Top critical review
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on 28 May 2003
In this the second of the Matrix soundtracks, Maverick records rebuilds the ambience of the future Matrix world. Building on a mix of hard-techno, aggressive nu-metal and shock-rockers, the first soundtrack was easily one of the best soundtracks of the late nineties. It has since set the standards for sci-fi soundtracks with numerous unsuccessful copycats. The Reloaded album graduates from the first album by splintering the music onto two separate discs. The first disc is compilation of heavy metal hitters, while the second disc provides the movie's original score.
The first Reloaded disc enlists several familiar players from the first album including Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, The Deftones, Rob Dougan and Rage Against the Machine. Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson's offerings both bring strong songs and are perfect openers for the album. The Deftones' Lucky you seems like an odd-choice from the band. Lucky you is by any means no slouch, but the Deftones could have been better represented with a heavier number. Their highly anticipated side project Team Sleep volunteer their first song the The Passportal. If this song is any indication, this side-project will be an ambient gem. Rob D again hits the Matrix vibe on the head, with "Furious Angel." This song almost mimics the CD stealing track "Clubbed to death" from the previous soundtrack. A classic touch is the inclusion of the classic Rage Against the Machine song, "Calm like a bomb."
Reloaded also recruits a slew of newer artists including P.O.D., Linkin Park, Paul Oakenfold, Fluke, and Ünloco. P.O.D. provide the lead single Sleeping Awake. Nu-metal boys Linkin Park contribute Session. Duelling MC's Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda are finally muted allowing the other members to unleash a haunting drum and bass instrumental. Oakenfold provides the heavily synthesized Dread Rock. New comers Fluke and Ünloco, provide two worthy additions to the compilation with Bruises and Zion, respectively. Oddly in the "something doesn't look like the others" category, the Oakenfold remix of Dave Matthews Band song "When the World Ends" closes out the first disc beautifully.
The second disc separates the beauty from the beasts, bringing the movie's score to life. This could easily have been sold as a stand-alone disc. Composer Don Davis (Bound, Jurassic Park III) shoulders the majority of the workload, while producers Juno Reactor and Rob Dougan each provide techno-influenced pieces. The inclusion of the 17-minute opus "Matrix Reloaded" Suite is easily the highlight of the entire two-disc set. You can almost imagine the highly anticipated the epic chase scene as you listen. At around the 3 minute mark the tempo of the suite begins to ascend and never quits. This disc also brings the familiar Matrix opening theme. Rob D unleashes yet another great track with Chateau. Juno Reactor's tribal Teahouse is excellent; similarly Mona Lisa Overdrive is riveting. The separation of the two discs is a welcomed blessing as it provides ample room to showcase the movie's poignant score.
As compilations go the Matrix Reloaded soundtrack is an example of what a soundtrack should be: a connection to the movie experience. The tracks range from good to excellent to amazing. The balance of ambient and heavy tracks is near perfect, with the dark apocalyptic feel of the Matrix universe oozing out of every number. The Matrix Reloaded soundtrack allows you to bring home a little piece of the movie, at least until it's released on DVD or leaked on the Internet.