2000 the Second Coming - A Christian Metal Compilation (Dwell) 2000
Matrix" -Sculpture (5:58)
2000 A Second Coming is not one of the best Christian metal compilations, although it certainly is not terrible either. This one was released by Dwell Records, a non-Christian record company that is more known for all those "tribute" discs. I have seen a few Christian bands on those, Possession and New Eden were on one of the Iron Maiden tributes and Ultimatum was on the Testament tribute. All three of these bands have ties outside of their Christian circles though. Both New Eden and Ultimatum have released cds on secular (non-religious) German metal labels. It's to bad that Dwell didn't think to include a track by New Eden and Possession on this disc. In any case, I'm not even sure that all the bands on this compilation are even Christian. I think, the band Tyrant is the same band I remember from the 80's, but I never knew they were Christians. (The also have a track on Metal Massacre 3.).) Lost Angel is definitely not a Christian band. I have heard their full length cd, and I am not sure how they made it onto this compilation. My favorite tracks on this disc are the first three; all three thrash bands. The Ultimatum track is from "Puppet of Destruction" but is a superior remix with newly recorded bass lines. The Oil track features ex-Dark Angel vocalist Ron Rinehart and is taken from their independent EP. Midnight Orchestra is the new band of ex-Tempest guitarist Mick Rowe. This track is not metal in the slightest and really just doesn't fit on this disc. "Martyrdom" by New Zealand's Devout is also a cool, creative song of the death metal variety. I have their independent tape; I wish they would release it on cd. The worst song out of the batch is Sons of Thunder's "Healing to My Soul." Overall, this is just not a very good overview of the underground Christian metal scene. There are far better metal bands to chose from. I guess this is true of any compilation though. There are some songs that are good and there are others that will most likely make the skip button a necessity.
An interesting story (at least to me) about this compilation. Ultimatum bassist Rob Whitlock had recently become a Christian only a couple years before this CD came out. He bought the CD through BMG and loved the Ultimatum cut. So, he went out and bought Ultimatum's "Puppet of Destruction" CD. Soon after he discovered that Ultimatum were going to be peforming at Stryper Expo II in a town not to far from where he lived in California, so he decided to go the Expo just to see Ultimatum. As he watched the band he commented to his wife about how he'd love to play bass in such a band. At the show he picked up our "Mechanics of Perilous Times" CD and spoke with us for a few moments. What Rob didn't realize is that God was planning something in his life with Ultimatum for that show was Ultimatum's last show with former bassist Tom Micheals. Rob answered an ad he saw on the Ultimatum.net, tried out for the band, moved his entire family to Albuquerque, and has been playing bass with the band ever since.
1. "The Calling (Remix)"
If but for a few crappy alternative tracks, this would have been the perfect R.E.X. sampler, but alas the inclusion of two Throes songs and Primitive Dance Tribe make the skip button a necessity. Otherwise, a phenomenal metal compilation with remixed versions of some killer songs. Also includes a demo version of "Progressive Change" by Living Sacrifice, a song that has not seen the light of day on any other cd. If I'm not mistaken, this was Living Sacrifice's debut for R.E.X. Favorite track, however, is the smokin' Haven remix.
The Beavis and Butthead Experience (Geffen) 1993 see soundtracks section.
Australia Metal Compilation I-Godspeed (Rowe) 1994
Up and Listen" -Cry Mercy (3:32)
This disc is essential to my CD collection as it is was only disc for well over a decade of that contained the studio version of Mortification's "Time Crusader." With the many re-issues and compilations of Mortification material, I don't know why this song never made it onto any other disc. It is a phenomenal song. A live version appears on their "Live Planetarium" CD. Besides this tune, the rest of the disc is a nice sampling of Australia's Christin music scene with bands ranging in style from black metal to punk to hard rock. Metanoia's "Ripped In Two" is a song that immediately caught my ear. It's an infectious, heavy death metal track with gutter vocals and, GASP, hooks! I believe this was the first release from Steve Rowe's label, Rowe Productions.
Australia Metal Compilation II-the Raise the Dead (Rowe) 1995
Excellent compilation, and probably my favorite of the four Australian Metal compilations. Ethereal Scourge's four demo tracks give a hint of the greatness of their coming album. Metanoia are full of true metal passion, yet play down tuned death metal. Nice grooves. Vomoth are pure black metal. Overall a good collection of underground tracks from Rowe Productions.
Australia Metal Compilation III-the Extreme Truth (Rowe) 1995
OK, get your skip buttons handy. To me this was the least interesting of the four Australian Metal Compilations, being that I am more of a speed, thrash, and power metalhead and this compilation features mostly death and black metal bands. Callous is ex-Mortification drummer Phil Gibson's new band. The music is actually reminiscent of "Bloodworld"-era Mortification with a slightly more hardcore edge, but the vocals, handled by Phil, are awful. Skip, skip, skip, skip! Next up is the best band on the disc, Sanhedrin who are an old school death metal band with growled vocals, downtuned guitars, and plenty of blastbeats. Screams of Chaos is actually not a bad track either. Not exactly sure of the name of this song, I can only assume it's self titled since there is no name listed. There is an interesting explanation to the story behind the music in the liner notes though. The song is apparently about Vikings from Norway. Next up is Desolate Eternity, and as the name suggests, they are doing the same downbeat, blastbeat, death metal polka that is boring to me. Skip, skip, skip. Lastly we have a band who must be a joke. I can't explain it as anything but that. Hilariously fast and short grindcore songs with absolutely the worst vocals I have ever heard. The lyrics are all very militant Christian but totally undecipherable in the music. I'm not even sure I have the track listing correct with all those short songs. Certainly the track listing on the back of the CD case isn't correct. Overall, my least favorite of the four Australian Metal Compilations. Mostly just there to finish the collection, although I do sort of dig the black and white cover art. Eject!
