Review: RZA packs punch on 'Iron Fists' soundtrack

Associated Press
This CD cover image released by Soul Temple Entertainment shows "The Man with the Iron Fists," with songs by various artists from the original motion picture soundtrack. (AP Photo/Soul Temple Entertainment)

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This CD cover image released by Soul Temple Entertainment shows "The Man with the Iron Fists," with songs …

Various Artists, "The Man With the Iron Fists" soundtrack (Soul Temple Records/STAX/RED Distribution)

One can't blame RZA for assembling an A-list roster for the soundtrack of his directorial debut, "The Man With the Iron Fists." Kanye West, The Black Keys, Pusha T, Corinne Bailey Rae and his Wu-Tang Clan bandmates Ghostface Killah and Method Man guest star on this 15-track gem, with some of the songs re-orchestrated picks from Wu-Tang's back catalog. With more than a decade of producing soundtracks under his (black) belt, RZA uses a deft hand to create a homogenous yet distinctive sound for a cross-cultural martial arts period film that sees him acting opposite Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu.

There's tension within the songs, there is emotion and nuance in sound, a bit like a full-scale assault on one's imagination. Call it a friendly takeover. Songs like "Rivers of Blood," ''Built for This" and "Tick, Tock" walk a fine line between atmospheric Western tunes and steam punk hip-hop. RZA and Flatbush Zombies' "Just Blowin' in the Wind" is disturbing in the way its deconstructed sound hisses threateningly, but the eerie-sound song is still a winner. "White Dress" finds West rapping with auto-tune about a damsel closely resembling his own girlfriend, and it's the album's only misstep.

RZA's works have always had a distinctive cinematic quality, but this record digs for iron and comes up with gold. It's kinetic, mesmeric and chimeric.

CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: Idle Warship's alternative funk on "Get Your Way" snakes its way into your dancing shoes.


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