VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) — Pure...metal (review)

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) — Pure...metal album cover Album · 2014 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
1.5/5 ·
Vim Fuego
Dear Sony Music,

I wish to take issue with, and express my displeasure at, your 4 disc compilation album “Pure…metal”, released in 2014.

It seems like a generous compilation, pulling together 61 songs for a discount album price. However the title of this album, I believe, is misleading, if not downright false. While this album does contain metal, it is not pure, in any way, shape or form. Please observe the following:

Disc 1: Exhibit 1: “Breaking The Law” by Judas Priest and “Poison” by Alice Cooper. Right, so I have contradicted my argument with the very first piece of evidence… or have I? While there is nothing wrong with either song, and both qualify as metal (just, in the case of “Poison”), I believe these are so over-used in compilations as to render them diluted. “Breaking The Law” features on two more compilations I own, while “Poison” appears on five other compilations, including another IN THIS SERIES. “Poison” is featured on the “Pure…hard rock” compilation too, which pre-dates this one by three years. Had you run out of ideas Sony Music, or did you not suspect that a metal fan might also be a hard rock fan?

Exhibit 2: “Slither” by Velvet Revolver. This song won the Grammy for “Best Hard Rock Performance” in 2005. Hard rock is not pure metal. Exhibit 3: “B.Y.O.B” by System of a Down. Actually, this song fucking rocks. Note to self: come on dude, focus. We’re looking for the clueless shit here, not the stuff that fits…

Exhibit 3a: “Tears Don’t Fall” by Bullet for my Valentine, “Got The Life” by Korn, “Scream With Me” by Mudvayne, “Welcome Home” by Coheed and Cambria. Bullet for my Valentine is undoubtedly a metal band – now. However “Tears Don’t Fall” came from the band’s first album “The Poison”. It is an emo album. Korn and Mudvayne are nu-metal bands. I object to them on principle. Coheed and Cambria does not qualify as metal. While undoubtedly a fine progressive rock band, they do not belong here, and besides, they bore the tits off me. Exceptions on disc 1: “Whose Fist is This Anyway?” by Prong is mechanical industrial metal might. “Vote With A Bullet” by Corrosion of Conformity sounds like they put down the joint just long enough to jam out this little beauty. Lemmy always reckoned Motörhead was a rock n’ roll band, but even demigods can be wrong, and “Bad Religion” is blues infused metal heaven (of course the fucking pun is intended!) “Widow” by Paradise Lost is a bit gloomy, but if you see where these miserable fuckers came from , you would be too. Warrant’s “Machine Gun” scrapes in as glam metal, but it’s not very interesting. I suppose you could call HIM metal if you squint a bit, but you definitely can’t call “Buried Alive By Love” interesting. Just because Infectious Grooves has members of a metal band in it, it doesn’t automatically become a metal band. This is a funk band. Except this time. It’s funky and metallic, and annoyingly catchy, and I didn’t want to like it, but I do. Bugger.

Disc 2: Well fuck, ya don’t half know how to make a critics job hard, Sony Music. There’s not a huge lot to complain about on this disc. “Metal Health (Bang Your Head)” by Quiet Riot, “Headhunter” by Krokus (it’s still a fucking flower, no matter how you misspell it guys!), and “Say What You Will” by Fastway all offer a flashback to 1983, when metal was metal, and thank fuck things have moved on since then… “Voices in The Sky” by Motörhead and “Electric Eye” by Judas Priest both offer up second shots of bands which have already featured, although there’s no reasonable complaint about either.

“Girlschool” by Britney Fox is formulaic misogynistic crap so typical of glam metal, “Sport’n A Woody” by Dangerous Toys is silly double entendre laden childish humour so typical of glam metal, and “Evil Twin” by Love/Hate is intelligent, thoughtful social commentary, so atypical of glam metal. ”Pictured Life” by Scorpions shows why they were one of the great bands of the 70s during the 70s. “Thundersteel” by Riot shows how one of the great bands of the 70s could change their approach to metal and be a great band in the 80s. “The Battle Rages On” by Deep Purple shows one of the great bands of the 70s could still sort of rock in the 90s.

“Battle Angels” may make some people question why Sanctuary ditched thrash, when they were obviously so good at it. These are people who have not heard the even greater greatness of Nevermore.

Suicidal Tendencies… No, I can’t pull the old “these guys are a punk band” trick, because “You Can’t Bring Me Down” is metal as fuck. So is “The Final Word” by Metal Church.

Ah! Got a couple!

Exhibit 4: Gotthard is a Swiss hard rock band. And “Firedance” is a bit boring. Pink Cream 69 (how fucked up were these guys when they thought up THAT name?) is a German hard rock band. And “Keep Your Eye On The Twisted” is even more boring than “Firedance”. (Note to self: this evidence is getting a bit feeble. You sure this is really such a bad compilation?)

Disc 3: Yes! Paydirt!

