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MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 – Music From and Inspired By

Mission: Impossible 2 – Music From and Inspired By (2000, Hollywood Records)

1. “Take a Look Around” – Limp Bizkit … 5:20
2. “I Disappear” – Metallica … 4:26
3. “Scum of the Earth” – Rob Zombie … 2:55
4. “They Came In” – Butthole Surfers … 4:42
5. “Rocket Science” – The Pimps … 3:30
6. “Have a Cigar” – Foo Fighters & Brian May … 4:02
7. “Mission 2000” – Chris Cornell … 3:42
8. “Goin’ Down” – Godsmack … 3:23
9. “What ‘Chu Lookin’ At?” – Uncle Kracker … 5:11
10. “Backwards” – Apartment 26 … 3:09
11. “Karma” – Diffuser … 3:16
12. “Alone” – Buckcherry …3:23
13. “Immune” – Tinfed … 3:49
14. “My Kinda Scene” – Powderfinger … 4:26
15. “Carnival” – Tori Amos … 4:18
16. “Nyah” – Hans Zimmer & Heitor Pereira … 3:32

Ordered this one online for dirt cheap all because I wanted the Metallica and Buckcherry songs that were exclusive to this album.

A number of singles were released from this album: Limp Bizkit’s “Take a Look Around” (a rap-metal reworking of the Mission: Impossible theme), “I Disappear” and the Foo Fighters/Brian May cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar” spring to mind. The local radio stations seemed to be all over the Limp Bizkit single (it was 2000, after all, and rap-metal was all the rage) and “I Disappear” received substantial play as well.

I love “I Disappear”. I think it’s one of Metallica’s best songs. Sure it’s not heavy metal but it’s a great hard rock tune and whenever I heard it on the radio I felt compelled to drive faster. Maybe the music video of James Hetfield speeding around had something to do with that!

Once again showing myself becoming ever more the completist, Buckcherry’s “Alone” is what truly made me decide to buy this album. I didn’t even realize they were on this soundtrack until recently and the song is exclusive to this soundtrack so I had to own this. It’s a pretty good tune, not a career highlight for the band, but I like it and it’s a lot better than most of the songs here.

As you can tell by looking at the artists involved, this is mostly an alternative rock/metal album with most acts turning in the usual generic songs that has come to be expected from soundtracks. Chris Cornell’s “Mission 2000” is decent and despite the title, it’s not some type of remix or variation on the M:I theme — it’s a new, harder version of the song “Mission” which was on his excellent Euphoria Morning solo debut from the year previous.

To be honest, most of this soundtrack is garbage but I only spent a few bucks and got out of it what I expected to get out of it so I guess it’s not a total loss.

Highlights: “I Disappear”, “Have a Cigar”, “Mission 2000”, “Alone”

FOZZY – Chasing the Grail

Fozzy – Chasing the Grail (2010, Riot Entertainment)

1. “Under Blackened Skies” … 5:32
2. “Martyr No More” … 4:37
3. “Grail” … 5:09
4. “Broken Soul” … 4:09
5. “Let the Madness Begin” … 3:47
6. “Pray For Blood” … 5:12
7. “New Day’s Dawn” … 4:34
8. “God Pounds His Nails” … 4:20
9. “Watch Me Shine” … 3:38
10. “Paraskavedekatriaphobia (Friday the 13th)” … 5:26
11. “Revival” … 4:47
12. “Wormwood” … 13:53

Band:
Chris Jericho – Vocals
Rich Ward – Guitar, Vocals
Sean Delson – Bass
Frank Fontsere – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Eric Frampton – Piano, Hammond Organ, Keyboards
Renny Carroll – Backing Vocals
Jeff Waters – Guitar Solos on “Martyr No More” and “God Pounds His Nails”
Mike Martin – Guitar (“Wormwood”)

Producer: Rich Ward

Five years after their last studio release, Fozzy is back with their fourth release which is similar to All That Remains in regards to the band playing it straight as a metal act that combines melody and heavy riffing. I do think this is a better effort than All That Remains was though and it’s certainly heavier.

