Al Jourgensen: 'The Wicked' Soundtrack - CD Review

Although probably one of the straight-up goofiest sex 'n' gore flicks I've seen in a while, Wicked Lake actually had some very good things going for it: four seriously hot pagan-type chicks who take their clothes off and make out with each other a lot; Mark Senter sporting a puffy pink shirt and trying his damnedest to unseat Crispin Glover from the throne of Almighty King Wackjob; and of course the immortal line “Suck the nub!” which ranks right up there with Brando's “I cudda been a contendah” speech from On the Waterfront. But most of all, Wicked Lake gets its nut-bucket groove on with some ace tunes, courtesy of Ministry founder Al Jourgensen and the gang at his very own 13th Planet Records.

Created by Uncle Al and his wife Angie to distribute the final releases from now-retired Ministry and Al's parallel project Revolting Cocks – as well as other industrial-metal heavyweights like Prong and newer projects like False Icons – 13th Planet has quickly grown into a thriving stable of like-minded artists, with recording facilities near Jourgensen's ranch home in El Paso, Texas. The soundtrack to Wicked Lake plays very much like a 13th Planet sampler, and demonstrates a great diversity of talent that grabbed me by the boo-boo on the very first spin.


The tracks are mainly divided up by the artists involved, rather than by the order in which they occur during the film – which actually works well, because the mood and tone of the music shifts noticeably with each new band, sticking around just long enough to leave a strong impression and less jarring than, say, juxtaposing an ambient mood piece against a full metal hinder-grinder. The only exception to the pattern is Ministry, whose tunes are scattered across the album at key points.


The Ministry tracks include two cuts from Cover Up, the band's only all-covers album: a gritty, raunchy cover of “Bang A Gong” that manages to out-sleaze the T. Rex original, and a big, boisterous rendition of Golden Earring's “Radar Love” that played well against the movie's road scenes (in which a truly awesome classic Chevy gets some screen time). Unfortunately their chilling and surreal take on the old Louis Armstrong standard “What a Wonderful World” which accompanied the film's closing credits (and another great nude scene from our four co-stars) is missing from this collection, which is a damn shame... that one is seriously creepy.


But at least we get two more excellent Ministry tracks on top of that: instrumental “Khyber Pass” from the recent remix album Rio Grande Dub – a track that ranks among the band's moodiest, most cinematic work – and the never before released “Cuz U R Next,” which is not only an excellent song but also marks the last recorded work of the supremely gifted Paul Raven, who lent his distinctive heavy stamp to bands like Prong and Killing Joke before his untimely death last year.


Also on the heavy side, we get two beefy tracks from Prong's 2007 release Power of the Damager (including the badass “Can't Stop the Bleeding”), the brain-searing math-metal of Meshuggah's “Combustion” (from recent album ObZen), old-school thrash from Hemlock, and the ground-shaking death metal of Threat Signal. On the more meditative end of the spectrum (and to accompany the movie's new-agey lesbian make-out scenes) fall the trance-rock rhythms of Ascension of the Watchers (which features John Bechdel from Prong, Fear Factory and many other acts) and Laika & The Cosmonauts. Bridging the harder and softer styles is the electro-metal of False Icons (Bechdel's newest project) and two porno-riffic cuts from Revolting Cocks, including new track “HookerBot3000” from upcoming album Sex-O Olympic-O.


With the exception of “Cuz U R Next,” all of the tracks here can be found on other releases, but fortunately this CD doesn't come across as just another one of those “music inspired by the motion picture” whore-jobs that the big studios love to foist on the public. These songs really did add a lot of eccentric character and richness to what is essentially a quirky low-rent exploitation flick, making it a lot more memorable than it might have been otherwise (okay, the boobies helped a lot). Detached from the film, you can feel the raw energy emanating from these tracks, and you may find yourself seeking out more – I particularly grooved to the sounds of False Icons (who just released their first album God Complex last month), and “Khyber Pass” got me interested in picking up Rio Grande Dub.


We may never see or hear the likes of Ministry again, and Al's probably passing on the RevCo baton as well, since he's officially sworn off touring to devote his time to the label and his studio-based projects... but listening to this CD made me believe there could still be interesting times ahead in the post-Ministry era, and I especially hope that includes more movies.