VARIOUS ARTISTS (SOUNDTRACKS) — Judgment Night (Music From The Motion Picture) (review)

VARIOUS ARTISTS (SOUNDTRACKS) — Judgment Night (Music From The Motion Picture) album cover Album · 1993 · Alternative Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Vim Fuego
If you don’t remember the movie “Judgment Night” it’s not a surprise. It was a box office bomb, combining a silly plot with some poor acting by a number of reasonably high profile stars who will be ashamed of being associated with such a dog. It’s box office receipts recouped less than two thirds of the movie’s budget. That the movie was so poor is a shame, because the “music from the motion picture” soundtrack which accompanied it was an absolute ripper.

All the songs featured here were collaborations between hip-hop and rock or metal artists, the results of which popped up a few pleasant surprises, along with a few turds. The idea of such collaborations had its roots back in the 1980s, when Aerosmith and Run-DMC, and later Anthrax and Public Enemy, pulled together the rock and rap scenes, with great results. There had always been a bit of animosity and mistrust between the two scenes, but these collaborations helped dismiss some of the animus. From a commercial point of view, it also made sense, appealing to two different markets.

Let’s be honest. A metal fan is going to listen to this album first and foremost because of the collaboration between Slayer and Ice-T. When this was released in 1993, Ice-T was still embroiled in the controversy over Body Count’s self-titled debut album, and the song “Cop Killer”. He was somewhat of a divisive figure in the metal world, where some “fans” were questioning why a black rapper was involving himself in metal. While the braindead racist minority were stewing in their own fetid ignorance, the rest of the metal world was embracing Body Count for what it was- a quality crossover thrash band with a strong message, with an outspoken, intelligent frontman. Slayer’s own troubles have been well documented too, with accusations of Nazism following the song “Angel of Death”, and the band inadvertently attracted an extreme right wing following, who would have been exactly the people who would have had a problem with Ice-T.

“Disorder” is a crossover thrash medley of three songs originally by The Exploited, played at breakneck pace, with King/Hanneman. The new lyrics, adapted from “War”, “UK 82” and “Disorder” relate to the Los Angeles riots in 1992, the state of race relations, and US politics in general. Ice-T and Tom Araya trade vocal barbs back and forth in crust punk style, getting more aggressive and angrier as the song progresses, culminating in a cacophonous finale. This is the fifth song on the album. Any truthful metal fan will have to admit skipping straight to it before starting to listen to the album in it’s true chronological order. It is worth it, and it’s fucking Slayer. The difficult thing for the rest of the collaborations on this album is trying to hold the metal fan’s attention. How long ‘til a bored metal fan skips back to “Disorder”?

First track: “Just Another Victim”

Artists: Helmet and House of Pain

Time: 4:25

Skip to “Disorder” time: 4:25 – the entire track

House of Pain’s “Jump Around” had not long since peaked at number three in the Billboard charts, and were a pretty big deal at the time. Helmet were no slackers themselves, with their album ‘Meantime’ rapidly racing toward gold status. The street-wise, tough attitude of both artists combines for a pretty damn robust track, with clipped hardcore guitars and a steady hip-hop beat.

Second track: “Fallin’”

Artists: De La Soul and Teenage Fanclub

Time: 4:28

Skip to “Disorder” time: 0:07

The first six seconds, fine. A hip-hop beat and some “woo” backing vocals. Then someone starts whining. “Disorder” time!

Third track: “Me, Myself and Microphone”

Artists: Living Colour and Run-DMC

Time: 3:08

Skip to “Disorder” time: 3:08 –The entire track

Living Colour started as a glam metal band with a few funky interludes, but after their smash hit album ‘Vivid’, their music branched off in all directions. This track combines a funky bassline, several guitar tracks, some trademark Run-DMC rapping, and a bit of well-placed scratching. It’s not full on metal by any means, but there is a satisfying groove, and is short enough boredom does not set in.

Fourth track: “Judgment Night”

Artists: Biohazard and Onyx

Time: 4:36

Skip to “Disorder” time: 4:36 –The entire track

The meeting of hardcore punk and hardcore hip-hop. This pairing had worked together earlier on a remix of Onyx’s “Slam” single. The guitars are very prominent, combining with a massive beat, and Evan Seinfeld’s yell underpinning it. The street-wise lyrics rapped over this create a tough, muscular track, which is hard, heavy, and smart.

Fifth track: “Disorder”

Artists: Slayer and Ice-T

Time: 4:59

Skip to “Disorder” time: er, this IS “Disorder”

If you don’t like this, you don’t like metal.

Sixth track: “Another Body Murdered”

Artists: Faith No More and Boo-Ya T.R.I.B.E.

Time: 4:25

Skip to “Disorder” time: um, Boo-Ya T.R.I.B.E. will gun you down in a drive-by if you try.

Both artists were well known for combining rock and hip-hop from their own sides of the spectrum, and it shows. This is probably the most natural sounding track on the album. Boo-Ya’s massive grooves and Faith No More’s crushing guitars combine for a truly compelling song. Mike Patton’s vocal insanity in the background is a particular highlight.

Seventh track: “I Love You, Mary-Jane”

Artists: Cypress Hill and Sonic Youth

Time: 3:52

Skip to “Disorder” time: 0:50

A promising start. A lethargic guitar scrape, and a hypnotic, fuzzy groove sounds a bit trippy, but then the vocals wreck it. If you are familiar with Cypress Hill, you will be familiar with their dope fuelled nasal voices. Anyone unfortunate enough to know who Steve Urkel was will know the sound. Next please.

Eighth track: “Freak Momma”

Artists: Mudhoney and Sir Mix-A-Lot

Time: 4:01

Skip to “Disorder” time: 3:30

So then, a fairly straightforward alt-rock track with Sir Mix-A-Lot (yes, he of “Baby Got Back” fame) rapping over top of it. Even though his voice is a little comical, there is something about this song which works quite well. Whether it’s Mudhoney’s nod to the psychedelic 60s, or Mix-A-Lot’s rapid fire vocal delivery, it’s not too shabby.

Ninth track: “Missing Link”

Artists: Del the Funky Homosapien and Dinosaur Jr.

Time: 3:59

Skip to “Disorder” time: 1:34, after the sweet solo, or skip to 3:13 to hear more

Dinosaur Jr’s trademark laid back sound gets loaded with bass here, and is so relaxed and effortless it would be going in reverse if at all possible. Del the Funky Homosapien’s vocals though are a bit grating, because of his slightly rough, off-kilter delivery. If you can put up with the awful rapping, the guitar under it is as good as J. Macsis ever delivered anywhere.

Tenth track: “Come and Die”

Artists: Fatal and Therapy?

Time: 4:26

Skip to “Disorder” time: Are you fucking kidding?

Quite a menacing track. Therapy?’s pounding alt-metal is given a seriously sinister edge with Fatal’s harder-than-hardcore lyrics and vocals. There are some industrial vocal effects, and a driving bass line, all the while Fatal seems to become increasingly aggravated, ending in a psychotic rant and bullet shot.

Eleventh tracks: “Real Thing”

Artists: Cypress Hill and Pearl Jam

Time: 3:31

Skip to “Disorder” time: 0:00

Best to just pretend this track doesn’t exist.

All in all, this soundtrack delivers far better value than the movie ever did. It offers far more than just a single incredible track, and finally settled the old argument about hip-hop and rock mixing like oil and water. It works well, when done properly. Dismiss ‘Judgment Night’ at your own peril.
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