Australia Metal Compilation IV-Falling on Deaf Ears (Rowe) 1996
Best thing about this disc is that it introduced me to the awesome metal sounds of Teramaze. The three songs featured on this disc are all taken from their first indie disc "Doxology." All three are excellent power/speed metal. Great band. If you are into true metal and don't own their two discs, then you are missing out! Virgin Black are slow, doomy and gothic with loads of dynamics. Each song on this disc is an epic. Sort of reminds me of St. Vitas. Embodiment, who have been featured on several Rowe compilations are the most extreme band on this disc, playing brutal death metal with low, gutteral vocals. As I said, however, the winner on this disc is Teramaze, and the main reason to own this disc, if you can't find their hard to find first indie cd.
The following three compilations play an important part in the evolution of Christian Metal, not unlike the "Metal Massacre" series did in the history of early 80's metal. Many bands including Recon, Deliverance, Believer, and Guardian got their start from these compilations.
-Barren Cross (4:33)
In the 80's compilations were the way most bands started out. Some of the biggest and best started off on some compilation. The Metal Blade compilations 'Metal Massacre' gave bands like Overkill, Fates Warning, Metallica, Armored Saint and many others a start. In the Christian metal scene, there were also several of these types of compilations that gave bands a start. California Metal was one of the first and one of the best, selling over 100,000 units. Pretty good for an indie compilation with limited distribution. The best tracks, in my opinion, are the two Deliverance tracks. Of course that could be because they are one of my favorite bands. It could also be because while all the other bands were of the more traditional metal or glam variety, Deliverance were breaking some new ground with their speed metal sounds. I do know that it was on the strength of this compilation that Deliverance's career began to take off. Deliverance re-recorded "Attack" on their third album "What A Joke." There really isn't a bad track on this disc. All but one of the bands (Hero) eventually signed to a label, and some (Guardian, Deliverance) even went on to sell quite a few albums. Barren Cross' contribution is from their first album for Enigma Records.
California Metal Volume II (Regency) 1988
Not quite as good as it's companion disc, but still a decent compilation. Most of the bands on this disc, never really did much else with the exception of Ransom and Recon. Of all the tracks on this disc, my two favorites are the excellent power metal tracks by Recon. These same two tracks were released as bonus tracks on their Japanese version of "Behind Enemy Lines." "Light the Fire" has some of the coolest vocals ever reminding me slightly of Warrell Dane during his Sanctuary days. Mastedon, also appeared on the first compilation, but not unlike that discs track, this track is taken from their debut cd. Soldier's tracks are quite good as well. For some reason these guys never could catch a break, despite sounding quite professional. They did release a self financed full length tape but that's about it. Emerald also released a self financed record (yes VINYL) which I also own.
1. "The Sword"
After the success of "California Metal" in 1987 Regency decided to release another metal compilation, only this time from the opposite shores of the U.S.. "East Coast Metal" is an excellent metal compilation, however, it is essential because this is the disc that Believer made their debut on. This song alone was worth the price of the disc, however there are other standout cuts as well from Apostle, Rage of Angels and Second Chance. Second Chance later changed their name to Armageddon and released a disc called "Money Mask" that I own on tape. The Lead are a strange inclusion only because they are punk, not metal. This disc and the two California Metal discs are all out of print and sell for about $20 each on eBay.
California Jam II was a music festival held in Ontario, California at the Ontario Motor Speedway on March 18, 1978. The event had more than 300,000 people in attendance. Some of the musical acts featured at the festival were Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Santana, Dave Mason, Foreigner, Heart, Bob Welch (with Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood), Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush and Rubicon. The festival was a sequel to the original California Jam held in 1974 featuring Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. A television special featuring highlights of the festival was aired a few months later on the ABC network. This double record set from Columbia Records was also released. The album was housed in a gatefold cover that featured large photos of most of the artists, with Ted Nugent and Aerosmith getting the largest photos.
Unfortunately it's one of the few albums from my past that has yet to make it CD, at least officially to CD. There are tons of bootlegs floating around from this historic show in California. This two-record set is simply fantastic. There are a few oddball cuts that don't seem to quite fit, like Rubicon and Jean Michel Jarre. The studio version of Jarre's instrumental piece as a way included to promote his "Oxygen" LP despite him not performing at the show. ( I do confess that it turned me onto the "Oxygen" LP back then.) Personally, I would have rather had Foreigner included, who did perform. However, the majority of the cuts presented here are fantastic. Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Frank Marino and Santana were all at their prime here, playing to nearly a third of a million people.
Chords of the Grave (Cross Rhythms)
This is one of the finest underground death metal albums I have ever heard. All these bands are top caliber; some are even better than some of the crap I have heard on labels. Obliteration and Disencumberance are both freaking heavy and technical as anything Carcass or Obituary has done. Why these bands couldn't score a label shall always be a mystery. The tracks by the four featured bands are all from their independent demo tapes. Obliteration is the only band that ever went on to record a full length disc, but they changed their name to Death List.
