DC Dark Nights: Death Metal
Dark Nights: Death Metal Soundtrack


3.2
good

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
June 18th, 2021 | 32 replies


Release Date: 06/18/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A neat concept that's largely average, but has a few excellent moments sprinkled in there to make it somewhat noteworthy.

Looking at the absolute state of mainstream creative industries these days, DC Dark Nights: Death Metal stands out as a pretty unique project that conjoins two mediums together with equal importance: music and comic books. The comic book itself is a sequel to Scott Snyder’s 2017 mini-series Dark Nights: Metal, a mini-series of comics that also had an accompanying compilation soundtrack to it, filled with returning names for the sequel LP (Maria Brink and Chino Moreno, as well as being produced by Tyler Bates). Bar going back to old Alan Moore graphic novels or Garth-Ennis-written Punisher comics from time to time; I haven’t read a comic book for over ten years, so in regards to the quality of the comic book itself, I cannot say. However, I do appreciate its idiosyncrasies on paper and the effort that must have gone into making this idea a reality. It’s clear, judging from the line-up on DC Dark Nights: Death Metal, that this sequel is meant to be bigger and better than before, bolstering a soundtrack that has a formidable array of eclectic and respectable names in the industry today.

In a lot of ways this is very similar to HEALTH’s DISCO4 :: Part I compilation album, released last year, in which it throws a load of artists and musicians into a boiling pot and attempts to make a cohesive blend out of the collective talent pool. Instead of HEALTH being the narrator of the LP, Tyler Bates (co-writer and producer on Marilyn Manson’s first makeover in 2015, as well as soundtrack credits to big-budget TV shows and films as long as my arm) attempts to forge a seamless tale from this very diverse cast. Unfortunately for Bates, unlike DISCO4 :: Part I, DC Dark Nights: Death Metal doesn’t flow quite as fluidly, nor does the songwriting have the same pedigree of brilliance. This is a compilation album made up of artists on the Loma Vista label and as such, there is a boat load of great names involved with it, but when it comes to the crunch, the quality lands on being a bit of a mixed bag. Mastodon’s “Forged By Neron” sounds incredibly dull – an off-kilter track that resides more in B-side-writing territories than the ‘Don we all know and love. The same goes for the HEALTH/Chino Moreno collaboration. Arguably my most anticipated track on here; it read like a gift from the Gods. In reality, musically, it sounds like NIN-lite, sitting snuggly behind generic industrial aesthetics and some rather off vocal takes from Chino himself. The song opens up promisingly enough, with a one-two punch of rolling drum kicks, chugging guitars, and this unsettling synth noise that descends down the back of it, but the problems begin to set in when nothing comes after that initial stunner. There are no stand out instrumental moments to be had and neither vocalist reaches out to take hold of the reigns in a satisfying way.

To make matters worse, not all of the tracklisting here offers up original tracks for the soundtrack. Grey Daze’s “Anything, Anything” comes from their 1997 album …No Sun Today, while Rise Against’s “Broken Dreams, Inc” comes hot off of their new album, Nowhere Generation. This in itself is harmless enough, but the tracks themselves don’t exactly gel all that well with the ones made specifically for this album, adding needless baggage that could have easily been excluded. Still, there’s only one song on here that’s outright awful, and that goes to “Bad Luck” by Denzel Curry and PlayThatBoiZay. The vintage post-punk vibes mixed with these deranged, avant-garde vocal performances and terrible lyrics do absolutely nothing for the album other than completely derail the momentum. And the weird thing is, “Bad Luck” actually sits better with the latter half of the record than most – offering more of this raw 70s post-punk-meets-experimental style, the likes of which Idles and Stone Cold Earth execute, albeit far more favourably than Denzel Curry and PlayThatBoiZay, later on in the LP.

Yet, for all of DC Dark Nights: Death Metal’s flaws, it still manages to avert being a complete disaster – far from it, actually. There are some real highlights to be found throughout the album. To the surprise of no one, Manchester Orchestra creates the best song for the LP; a barnstorming epic filled with melancholic swells, sweeping guitar passages, and Andy Hull’s incredibly poignant vocal takes that build up the beast to its euphoric conclusion. Similarly, Chelsea Wolfe creeps up behind Manchester Orchestra with her amazing contribution to the album. “Diana” is a moody, intricately woven behemoth that brings back her syrupy industrial metal sensibilities, supported by Wolfe’s proclivity for anguish-fuelled vocal work. Other highlights come from Soccer Mommy’s benign indie-rock tune “Kissing in the Rain”, and Greg Puciato’s track “Now You’ve Really Done It.” The co-written Puciato/Bates beauty in particular sounds like Mr. Bungle, and comes as a warming surprise because Greg is clearly tapping into his early days as an artist where Mike Patton mentored him: a slinking, groove-centric rock tune greased in attitude and crushing fuzz.

