Matrix Reloaded: The Album – Various Artists

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

Is there a person on this planet who isn’t screaming with anticipation for this film? Early indications are that it will actually surpass the first movie in sheer size and visceral thrills, and happily the same can be said of the soundtrack.

Once again, this is a collection of techno-industrial and nu-metal stompers, mixed in with slabs of moody downbeat techno, this time spread across two CDs. A number of contributors to the first soundtrack have returned here, to be joined by some notable newcomers.

So, welcome back Marilyn Manson (with his new album opener THIS IS THE NEW SHIT kicking things into gear nicely), Rob Zombie (with the skull-flattening RELOAD), Deftones (with LUCKY YOU, a moody beat-laden cut from their upcoming forth album), Rage Against The Machine (with CALM LIKE A BOMB) and Rob Dougan, whose FURIOUS ANGELS is basically a retread of his classic CLUBBED TO DEATH, itself pretty much the centrepiece of the first soundtrack.

Even more enticing is the inclusion of a Team Sleep track (yet-unheard side project of Deftones’ Chino Moreno) – THE PASSPORTAL is a breathtaking piece of brooding electronica that makes POD’s Zion-checking SLEEPING AWAKE and Unloco’s muscular BRUISES seem almost pedestrian in comparison. Closing the first disc are Fluke’s ZION, Paul Oakenfold’s explosive DREAD ROCK, and the piano-led trip-hop Oakenfold remix of Dave Matthews’ piano-heavy WHEN THE WORLD ENDS.

The second disc contains the Don Davis-composed score, with added Juno Reactor (with their extremely short tribal-drum TEA HOUSE and extremely long tribal / goa trance / orchestral extravaganza MONA LISA OVERDRIVE, as well as their technoid contribution to the BURLY BRAWL scene) and Rob Dougan who, on CHATEAU, takes the now familiar sweep of CLUBBED TO DEATH and pumps it full of beats, strings and brass to spectacular effect. However, the standout track of the score is the closing RELOADED SUITE which, at 17½ minutes long, is a curtain-closer of suitably epic proportions.

This is an incredible selection of music, from barnstorming rock, through thumping techno and into stirring orchestral pieces, comfortably eclipsing the already brilliant first soundtrack. There’s even an enhanced CD-ROM element with previews of the film and the “Enter The Matrix” game.

An essential purchase.

6 stars