Wes Craven’s Shocker – The Music (1989)

A real metalhead must be familiar with the cinematic works of Wes Craven, hence, with the 1989 horror movie Shocker. Besides being a very entertaining and well-made late 80s movie, Shocker also gave us a great rock/metal soundtrack. Especially, the one-off supergroup The Dudes Of Wrath with the title song Shocker make it worthwhile buying this record.

The album

The Dudes Of Wrath open the record with the title song Shocker – a well-written, upbeat hard rock song very typical of the late 80s. Besides Shocker being a great song with a superb hook, the ensemble that recorded the song is a supergroup composed of Paul Stanley (KISS) and producer Desmond Child both on vocals, Vivian Campbell and Guy Mann-Dude on guitars, Rudy Sarzo (Whitesnake) on bass guitar, and Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe) on drums. Furthermore, Furthermore, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and Kane Roberts contributed the backing vocals. And if one would not like any other song on this soundtrack, it would still be viable to get this record because of the legendary class of this song.

Love Transfusion by Iggy Pop continues in a similar feel as the opener. Upbeat and dark with a touch more rawness. The saxophone fits the song very well. It was a good idea to have the saxophone lines play in a lower register, which somehow seems to add a natural distortion to the sound. Very good song, perfect for this movie soundtrack.

Track 3 gives us an instant classic: Megadeth cover Alice Cooper’s No More Mr. Nice Guy in a more metalesque style, which I prefer to the already fantastic original. After two more dark and melodramatic songs, Mr Mustaine brings some wit to the album. Completely legit and phenomenal idea. Maybe my favourite track with the title song. All thumbs up!

Bonfire bring the listener back to a more dramatic and dark musical atmosphere with Sword And Stone, a song written by KISS’ Paul Stanley and Bruce Kulick. Ingolstadt’s most popular rockback is well known for epic choirs, which they are able to provide with this song, again. Having been a fan of the band’s first three albums exactly around the time this soundtrack came out, I can state that this song might be one of the best of that era, even though they didn’t write it. Nevertheless, it matches their style and musical image. Also, Angel Schleifer’s guitar solo is definitely one of the stronger one’s on this record.

Saraya’s Timeless Love is the first ballad on the album. The female vocals of Sandi Saraya bring a fresh touch to the musical diversity, even though the song comes as a very typical 1980s rock ballad, which I consider a very good thing.

Shockdance is the second track of The Dudes Of Wrath. The song is rather laid back and characterised by a rap performed by Alice Cooper and Horace Pinker (the villain character from the movie). It is a fun song to have on the record with a ‘cool’ mood and feel, which makes a good bridge between the previous ballad by Saraya and the next upbeat song.

Dangerous Toys bring us back to what the record is about: good 1980s hard rock. Demon Bell (The Ballad Of Horace Pinker) is very characteristic of Jason McMaster’s belting lead vocals and the guitar work of Scott Dalhover and Danny Aaron. This song is a good proof that Dangerous Toys were an underestimated hard rock band.

The Awakening by Voodoo X starts as a dramatic ballad to find its way into a classic hard rock song after 100 seconds. I especially enjoy the uptempo and Whitesnake-esque atmosphere created by loads of reverb on the clean guitars and keybord-strings. The song leaves plenty of space for the listener to enjoy different moods, feels, and interpretations with 6 minutes in length. This is a very strong song and the 6 minutes are completely legit.

Different Breed by Dead On is less melodic and harmonic than the rest of the songs no the album. Given its heavier style – some might claim it goes into thrash metal – the song embarks on a rather raw metal adventure with its listeners. Even though I like the more creative approach of this song, it somehow feels that it does not fit into the musical concept of the album as much as the other songs.

The album ends with a 3-minute reprise of the title track Shocker. Good idea in my opinion.

Album grade:
Lyrics 8/10
Musicianship 10/10
Production 9/10
Concept 8/10
Total grade 8.75/10

Sebastiano Mereu

YouTuber + host of the #FHTZ online music show with co-producer @simonkurt + marketing & digital content producer + university lecturer