Spitfire Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/26/2001
It's no secret that many of the soundtracks I'm sent to review are for movies I've never seen. It can't be helped; I have so much "free" time during the day (and so little spending money) that I can't possibly see every film I get a soundtrack to. Add to that the fact that my wife doesn't often want to see the film, or it's not appropriate for our almost-five-year-old... or maybe I just don't have any interest in the movie. (Hello?!? I'm off the dating market... I don't have to sit through any more chick flicks!)
In the case of Frezno Smooth, in all honesty, I have no frickin' clue what this movie is supposed to be about. I've even visited the official site and read the story... and I still am in the dark. All I've been able to gleam from my research is it involves BMX bicycling, hardcore rock music, some level of violence, graphic images of vomiting - oh, and women with grapefruits for breasts. (I gather the last item from both the packaging and the, aah, "jiggle-vision" that is part of the official Website.)
While I can't say I have any interest in this film, the soundtrack is something else entirely. Piecing together groups you know (and groups you'll probably soon know), this disc more often than not hits the mark, and is proof positive that hard rock/heavy metal has not only survived, but it has evolved.
So what does this soundtrack have going for it that the movie doesn't necessarily explain? For one thing, both the soundtrack and the film have Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister - and, let's face it, Lemmy is the epitomy of cool. I'd love to know who the backing band is on Lemmy's "Hardcore," a track that has similarities to Motorhead, but is unique in its own way. (Motorhead does make an appearance with their self-titled song - if you're paying attention, you'll recognize it as being the version from No Sleep Till Hammersmith.)
Similarly, Frezno Smooth features a Go-Go's cover that threatens to outdo the original version. 4 Gasm's cover of "We Got The Beat" throws a punk attitude on the track that makes one think this is the way the song should have always been performed. The soundtrack also features Alice Cooper and "Gimme," a track from his criminally ignored Brutal Planet release. Here's a hint for you: if this track from Cooper impresses you, run out and buy Brutal Planet.
Adding to the "impressive" list are Testament ("Riding The Snake"), Sixty Watt Shamen ("Fear Death By Water") and 96 Decible (their spelling) Freaks ("Freak"). Motley Crue reminds people why they were impressive early in their career with the inclusion of "Shout At The Devil". Even Black Label Society impresses me with the inclusion of "Counterfeit God" - surprising, seeing their last album didn't do anything for me.
This isn't to say that Frezno Smooth is perfect. Dee Snider's live version of "We're Not Gonna Take It" reminds me just how good the original version from Twisted Sister really is. (Sorry, Dee, but this version pales in comparison.) And whoever included Convoy ("Chevy") on this disc - what the hell were you thinking?!? Putting this song on a disc with such ear-shattering music is like sending your grandmother to sell cookies at a biker rally. Something's gonna happen, and it ain't pretty.
Still, the strengths of this soundtrack easily wipe out the weak moments, and while one might not immediately want to go see Frezno Smooth, you'll have a tough time taking this disc off your stereo.