They’ve shed the ’80s metal parody/tribute gimmick and for better or worse have an updated heavy metal sound. It’s funny because though they’ve left the 1980s behind, they seem to be embracing the early 2000s with downright nu-metal (“Let the Madness Begin”, “Watch Me Shine”, “Revival”) vibe on a few tracks along with post-grunge (“Broken Soul” could have come from any number of those types of bands) and I even hear bits of Black Label Society thanks to guitarist Rich Ward seemingly imitating Zakk Wylde.

Inspiration seems to be all over the place, which is surprising since Jericho is such an ’80s metal junky. I can’t help but get the feeling that the band is trying too hard to fit in with modern times though. They even took the time to come up  the nearly 14 minute progressive “Wormwood” that sounds like something you may hear from Avenged Sevenfold or Dream Theater with it’s shifts between tender moments, blazing solos and heavy riffs. It’s actually pretty good though, so who am I to complain?

I like this album a lot better than when I first listened to it, but like with their previous effort, there’s a lot of filler here and not a lot of focus. Seems like they want to sample a bit of everything. I guess it’s hard to expect a lot of focus from a band that is almost always on hiatus thanks to their lead singer being a full-time professional wrestler (or should I say “sports entertainer”?) who tours the world all year ’round .  They should pick one direction and go with it. To be honest, if Chris Jericho wasn’t one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, I don’t think I would have much interest in Fozzy. At this point, they’re really just “there” and don’t standout to me in anyway (I actually think Jericho’s vocals are kinda weak as well).

An okay effort that is probably only worth tracking down for Jericho and Stuck Mojo fans.

Highlights: “Under Blackened Skies”, “Grail”, “Let the Madness Begin”, “God Pounds His Nails”, “Watch Me Shine”, “Wormwood”

www.fozzyrock.com
www.myspace.com/fozzytour

Buy it at Amazon.com

LINKIN PARK – Hybrid Theory

Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory (2000, Warner Bros. Records)

1. “Papercut” … 3:05
2. “One Step Closer” … 2:36
3. “With You” … 3:23
4. “Points of Authority” … 3:20
5. “Crawling” … 3:29
6. “Runaway” … 3:04
7. “By Myself” … 3:10
8. “In the End” … 3:36
9. “A Place for My Head” … 3:05
10. “Forgotten” … 3:15
11. “Cure for the Itch” … 2:37
12. “Pushing Me Away” … 3:12

Band:
Chester Bennington – Vocals
Rob Bourdon – Drums, Percussion
Brad Delson – Guitar, Bass
Joseph Hahn – DJ, Sampling
Mike Shinoda – Emcee, Vocals, Beats, Sampling, Guitar

Additional Musicians:
The Dust Brothers – Beats on “With You”
Ian Hornbeck – Bass
Scott Koziol – Bass

Produced by: Don Gilmore

Linkin Park was/is one of the better bands to fuse rock with hip hop. It’s not a genre I’m in love with, but Linkin Park can pull it off. They weren’t goofs like Crazy Town or Limp Bizkit trying to prove just how much they were into hip hop, they’re really more of rock band that just happens to use beats and an emcee. The rap factor is always used to enhance the songs, not be the songs and that’s why this album works and is one of the best rock album of the early 2000s.

“Crawling” is my favorite track and is one of the best “nu metal” songs ever. “One Step Closer” was the album’s first single and was pretty popular, but it wasn’t until I heard “Crawling” that I knew I had to own this album. I had bought the album around the same time I bought my first car, so I gave this one a lot of play in MY car in MY CD player with a big grin on my face.

I can’t say I’m a big Linkin Park fan (their follow up disappointed me), but I’m a big fan of this particular album. The band is really good at writing great melodies to fit the angst found in the lyrics. When this album came out, Chester Bennington scored several cool points for me in an interview where he was asked about his voice — he said he got his voice by screaming his lungs out to Judas Priest in his bedroom when he was younger.

