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"Saw IV: Music From and Inspired By Saw IV" (CD)

Avenged Sevenfold - "Saw IV: Music From and Inspired By Saw IV" CD cover image

"Saw IV: Music From and Inspired By Saw IV" track listing:

1. Payroll (JohnO Mix) - Nitzer Ebb
2. Collapse - Saosin
3. Shame - Drowning Pool
4. Tomorrow - Sixx A.M.
5. Misery Loves It’s Company - The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
6. Eternal Rest - Avenged Sevenfold
7. Life is Good - Ministry
8. We’rewolf - Everytime I Die
9. Trapped - Soulidium
10. Better Think Again - Submersed
11. On the Offensive - From Autumn to Ashes
12. Spasmolytic: Deftones Remix (Habitual Mix) - Skinny Puppy
13. Beatcrusher - Dope Stars Inc.
14. Dead is the New Alive (Manipulator Mix) - Emilie Autumn
15. Do You Want to Play a Game - Oxygen
16. Crossing the Rubicon - The Human Abstract
17. Dread Prevailed - The Red Chord
18. Thrash is Back - Fueled By Fire
19. Just Begun - Charlie Clouser

Reviewed by on May 28, 2008

"I'd almost prefer gouging out my own eyes. Or maybe sew my ears shut…"

If you liked the movie “Saw IV,” head down to your local video store and pick up a copy of the slasher-thriller, but don't bother with the soundtrack because even if you did like all the music in the film, the only tune on this “from and inspired” mix that’s actually from the film is franchise composer Charlie Clouser's instrumental, “Just Begun.” If you dig his tunes, his arrangements are featured prominently on the previous three films’ soundtracks.

Now, to be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of movie soundtracks, so I wasn’t really grasping too much to the hope of listening to something audibly brilliant. Usually, I find soundtracks a collection of songs that probably worked great within the confines of their original medium, but lose something when jumbled up into an album. Of course, this isn’t always the case. The soundtrack for “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” was wicked, featuring living guitar legend Steve Vai, Extreme, Primus, Faith No More and some old school Slaughter, and of course the more recent “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey” was simply awesome. But there are a lot dof lame movie song comps in between, and “Saw IV” is no exception.

A collection of music from and inspired by the film, most of the tunes selected for the mix just don't seem to suit such a malevolent flick. There are a few industrial goodies, like “Beatcrusher” from Dope Stars Inc. and I dug Emilie Autmn’s “Dead is the New Alive,” but the majority of the tracks are pretty much your standard, run-of-the-mill emo/screamo and recyclable bubblegum variety. The first track, Nitzer Ebb’s “Payroll,” is instrumentally groovy, but is so vocally repetitive and non-dynamic, I'd almost prefer gouging out my own eyes. Or maybe sew my ears shut… If that was the filmmaker's intention when they compiled this mix, it worked! But somehow I don't think that’s what soundtrack producers Jonathan Platt, Jonathan McHugh and – yup, another Jonathan – Jonathan Scott Miller had in mind.

Tallying in at 19 songs, it’s just too long to be this full of lackluster songs, and is certainly a weak follow-up to the “Saw III” soundtrack, which featured metal heavyweights Slayer, Lamb of God, Messhugah and more of Clouser’s ingenious arrangements.

Ministry makes an appearance here with “Life is Good,” but fans probably already own the industrial metaller’s 2007 release “The Last Sucker.”

A fan of Skinny Puppy years ago, it was good to see them making a contribution with a remix of “Spasmolytic,” originally from their 1990 release “Too Dark Park.” But, again, if you’re a fan, you probably already have this. The Deftones Mix appeared on the 2004 Skinny Puppy comp “Ultimate Remixes.”

Truly the most fitting song for the film is “Dread Prevailed” by The Red Chord, a particularly brutal song from a particularly brutal band for a particularly brutal movie. If you dig these guys, pick up their latest full-length “Prey For Eyes.” Not only is this song on the band’s third full-length release, there are 13 other tunes that are just as good, and maybe even better.

Notably missing from the soundtrack is the tune “I.V.” by X Japan. If you’ve seen the movie, this is the song that plays during the closing credits. It starts off promising enough with a bit of a Stabbing Westward vibe, but the chorus is baked with some seriously cheesy crust, so it’s probably just as well it didn’t make it because then I’d have to hear it again.

If one version of this disc wasn’t enough, it turns out there are actually three versions of the album: the physical CD, reviewed here, a digital download and an expanded digital download. They’re all a little different, so if you really want to pick this up, make sure you’re getting the best mix for your buck. Clouser’s “Just Begun” is only available on the physical CD and the extended digital edition. Avenged Sevenfold and Human Abstract are only on the actual disc, and tunes from Collinz Room and The Absence are only available on the digital versions.

Highs: It’s multi-purpose! For example, if you really want to make someone suffer, about 80 per cent of this album would make a great alternative to a cattle prod.

Lows: Only one tune from the film actually made it onto the disc. I think I would have preferred some instrumentals mixed with blood-splatter to most of the songs chosen for this CD.

Bottom line: Sure, the booklet is kinda funky and features some gory scenes from the film, but if it’s bloody torture you’re after, there’s a whole franchise waiting for you at Blockbuster.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)