Overall, when you consider the talent on this thing and who’s producing it, DC Dark Nights: Death Metal comes as a bit of a disappointment and a missed opportunity. However, the highs on this album, though infrequent, will send you into the stratosphere. It’s Manchester Orchestra, Chelsea Wolfe, Greg Puciato, and Soccer Mommy that will ultimately have you coming back for more, and with that, you’re willing to take the bulk of this album’s middling numbers just to get to those excellent tracks. Tonally the album is patchy, to put it kindly, and there’s a lot of bloated fluff to get through on this hour-long soundtrack, but rarely does the album fumble on its face to the point of being a burden to get through. Sure, a lot of the tracks here lack memorability, but as a whole, it’s a novel listen with some absolute gems packed within it.




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user ratings (16)
3.2
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2021


17191 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

that manchester orchestra track though...

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
June 18th 2021


20907 Comments


what fresh hell is this

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Slex
June 18th 2021


12266 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah the Manny O song is a banger

Digging: Magdalena Bay - Mercurial World

Pho3nix
June 18th 2021


1175 Comments


The album cover is kinda cool, I dunno seems kinda cool

Lord(e)Po)))ts
June 18th 2021


67156 Comments


What the fuck

Lord(e)Po)))ts
June 18th 2021


67156 Comments


What a weird set of artists for a "Death Metal" themed universe

ArsMoriendi
June 18th 2021


35365 Comments


Oh no! The superhero oversaturation is affecting music now

Digging: Blonde Redhead - 23

alamo
June 18th 2021


4294 Comments


DC Dark Nights: Death Metal
post rock alternative rock indie rock

Shuyin
June 18th 2021


14714 Comments


The series has a lot of good ideas and its fitting for a heavy metal soundtrack, my only complaint is the fact that Snyder likes to leave walls of text everywhere and it kills the pacing of the story. Still worth reading imo and the Batman who laughs is metal af

Digging: Frontierer - Oxidized

Pho3nix
June 18th 2021


1175 Comments


If you want superhero-themed hip-hop I would rec Czarface :]

Veldin
June 18th 2021


4538 Comments


Lol nice review. Soundtrack has some fun moments. Huge fan of Snyder and Capullos work. Death Metal is a fun and beautifully illustrated event that attempts to connect all the major Crisis events since 1985; an "Anti-Crisis" as it's called. Highly recommend snatching the hardcover if you have any interest in modern comics. Leads directly into the Infinite Frontier era that's DC comics is currently in. I was surprised by the inclusion of a Manchester Orchestra and IDLES track. Lol and yes, no actual death metal.

jpaulwegenast
June 18th 2021


121 Comments


Oh no! The superhero oversaturation is affecting music now [1]

Nailed it.


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Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2021


45800 Comments


yup there has definitely been no superhero-themed music before this compilation, not at all, y'all really on the ball there

anyway the ManOrc song is good but it sounds suspiciously like After the Scripture to me lol

Digging: Lil Ugly Mane - VOLCANIC BIRD ENEMY AND THE VOICED CONCERN

jkr5001
June 19th 2021


61 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think this is really fun for what it is. It is disappointing that a few tracks have nothing to do with the concept and exist outside of this release (Rise Against, Carach Angren). That is an odd choice and does takeaway from the flow and concept a bit. However, I think that Chelsea Wolfe, Manchester Orchestra (best song), GUNSHIP, and Greg Puciato tracks elevate everything. Honestly, the only misses for me are Grey Daze, Rise Against, and Denzel Curry. Everything else works for me.

jkr5001
June 19th 2021


61 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think this is really fun for what it is. It is disappointing that a few tracks have nothing to do with the concept and exist outside of this release (Rise Against, Carach Angren). That is an odd choice and does takeaway from the flow and concept a bit. However, I think that Chelsea Wolfe, Manchester Orchestra (best song), GUNSHIP, and Greg Puciato tracks elevate everything. Honestly, the only misses for me are Grey Daze, Rise Against, and Denzel Curry. Everything else works for me.

Aerisavion
June 20th 2021


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really need to listen to this as a whole. The Chino x Health track and Grey Daze number is all I’ve really sampled.



Great review always, Gonzo.

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SitarHero
June 20th 2021


13600 Comments


I tried the actual comic and got bored of its nihilism after a bit. It was certainly inventive though. The only thing I'm intrigued about on this is the Gunship tune.

rockarollacola
June 20th 2021


1074 Comments


It's rare for me to ever want to listen to death metal over anything else; but this roster of artists has me considering it.

JeetJeet
June 20th 2021


9946 Comments


that Denzel song is the worst track I've heard this year

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Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2021


26024 Comments


Chelsea Wolfe as Wonder Woman? I'll take it.

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