The album itself was a HUGE success. It’s one of the biggest hits of the 2000s and is one of only eight albums released in this decade to achieve diamond status (1o million+ sold) from the RIAA.

Highlights: “Papercut”, “With You”, “Crawling”, “Runaway”, “In the End”, “Place for My Head”, “Pushing Me Away”

www.linkinpark.com
www.myspace.com/linkinpark

SALIVA – Back Into Your System

Saliva – Back Into Your System (2002, Island Records)

1. “Superstar II” … 3:21
2. “Weight of the World” … 4:28
3. “Always” … 3:51
4. “Back into Your System” … 4:31
5. “All Because of You” … 4:42
6. “Raise Up” … 3:45
7. “Separated Self” … 4:01
8. “Rest In Pieces” … 3:46
9. “Storm” … 4:21
10. “Holdin On” … 4:21
11. “Pride” … 2:53
12. “Famous Monsters” … 4:43

Band:
Josey Scott – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion
Wayne Swinny – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Chris D’Abaldo – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Dave Novotny – Bass, Backing Vocals
Paul Crosby – Drums

Produced by: Bob Marlette

Back Into Your System is the band’s follow-up to their multi-platinum major label debut Every Six Seconds. It’s a definite step in the right direction as the band sheds a bit of their nu metal/rap-metal skin (not totally though) and decides to employ a more straight forward hard rock sound.

There were a few songs I liked from their debut, but overall, it was a mixed bag because it was as if the band couldn’t decide if they were rap-metal act or southern rock act. I briefly dabbled in rap-metal, but decided it wasn’t for me, so I initially had zero interest in hearing what Saliva had to offer in 2002.

I can remember it like it was yesterday though… my alarm went off one morning and the radio was playing I song I easily deduced was called “Rest In Pieces” and it stuck in my head all day, so as soon as I got home, I hit the internet and was surprised to discover it was Saliva. “Rest In Pieces” has become my favorite Saliva song and I was amazed they can up with such as catchy tune, but then I found out that Nikki Sixx & Sixx:AM lead singer James Michael wrote it. No wonder it was so good! Nikki Sixx still writes great radio ready hard rock songs. Unfortunately, the single didn’t chart very high but on the success of the lead single “Always”, the album went Gold.

All told, this is a solid effort (though there is room for improvement) that sees the band moving past their nu-metal beginnings and turning into a good hard rock band.

Highlights: “Weight of the World”, “Always”, “Raise Up”, “Rest In Pieces”, “Storm”, “Famous Monsters”

Lowlights: “Superstar II”. I generally think it’s a bad idea to do such a direct sequel to one of your previous songs in terms of title and sound (theme is okay), but not only did the band manage to copy the original “Superstar”, they also ripped off another song of theirs — “Click Click Boom”! A two’fer!

www.saliva.com
www.myspace.com/saliva

COLD – 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage

Cold – 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage (2000, Interscope Records/Geffen Records/Flip Records)

1. “Just Got Wicked” … 4:00
2. “She Said” … 4:08
3. “No One” … 3:17
4. “End of the World” … 3:04
5. “Confession” … 3:48
6. “It’s All Good” … 3:43
7. “Send in the Clowns” … 4:13
8. “Same Drug” … 3:43
9. “Anti-Love Song” … 3:10
10. “Witch” … 3:48
11. “Sick of Man” … 4:04
12. “Outerspace” … 3:37
13. “Bleed” … 3:56

Band:
Scooter Ward – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard, Piano
Kelly Hayes – Guitar
Terry Balsamo – Guitar
Jeremy Marshall – Bass
Sam McCandless – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Aaron Lewis – Backing Vocals (“Send In the Clowns, “Bleed”)
Sierra Swan – Backing Vocals (“Witch”)

Produced by: Cold, Fred Durst, Chris Vrenna, Adam Kasper

From the Angry & Tormented White Boy Club that gave us such luminaries as KoRn, Limp Bizkit, Puddle of Mudd and Staind comes Cold! Signed to Fred Durst’s vanity imprint, Flip Records, over at Interscope/Geffen, co-produced by Fred Durst and featuring vocals from Staind’s Aaron Lewis, you know it’s gotta have angst!