Exhibit 5: On what planet is “Down” by 311 metal? Yes, it’s more infectious than measles at an anti-vaxxer meeting, but metal? No. And neither is “Bartender by (Hed) P.E., or “Someday” by zebrahead. There are also the highly objectionable Korn and Mudvayne again, and whoever put Three Days Grace on a metal compilation album needs a smack around the head with a pipe, just to remind them what metal actually is.

OK, I’ll give you Eighteen Visions. It’s not the heaviest shit here, but “Victims” could almost slip in as a metal song. However, Crossfade is a fail. It’s hard rock at best, and that’s being generous.

Well Mr (or Miss, Mrs, Ms, or whatever qualifier you may or may not like to add before your name. I’m trying to criticize your work, not make it something personal) Sony Music Compilation Compiler, you finally got warmed up for this disc and put in some proper fucking metal! “The Last Time” by Paradise Lost is a good dose of Gothicism. Opeth’s “Master’s Apprentice” isn’t. It’s 10 fucking minutes of boring bog standard death metal by a highly overrated band, but that’s just my opinion. Many other metal fans will be jizzing in their undies (or creaming their knickers – not trying to exclude anyone here) at the inclusion of this track. “Her Ghost In The Fog” by Cradle of Filth gets back to the gothic stuff again, except a bit faster and more atmospheric than Paradise Lost.

You remember what I said about Bullet For My Valentine before? Yeah, well, “Your Betrayal” is actually a METAL track! Or mostly metal anyway.

Exhibit 6: Dear oh fucking dear! Someone is a bit lacking in reading comprehension here. LOOK AT THE TITLE OF THIS FUCKING SONG! “Hard Rock Hallelujah” by Lordi might have won the Eurovision Song Contest, but it’s NOT METAL! The biggest clue? The. Name. Of. The. Song…

“The Bear Song” by Green Jelly is a guilty pleasure for many a metalhead, but most aren’t going to admit it. Not near as charming as their legendary “Three Little Pigs”, but it’s got a silly singalong melody which many of us remember from our childhoods. Steve Vai reckons “The Audience Is Listening”, but I reckon he’s just showing off.

Disc 4: OK, so I suppose by the law of averages, you were bound to get things mostly right for most of a disc eventually. Is that why these compilations are four disc sets? Three discs to get things started, and then finally get it right on the fourth? Why not just save yourselves some time and effort Sony Music, and just release the fourth disc on it’s own!

Anyway, “Trip At The Brain” by Suicidal Tendencies is a classy crossover thrasher. “Lost and Found” by Prong is a harsh industrial pounder. “Babalon A.D. (So Glad For The Madness)” by Cradle of Filth is pseudo-black metal. “Feed My Frankenstein” is another over-compiled Alice Cooper track, but I’ll let you away with this one because, well, fuck it. It’s Alice! Krokus’ “Midnite Maniac” is more flower power… er, but it’s not very powerful and quite forgettable.

Bonham’s “Guilty” is guilty of taking all it’s cues from Jason Bonham’s Dad’s band, but Led Zeppelin worship isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, sticking a Bon Jovi-esque chorus in a song is!

The Scorpions were “Raised On Rock” a very long time ago, but these metallic senior citizens get a pass for this song, for their efforts in growing old disgracefully. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Warrant is a tricky one, because while it’s not named after the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, it’s still quite serious, which was very un-Warrant-like. Damn you Warrant for making me take you seriously!

“Clean My Wounds” by Corrosion of Conformity basically showed every other stoner metal band in the world how to do stoner metal properly. “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour showed a band could enjoy a bit of glamour but still be smart and have a message to convey, and could make radio friendly music without compromising their principles. OK, so Infectious Grooves’ previous song wasn’t metal, but “Violent and Funky” is violent and funky. And metal. “For The Love Of God”, Steve Vai, we know you’re an exceptional guitarist, but fuck, this song is so boring! And Anathema, you miserable bastards, “Make It Right” is such a moody downer to finish the album on.

Exhibit 7: Ha! There’s two fuck-ups out of 15 songs on this disc! Your best strike-rate yet! “Bury White” by Far, and “Silver” by Hundred Reasons aren’t metal. So there!

So in summary Sony Music, I put it to you that you compiled a 61 song, 4 disc album and called it “Pure…metal”, when clearly it’s not pure metal. This is adulterated with hard rock, alternative, funk, pop rock, and whatever the fuck you call 311’s music. This is not pure. Perhaps if you had called it “Unrefined…metal (And Sundry Detritus)” or “Fuck, We Don’t Really Know What Metal Is, So This Is A Bit Of A Guess At…metal” or “Blatant Rip-off, Trying To Cash In On Our Back Catalogue…metal” the title may have been more accurate. I for one would have appreciated more honesty in the naming of this compilation. Yes, I could skip the tracks I dislike, but having paid for all of the songs here, I believe I have the right to have a bit of a moan about the ones I don’t like and the ones which don’t belong here. After all, everyone’s a critic.

Yours in sincere displeasure and high opprobrium,

Vim Fuego
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