If nothing else, this record should win awards for truth in advertisement. A soundtrack to a movie called Heavy Metal should provide heavy metal (or some variation thereof), and that’s exactly what this soundtrack features. Big deal, right? Well, yeah, actually. It’s a good thing that the soundtrack’s producers got it right in 2000, because they certainly flubbed it the first time. While the 1981 underground cartoon Heavy Metal, named for a popular British art-fantasy magazine, is considered a cult classic among fans of black-humored, ultraviolent animation, the soundtrack included songs from Journey, Stevie Nicks, and the Eagle’s Don Felder. Dude, that’s so not metal.
By contrast, Heavy Metal 2000 serves as not only a soundtrack but also a sampler for the current scene. There’s the psychedelic riffing of Monster Magnet and Queens of the Stone Age, the electro-leanings of MDFMK and Apartment 26, the genre-fusion attempts of Puya and System of a Down, the regrettable grunge-rock revivalism of Days of the New and Full Devil Jacket, and the old-school thrash of Pantera. While such sub-genre classifications can be debated, all the bands here can be considered heavy metal acts, with three exceptions. Billy Idol, engaging in another ill-advised comeback, is merely trend-hopping; Bauhaus, which contributes “The Dog’s a Vapour,” its first new song in 17 years, is a legendary goth-rock group; and “Dirt Ball,” the Insane Clown Posse’s collaboration with Twiztid, can be simply filed under “crap.”
Still, there are 18 tracks and plenty to like. Pantera guitarist/philosopher “Dimebag” Darrell’s take on the original movie holds true for the current soundtrack as well: “Back in the day when you saw that shit, you’d kick back and light up some funky shit.” Well put, Dimebag, well put.