I remember “No One” being played on one of the local rock stations pretty frequently and I liked it a lot. While in Virginia in December ’00 visiting friends, I stopped into the local FYE at the mall and one of my friends suggested this album saying he thought I would like it a lot. I wasn’t sure because I wasn’t into the drab & angry nu metal scene, but I think it was only like $9.99, so I took the chance and I loved it.

I’m not really a fan of music like this: depressing and self-pitying and self-loathing, but it really struck a chord with me at the time and was the soundtrack to my troubled romantic life for most of 2001. It’s definitely a nostalgia album to me. The kind where I’ve mentioned in the past that can take you back to that exact time of your life bringing back all those old memories and feelings.

I think it’s a really good album, and their best, but I have to be in a special mood to listen to it. A mood I don’t really care to get into, so I really don’t listen to it much anymore despite the quality. It’s a good album to get out your sorrows and anger though and there’s not a whole of filler to it, IMO.

Highlights: “Just Got Wicked”, “She Said”, “Confession”, “No One”, “It’s All Good”, “Anti-Love Song”, “Witch”, “Sick of Man”, Bleed”

www.coldarmy.com
www.myspace.com/cold

SALIVA – Every Six Seconds

Saliva – Every Six Seconds (2001, Def Jam/Island Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Superstar” … 4:03
2. “Musta Been Wrong” … 3:33
3. “Click Click Boom” … 4:12
4. “Your Disease” … 4:00
5. “After Me” … 3:52
6. “Greater Than/Less Than” … 4:50
7. “Lackluster” … 5:12
8. “Faultline” … 3:49
9. “Beg” … 3:40
10. “Hollywood” … 3:50
11. “Doperide” … 3:26
12. “My Goodbyes” … 6:29

Band:
Josey Scott – Vocals
Wayne Swinny – Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Steel Guitar
Chris D’abaldo – Guitar
Dave Novotny – Bass
Paul Crosby – Drums

Produced by: Bob Marlette

Saliva, I find, is like a lot of new (nu?) metal/hard rock bands… More filler than killer. This isn’t the only Saliva album I own and while I think the singles they release range from decent to good, I’ve always been disappointed after buying one of their albums.

Every Six Seconds is easily their worst outing though. They burst onto the scene in the middle of the nu metal & rap metal craze and fit right in. And that’s NOT a compliment. But…  I will say they were a bit more melodic and old school hard rock than most bands of that time were. That would be a side of the band that would be further explored in future outings. Conveniently, they did that  just as the rap metal scene was fizzling out.

Highlights: “Superstar”, “Click Click Boom”, “Your Disease”, “After Me”, “Greater Than/Less Than”

www.saliva.com
www.myspace.com/saliva

THE UNION UNDERGROUND – …An Education in Rebellion

The Union Underground – …An Education in Rebellion (2000, Columbia Records/Portrait Records)

Track Listing:
1. “An Education In Rebellion” [Instrumental] … 1:08
2. “Drivel” … 2:55
3. “South Texas Deathride” … 3:24
4. “Turn Me On ‘Mr. Deadman'” … 2:39
5. “Until You Crack” … 3:28
6. “Killing The Fly” … 3:45
7. “Natural High” … 3:26
8. “Revolution Man” … 3:40
9. “Trip With Jesus” … 3:26
10. “Bitter” … 3:53
11. “The Friend Song” … 2:24

Band:
Bryan Scott – Vocals
Patrick Kennison – Guitar
John Moyer – Bass
Josh Memelo – Drums

Produced by: Bryan Scott, Don Gilmore, Ulrich Wild

The Union Underground were one of two new acts (Mars Electric being the other) that were signed to the revitalized Portrait Records in the late 90s. The John Kalodner-led Portait was mostly set up as a haven for 80s rock & metal acts, in an attempt to copy the success Kalodner had with turning Aerosmith from a tired 70s act to a popular act back again in the 80s.

