"When we were choosing songs for the 'Saw IV' soundtrack, we asked ourselves, 'What kind of music would the 'Saw' characters Jigsaw and Amanda listen to?'" reveals Jonathan Scott Miller, principal of Artists' Addiction Records, which will issue Saw IV Original Soundtrack on CD and as a digital release October 23, 2007; an extended digital release will follow in November. Miller served as soundtrack producer alongside Artists' Addiction principals Jonathan Platt and Jonathan McHugh ("Saw IV" producers Oren Koules and Mark Burg are executive soundtrack producers).
The answer to this pivotal question, as any fan of the hit "Saw" film series would guess, are the dangerous, dramatic strains of hard rock, metal and industrial music. These sounds are represented on Saw IV Original Soundtrack by giants of those genres – Nitzer Ebb, who unveil highly anticipated new material with the hard-hitting "Payroll (JohnO Mix)," Ministry ("Life Is Good"), Skinny Puppy ("Spasmolytic [Deftones Remix (Habitual Mix)])," "Saw" composer/Nine Inch Nails alum Charlie Clouser ("Just Begun") and Sixx: A.M., fronted by Mötley Crüe bassist/songwriter Nikki Sixx ("Tomorrow") – as well as established bands who've been influenced by them, including Drowning Pool ("Shame") and Avenged Sevenfold ("Eternal Rest"), and up-and-comers forging a similarly creative path like From Autumn to Ashes ("On the Offensive") and Submersed ("Better Think Again").
Aside from occupying a certain punishing position on the sonic spectrum, many of these acts also have in common an abiding love for all things "Saw." Attests Miller: "A lot of these artists are huge fans of the franchise, and their music really relates to it." He points out that Solidium ("Trapped") are also devotees of modern horror films in general and that Oxygen is so enamored of the "Saw" series that their contribution to Saw IV Original Soundtrack, "Do You Want to Play a Game," takes its title and thematic thrust directly from the films. Moreover, Saw IV Original Soundtrack is itself an "inspired by" collection. Aside from "Just Begun," an excerpt form Charlie Clouser's score, the songs comprising this companion piece are not heard in the film; instead, their selection was inspired by the film.
Joining Clouser and company on Saw IV Original Soundtrack are aesthetically likeminded up-and-comers Saosin ("Collapse"), the Newport Beach, California, outfit known for their unrelenting intensity; Jacksonville, Florida's post-hardcore quintet The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus ("Misery Loves Its Company"); Buffalo, N.Y., modern metal act Every Time I Die ("We'rewolf"); Roman industrial darlings Dope Stars Inc. ("Beatcrusher"); violin-wielding, Chicago-based singer-songwriter Emilie Autumn ("Dead Is the New Alive"); Los Angeles' classically inclined metalcore unit The Human Abstract ("Crossing the Rubicon"); Revere, Massachusetts' death-metallic The Red Chord ("Dead Prevailed"); and Fueled by Fire ("Thrash Is Back"), whose fast 'n' loud ferocity emanates from Norwalk, California.
Those who share Jigsaw and Amanda's likely taste in music may want to collect all three incarnations of Saw IV Original Soundtrack. "Just Begun," for instance, is available on the CD and second, extended digital version but not on the first digital release. Avenged Sevenfold's "Eternal Rest" and Human Abstract's "Crossing the Rubicon," meanwhile, are exclusive to the CD. Conversely, the tracks "Just Another Day," from Collinz Room, and "Dead and Gone," from The Absence, are strictly found on the digital releases.
For Miller, the presence of Clouser, whose indelible work on the "Saw" movies has landed him in the upper echelon of 21st-century film composers, is definitely a selling point of the "Saw IV" soundtrack. In 2004, IGN.com described his work as "the fine art of composing a bone-chilling, organically enriched industrial score." Says Miller: "A lot of people who don't really know him from his Nine Inch Nails days are now major fans of Charlie's music. We feel very lucky to have him on the soundtrack."
Still, the Saw IV Original Soundtrack entry perhaps closest to the soundtrack producer's heart is Nitzer Ebb's "Payroll." "Hearing something new from Nitzer Ebb is a thrill," Miller confides. "But getting something new from them for this album is something I never could have imagined."