In the annals of gothic novels, along with nineteenth century classics Frankenstein and Dracula, are the Vampire Chronicles, by Anne Rice. This series is one of the cornerstones of being a goth. That is, an intelligent goth, not one of those homophobic Slipknot kids you may see at school.
The 2001 motion picture Queen Of The Damned
is based on the books The Vampire Lestat
and Queen Of The Damned
, which follow Interview With A Vampire in the series. The books were actually set in the eighties, but having Lestat sing in a glam metal band just wouldnít fit the whole gothic concept of today. The film, and the soundtrack, actually manage to do something that canít easily be done: it ties nu metal and gothic elements. One of the prime examples of this is when the androgynous vampires in the bar are all killed by Akasha, who is played by Aaliyah. While their blood sheds all over the walls, low, crunching nu metal is playing. And for once, the feeling it conveys is true carnage.
When I saw the film, I was intrigued by the music, and was sure I could recognize the singer. The singer in the film is Jonathan Davis, who Lestat lip-synchs to. When I read the credits, I was very interested to discover that Jonathan Davis had greatly contributed to the film. He wrote the original songs from the film, and he worked with composer Richard Gibbs on the score. I wanted to hear more, so I bought the soundtrack whenever it came out. I was a little bit disappointed to find out that different singers were featured on the soundtrack at first, but I was excited to hear some different interpretations of the songs. Along with the 5 original songs, there are 9 other previously released songs by other artists that I will briefly cover later.
On the first song, Not Meant For Me
, Wayne Static of Static-X is featured on vocals. Jonathan Davis plays guitar, bass, and keyboards, and Richard Gibbs and Vinnie Colaiuta provide additional instrumentation. Now, I have never been a fan of Static-X, as they are hopelessly simplistic and dull. I donít think that Wayne Static is a memorable singer at all, and therefore a better song could have been chosen for the beginning of the album. However, he sounds better than Iíve ever heard him in Not Meant For Me. The verses do not particularly stand out, but the chorus is very powerful over me. It makes me think of the thousands of screaming fans in the concert scene of the film. The version of Not Meant For Me featured in the movie, with Jonathan Davis on vocals is much better, in my opinion.
The next song is a real pleasure. It is Foreskin
, and David Draiman of Disturbed is the singer, with Munky, Head, Sam Rivers of Limp Bizkit, and Shankar on double violin. Again, I do not think that David Draiman is a good singer; I would never buy a disturbed album. However, his vocals just really seem to fit the context in this song. As you know, the lyrics are written by Jonathan Davis. He is well known for having lonely, desperate lyrics, but this coined skill couldnít be more convenient. These songs are meant to reflect the thoughts and emotions of a vampire, who has been isolated and nocturnal for hundreds of years. Hereís a sample from Forsaken:
Iím over it. You see Iím falling in a vast abyss. Clouded by memories of the past, at last; I see. I hear it fading, I canít speak it. Or else you will dig my grave. You feel them finding, always windingÖtake my hand now, be alive. You see I cannot be forsaken, because I am not the only one. We walk amongst you, feeding, raping; must we hide from everyone?
See what I mean? It just fits so aptly. Forsaken has a beautiful and haunting violin accompaniment, which really adds to the darkness of the song. This is actually one of the best things in the film. Whenever Lestat plays the violin for Akasha and at the campfire, it is entrancing and magical, yet desolate and sad. Forsaken is definitely a highlight of the soundtrack.
Man, if Chester Bennington sang in a band that made music like this, he would be so much more respected. He is an amazing singer (not as good as Maynard, wikuk!), and his vocal power actually beats Jonathan Davisís slightly nasal version of System
. In the chorus, he sings the octave absolutely incredibly. The lyrics ďWhy wonít you die? Your blood in mine. It will be fine, then your body will be mine" donít have the whiney connotation associated with nu metal. It relates perfectly to the idea of complete domination, and connection between vampires. System, with Chesterís amazing talent, and Davis and Gibbson's creative effort, is the best song on the album.
Iím sure most of you have heard the song Change
by Deftones, and I donít really see what it is doing here with all the original songs. Moving on, Redeemer
features Marilyn Manson on vocals. I have always considered him a very sucky singer and musician, and his singing on Redeemer only makes it a more mediocre song. This is probably the most gothic of the songs on this soundtrack, but not at all in a powerful way. I think I forgot to mention this, but to my knowledge, Jonathan Davis couldnít sing on this album due to copyright reasons. I noticed that he snuck in some of his lyrics from ďNo Way" from Issues. Mansonís vocals are weak and exaggerated. The only thing good about this song is the slow, minute long wind-down at the end.
Okay, letís skip crappy Dead Cell
by Papa Roach, which has nothing dark or gothic about it in any way. The next song is not an original, but it is a notable mention. Penetrate
, by Godhead, is on the soundtrack because I believe Lestat listens to it at point in the album. For the most part it is a cool industrial track, which is considerably mellower than the other songs featured on this album.
During the concert scene in the movie, I fell in love with Lestatís vampiric anthem Slept So Long
. Davisís vocals were brilliant and inspiring, and at that point it was my favorite song from the film. I could have not been more disappointed when Jay Gordon entered this song. He is the singer for the band Orgy, which toured with Korn, Limp Bizkit, and Rammstein on Family Values í98. I suppose his whole S&M/gay image fits with the more new-wave elements of Queen Of The Damned, but in terms of music, he ruins the song. Slept So Long is the last original song on the soundtrack, and is followed by a few throwaway songs by Disturbed and Static-X. Iíll tell you what though, the singer for Earshot sound remarkably like Maynard James Keenan. Itís uncanny! As for the song, itís not very special.
Towards the end of the album, the soundtrack finally breaks away with the nu metal. Excess
, by Tricky, is the second to last track. It is a really awesome song, and compliments the album more than the previous four tracks. Immediately after this, to finish off the album, is Before Iím Dead
, by The Kidney Thieves. I praise you to heavens, Jonathan Davis, for this semi-trip hop nod on the last two tracks of the album. Before Iím Dead is the very last song in the movie, as Lestat and Jessie walk through eternity together. It only makes sense that it is the last track on the album. This is a fantastic finisher.
One of the biggest diseases to strike albums is having most of the best songs at the beginning of the album, and then generally decreasing quality as the album progresses. Queen Of The Damned
is an okay movie, but the screenwriting is poor, not to mention the second-rate acting (except for Jonathanís cute little cameo as the scalper). I immediately thought that score and soundtrack were the best thing about the film, and that is why the soundtrack is in fact better than the movie. As I said, the Queen Of The Damned soundtrack successfully combines nu metal and Gothicism, courtesy of Jonathan Davis. Chester Bennington and David Draiman, and Wayne Static, who are presumably buddies of Jonathan, really add to the album. Unfortunately, Marilyn Manson and Jay Gordon spoil a couple of songs, and there are some filler tracks in here like Down With The Sickness and Dead Cell. The original songs and the couple of trip hop goodies are obviously the best things about the Queen Of The Damned soundtrack. If you are a fan of the movie, I strongly recommend buying this cd. If you are not familiar with the film, I still recommend this album, for the songs System and Forsaken alone. Or, if you prefer, you thieving cowards can just download the good songs from Kazaa.
Chester Benningtonís vocals
Brian "Head" Welch
James "Munky" Shaffer