I LOVE this album. “Turn Me On ‘Mr. Deadman'” was a minor hit and hooked me enough during my experimental phase to give this new band a shot. The truth is, the album still holds up. It’s extremely catchy nu metal/industrial metal. It stays melodic and never crosses too much over into the typical cold industrial sound.

It’s a very dark album though and the use of drugs is commonly mentioned, so it’s not a “feel good” album and I have to be in a special mood to want to hear it.

Sadly, the band didn’t do much after this album (which just fell short of going Gold). They put out a live album after this but, oddly, their most well-known song is probably “Across the Nation”, which was used as the theme song to WWE RAW for a few years and was released on a WWE compilation album.

John Moyer now plays bass for Disturbed.

Highlights: Can’t pick just one, it’s all very good.

www.myspace.com/unionundergroud (pretty sure this was their official MySpace page, hasn’t been updated in a few years)

END OF DAYS – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

End of Days – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Clean Version] (1999, Interscope Records)

Track listing:
1. “Camel Song” performed by Korn … 4:22
2. “So Long” performed by Everlast … 5:00
3. “Slow” performed by Professional Murder Music … 3:58
4. “Crushed” performed by Limp Bizkit … 3:24
5. “Oh My God” performed by Guns N’ Roses … 3:40
6. “Poison” performed by The Prodigy … 6:15
7. “Superbeast (Girl On A Motorcycle mix)” performed by Rob Zombie … 3:52
8. “Bad Influence” performed by Eminem … 3:40
9. “Nobody’s Real” performed by Powerman 5000 … 2:54
10. “I Wish I Had” performed by Stroke … 6:34
11. “Sugar Kane” performed by Sonic Youth … 5:58
12. “Wrong Way” performed by Creed … 4:20

Soundtracks can be a great (and not so great) snapshot of a certain time in music history when said soundtrack is full of contemporary songs & artists. The soundtrack to 1994’s The Crow perfectly captures the grunge & alternative rock scene and End of Days does a fairly good job of showing what rock music was at the turn of the century: rap metal, nu metal, industrial metal and post-grunge rock.

BUT… While the soundtrack covers it’s musical bases just fine, that doesn’t necessarily mean those genres were any good in the first place and that this album is. Okay, okay… I’ll be honest, there’s actually some solid stuff going on here and not your usual soundtrack throwaway filler.

I could mention that, surprisingly, I like the Korn, Limp Bizkit, Creed and Eminem songs, but that’s not what is important about this album. What IS important is that it holds the only officially released single from the mythical Chinese Democracy from Guns N’ Roses. Of course, I’m talking about “Oh My God” which is a loud, aggressive NIN-inspired song that is just awesome and features Axl at his angriest and most sneering. It’s a far way from “November Rain” or “Nightrain”, but so what? Good is good and I love this song and it’s the only reason I bought the soundtrack. At this time though, if Democracy does ever come out, I think it’s probably best to leave this one off the record due to the time that’s elapsed since it’s original release.

In the end (of days), despite the genres involved, this album actually offers up some really great tunes and to this day, it’s an album I’ll occasionally pull out and listen to. Which is a lot more than I can say about the supposed “comeback” the movie was meant to be for Arnie.

And yes, I have the “Clean” version, picking it up at Wal-Mart and not realizing until later that there was an explicit version.