The Collection Vol. 1: Tools of the Trade (SotD Records) 2002
- Shocking the Priest
Screams of the Dead Records resurrects three underground favorites, not unlike the Chords of the Grave compilation from Cross Rhythms. All three of these bands had a decent following at one time but never really moved beyond the demo stage. There is a wealth of great underground metal bands who just never caught a break. In anycase, my interest in this disc was mostly in the thrash/death metal of Royal Anguish. I still have my original "Shocking the Priest" tape but since I rarely, if ever, break out the tape collection, it's good to finally have these tracks on CD. These four tracks feature growled vocals, but the music has more in common with the early 90's thrash scene, than any death metal band. At times they remind me of early Death or Possessed. All four tracks are played at break neck speed with the drummer playing as fast as humanly possible, although they do offer a bit of variety, slowing it down every now and then to add some interest to the songs. The title track especially reminds me of Death for some reason. I don't wish to infer that Royal Anguish are Death clones, but it is the closest comparison I can think of.. Soul of the Savior are a proficient death metal band but are slightly more generic than the Royal Anguish tracks. Tortured Conscience is a band I was unfamiliar with until this CD. These guys are a tight, technical, and brutal death metal band. The first three tracks are actually from their Face of God demo. "Internal Torment" is a new track but continues in the same fast, death metal mode with the vocals buried deep within the controlled chaos of the music. This is the kind of stuff that will scare your neighbors and make them wonder about you. "The Collection" is an outstanding collection. Here's looking forward to Part II. (Might I suggest a thrash compilation with the Moshketeers!)
Combat Boot Camp is a compilation of three underground thrash bands demo tapes. I believe all three demos had never before been released on CD before. The sound quality here is actually quite good as Century Media put some time into a studio for mastering. The three bands included are all very similar in style. All three play hyper speed/thrash metal with smooth, high-pitched vocalists like Agent Steel, Realm, or uh, Powermad. Of course what is essential to me on this compilation are the five Powermad tracks. A couple of these tracks from their self-titled demo were re-recorded for their first EP ("Terminator" & "Blind Leading the Blind"). "Nice Dreams" and "Plastic Town" were both re-recorded for their first full length album "Absolute Power." The only track that is exclusive here is "Cashing the Dragon." However, all these tracks are slightly different, and a bit more raw, than the official releases. "Combat Boot Camp" came as part of a five CD box set that celebrated the re-release of some of the more obscure releases from the defunct Combat Records. The other discs in the box are Dark Angel-Leave Scars, Impaler-If We Had Brains, Possessed-Seven Churches, and Agent Steel-Mad Locust Rising.
Death ...is Just the Beginning II (Nuclear Blast)
1. "Daddy Cruel"
-Pungent Stench (3:32)
Twenty one songs of down tuned, death metal madness. Many of these songs are demo cuts, others are pre-release songs, etc. I picked up this one for a few bucks used. Only a few bands stood out. The rest sounded like clones of one another. Most sound like they share the same vocalist. Main point of interest for me is Mortification and Amorphis.
1. "Burnt Offerings"
[demo] Testament w/ Steve
Killer compilation of rare studio and live tracks from some of heavy metal's best underground bands. Megaforce Records started off life as an indepenant record company not unlike Combat and Metal Blade. In their early years they helped launch the careers of bands like Metallica, Exciter, T.T. Quick, Anthrax, and many others. In other words, Megaforce had a huge part in starting the thrash movement of the mid 80's. Metallica's first two albums were actually released on Megaforce before they were picked up by Elektra Records, who have re-issued the first two albums several times over. In any case, my main interest in this disc is T.T. Quick's 'Victims'. I have been wanting to get their first five song EP forever, and this track is off that extremely rare EP. There are several other tracks that I am very interested as well. The live version of Raven's "Take It Away" is a cool inclusion. This track was recorded for the "Live at the Inferno" sessions but didn't make the final cut. Anthrax's live version of "Across the River/Howling Furies" was one of the first shows Joey Belladonna did with the band and he sounded quite good. Actually he sounds better here than he does on their officially released "The Island Years". I've not seen this track released anywhere else. Overkill's "Sonic Reducer" is a killer track although it was included as a bonus track on the band's cd reissue of "Feel the Fire". This track was originally recorded for the Megaforce compilation "The Megavault." S.O.D.'s "Ram It" also was originally released on this compilation, although it too was added as a bonus track to the cd re-issue of "Speak English of Die." Exciter's "Death Revenge" was also recorded for this compilation, but has not seen release on any other cd as far as I know. The inclusion of Testament's "Burnt Offerings" w/ Steve Souza (Exodus) on vocals was also very cool. This song was taken from their original demo, but sounds much better than the original demo. Perhaps it was remixed or remastered, or maybe it's just the cd format. Either way, this is a killer track. Mercyful Fate's "Black Funeral" is another of those tracks that was rare for a time but I am pretty sure has seen re-release as a bonus track on one of their albums. Blitzkrieg is a strange inclusion on this disc, but at the same time it was cool to hear the original version of this song, since I have only ever heard Metallica's excellent cover of it from their "Garage Days" EP. Overall, this is just a great collection of great heavy metal tracks. Even the "Metal Rap" was a cool listen. The lyrics to this song are quite cool and a bit prophetic of the entire metal movement of the 80's and early 90's. (Click here to read the lyrics.)
