"Joe Black" is a compilation album release by US death metal act Malevolent Creation. The compilation was released through Pavement Music in October 1996. "Joe Black" is not a "best of" compilation but rather a collection of rarities and unreleased material.
The compilation features 10 tracks. 3 tracks recorded during the "Eternal (1995)" recording sessions, 3 industrial tinged remixes of tracks from "Eternal (1995)", a demo recording of "Genetic Affliction" from "Stillborn (1993)", a cover version of "Raining Blood" by Slayer recorded during the "Stillborn (1993)" recording sessions and 2 tracks from the band´s 1990 demo, which was the demo that earned them their first label contract with Roadrunner Records.
The 3 unreleased/outtakes from the "Eternal (1995)" recording sessions are all of high quality and could easily have made it unto that album. The industrial tinged remixes of the 3 tracks from "Eternal (1995)" are probably an aquired taste for the "regular" death metal fan, but I think the quality is decent and the tracks are pretty enjoyable. It´s interesting to hear a band as musically conservative as Malevolent Creation venture into something different. One of the most interesting tracks on "Joe Black" is the demo version of "Genetic Affliction" from "Stillborn (1993)" though. I think that track once and for all shows that "Stillborn (1993)" could have been a killer album without the odd sound production. In the other end of the spectrum the cover of "Raining Blood" by Slayer is pretty weak. I´m not entertained.
The two demo tracks from the band´s 1990 demo are great listening though. The tracks feature a semi-professional sound production (they were recorded at Morrisound Recording, Tampa, Florida) and are delivered with passion and conviction. Sadly the band have chosen to omit the third track from that demo titled "Decadence Within". My guess is because Roadrunner Records probably owned/owns the publishing rights as the track in this particular version was featured on the Roadrunner Records compilation album "At Death's Door - A Collection Of Brutal Death Metal (1990)". The "regular" studio versions of all three tracks are featured on the debut full-length studio album "The Ten Commandments (1991)".
So while the quality drops a couple of times during the playing time, "Joe Black" is overall a great rarities/unreleased compilation album and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.