Highlights: “Crushed”, “Oh My God”, “Superbeast [Girl on a Motorcycle Mix]”, “Bad Influence”, “Nobody’s Real”, “I Wish I Had”

GODSMACK – Godsmack

Godsmack – Godsmack (1998, Universal Records/Republic Records)

Track Listing:
1.  “Moon Baby” … 4:23
2.  “Whatever” … 3:26
3.  “Keep Away” … 4:50
4.  “Time Bomb” … 3:59
5.  “Bad Religion” … 3:13
6.  “Immune” … 4:50
7.  “Someone in London” … 2:03
8.  “Get Up, Get Out!” … 3:29
9.  “Now or Never” … 5:06
10.  “Stress” … 5:03
11.  “Situation” … 5:47
12.  “Voodoo” … 9:03

Band:
Sully Erna – Vocals, Guitar, Drums, Keyboard
Tony Rombola – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Robbie Merrill – Bass

Produced by: Sully Erna & Mudrock

What a great CD (though I think overall they’re kind of a mediocre band). I’m not a big fan of nu/alternative metal, but Godsmack had all the right influences (Priest, Alice in Chains, Metallica) and put it together in a nice lil’ catchy package on their debut (which was originally released as an indie album before Universal signed’em and re-released it with a few song list changes).

My first exposure to this while on Christmas vacation visiting a friend and he pulled out this CD during one of our marathon video game sessions. I loved it and bought it myself when I got back home to Florida.

A good album to just scream and let some aggression and frustration out. And the album really broke barriers (at least in my house) because even my dad liked “Voodoo”. “Bad Religion” is probably my favorite song though– “GET BAACK!!!” That’s just awesome.

A hidden instrumental track is at end of “Voodoo” called “Witch Hunt”.

Highlights: “Moon Baby”, “Keep Away”,  “Time Bomb”, “Bad Religion”, “Voodoo”

www.godsmack.com
www.myspace.com/godsmack

STEPHEN PEARCY – Fueler

Stephen Pearcy – Fueler (2005, Top Fuel Records/Cleopatra Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Overdrive” – 2:32
2. “Kill Kitty” – 2:43
3. “That Sick Thing” – 2:04
4. “Godsmack” – 2:58
5. “Drive with Me” – 2:46
6. “Spy vs. Spy” – 3:01
7. “Young and the Damned” – 3:02
8. “Dream Machine” – 2:13
9. “Gamblers & Thieves” – 3:20
10. “Sinomatic” – 3:30
11. “Round & Round XXX” – 4:34  

Band:
Stephen Pearcy – Vocals (D’uh!)
Mark Zavon – Guitar
Erik Ferentinos – Guitar
Troy Johnson – Bass
Rich Contadino – Drums

Produced by: Stephen Pearcy

I bought this album probably waaaaaaaaaaay back in 2006 (alongside Pearcy’s 1st solo CD Social Intercourse) because I love Ratt. I think they’re one of the most underrated bands of their era. So, I wanted to see what “The Voice of Ratt” could do on his own… Not much.

I was looking online to see what others think and there seems to be two camps of opinion for this album. The first camp says, “it sucks”. The second camp says, “it’s great”. Count me as a member of Camp #1.

I just CANNOT get into this album. The production is very poor and it’s just heavy noise to me. Pearcy makes no attempt whatsoever to continue with the Ratt sound or any type of melodic hard rock at all. It’s just a bunch of industrial/alternative/nu-metal sludge. I’ve seen lots of comments saying “if you’re a Ratt fan, check this out!”

Well, I say, if you’re a Ratt fan, please ignore this release. There’s only one redeeming song here: “Gamblers & Thieves”. Pearcy covers himself with “Round and Round XXX”. I don’t know why the “XXX” is there, but whatever. The original “Round and Round” is a great song, and it is played pretty straight here, but the production on the song is so horrible (it totally muffles the guitars) that I can’t even give THAT a pass.

Highlights: “Gamblers & Thieves”

Lowlights: The rest of the album

www.stephen-pearcy.com
www.myspace.com/topfuelrecords

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