Reality" -Thresher (6:57)
Supposedly an underground compilation of up and coming bands. Truth be know, several of these songs were just demos and such by R.E.X. artists. Rumor has it that "The Unknown" is just Living Sacrifice. Immortal was Scott Albert's pre Circle of Dust band. The song "Sensless Abandon" is taken from their "Dead and Buried" tape and sounds an awful lot like early Metallica. Favorite tracks are "My Reality" by Thresher and "Free from Death" by Consecrator, both are great speed metal bands that never could secure a label. I still own their indie full length tape. Also like the demo version of Sardonyx's "Puppet of Beauty," although it has a bad drop out and is not a very good mix.
Duke Nukem Music To Score By (RED) 1999
1. "Duke Nukem Theme"
[instrumental] -Megadeth (3:54)
There is a total of four good songs on this disc; the two excellent unreleased Megadeth cuts, the aggressive Slayer song, and the one Black Sabbath inspired Corrosion of Conformity song, "Land of the Free Disease." Other than that, the skip button is a necessity.
1. Harry Slash &
the Slashtones "This is Extreme! (ECW Theme)" [instrumental](2:30)
Now this is a cool compilation, albeit more for novelty sake than any other. There are two excellent Metallica covers on this disc; Motorhead ripping through 'Enter Sandman' and Anthrax tearing it up with "Phantom Lord." Motorhead's contribution is good, although Lemmy's signature bass sound is buried behind the guitars more than I would have liked. Still, it's very cool to hear 'ol Lemmy singing "Enter Sandman." One of the best cuts on the disc is Bruce Dickinson and Roy Z covering the Scorpions' 'The Zoo.' Killer song taken made even greater by two veteran musicians. Megadeth give us a instrumental version of their own "Trust" that sounds very similar to the original with the exception of the additional axe-work by Marty Friedman. Pantera are on this disc as well under the name Tres Diablos. Their contribution is not bad, but nothing great either. "Heard It On the X" sounds little like the stomping metal Pantera are known for, which may explain the reason they didn't use the Pantera name. Grinspoon's crack at "Snap Your Finger's Snap Your Neck" bites! Not nicer way to put it. "Monster Magnet" totally destroy MC5's kick out the jams, a song that was done much better by Blue Oyster Cult in the late 70's. The rest of the songs are ok but the main reason I wanted this disc was for the four or five killer songs mentioned at the beginning of this review.
Extreme Mardi Gras 2002-The Extreme Compilation (Roxx Productions) 2002
1. Extreme Mardi Gras 2002
Radio Spot (1:16)
Extreme Mardi Gras took place August 17 in Anaheim, CA, and was the first show that Barren Cross has played together in seven year! This was also the debut performance of Robert Sweet's (ex-Stryper) new band, blissed. The promotional compilation CD is a collectors item from that day. There are several excellent album cuts on here, including Barren Cross, Oil and Ultimatum. The rest of the disc is pretty exclusive to this cd. However, for me most of the material was not that interesting due to the fact that much of it has that nu-metal sound. Disciple and Junker Jorg in particular are rapcore which I don't really care for. blissed is heavy and well recorded, but lacks anything memorable. Jordon have a melodic hard rock sound that was appealing, although I missed their live performance. The live Neon Cross song was a nice addition, as opposed to releasing a song off one of their albums. I also quite enjoyed the new demo track from Biogenesis. Several of the unknown bands feature members of bands that were more well know but no longer exist. Ex-Holy Soldier drummer Terry Russell plays in D.O.G. Also, ex-Holy Soldier/HERO vocalist Robbie Wolf sings for Band of Wild Angels. Overall, a nice souvenir from a show I thoroughly enjoyed. Looking forward to the live cd and dvd from this show.
Volume One of a five volume collection that recalls the glory days of heavy metal. Each volume features two disc with each representing a year in metal. This seems like a pretty good representation of heavy metal in 1980 - 81. Being that I was a big fan during this time these were exactly the bands I was listening to at the time. Of course any set like this will have songs some people think should be included that weren't, or songs that were included that should. For 1980, I would have picked a different cut from Judas Priest's "British Steel" album such as "Metal God" or "Rapid Fire" maybe.
It is notable that the best metal tracks are all from Europe here. The NWOBHM scene was just beginning to bloom while the American scene was floundering to trends. The two American bands represented are Kiss and Alice Cooper, both of whom were a bit lost in the early 80's not sure what to do musically. I am a big Kiss fan but "Is That You" is not metal and sticks out like sore thumb onn this collection. While the song chosen is a good song, Vince Poncia's production on Unmasked was so stinkin' wimpy. The Alice Cooper song is good and one of the more rockin' songs off "Flush the Fashion". A better inclusion might have been something off Ted Nugent's "Scream Dream" as he was still making heavy, hard rockin' music as the time. "Scream Dream", "Hard As Nails" or "Wango Tango" all would have worked well. Otherwise the rest of the tracks included are quite good.
On disc two, I think including Foreigner was a bit of a stretch. While they were most certainly hard rocking, the seem out of place on this collection. I think bands not included like Riot, Raven or Accept would have been a better call over Foreigner in '81. Shoot, if they were dead set on including an American hard rock band for that slot, they could have gone with Aerosmith - "Jailbait" or "Lightning Strikes". Otherwise I think that disc two is a good representation of what was happening in metal in 1981. Both discs also show the diversity in heavy metal in the early 1980's. Sad thing is, many people now try to rewrite history and say these bands were never heavy metal bands and shrug them off as just "hard rock". However, those of us who grew up in this scene know better.
