Time was in the '90s that every big summer action movie came prepackaged with a great hard-rock soundtrack. As the industry went through growing pains it died off a bit, reducing a soundtrack to maybe one or two free downloads from a middling band close to the project.
The heady days of hard-rock discs attached to The Crow, The Matrix and Judgment Night went away with the Clinton administration. Sure, some film studios made it work along the way (Mission: Impossible II), but by and large they disappeared.
One of the best things about growing up in the '90s was the movie-soundtrack industry, which fed us all sorts of second-rate songs left off major albums, unlikely collaborations and left-field covers. As for the '00s, one could argue that the Transformers (cough, Linkin Park, cough) movies did a good job of lobbing crap at ya, and the first three Spider-Man soundtracks weren't all awful, but they were mostly emo hatchet jobs.
Now 2002's The Scorpion King disc, sweet lord, where else could you get a Murderers' Row like Creed, Nickelback, Godsmack, System of a Down, Drowning Pool and an Ozzy/Rob Zombie collab?
It's now morning in America in 2012 and Avengers Assemble is the only hope we have to once again reboot the art of the decadent butt-rock compilation attached to an action movie. It comes loaded with a brand-new, disappointing Soundgarden song that somehow makes me miss Chris Cornell's solo career. Come back, Chris, all is forgiven, (gulp) even Scream. Somehow Shinedown out-Soundgardens Soundgarden on this soundtrack.
Superhero movie soundtracks always have to convey this spirit of "won't back down fuck off I do shit my own way what of it I'm a mutant" that I guess most of the bands here already have in spades. Breathing, being unbroken, not listening, bleeding, rising, livin', coming back, giving it your all, shaking the ground, that sort of thing.
Most of the songs here remind of other bands, like Black Veil Brides doing their best Avenged Sevenfold, or Scott Weiland mastering himself in 1998. Redlight Kings paint a great picture of what the Fray would be like if they had guitar amps. Bush's "Into the Blue" is generic, and for a fan of their '90s work that's saying something.
Avengers Assemble won't lift up any skirts, aside from the new Soundgarden song, but at least someone is trying to resurrect the butt-rock compilation. Well, I like the Buckcherry song.
Welcome back, butt-rock. Wanna do a shot?
1. Soundgarden, "Live To Rise 2. Shinedown, "I'm Alive" 3. Rise Against, "Dirt And Roses" 4. Papa Roach, "Even If I Could" 5. Black Veil Brides, "Unbroken" 6. Scott Weiland, "Breathe" 7. Redlight King, "Comeback" 8. Bush, "Into the Blue" 9. Evanescence, "A New Way To Bleed (Photek Remix)" 10. PUSHERJONES, "Count Me Out" 11. Buckcherry, "Wherever I Go" 12. Five Finger Death Punch, "From Out of Nowhere" 13. Cherri Bomb, "Shake the Ground"