"Are you motherf---ing ready for the new sh--?" Marilyn Manson screams on "The New Sh--," the second song on the soundtrack to "The Matrix: Reloaded." He's referring to the striking new sounds on the rest of his upcoming The Golden Age of Grotesque, but he might as well be talking about the rest of the "Matrix: Reloaded" disc.
Like its 1999 predecessor, the soundtrack combines aggressive rock with electronic music, but it ups the ante, offering a healthy assortment of previously unreleased tracks, a couple of debuts and a full second disc of score music.
The first single from the album is P.O.D.'s "Sleeping Awake," the band's debut with new guitarist Jason Truby, who replaced Marcos Curiel in February (see "P.O.D. Split With Guitarist Marcos Curiel"). The surging, melodic song is devoid of rapping and is filled with soaring vocals and evocative guitar lines, though it clearly lacks Curiel's characteristic Latin-flavored guitar embellishments. Its lyrics touch on religious discovery.
"This movie has a lot of biblical themes, and so [the directors] wanted to keep that vibe," frontman Sonny Sandoval said. "I got the concept [for 'Sleeping Awake'] from Daniel interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar's dreams in the Old Testament."
"Matrix: Reloaded" also features the new Deftones track "Lucky You," an atmospheric electronics-dominated song and a change of pace for the normally raging band, which drops its self-titled new LP on May 20. Hollow, computerized percussion, ominous samples and moaning, layered vocals color the song, which features a distinct lack of guitars. Frontman Chino Moreno wails, "So if you're feeling lucky come and take me home" before a chorus that sounds like something from Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile.
Team Sleep, Moreno's electronic side project with Todd Wilkinson and DJ Crook, make their debut on the record with "The Passportal." The song abounds with offbeat percussion, synthetic handclaps and radiant keyboards, sounding like a more carcinogenic Orbital.
Another noteworthy number is Rob Zombie's high-tech "Reload (Time to Die)." After writing the gritty, raw songs for his House of 1000 Corpses soundtrack, it sounds like Zombie was ready to return to the future. The cut is jammed with digitally treated echoing vocals and whirring sound effects, and it's anchored in a foundation of rapidly chugging riffs, simple guitar scribbles and stop-start rhythms.
The most unusual song on "The Matrix: Reloaded" is Paul Oakenfold's remix of the Dave Matthews Band's "When the World Ends," which juxtaposes the singer's earthy, emotional crooning with antiseptic beats and sterile bleeps.
Other highlights are new songs by electronic acts Oakenfold and Fluke. Oakenfold's "Dread Rock" is a frenzied raver with a 4/4 beat and a keyboard line that builds to a crescendo, then drops out for an electronic choir passage before the song rises back into a sweat-soaked tizzy. Fluke's "Zion" pits pounding backbeats and head-spinning gurgles against otherworldly tribal chants.
The blend of fleshy rock and inorganic music on "The Matrix: Reloaded" might seem jarring to those who never warmed to techno, but Rob Dougan, who contributes "Furious Angel" to the soundtrack, says the marriage is natural.
"The drama of all that really attitude-filled rock and the orchestral electronic stuff isn't that far away because they're both creating this energetic mood and getting you all pumped up."
The second disc of the "Matrix: Reloaded" soundtrack features the film score, which includes the new Dougan track "Chateau Fight," cuts by electronic group Juno Reactor and orchestral numbers by Don Davis, who worked on the first film.