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July 23, 2024

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Various Artists: Wicked City
Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Gypsy/Velvel Records)

By: Alex Steininger

A 17-year old girl visits New York, against her parents wishes, to study architecture Once she hits the city, she soon finds herself walking the streets aimlessly and broke. At first glance the movie seems to be another teen drama conceived to dry your eyes and force you to remember how good some of us have it. But upon closer inspection, the movie has real street credibility to it, due in large part to the soundtrack that includes some of the hottest underground bands in the New York scene. Gracing this disc with their presence is none other than H2O, Shades Apart, Orange 9MM, CIV, and Mephiskapheles, just to name a few. Containing a healthy mix of hardcore, punk and ska, the compilation itself makes a name for the film.

Fast, hard, and melodic from the get go, Sweet Diesel's "(I'm Just A) Kid In This Town" kicks this soundtrack off to a real start. A touch of angst, a touch of melody, and smooth all around, the vocals help guide the song through a maze of beats that are both harsh and warm. The drums ignite the fire, soaring through the song with enough chops to feed a family of eight. Mix that in with some heavy bass and a quirky guitar that has no problem sliding between rocket-propelled strikes of fury and lightning bolts of melody, this song will get every reaction possible out of you. You'll find yourself singing along, you'll find yourself pounding your body to the music, and you'll find yourself smiling. Moving on to Orange 9MM's "Sacrifice," the tone gets a lot heavier. Mixing hard rock, industrial spirit, and a lot of hardcore music, this song is very strong and angry. Bringing the mood down from loud and fun, it converts the atmosphere into a dark and depressing state. No hope, low spirits, and death on their minds, this song puts a dent in the flow of the disc. Even Killing Time's "Outgroup," although just as heavy and angry, is able to slip the slightest amount of melody into the song to at least help it 'hang' with the other ones. A mediocre track at best, it still has enough energy and blood rushing through it's veins to make it feel as if it belongs on this disc. But have no fear, the bouncy, infectiousness of Civ's "So Far, So Good...So What" helps put life back into the disc, and keeps you from taking the disc out and putting something else in. Civ's vocals are clear and confident, helping to take the music to a higher plateau. Half part melody, full part punk, this number has all the hooks and caffeine-buzzed adrenaline to keep you hitting the repeat button, while still giving you a viable tool to help you release all your pent up energy and anger with. Then comes tracks by Demonspeed, Pry, and Samsara. All hardcore tracks, none of them are exceptional, but they do maintain enough energy to keep you listening at least a few times through them. But every good deed pays off, and after spending your time listening to the previous three bands, Mephiskapheles strike gold with "Doomsday." A splendid mix of a sense of humor, danceable beats, and sharp horns, this song will get you dancing and smiling, forgetting about the previous grime the other bands clouded up your mind with. Relax, have fun, and think about the more positive things life has to offer while this one is going! Ending with another Sweet Diesel track, "I Hate The Man," this time around they add more hardcore to the mix, leaving a lot of the catchier pop-ish hooks at the door. But just as the opening track got your attention, this song closes out the disc with anger and hate, while offering hope and solutions, making it the perfect choice for a closer.

Although not every track on this CD is amazing, the soundtrack definitely did a good job of making me want to see this film. Even if you're never going to see this film, the soundtrack still works as a stand-alone project. Although there are only a few standout tracks, if you're looking for a way to expose yourself to some of the more well-known hardcore bands in NYC, this would be the way too go. Besides, how often do you see a major label soundtrack that supports indie bands? I'll give this disc a B-.

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