Overall a good collection. I would really like to find the other four volumes in this collection. While I own 95% of the songs included here, this is a nice collection. Included as well is an 8-page booklet with photos of the artists and short bios on the bands.
Gigantour Tour Sampler (Decibel) 2005
1. Megadeth - "The Scorpion" (5:59)
This was free CD given
out at Megadeth's Gigantour. Instead
of reviewing the CD itself, here are some of my thoughts on the concert itself:
Dry Kill Logic sounded like a clone of Bobaflex. It actually reminded me of when I attended Cornerstone Festival this year as well. Metalcore sure has gotten generic and every single band sounds the same. I didn't watch much of these guys and took off to the main stage for...
NEVERMORE!!! These guys were my reason to be there. As I suspected they were incredible. I was bummed that they only played six songs. No encore. Man, I was so into it, and it ended so darn quickly. Well, I headed over the the FYE tent to meet Nevermore and get my CD signed. It was a pleasure meeting the whole band a talking with them, even if it was only for a few minutes.
After we walked over and checked out Symphony X on the second stage. These guys were exellent as well. Obviously very talented musicians. They were the first band on the second stage to play real metal. Steve and Robert got in line to meet these guys, so I gave them my CD cover to have it signed.
We checked out Fear Factory for about half their set. The sun was down behind the stage at this time, so it was a nice break from the sun that was beating on us all afternoon. That was the most enjoyable part of thier set for me. I am just not real familiar with their material.
Life of Agony came out looking like a bunch of nerdy high school kids on the second stage. They actually weren't band. I enjoyed their set. I stood there watching and chatted a bit with Bobaflex's guitarist who was out in the crowd watching as well. (At that point I told him what a trip I thought he was on stage.) After a while we migrated off to the FYE tent to meet Megadeth. However, in order to meet them you had to purchase a CD and band for $27 and you would also miss Dream Theater. I passed and went over to the main stage to see DT. Holy Cow these guys are fantastic musicians! Unforutnately thier set was putting me to sleep. Their songs were just so darned long. James LaBrie would come out onto the stage for a few minutes then disappear backstage for fifteen minutes while we were treated to 15 minutes of technical wankery and noodling. I like Dream Theater, but it just seemed to lack feeling and was a bit boring. In the first half an hour they only had played two songs.
I missed Dillenger Escape Plan. No big loss.
Megadeth ruled! They were the other band I was there to see, along with Nevermore. They played for almost two hours. Great set filled with a good mixture of older and newer material. Robert, Sean and I were all headbanging and sporting our air guitars. Great show. Can't remember the whole set, but they played Angry Again, Blackmail the Universe, Kick the Chair, the Scorpion, Die Dead Enough, Wake Up Dead, Peace Sells, In My Darkest Hour, Holy Wars, Hanger 18, Symphony of Destruction, Skin O My Teeth, Reckoning Day, A Tout Le Monde, Trust, She-Wolf...those are the songs I remember. Great show.
Gigantour Live (Image) 2005
"Gigantour" is the summer tour led by Megadeth's Dave Mustaine. The tour is a welcome competitor to the ever-popular Ozzfest and in my opinion has been more interesting than Ozzfest since the Judas Priest/Black Sabbath co-headline tour. This CD celebrates the first year of Gigantour, 2005. Serving as co-headliners, both Dream Theater and Megadeth would close out the all day festival with lengthy sets. I must confess, while being a Dream Theater fan, I was truly bored with their set during Gigantour 2005. The two track included here, however, are quite enjoyable and surprisingly well recorded. The two Anthrax tracks are good, although a bit predictable. I didn't get to see Anthrax on this tour, as they joined the tour after it hit my town to take over the co-headline spot for Dream Theater, so I don't know what songs they played. Both tracks included hare are from the "Among the Living" LP. I could have lived without Life of Agony, Dry Kill Logic and Bobaflex. While I found Bobaflex amusing to watch, I am not a fan of their music and the two tracks don't really work to change my opinion. After Anthrax I just hit the skip disc button and head over to disc two. Three Megadeth tracks are included here, including one that had yet to see release on a live release "Kick the Chair". Personally I would have chosen some different tracks besides "She Wold" and "A Tout Le Monde" for this release. I recall blazing versions of songs like "Angry Again", "Blackmail the Universe", "Kick the Chair", "the Scorpion", "Die Dead Enough" or even Peace Sells", that I would have liked to have heard. The two live Nevermore tracks are my reason for wanting to own this compilation. These guys seriously need to release a live album. Nevermore owned Gigantour! They were only given a short thirty minute set so they only had five to six songs to choose from, so I can't really complain about the two included here. Symphony X also had a short set, their inclusion here is quite good as well. Absent from the release is any music by the Dillinger Escape Plan, although quite frankly I don't miss them. Their set was nothing more than an excuse for a bunch of metalcore, trendy dweebs to bash into each other. The booklet contains a few photos from the tour although little in the way of liner notes. It might have been a cool idea to have the bands write a little something about the tour. Overall, Gigantour was quite a success, as this CD is a testimony too. This 2-CD compilation is a good souvenir of one of the best tours of '05. A DVD has been released aside this CD as well.
