Dunno how you feel about 1995‘s chop-socky game tie-in Flim Mortal Kombat, dear reader? For me, it’s an equally-naff, less-compelling parallel to Our Man JCVD and Kylie in the Street Fighter film. Its music was a subject of conversation in VGR-adjacent circles a while back, which is what probably prompted acidbearboy to re-check out the OST and then hand it off underwhelmed to anyone interested.
For those paying attention, that would be our Stevenger (to paraphrase Sephiroth).
For me, as someone not massively invested in the film, however much fun Christopher Lambert in a hat might be, the OST existed as an unheard, weird, probable late artefact of that whole “T-U-R-T-L-E POWER” scene. Films of cartoons and computer games bad; music from said films worse.
Having received and listened to the OST, though I’m kinda digging it. If you’re even vaguely aware of my musical tastes this won’t surprise you. What you say? It sounds a bit naff and a bit ’90s? Ergo, Stevenger likes it, often without even the figleaf of irony.
That’s the short version. You can stop reading there if you don’t care. For the interested here’s your rundown. Excuse lack of links, YouTube almost certainly has yr back. I’m not made of time (I’m made out of meat).
1. “A Taste of Things to Come” George S. Clinton 0:48
Anonymous intro stuffe.
2. “Goodbye (Demo)” Gravity Kills 3:11
I own a Gravity Kills single. The US rock music scene’s post-grunge flailing resulted in Hootie, Blowfish aaand, OK, I’ll give you Green Day who turned out much better than I first suspected. NIN/Ministry/White Zombie* being much bigger over there also meant it threw up some painfully overproduced naff faux-industrial, just in case that might sell. Turns out not and we’ll kick dissection of Brian M Manson into the long grass for the purposes of this conversation.
Being a demo, this song of GK‘s sounds alright, by which I mean a bit more rough round the edges, something tracks and remixes on that aforementioned single lacked for me.
*Admittedly White Zombie claimed not to be an industrial band in contemporary interviews. At Donington that same year they played in daylight against a backing track, containing their definitely-not-industrial synths and samples.
3. “Juke-Joint Jezebel (Giorgio Moroder Metropolis Mix)” KMFDM 5:16
This is apparently KMFDM‘s big hit, albeit in remix form. If you half-know the band you of course realise that either Sucks or A Drug Against War are the correct answers to that question. If you’re actually familiar with the band’s output well then… I dunno, you tell me (in all seriousness please do, I want to know!).
The reclusive Giorgio Van Moroder is of course known both for being a Daft Punk tune and for being infamously difficult to walk into.
4. “Unlearn (Josh Wink’s Live Mix)” Psykosonik 4:50
Nice chill four-on-the-floor techno tune. Builds from beats through some bass to a few Higher State Of Squelchousness noises before fading early.
5. “Control (Juno Reactor Instrumental)” Traci Lords 6:26
Really liked this one. Mainly know Juno Reactor from couple of ’90s Pandemonium-era Killing Joke remixes, plus their own God Is God. This track is a lot similar to those remixes, working the guitars into the straight 4/4 dance beats. Good stuff!
6. “Halcyon + On + On” Orbital 9:24
It’s an Orbital classic. Nuff said.
7. “Utah Saints Take on The Theme from Mortal Kombat” Utah Saints 3:00
OH EM EFFING GEE! This is everything one could want from a cheesy dancefloor banger take on the MK theme.
8. “The Invisible” GZR 3:43
Pretty sure I’ve heard exactly two (2!) G//Z/R songs. The awesome, brutal promo single Drive Boy Shooting and, er, another one. In any case this is a pleasingly heavy guitar avec Burton C Bell piece, lacking Fear Factory‘s iconic drumming but a decent listen. Some chap from Black Sabbath apparently features on this too, but who’s ever heard of them, eh?
9. “Zero Signal” Fear Factory 5:57
Not my favourite FF album track, except in that it’s verbatim off Demanufacture so they had a ridiculous luxury of choice, oh, AND. I’M. BURNED. AWAY!
This does not lack FF‘s iconic drumming.
10. “Burn” Sister Machine Gun 4:45
Let’s not be coy, the names of band and song both scream “filler”. File this under another tune I was surprised to really enjoy though. Made me think of a rougher-round-the-edges Machines Of Loving Grace or if Hey Man Nice Filter had ever recorded more than one song. Got a very mid-era Die Krupps stereo-jumping synth pitter-patter sound.
11. “Blood & Fire (Out of the Ashes Mix)” Type O Negative 4:28
Don’t know much Typo, despite Retrolechuck‘s best efforts. Pete Steele‘s Tru-Goth vocals are unmistakable though. This new-to-me song’s pretty decent, although for “Out Of The Ashes mix” I suspect you can read “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter mix”. It’s ceratainly not noticeably a departure from the source to these ears. I seem to recall even Machine Head had minor-tweak remixes back then, although they cropped up on the b-side(s) of Old (how anyone thought Death Church could be made to play in Peoria I don’t know though).
12. “I Reject” Bile 2:47
Starts hard and stays hard. Industrial inflected, distorted vox, crunchy guitar. Not much song there though. Needed a bit more content/length. Put me favourably in mind of the couple of Angelspit songs I know though.
13. “Twist the Knife (Slowly)” Napalm Death 2:51
Haha! If there was ever any doubt that my ears and reference points were a bit out of sync with most, this is it. I proper sat up in my seat, “This is a bit more like it!”. Really nice sound, right in my sweet spot for the Death Metal vocals without compromising the rawness of the whole. Going by the familiar title this is one I’ve heard and (to my shame) forgotten.
Only seen Napalm Death live once, somewhen after Greed Killing, I think? Small venue, great night!
14. “What U See/We All Bleed Red” Mutha’s Day Out 4:10
Oh wow, I remember these guys from the Radio One Rock Show back in the day! Mostly I remember the amusing band name and their song Dry Water, which got a lot of play week-on-week. They sound pretty solid here, kinda like a less-polished Faith No More. Can’t fault that.
15. “Techno Syndrome (Mortal Kombat)” The Immortals 3:24
Oh nice, it’s the Utah Saints mix again, but different. Sass aside, I guess they had to somehow relate the album’s musical content to the film logo on the cover. Oh wait, that was still sassy, wasn’t it? OK, solid, similar stuff, hamstrung by context.
16. “Goro Vs. Art” George S. Clinton feat. Buckethead 2:59
Really good instrumental take on a piece of game music. Lots of guitar, lots of drums and add synth to taste. J’approve (that’s French for “Japanese People Approve“).
17. “Demon Warriors/Final Kombat” George S. Clinton 3:49
The only piece of literal soundtrack-style music on the album, all atmosphere and orchestral support and stings. Nice enough.
Honourable Mention – Stabbing Westward
Apparently three (3!) of their songs feature in the film, yet didn’t make the OST. Rights issues or mere general cock-knobbery on the parts of their label/representatives, who knows? This is also where my native hypocrisy comes to the fore. Only song of theirs I know is the excellent Nothing, which is pure Stiltskin-meets-the-aforementioned-Gravity Kills. Ahem!
Moving swiftly on! If as seems plausible the price sticker on the album acidbearboy punted me be true then this album can be picked up secondhand for a quid. I’d say it’s worth it, even if you’d assumed the worst previously. Also, YouTube, Spotify, err Napster? NO BINARIES! You do you.
Maybe it’s something about our violent past that every now and then some strange craziness breaks loose and the result is a killing spree