The film ‘Judgment Night’ was rather a dull action film starring Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr, Jeremy Piven and Stephen Dorff who, on a night out, take a wrong turn and end up in a bad part of town and have to fight for their survival. Stephen Hopkins, who also directed Predator 2, the Terrorist thriller ‘Blown Away’ (where Tommy Lee Jones drinks a ‘Guinness’) and a film version of ‘Lost in Space’, directs a movie that never really engages and is memorable for having a soundtrack that is more original, more inspiring and probably better and more fondly remembered than the film that it was commissioned to showcase.
The Judgment Night soundtrack has a fantastic premise – take some of the best ‘alternative’ rock bands of the early 1990s (and make the ‘alternative’ tag a broad enough church to encompass the likes of Living Colour, Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Jr, Biohazard, Slayer and Helmet) and put them in a studio with commercially and/or critically successful hip hop stars (including rap royalty like Ice-T, Cypress Hill (who get 2 tracks on the album), De La Soul and Run DMC and lesser known talents like Sir Mix-a-lot and Fatal). The results are never less than good, and in a few cases the results are outstanding. The rap/metal crossover is very well represented, and 5 tracks in particular rate as some of the most fearsome, aggressive and / or perfect collisions of hip hop and rock / metal you are ever likely to encounter;
Helmet and House of Pain – Just Another Victim
House of Pain were not strangers to a few angry guitars – a mix of ‘Shamrocks & Shenanigans’ had a fantastic heavy riff to compliment the boorish/boisterous Everlast & co. When they met up with Helmet, the hardcore riffing and beats were equally matched by an angry, threatening vocal courtesy of the Helmet singer, and then about halfway through the track it breaks into a rap from the House of Pain, its throwaway ‘Just Another Victim’ tagline adding a world weariness to the violent world they present to the listener. Everlast comes up with some pretty memorable lines;
Holy Godiva, I’m a survivor
Feeling like DeNiro in Taxi Driver
With Jodie Foster, and Harvey Keitel
Looks like I’m walkin through a livin Hell
So spark that L, and I’ll get lifted
feelin the effects of what my spliff did
Cause I’m gifted, I read Sun Tzu
I brought a gun too so you’ll never come to
The weight of the world ridin on my shoulders
Cause I’m a soldier, I thought I told ya
You’re just another victim
You’re just another victim, kid
Biohazard and Onyx – Judgment Night
Onyx, a breakthrough act that year with the exuberant and faintly menacing ‘Slam’, provide the flag waving title track for the film – a crunchy, stomping MACHO track, its chorus of ‘Judgment Night’ a portent of doom, a herald of heart stopping danger!!! The raps sound like they are coming from crackheads on helium with a blood lust. The guitars sound like they agree with the crackheads on helium. It is THAT good;
Faith No More and Boo-Yaa Tribe – Another Body Murdered
This is nearly the best of the bunch; a rollicking, violent, thunderous collision between Faith No More (at the height of their success) and the formidable Californian / Samoan gang known as the Boo-Yaa Tribe. Starting off with a neat piano riff and a bit of ominous deep throated ‘ohhhhh-oh-ohhhhhhs’ that all sound like signature Faith No More, and then it ramps up and in come the Boo-Yaa Tribe. Sounding like a super aggressive bunch of Biggie Smalls in a hardcore hell, the Boo-Yaa Tribes lyrical nonchalance on death and killing add extra hell points to this musical inferno.
Pearl Jam and Cypress Hill – Real Thing
Sublime. Who would have thought that these 2 outfits would have produced something as good as this? A slow burner with real menace courtesy of that deadly sing song voice of B-Real, this finishes off the whole album on a high (excuse the Cypress Hill pun).
Teenage Fanclub and De La Soul – Fallin’
Finally, the best thing on the album of so many great things. ‘Falling’ is where the pairing of Teenage Fanclub and De La Soul is so perfect it seems so obvious that they should have just carried on as a supergroup for ever after that point. With hints of Buffalo Springfield’s ‘For What It’s Worth’, Teenage Fanclub serenade De La Soul, who reciprocate with the lyrical gold they were hitting at the time, that was also evident on their elevate-them-to-legendary-status album ‘Bulhoone Mindstate‘, also released in 1993.
Judgment Night OST was released on September 14, 1993 through Epic Records and was produced by many of the album’s performers. The album peaked at #17 on the Billboard 200 and spawned three singles, the aforementioned “Fallin'” by Teenage Fanclub and De La Soul, “Another Body Murdered” by Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. and “Judgment Night” by Biohazard and Onyx.
Number Title Artists Length
1. “Just Another Victim” Helmet and House of Pain 4:23
2. “Fallin'” Teenage Fanclub and De La Soul 4:28
3. “Me, Myself, & My Microphone” Living Colour and Run DMC 3:10
4. “Judgment Night” Biohazard and Onyx 4:35
5. “Disorder” (Medley of 3 Exploited songs: “War”, “UK ’82”, and “Disorder”) Slayer and Ice-T 4:58
6. “Another Body Murdered” Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. 4:24
7. “I Love You Mary Jane” Sonic Youth and Cypress Hill 3:52
8. “Freak Momma” Mudhoney and Sir Mix-A-Lot 4:00
9. “Missing Link” Dinosaur Jr and Del tha Funkee Homosapien 3:59
10. “Come and Die” Therapy? and Fatal 4:27
11. “Real Thing” Pearl Jam and Cypress Hill 3:33
The UK music monthly, Q Magazine, in their November 1993 issue summarised that “[Judgment Night] suggests that the future for both metal and rap as a kind of agit prop soapbox style is secure.” (Page 122, Q Magazine, Nov 1993).
The film grossed around 12 million dollars at the box office, indicating that it was not a box office success. Alan Silvestri produced the film score but throughout the film the tracks from the Judgment Night Soundtrack appear (from what I remember some tracks are on for literally seconds before disappearing again). Also, I have no information on where it got to in the UK album chart. If anyone can enlighten me – please do. Judgment Night OST is a brilliant, brilliant album that sounds as lively, angry and fresh today, and just as good. It is more than 15 years old and it sounds fresh and angry and contemporary. That is testament to its greatness. It is back on my ipod and compliments my other favourite album of the moment ‘The Dirtchamber Sessions Vol I’ by The Prodigy. If you haven’t discovered it yet, I envy you, but rectify the situation!
Reviews of the album
Wiki links to the film and OST
Wiki links to the artists who appear on the OST (except for Fatal)