want You To,” from Wes Borland’s 685th band Black Light Burns, is a decent little cut untouched by remixers. It has a hard garage rock feel and thunders ahead sounding like something Queens of the Stone Age might have done.

The rest of the Underworld: Rise of the Lycans soundtrack is steeped in silly attempts at darkness, however. The songs often don't match the remixes and the attempts at slicing extra beats are often stale and annoying.

Take, for instance, the neo-buoyant vitality of “Deathclub (Wes Borland/Renholder Remix).” The William Control song starts out sounding like somebody’s going to “do it like they do it on the Discovery Channel” and degenerates into a ludicrous and wobbly attempt at dark wave music. The lyrics don't help matters, either.

Or there’s the overly busy spin on AFI’s “Miss Murder” drawn up by Ronan Harris. Done right, the remix could sound ideal for a cemetery rave. As it is, Harris overcooks the track and the end result is pointlessly glitzy.

Overall, the Underworld: Rise of the Lycans soundtrack wound up being better than I expected. The addition of The Cure with Jovovich on backing vocals was a nice touch and Maynard is always worth a listen.

Unfortunately, my expectations were low and the majority of this soundtrack is just too dull for many repeat listens.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Nice job on this J-Rich (sorry man, but your rap handle still cracks me up).

    I couldn’t help but notice though that when you were referencing movie scores, you left out Hugo Montenegro. I mean if those spaghetti western scores don’t kick ass, I don’t know what does.

    -Glen

  • Jordan Richardson

    Haha, I’m never going to live that down.