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Various Artists

8 Assassins - Beautiful the Bad & The Ugly Soundtrack

Review by Gary Hill

This new soundtrack album has some cool stuff on it. Personally, I think that it would be stronger if it was just the first disc. Perhaps trading the last song on that disc with the stronger pieces from the second one would make for an exceptional set. I've put this under progressive rock because there is a lot of space rock here (and a lot of Hawkwind related music), but the majority of that is on the first CD. All in all, though, this is intriguing.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc: 1
               
Hedersleben - Gulf of Lost Souls

A fast paced modern prog jam with some space rock built into it starts this thing in style. Although there are non-lyrical vocals soaring over the top like an instrument, this is an instrumental. This fits the space rock mold in that it is constantly evolving, just in small amounts. When it does drop down the mellower closing movement, it really makes me think of Hawkwind, but some of the harder rocking moments even remind me of White Witch a bit.

Jürgen Engler - 8 Assassins (Score)
Pretty piano starts this. Other elements join as it moves forward in a sound that's rather classical in nature. As it works out from there it turns toward a space music version of spaghetti western music with a horror film element at play.
Nik Turner - Coming of the Maya Feat Simon House
Serious Hawkind based space music brings this in. It builds out nicely from there.  It’s dramatic and potent. The extended jam later is suitably dramatic. It has waves of sound of all kinds dancing around one another. This is mellow space rock at its finest.
Klute - No Man's Land
This is essentially distorted, crazed techno industrial music. There are elements of space rock in the mix, though. It's a bit like Nine Inch Nails or Powerman 5000 to me.
Alan Davey - Angel Down Feat. Simon House
Keyboards start this cut. It works forward in a mellow way as Davey's bass creates interest on the underside of the piece while Simon House's violin dances all over it. After a time it powers out to screaming hot hard rocking space jamming. This feels a lot like Hawkwind. Of course, with those two guys doing space rock, how could it not? They take it through an instrumental section that's almost country in some leanings. Then they bring out back out into the hard rocking song proper to continue.
Hawkwind - Hassan I Sabbah
Coming in with some strings and other elements, they power out to hard-edged space rock from there. This is such a classic Hawkwind so for good reason, it rocks. It's a nice blending of the hard-rock side of the equation with spacier stuff. While I think that some of the live versions of this song are stronger than this studio take, this definitely has plenty of charms.
Black Plastic - Sertraline
There is a lot of techno-industrial sound built into this. It has plenty of electronic space, too.
Onyx - Do U Bac Down
I really like this a lot. It has some space music along with funk and jazz in the backdrop. Yet it's a killer hip hop tune. This is grinding and fun.
The Wake - Nazarene
Noisy textural stuff opens this. It pounds out from there to an aggressive jam that's loaded with a big batch of industrial sound along with space music. There is an electronic vibe a bit like Bauhaus to this. That's reinforced by the vocals.
Faust - Parasiten
Trippy psychedelic sounds with folk in the mix open this. It works forward in sort of a bit of random oddity. A prominent percussive element drives along with chirpy acoustic music in a rather freeform pattern. Layers of vocals are heard over the top of that. In some ways this makes me think of Bowie just a bit. I'm not a big fan of this cut. The later droning section makes me think of Velvet Underground. This piece is almost 12 and a half minutes long. To me, that's too long for this particular cut. It works to more weirdness at the end with a random kind of electronic guitar serving as the backdrop for what feels like beat poetry in another language.
Disc: 2
            
Judy Collins & Ari Hest - Run

A much mellower tune, Collins takes this one to start it. It's very pretty and quite dramatic. It's an evocative piece for sure. It's one of the best tracks of the set.

Philippe Besombes - Chocolate Cream
This is freaky stuff. It's part jazz, part psychedelic weirdness and some space rock. This instrumental is trippy.
Brainticket - Radagacuca
The percussive elements driving this instrumental are pretty trippy. There is some cool space music laid over the top. This is psychedelic stuff with cool percussion. It gets into psychedelic prog as it works forward. It works out to a smoking hot jam from there. The organ solos over the top as non-lyrical vocals create a sense of adventure. That section feels like something that would have been huge in the 1960s.
The Coffin Daggers - Instigator
Take the Ventures and add in some cool “Munsters” sound. Of course the two sounds are heavily related anyway. This is a smoking hot hard rocker that’s energetic and fun
Yellowman - The Happiness of One
This a reggae jam that's got a lot of trippy space in it.
Space Temple - Acid Journey Feat. Wayne Kramer
I dig the space rock concept here. This is classy instrumental music.
Jürgen Engler - Assassin Fuzz (Score)
There is a cool surf guitar vibe to this. It's bouncy and a lot of fun.
Damon Edge - I'm a Gentleman
Trippy electronics dance around in a space styled arrangement as this comes out of the gate. I love the processed, demonic sounding vocals on this.
Spahn Ranch - Heretic's Fork
Electronic space music mixed with dance sounds is the idea here.
Paul Dianno - War Machine
While there is a bit of an industrial edge to this, it's full on metal.  Of course, what do you expect from the original singer of Iron Maiden.
Larry Donn - Honey Bun
Here we get an old time rock and roller. This is odd, but fun.
Blackburner Vs. DMX - We Gonna Tear S*** Up

Take a hard-edged sound and turn it to techno.

Christian Death - Psalm (Maggot's Lair)
This starts with a trippy poetry section. There are classical sounds in the back along with some chorale styled vocals. This gets quite trippy as it grows. It turns toward space music as it continues.
Loon - Belly Dance Feat. Gritty
World music meets hip hop on this number. I don't like this nearly as much as I liked the hip hop song on the first disc. That said, this still works pretty well.
 
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