As with the first Gigantour Sampler, this was free CD given out at the show. As with the first tour, the 2006 tour was a big success. The show started with two bands I was unfamiliar with. The Smashup were up first and put on an energetic performance with a punk-like fury. I'm not sure I am a huge fan of their style, but I appreciated their energy on stage. As such I went over to their table to meet them after the show. I must say, they were down-to-earth guys as well as good performers. Sanctity didn't impress me nearly as much. Into Eternity were the surprise of the evening for me. For some reason I just never gave these guys a fair listen, but after seeing them perform their short set, I was impressed and will now be looking to add some of their albums to my set. Their sound was a nice mixture of melodic death metal and classic metal. In all honesty I bought tickets to this show to see Overkill. I would have been perfectly happy to have seen just them and no other band. As such, their set annihilated. I was sitting back only a few rows from the stage, but when Overkill hit the stage, the big outdoor stadium was barely 1/4 full. Disappointing for such a legendary metal band. Still, it afforded me the opportunity to move up closer to see Overkill destroy the stage. The blazed through a set of mostly older tracks, with a few "RELIX IV" tracks thrown in, as this was the album they were touring to support. Unfortunately they only had a short 45 minute set. Still, it was 45 minutes of head banging bliss for this old-school metalhead. I went absolutely balistic for "Coma"! As would be expected, they ended their set with their cover of the Subhumans "F.U." To be honest, anything following this band, for me, would not measure up. I missed Arch Enemy in favor of taking my son over to meet the Megadeth clan. DD gave me a pick and Blitz took a photo with my son. I had them sign my copy of "Killbox 13." I did manage to catch Opeth's set. I must say, as much as I enjoy their CDs, their live set was anti-climatic and had most of the audience snoring. I was a bit surprise by their lack of energy and their choice of material. Their set might have been better earlier in the day rather than being sandwiched between bands like Arch Enemy and Lamb of God, who were up next. It was quite obvious that a majority of the pack to capacity crowd was there to see Lamb of God. I myself am not a fan but was anxious to see what all the hype was about. Their set started off with some high energy metalcore. Their guitarists played some interesting riffs that sound like recycled Slayer riffs, but their vocalist sucked. This geeky looking dude pranced around stage barking out the lyrics and basically destroying whatever I did found interesting in the bands set. Since this band was co-headlining with Megadeth they were given over and hour to play. It felt like an eternity and after the first 20 minutes I was ready for them to get off the stage and tired of hearing them play the same song over and over again. This band is all about energy, but not really about song writing. Blitz came out on stage for one of LoG's songs to sing along on the chorus of one song. Megadeth finished up the set playing songs from almost all of their discography. The band's set was packed full of flash pots and cool backdrops, although the band themselves didn't exhibit a whole lot of energy. Still, Dave and Co. sounded great and bashed through an hour and a half of classic Megadeth material including a couple new songs. Overall, Gigantour 2006 was successful. In my opinion Overkill should have been the co-headliners of the tour, although I am pretty sure I was in the minority in this opinion.
Guitars that Rule the World, Vol. 2-Smell the Fuzz (Metal Blade)
I bought this for one reason, Ace's "Cherokee Boogie." I'm not a fan of many of the bands represented on this disc (ie. Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, & White Zombie), however, I was surprised to hear that most of the songs are a departure from the modern crap that these bands produce, making the disc an enjoyable listen from start to finish. Of course, the top of the crop in my opinion is Ace's contribution. Ace may not be the most technical guitarist, but he definetely has his own style and a certain charisma than many guitarists just don't have. Of course Rush's Alex Lifeson pulls off an excellent instrumental as well. Winning my vote for the most abstract, bizarre song is Robert Fripp's "Sunset Collage 1." The song is actually very interesting as it creates a very mellow atmosphere. The "Death Metal Summit" is made up of members of Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under, Obituary, Cynic, and Ralph Santolla (ex-Death). Surprisingly, these guys show they have as much musical muscle as the legends, like Ace, Fripp and Alex Lifeson. Of course, their song is much more aggressive than anything else on the disc, sounding much like an instrumental version of Testament. Lots of dynamics in this song with some fast thrash parts leading into some mellower guitar and bass solos going right back into the ultra-crunch. Biggest surprise to me was the Hellecasters whose southern rock/boogie was outstanding, sounding like a mix of early Molly Hatchet and the Ventures. Excellent song! Biggest annoyance was Billy Corgan's feedback incrusted song "Ascendo." I have to have the skip button handy for this one 'cause about halfway through the song, the noise starts grating on my nerves.
Hard & Heavy From Down Under (Rowe/Rugged)
1."Peace in the Galaxy"
When this disc was released, Rowe Productions was only an Australian label without any distribution in the U.S., so Rowe got together with American label Rugged Records and released a compilation of their Australian Metal Compiliations. Of course in 1996, heavy metal was a dirty word, so they called the disc "Hard and Heavy." Regadless, this disc features some of the best tracks from the many Australian Metal discs plus a pre-release version of Mortification's "Peace in the Galaxy." Several of these bands went on to record full length discs for Rowe.
