Album Review | LP, Paramore, MCR – An ‘AllSpark’ lineup for the Transformers 3 OST
Although Mrs Ravenous will kill me for this, I have a confession to make.
I had never been such a big fan of Transformers while growing up. Other than occasionally watching Transformers: Beast Wars a lifetime ago on Kids Central, and being subjected to that annoying “Robots In Disguise” theme, my childhood was largely (and thankfully) Decepticon-free.
What can I say; I was more of a “Power Rangers” kind of guy.
Anyone remember this?
So when the first two installations of the Transformers franchise came out, I merely viewed them as typical, mindless, blockbuster summer action-flicks. And in many ways, I still do.
There is no denying, however, the badass-ery of the films’ soundtracks. And Transformers: Dark Of The Moon OST continues to uphold this proud tradition. With a star-studded line-up, and 16 songs that scream of epicness, it is a collection worthy to be on Optimus Prime’s iPod playlist.
Here’s a thorough review of the entire OST!
Linkin Park kicks things off with their 3rd contribution to the franchise, “Iridescent”. While the conspiracy surrounding the band’s shady dealings with Michael Bay has already been widely discussed, it is safe to say that, based on merit; “Iridescent” is purely beautiful and a wonderful album opener. It begins with a sombre vibe that befits the serious tone of the movie. Mike Shinoda gets to showcase his surprisingly good singing voice in the verse, before lead vocalist Chester Bennington takes over at the chorus, with one of the most powerful, uplifting refrains of the band’s career. “Remember all the sadness and frustration, and let it go,” every member of LP sings passionately in unison, with a grand crescendo finale that even Bay would be proud off.
Not to be outdone, Paramore returns with their latest track, “Monster”, minus the Farro brothers. It sports a different vibe but the band still retains its signature sound; driving, melodic riffs, and the unmistakeable belting of spitfire front woman, Hayley Williams.
“But I’m not the villain, despite what you’re always preaching. ” Low blow to Josh aside, the lyrics bring new depth to the Paramore discography, with a much darker subject matter regarding the world metaphorically being described as a monster, threatening to swallow a loved one up.
Haley’s song writing talent is on full display here, and boy, does she rise to the occasion. With the success of the single, the band is ready to move on, and they have shown that they’re more than capable, of coping with the loss of their two founding members.
My Chemical Romance completes the roundup of featured artistes that make up the album singles. Their offering, “The Only Hope For Me Is You”, is a cinematic masterpiece. Taken from their most recent album, Danger Days, its synthesizer-heavy intro paints a post-apocalyptic soundscape that works well with the movie’s vibe, before exploding into a sweeping chorus that is sure to leave you head-banging and singing along.
Gerard Way’s angst-ridden voice plays like a perfect theme song for the main protagonist of Tranformers, Sam Witwicky, played by Shia LaBeouf.
The rest of the album is no pushover. Hard rock gems litter the rest of the track listing. Taking Back Sunday’s “Faith (When I Let You Down)” is a sure-fire anthem, while “Set The World On Fire” by glam-metal act, Black Veil Brides deliver fast-paced double-pedalling and guitar-tapping solos galore!
The sappy ballad, “All That You Are” by Goo Goo Dolls, threatened to set the album back, however, with its cheesy lyrics, and overly dubbed orchestral rock. It’s a tried and tested formula, which they’ve already done to death. Look back to their previous Transformers contribution, Before It’s Too Late (below), for reference.
Theory Of Deadman’s addition to the soundtrack is also a disappointment. “Head Above Water” borders on plain, boring country rock territory. This is a terrible departure from their normally heavy sound. For god’s sake, this is the band famous for contributing numerous hard-hitting, kick-ass songs for WWE wrestling pay-per-views back in the day. Sheesh!
Speaking of the WWE, many wrestling fans would recall, “Get Thru This”, by Art Of Dying as the theme song for Survivor Series 2009, and NXT. While the song is almost 2 years old, its bulldozing riffs and action-packed guitar/drum combo seems almost as if it was custom made for a Transformers movie.
So to, is “Awake And Alive” by Christian-metal band, Skillet. Off their 2009 album, Awake, it features a majestic violin intro and impressive vocal interplay between lead singer, John Cooper, and female drummer/vocalist, Jen Ledger (a personal favourite of mine). It is one of the album’s highlights.
Other standout tracks include an excellent cover by Mastodon of the ZZ Top song, “Just Got Paid”. The gravelly vocals are a joy to listen to and the metal gods glide effortlessly between a Southern, bluesy groove, to feet-stomping metallic bludgeoning! The guitar work is rich and gleams with personality, and the inclusion of Mastodon lends even more credibility to the soundtrack.
As great as the cover is, in my humble opinion, it is still not the best song off the soundtrack. That accolade goes to track number 5 - Staind’s “The Bottom”. It is the best among all the new songs being released, and also the best overall. A great preview of their forthcoming seventh album, it is fuelled with shrieking guitar and an ominous drum rhythm.
Lead vocalist, Aaron Lewis, digs deep in his vocal delivery, conjuring heart-wrenching pain and intensity, before erupting into a screamo noise-fest at the bridge. The sound here is shadowy and ominous, with guitarist Mike Mushok, taking centre stage. The song perfectly captures the end-of-the-world paranoia of Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, much better than “Iridescent” even.
Overall, Transformers: Dark Of The Moon OST is definitely one of the best soundtrack albums to hit stores this year, and is worth checking out. Even if you’re not a fan of the franchise, it is worth giving a listen as a music fan, for the sheer star power of it. Featuring songs from the best rock artistes in music today and of old, it will definitely reach a wide demography, as fans of Paramore to Mastodon will lap it up.
One gripe that I have about the album though, is that it features too many songs that have already been released by the artistes on their previous albums. New songs make up less than half of the track list. But if you can look past that, then you will have a great OST to add to your collection.
Here’s the full track listing:
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon OST is out in all major music stores island-wide NOW! Be sure to check out the movie when it hits theatres on June 29th. I’m pretty sure Mrs Ravenous will drag me along on opening day. Till then…
Autobots (and mrandmrsravenous) ROLL OUT!