It’s widely known that the readers of Bloody Disgusting have their opinions about the SAW series. Whether you love it, hate it, or couldn’t care less, you can’t deny that the SAW films are capable of eliciting a reaction from viewers; but what about the reaction it gets from listeners? Every SAW film has a pretty intense soundtrack to match, and the wide usage of hard rock and heavy metal across all the releases is perfect for Bloody Disgusting readers. Here’s my rank of all seven films’ soundtracks from worst to best – but I’ll leave the actual movies talk up to you guys.
7. – SAW
For once in my life, I’m going to say that the original is the worst of the bunch. Although the first SAW film is actually my favorite in the series, I didn’t really dig the soundtrack. It has the smallest number of copyrighted tracks, and therefore gives me the least amount of material to work with (although I give props to the composers of the original score). The standout tracks on the release are typical horror film fare – featuring a lot of heavy distortion and harsh vocals. “Bite the Hand That Feeds” by Fear Factory is a dense track with an epic sort of sound to it, and the whispered vocals help to create intensity, while “You Make Me Feel So Dead” by Pitbull Daycare brings ambience to the soundtrack. Overall, these bands are “evil” sounding enough to make for a decent soundtrack, but also sanitized enough to make it a pretty typical horror themed music release.
6. – SAW 3D
The soundtrack for the latest SAW film is probably the most generic in the series. Although I’ll admit it features a lot of bands I’m pretty unfamiliar with, it was still hard for me to distinguish between a lot of the songs on my first listen through. This soundtrack leans toward hard-rock and metal, with a slightly industrial twist; all of which is not at all new to the SAW series. A few bands incorporate the use of synth – the stand out tracks in that respect being Karnivool‘s “Goliath” and “Promises” by Nitzer Ebbs -which always gets my blood pumping, but there were not enough synth heavy tracks to keep me interested. Oddly enough, this release seems a bit more upbeat than the others, especially on tracks such as “Never” by Saving Abel, and, in it’s defense it features some of my favorites from when I was younger, such as Saliva. Overall this soundtrack is pretty bland, and seems to be held up by only a few diamonds in a lot of rough.
5. – SAW II
The second film in the series presents a soundtrack with a little more material and a little more variety. The Used make an appearance with their track “Sound Effects and Overdramatics”, and although this band always seems to spell out “teenage angst” in my opinion, hearing frontman Burt McKracken’s signature despondency shine through on this track was a welcome (and almost comforting) choice for me; I still think it fits in with the content of the film. “Step Up” by Opiate For The Masses, another track on the release, creates a good feeling for this SAW film – its industrial sound and abrasive, rapid fire lyrics create tension and suspense. This soundtrack also features a song by Papa Roach, “Blood”. Now I’m normally not one to completely rip on a band, but to me, Papa Roach is the epitome of “radio rock”, and is basically one step above Nickelback in my book. I’m sorry, but that’s just what I have to say about it, and, to be blunt, that song choice was pretty unforgivable to me.
4. – SAW V
The fifth installment in the Jigsaw saga returns with the formula seen in the first film – heavy metal and industrial tracks – but this time with a few curveballs. “Testament” by True Believer is a bland choice for the soundtrack; it includes the standard virile vocals so common to horror soundtracks and what I like to call “chug” guitar work (a style I characterize by either very fast or very slow, but always repetitive, picking). Additionally, Skinny Puppy, who appear on many of the SAW soundtracks, contribute a cyber punk feel to the release with their track “UgLi”. But the one track that really did throw me for a loop on this record was “Strangers” by William Control. Frontman of American rock band Aiden, WiL Francis, makes an androgynous appearance with his solo departure from the band, and this track is definitely an interesting, if not slightly out of place, choice for the soundtrack. It consists of mostly keyboards and, and although the gothic vibe is there, the track seems almost ’80s in its vintage, electro feel. The lyrics are gruesome, so I guess I understand where it makes sense for the film, but I was still surprised to hear it.
3. – SAW III
With nods to some pretty respectable bands such as All That Remains, Lamb of God, and Disturbed, it’s safe to say that SAW III makes for a pretty classic, and therefore kick-ass, soundtrack. But what makes it even better is its balance of revered metal bands with newer, “next generation” metal bands, like Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine. Some stand out tracks include “Burn It Down” by Avenged Sevenfold, a surprisingly upbeat song choice for such a dark film, and the oddly funkadelic (and almost sensual) track “Drilled A Wire Through My Cheek” by Blue October. And of course, don’t forget the classic inclusion of the Slayer tune “Eyes of the Insane”. Slayer and horrific imagery go hand in hand, and so this choice is kind of a no brainer and gains major points for the soundtrack.
2. – SAW IV
SAW IV presents some of my favorite musical choices in the series. This soundtrack ventures into the “emo” or “alternative” arenas of rock, and that is perfectly fine by me. Featuring bands such as Saosin, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and the project of Nikki Sixx, Sixx AM, this release seems to bring a more emotional, and even angsty, vibe to the table. From Autumn to Ashes lends their track “On The Offensive” to the film, and the use of the song “We’rewolf” by Every Time I Die adds an almost cheeky quality to the soundtrack. Avenged Sevenfold is present again with their signature screaming guitar solos and the intricate guitar work that is inherent to the band, and even The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are weaved seamlessly into a film that I would have thought was a bit too gruesome for their work.
1. – SAW VI
I loved this soundtrack, point blank. Graced with the likes of Shadows Fall, Memphis May Fire, Every Time I Die, and Suicide Silence, this soundtrack is like a line-up of the summer music festivals I attend so religiously, except with a horrific twist behind it. I’m so down with the choice to use Memphis May Fire‘s song “Ghost in the Mirror”, as it includes both clean vocals and screams, and is overall a good song on its own (On a semi-related note, if you haven’t checked out MMF‘s newest album The Hollow, be sure to do that now. You will not be disappointed). Even more impressive is the track “Sinatra” by My My Misfire, a searing example of quality metal-core that features a quick tempo and strained vocals reminiscent of a wild animal. To top it off, Suicide Silence lends their track “Genocide (SAW VI remix)” to the record, and its harsh vocals and modern feel bring a certain freshness to the soundtrack. Choices like this that show that SAW VI’s music choices hold true to the approved horrofic atmosphere, but still remain relevant to what’s happening in metal and hard rock today, and therefore make for my favorite soundtrack in the series.