Hear 'n Aid - Starz (Vertigo Japan) 1986
L'Amour Rocks - From Hard Rock To Heavy Metal (Mercenary) 1987
1. "Armed To Deliver"
L'Amour Rocks features nine tracks by some fine 1980's metal bands. The L'Amour is a rock/metal club in New York that I use to frequent when I was living in the East Coast in the 80's. Saw band like Anthrax and TT Quick there. Many underground bands that came out of that club became successful. None of the bands on this compilation saw any huge success although some of them are underground favorites. My favorite tracks here are "The Boys Keep Rollin'", "Emanon", a speedy metal number with soaring vocals, and "Come And Get It" by the legendary Halloween. "The Boys Keep Rollin'" is probably the most unique song on the disc. This band has a more 1970's approach to hard rock than the rest of the bands presented here. "Lost Stranger" is also a pretty cool track featuring a decent female vocalist.
While this had the potential to be a great video, Live At Cornerstone 2001 is a BIG disappointment. First of all, I thought it was a great idea to have a "metal night" and reunite some of Christian metal's finest bands. The release of a live CD by each of these bands was also an excellent idea. However, the DVD is severely lacking. The video quality is about that of a bootleg, with most of the footage being shot by a camera on a tripod in the back of the crowd. There is an occassional close up from side stage, but even this reeks of amature video. I also found it a bit irritating that Deliverance was left off this package. From what I have read in the past, Deliverance didn't want to be included on the video, and after seeing the finished product, I can see why. This thing is filled with horrid edits, cheesy effects, and just overall lack of professionalism. There is nothing in the way of bonus material at all. A photo gallery would have been cool, or perhaps even some interview footage with some of the bands. It's really a shame that more work and money wasn't invested into this video. The bands are great and this show had the potential to really show off some great Christian metal bands. Rather this is but an overpriced ($16) souvenir for those who attended the show; something to be watched once, then never again. As for the individual performances, check my reviews of the individual band's CDs.
Massive Frequency Overload-the U.S. Hard Compilation (Rowe) 1997
1. "Innocent Blood"
With the success of Rowe's Australian Metal Compilations and securing a deal with an American distributor, they decided to give an American underground metal compilation a try. Several of these bands have opened for Mortification on their US tours, which is basically how Steve Rowe picked the bands. Unfortunately this means that most of the bands picked are of the death or grind variety. Only a couple are of the thrash or power metal persuasion (Antithesis, Noiszgate, Slamcat and Ultimatum). The only band to ever go on to do anything else for Rowe Productions was Ultimatum. Their contribution to this disc is a demo version of "World of Sin," but the album version is much better. One band whose inclusion on an American compilation is a bit strange is Erase, who are based out of Canada.
Metal Massacre CDs have been moved to their own page.
Metal for Muthas (Sanctuary) 1980/2000
This album was hugely influencial in the early 80's. The funny thing about this disc, now that it has been officially re-released on CD is that most people wouldn't even consider most of these tracks to be 'metal' anymore. With metal being redefined in recent years, tracks from Saxon and Angel Witch would be labeled as 'hard rock'. The fact is that this was one of the metal compilations that fueled the metal underground and helped to get the New Wave of British Heavy Metal off the ground. "Sanctuary" by Iron Maiden kicks off this disc and, of course, is a scorcher as is the slightly slower version of "Wrathchild." I am pretty sure that neither of these versions are the same as the ones that appeared on the band debut. "Metal For Mothers" gives a good look into a movement that spawned such metal monsters as Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Raven and Saxon.
New Mexico Rock Coalition Sampler
1. "99 & Double
Time" -Stone Soul (4:18)
from local bands from New Mexico. I think this disc was released in 1995. Most
of these bands are no longer in existence. The only bands to do much outside
of New Mexico are Paris Blue, Dark
Truth, Ultimatum and Seventhsign.
The rest are pretty much unknown. Too bad really as some of these bands are
pretty good. Styles range from dark gothic to commercial hard rock to thrash
metal. As with the styles, however, the production values change from song to
song as well. Even the mastering is a bit rough with volumes not even being
even from song to song. Biggest disappointment is "Red Sea" by Seventhsign.
This is an excellent song but for some reason the people who put this together
felt it necessary to edit the song, so only about 2/3 of the song is here. Probably
due to time constraints as this disc is close to 75 minutes long. Cover art
by yours truly. (-:
Northern Lights-Norwegian Metal Compilation (Rowe)
Perhaps the best metal compilation that Rowe Productions ever released. All the bands are of the more extreme death or black metal style, but each are masters of melody as well. What makes this disc essential is the three demo cuts from the mighty Extol. The Schaliach and GROMS songs are taken from their full length CDs.
Power From the Sky - A New Wave of Swedish Metal! (CL. Music) 2002
1. "Power From the
Sky" -Wisdom Call (3:40)
While there are several bands on this disc that I enjoy, I have a hard time getting into this collection because the styles don't mesh together to well. While I love the power metal of Wisdom Call and the unique, death sounds of Sanctifica, the two bands just don't fit together well on a compilation as their styles are so diametrically different. Wisdom Call's "Power from the Sky" is probably my favorite track overall on the entire compilation, but since I already have this track on their debut CD, it doesn't prompt me to pop this disc in my deck. This track is a fast, metallic number that recalls Halford or "Painkiller" era Priest. Christian Liljegren gives the vocal performance of his life on this song, especially on that ear piercing opening scream. Excellent song! One of the things I like about compilations like this, however, is discovering new bands. There are several bands that I had heard before but didn't care for, like Sons of Thunder, but others like Heaven and Ayenna I had never heard. Looking forward to hearing full length discs from these bands in the future.
