Saw IIOriginal Soundtrack
Grade
C+
 
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Soundtracks to movies tend to fall into a few categories - ones that try to fit the movie's content well, ones that try to pack a bunch of popular artists on for a quick buck and those that try to blend the two categories into a middle ground. Such is the case with the soundtrack for Saw II, the movie sequel to the surprise horror flick from last year. From the lineup of act available, it's obvious that the producers definitely had a theme going.

The track listing shows a handful of more well known acts (Mudvayne, Papa Roach, Queens of the Stone Age) plus a number of lesser-knowns, and shows an obvious bent towards remixes and techno/industrial influenced rock and metal. Listening over the album as a whole, there are definitely moments where the music feels like part of the mood the movie invokes, while other times, I get the feeling that some of the music is thrown in as filler.

The album opens with the heavy breathing and drum-line beat of Marilyn Manson's Irresponsible Hate Anthem - Venus Head Trap Mix. It's nice to hear a revised take on an older track from the band and this revision is different enough to almost feel like a new song. The track itself does a great job at setting a specific tone to the album. This is followed by the more mainstream Sound Effects and Overdramatics by The Used, a song that feels a lot like pop/rock with just enough edge to keep from droning on. By the time the third track, Mudvayne's Forget to Remember, comes to life, I had to wonder if this was going to turn into a Rock Single-a-Thon. Bloodsimple's September and Blood by Papa Roach continue the trend of decent rock singles that really don't aid the mood of the soundtrack, slowly deteriorating the CD into the same kind of "meh" that most soundtracks suffer from.

When Puscifer's Rev 22:20 - Rev 4:20 Mix rolls around, the mood of the album takes a wonderfully dark shift. The track slowly lulls to life and once it gets going, it presents a sullen, depressing experience. This is followed up by Sevendust's Pieces, a heavy thrashing track featuring raw vocals and a hammering riff. This piece serves as a diversion as the soundtrack switches back to the dark industrial with Skinny Puppy's Rodent - Ken "Hiwatt" Marshall Remix (DDT Mix). This track features a looped beat and ground of sounds that are punctuated with the deep, throaty guitars. The Queens of the Stone Age track proves to offer an odd mood that nicely accents some of the less "rock single" tracks. This is followed by Holy, yet another rock track from A Band Called Pain that sounds somewhat like Soundgarden without being too creative.

Three Fingers w/Saul Williams by Buckethead & Friends is an odd little ditty that shifts from oddball to grainy rock, providing a nice little diversion from the more mainstream efforts. Home Invasion Robbery by The Legion of Doom is a creepy track that brings the soundtrack back to the certain tone that some of the previous tracks was trying to establish. After this comes Caliente (Dark Entries) by the Revolting Cocks featuring Gibby Haynes and Al Jourgensen which is a nice addition as intense bit of punk/rock/industrial. Step Up by Opiate for the Masses is a nice track, but it feels like it was added o promote the band more than work with the soundtrack. The album ends with Charlie Clouser's Don't Forget the Rules, which is a more moody piece that fits in line with the conceptual mood some of the soundtrack is trying to offer.

The soundtrack does offer some variation, but it fails to deliver an overall complete mood. There seems to be too many rock singles thrown in and names dropped to fill in. The tracks that do work well are excellent and set a great mood. Too bad they're too few and too far between.

- - Vane

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