Judgement Night: Music From the Motion Picture – A Retrospective

My high school life’s soundtrack was nu-metal. No getting around it. I have pictures in my senior yearbook with me wearing a Life Is Peachy shirt. I luxuriated in that world.

And I was proud of my bonifides. For example, I was proud of finding System of a Down via a sampler DVD of upcoming nu-metal acts.

I have since very much left that life behind me. I don’t listen to nu-metal at all really. Maybe on occasion some of the good stuff (which does exist), but not much.

So imagine my fucking surprise when someone mentioned this album to me. Apparently this is open fucking knowledge, but sure as shit I did not know about it. A proto-nu-metal album a full year before KoRn’s debut record.

You can check out the full backstory in the wiki, but I’ll give a quick version. In the land of record label hubris and extra money just floating around, a mediocre action drama got the money to do something fresh, a whole record of rappers and metal/rock artists together.

And you get…..this record….

I think the best way to explain this record is right in the first two tracks.

Doesn’t this sound like a fucking KoRn song. Or really any of them. The way the drum pattern works. The flow over that beat. I mean it sounds like a version of nu-metal where everything wasn’t about child abuse. Fucking wild.

I actually really like this song. This Happy Walters guy clearly knows how to do parings. Cause this totally works and so does:

And this brings the proto in the mix. And the album kind of goes back and forth. Something that sounds more like nu-metal and something that sounds….trip hop esque? Kinda?

No one really does jazz rap but under a rock band. We do have some here. For the most part I think this track works, but we definitely are skirting the line.

In fact, thats a good way to describe this record. Man we are getting close to bad. Close enough to see it over the fence. They manage not to do it, but they get close. The title track for example I think kind of gets close to bad. Saved by some rapping. But I think we can do better than a chorus that is just yelling JUDGEMENT NIGHT.

The whole record sounds like a journey into a question mark. Can we place rap artists with alt-rock/punk rock bands and make it work. For the most part, the answer is yes (and clearly from the whole movement that came after this record, its a loud obnoxious yes).

For example, I wanted to highlight this.

Look ma’, Body Count but not Body Count. Body Count but its fucking Slayer behind them.

Thats sort of the complete shock of the album.

These fucking bands are giving their all. Not alot of the music here sounds phoned in. Like this sounds like a project people spent some time on. The backing music is as sharp as this kind of project will allow.

And most of the combos work. Definitely Ice-T needed Slayer. And you know Del The Funky Homosapien needed…

Fucking Dinosaur Jr.

It feels like a time capsule of this specific metal era of the 90s. Grunge starting to come in. And on this record, living in harmony.

There are times where the cultural oddity of it all stands bigger than the tracks. Like the Sonic Youth/Cypress Hill collab is just forgettable.

But, if forgettable is as bad as it gets. I will take that. This whole project could have been a fucking trainwreck, but it wasn’t. We end up with something that is still extremely listenable if not just fucking jamming. And that is an achievement.

3.5/4 – A project that sailed a thousand ships still can kick ass after all these years. And be freaky. I’ll take it.

I kind of wish more nu-metal acts would have followed some of the more experimental things on this album instead of literally just ripping off the first track over and over. Oh well.

Side note: I have been told by several people to not even bother with the movie. I may watch it just out of respect.

We will see.

© Church of the Holy Flava 2016 - 2021