|1.||Black Scorpion: The Series - "Fairy Tail Main Title"||2:04|
|2.||Armed and Dangerous - "Call Me Firearm"||2:58|
|3.||Photo Finish / Zodiac - "Darcy's And Steve's Love Theme"||2:13|
|4.||Blinded By The Light - "The Heist"||1:11|
|5.||Home Sweet Homeless - "To Be A Hero"||1:50|
|6.||No Stone Unturned - "Bad Hair Day / Darcy's Suspicion / Medusa's Escape"||3:25|
|7.||Fire And Brimestone - "Honey I'm Home"||1:51|
|8.||Crime Time - "Fix Their Clocks"||2:37|
|9.||Roses Are Red, You're Dead - "Green Thumb's Theme / Venus Scorpion"||3:17|
|10.||Life's A Gas - "A Little Kiss"||2:42|
|11.||An Officer And A Prankster - "A Smashing Time / Tracking System"||2:22|
|12.||Kiss Of Death - "Fall From Grace / Angel Of Death"||3:55|
|13.||Virtual Vice - "Parameters Perfected"||2:11|
|14.||Virtual Vice - "The Ogre / The Switch"||4:36|
|15.||Zodiac Attack Pt. One - "Zodiac Attack"||2:35|
|16.||Zodiac Attack - "For You"||1:40|
|17.||Black Scorpion At Night / End Credits||0:56|
|18.||Black Scorpion: The Movie - Main Title / Adult Diary||4:09|
|19.||Becoming Black Scorpion||1:30|
|20.||Black Scorpion Finds EZ / Mayor Attacked / Kung Fu Gang||3:02|
|21.||Russo To Plant / Shootout With Goons / Chase||8:40|
|22.||Making Love / Stung||2:22|
|23.||Discovering The Plot / Race To Plant||1:33|
|24.||Wrestler Rematch / Trapped / Russo Removes Mask||4:16|
|25.||In The Tower / Final Battle / Goddard Loses, And Dies||3:23|
|26.||Russo Finds Gas Mask / Russo Doesn't Remember||1:46|
|Total Album Time:||73:04|
Review: Black Scorpion
2.5 / 5 Stars
If nothing else, you've really got to hand it to Z-grade producer Roger Corman on one count: longevity. Trust me, if there's a nuclear war, it'll be him and the cockroaches. And what his projects don't exactly have in quality, he certainly makes up for in sheer quantity. I mean, last week I was reviewing a CD of coupling his Battle Beyond The Stars and Humanoids From The Deep (reviewed here) from way back in 1980, and this week I am looking at the sister scores to his recent comic-book camp-fests Black Scorpion, more than twenty years later. Represented on this new release from GNP Crescendo are both David G. Russell's work from the syndicated TV series as well as Kevin Kiner's score to the 1995 original Showtime movie. And if the title character's picture on the CD cover doesn't clue you in (she looks like a cross between Dr. Frank N. Furter and the Gimp from Pulp Fiction), one listen to this mostly-synth album will tell you that despite the talented best efforts of both composers, this is yet another low budget Corman affair.
Russell's work for the series is up first, covering fourteen different episodes in roughly forty two minutes. Musically, frequent heavy techno-ish percussion paired with liberal doses of dank Gothicism is the order of the day. Fans of Brad Fiedel's Terminator scores will find a lot to like here, and may come up with the same basic complaint I did: covering this much turf in so short a time doesn't really allow too many themes to develop. In fact, apart from the sultry strains of tracks like "Darcy's And Steve's Love Theme" and "For You" (pleasantly reminiscent of James Newton Howard's more subdued work on The Fugitive) and the frenetic sonic carnival of "Green Thumb's Theme" and "A Smashing Time / Tracking System" (a fully expected nod to Elfman's old-school Batman licks), I could barely pick out any themes at all.
True, there's more to music than just picking a theme and grinding it into the ground, but I found myself frustrated more often than not just trying to find some musical footing rather than being able to digest Russell's work as a whole. That being said, this is by no means just another piece of pseudo-slick Silk Stalkings-esque wallpaper. Russell's got craft on his side, and tracks such as "The Heist" and "Fall From Grace / Angel Of Death" showcase some blistering drum and sample work, and "Parameters Perfected" is a brief but impressive bit of swashbuckling. Overall, imagine the giddy way The Matrix integrated techno songs into its score, and you'll understand most what you're getting yourself into here.
Moving on to Kiner's stuff, a sizeable thirty-minute chunk, one begins to understand the difference between a series and a movie. Kiner (Wing Commander, Leprechaun) has the same basic game plan (sounding even more influenced by James Newton Howard's brassy action on films like The Fugitive and Outbreak), but the composer is clearly allowed more freedom to develop cues more fully. So there's a little more shape, but as the nine-minute monster "Russo To Plant / Shootout With Goons / Chase" shows us, longer doesn't necessarily mean better. Just more stuff in one place. The beats are more funk / less techno, which as a pure listening experience isn't quite as exciting as Russell's hammering keyboards. Kiner is also allowed to make liberal use of a synthetic "ooh-ahh" voice motif for his "Main Title / Adult Darcy", and it's not bad at all thought it doesn’t pop up nearly enough.
The liner notes from co-creator Craig J. Nevius are appreciative, although I'm still not sure how much of a character arc there is going from a "voluptuous vigilante" to a "sexy superheroine". Oh, well. The packaging is nice, with some (intentionally?) hilarious photos of the series' various supervillains. In all, this is a hell of a lot of music. And while a good bit of it is quite commendable (I expect great things from Russell in the future, when someone gives him better material), for the average listener there's a lot of steering needed and no road signs to be found.
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