Premium Cuts (Patriot)
When this disc came out, none of these tracks had been released. Soon after, however, all four bands put out full length discs and only four of the twelve songs are now unique to this compilation. The three excellent Neon Cross tracks never made it onto their album because everybody ridiculed them for retaining their 80's sound. In 1994, heavy metal was a bad word and to be labeled 80's was a bad thing, so Neon Cross attempted to "update" their sound and put out a peice of crap. (For more on that, see my Neon Cross page) The other unique track is P.K. Mitchell's "Do You Believe," an decent, grungy song. Soon after this disc came out Patriot Records changed names to Rugged Records. The label released new albums by all four bands on this disc.
Speed Kills...Again (Heavy Artillery) 2007
This is Solid State Vol. 1 (Tooth & Nail/Solid State)
1. "Enthroned 98"
-Living Sacrifice (3:34)
This disc was given to me for free. Had it not I would not have spent my hard earned money on it as the only thing of value on this disc is the newly recorded version of "Enthroned" by Living Sacrifice. The other Living Sacrifice tune is excellent also but is from their "Reborn" album. The Extol song is great as well, but is from their "Burial" disc. Other than that, the rest of this disc just reminds me how much this label's roster sucks! A bunch of musical clones of one another with the short-haired, pip-squeek, geek look as their common ground.
Thrash Metal Warriors (Deep Six Records) 2007
Thorns of Redemption - The Compilation Volume 1 (independent) 2004
1. "Heart Of Metal"
- Ultimatum (unreleased demo)
This CD was an idea by those people who post on the Christian Metal Realm, an EZ board discussion board. It was originally presented as a way to raise money to keep the board up, as well as to give some exposure to some of the bands whose members frequent the board. While it took a while to finally get this CD together, I am proud to say that all involved pulled it off, with a big hand of thanks to arttieTHE1manparty. Most of the songs on this CD are of demo quality, which means that it's a bit raw. However, most of the songs are also exclusive to this CD and are not available anywhere else. Being that my own band has a track on here, I probably cannot be too objective. However, I will say that I really do enjoy listening to this disc. The variety of styles and sounds on this disc is a testimony of the diversity that the CMR represents. (Even the cover art and layout was done by members of the board.) There is everything on here from doom to speed metal to metalcore to death metal to old school heavy metal and more. There are several tracks on here that I liked immediately, including the smokin' old school death metal sounds of Metanoia's "Ripped in Two" and the epic doom track by Troglodyte Dawn, "Fallen World". The Metanoia track is actually a track recorded by the band in 1997 and has formerly only been released on an obscure Australian metal compilation. I am sure that reviewers will tear this disc apart for the raw nature of the recordings, but for a bunch of bands on a limited budget (read: no budget), this CD is quite enjoyable and gives an excellent taste of some good, underground bands. I actually think the raw nature of the recordings adds to the charisma of the disc, not unlike those early Black Sabbath recordings. It's all about the attitude, and there is plenty of that presented here.
1. Forbidden "As Good As Dead" (4:09)
Great live compilation of some of Combat's best thrash bands. All these bands are favorites of mine but what makes this disc essential to me are the two Raven songs and the two Dark Angel cuts. If I am not mistaken, this compliation was Ron Rinehart's debut with Dark Angel. Both these tracks have recently resurfaced as bonus tracks on Century Media's re-issue of "Darkness Descends." Raven only ever released one album with Combat called "Nothing Exceeds Like Excess." Both these OTT live tracks are taken from that album. I was surprised that these two tracks didn't make it onto the re-issue of that cd. The two Forbidden tracks were also released as bonus tracks on the recent Century Media re-issue of "Twisted into Form", but since I already own the original Combat issue it saves me from having to upgrade to the re-issues. Besides, together this is a killer collection of songs. My copy is autographed by Dark Angel vocalist Ron Rinehart.
1. "Sweet Home Alabama"
- Charlie Daniels Band (5:09)
After discovering the '99 Volunteer Jam release I decided to see if there were any others. This one interested me immediately as soon as I found out that Ted Nugent covered Chuck Berry's "Around and Around." Other standout cuts are Molly Hatchet's cover of Mountain's "Mississippi Queen", which also happens to feature Ted Nugent and also showed up on the "Volunteer Jam" CD below. I also quite enjoyed Charlie Daniels Band's cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and Delbert McClinton "Standing On Shakey Ground".
1. "Can't You See"
- Marshall Tucker Band (5:30)
My main interest here is Molly Hatchet and Ted Nugent doing a live version of Mountain's "Mississippi Queen." First of all this is a great song, but add to it one Motor City Madman along with one of Southern Rock's loudest and hardest rocking bands, Molly Hatchet, and you have one smoking song. The rest of the disc isn't bad either. Not much of a fan of country music, but most of the songs here are of a more blues and Southern rock variety. I especially liked the Grinderswitch song. This track actually peaked my interest enough to begin searching for some of their material.
White Metal Warriors - The Last Ship Home (Pure Metal) 1991
1. "Heed the Warning"
-Seventh Angel (5:34)
This British white metal compilation is essential for the two unreleased Seventh Angel songs alone. I believe these two songs were off their first demo. The two Detritus cuts are excellent as well, but they are both off their first album "Perpetual Defiance." The rest of the songs are average to downright bad. Cool cover art by Rodney Matthews, who has also done cover paintings for Asia, Detritus and Seventh Angel, among others.