VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL)

Heavy Metal / Thrash Metal / Death Metal / Grindcore / Glam Metal / Alternative Metal / NWoBHM / Metalcore / Hard Rock / Black Metal / Speed Metal / Proto-Metal / Industrial Metal / Hardcore Punk / Funk Metal / Depressive Black Metal • Multi-National
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This page is for Various Artists (VA) compilation releases. It is one of four currently be operated by the MMA. The others being Various Artists (Tribute Albums), Various Artists (Soundtracks) and Various Artists (Label Samples and Freebies). On this page, Various Artists (General), you will find various retail metal VA releases that don't fit into any specific theme, as if used for the other three profiles.

Due to the nature of VA releases, most on this page will be tagged as Albums with the MMA Boxset/Compilation section reserved for boxset VA releases.

Pictured is the first Metal for Muthas compilation, an early New Wave of British Heavy Metal release known for containing some of the earliest material of Iron Maiden.

- Biography by adg211288 (October 2014).

See also:

Tribute Albums: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/various-artists-tribute-albums

Label Samplers and Freebies: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/various-artists-label-samples-and-freebies

Soundtracks: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/various-artists-soundtracks
Thanks to adg211288 for the addition

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VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Discography

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) albums / top albums

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Heavy Metal - 24 Electrifying Performances album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Heavy Metal - 24 Electrifying Performances
Proto-Metal 1974
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal for Muthas album cover 3.55 | 2 ratings
Metal for Muthas
NWoBHM 1980
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal for Muthas Volume II: Cut Loud album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Metal for Muthas Volume II: Cut Loud
NWoBHM 1980
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Various Artists - Killer Watts album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Various Artists - Killer Watts
Hard Rock 1980
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Axe Attack album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Axe Attack
Heavy Metal 1980
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Heavy Rock album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Heavy Rock
Heavy Metal 1980
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Axe Attack Vol II album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Axe Attack Vol II
Heavy Metal 1981
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) The Friday Rock Show album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Friday Rock Show
NWoBHM 1981
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Massacre 1
Heavy Metal 1982
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Massacre 2
Heavy Metal 1982
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Heavy album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Heavy
Heavy Metal 1983
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre III album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Massacre III
Heavy Metal 1983
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre IV album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Massacre IV
Heavy Metal 1983
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre V album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Massacre V
Thrash Metal 1984
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Masters Of Metal (US) album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Masters Of Metal (US)
Heavy Metal 1984
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) White Hot Masters Of Metal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
White Hot Masters Of Metal
Heavy Metal 1984
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Masters Of Metal Volume 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Masters Of Metal Volume 2
Heavy Metal 1984
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Wars - A Heavy Metal Assault album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Wars - A Heavy Metal Assault
Heavy Metal 1985
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre VI album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Massacre VI
Thrash Metal 1985
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Speed Kills - The Very Best In Speed Metal album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Speed Kills - The Very Best In Speed Metal
Thrash Metal 1985
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) MFN Says Welcome To The Metal Zone album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
MFN Says Welcome To The Metal Zone
Heavy Metal 1985
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Heavy Metal Guitar Battle album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Heavy Metal Guitar Battle
Heavy Metal 1985
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Speed Metal Hell album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Speed Metal Hell
Speed Metal 1985
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) California's Best Metal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
California's Best Metal
Heavy Metal 1985
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Speed Metal Hell II album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Speed Metal Hell II
Thrash Metal 1986
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Speed Kills II - The Mayhem Continues... album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Speed Kills II - The Mayhem Continues...
Thrash Metal 1986
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Masters Of Metal (NZ) album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Masters Of Metal (NZ)
Heavy Metal 1986
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Masters Of Metal (UK) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Masters Of Metal (UK)
Heavy Metal 1986
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre VII album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Massacre VII
Thrash Metal 1986
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre VIII album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Massacre VIII
Thrash Metal 1987
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Skull Thrash Zone Volume 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Skull Thrash Zone Volume 1
Thrash Metal 1987
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Masters album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Masters
Glam Metal 1987
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Speed Kills III - A Catalogue Of Destruction album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Speed Kills III - A Catalogue Of Destruction
Thrash Metal 1987
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Attack album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Attack
Heavy Metal 1987
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Rising Metal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rising Metal
Thrash Metal 1988
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Scream Until You Like It album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Scream Until You Like It
Heavy Metal 1988
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Meltdown album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Meltdown
Heavy Metal 1988
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) 'Stars On Thrash' album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
'Stars On Thrash'
Thrash Metal 1988
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre IX album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Massacre IX
Thrash Metal 1988
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre X album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Massacre X
Thrash Metal 1989
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Assault album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Metal Assault
Heavy Metal 1989
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Grindcrusher album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Grindcrusher
Grindcore 1989
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Mega Metal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Mega Metal
Speed Metal 1989
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Speed Kills...But Who's Dying? - Volume 4 of the Ultimate In Thrash album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Speed Kills...But Who's Dying? - Volume 4 of the Ultimate In Thrash
Thrash Metal 1989
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Speed Kills 5 - Head Crushing Metal album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Speed Kills 5 - Head Crushing Metal
Thrash Metal 1990
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Thrash The Wall album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Thrash The Wall
Thrash Metal 1990
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) At Death's Door - A Collection Of Brutal Death Metal album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
At Death's Door - A Collection Of Brutal Death Metal
Death Metal 1990
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Death... Is Just the Beginning album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Death... Is Just the Beginning
Death Metal 1990
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Kings of Speed Metal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Kings of Speed Metal
Thrash Metal 1990
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) New Wave Of British Heavy Metal '79 Revisited album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
New Wave Of British Heavy Metal '79 Revisited
NWoBHM 1990
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Funky Metal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Funky Metal
Funk Metal 1991
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre XI album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Massacre XI
Thrash Metal 1991
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Rock Hard Presents Monsters Of Death album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Rock Hard Presents Monsters Of Death
Death Metal 1992
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Speed Kills 6 - Violence Of The Slams album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Speed Kills 6 - Violence Of The Slams
Thrash Metal 1992
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Naive album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Naive
Industrial Metal 1992
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Touch Of Death album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Touch Of Death
Death Metal 1992
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Corporate Death album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Corporate Death
Death Metal 1993
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Crossover album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Crossover
Alternative Metal 1993
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Hit Parader Salutes 20 Years Of Metal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hit Parader Salutes 20 Years Of Metal
Glam Metal 1993
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) 5 Years Nuclear Blast album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
5 Years Nuclear Blast
Death Metal 1993
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Death... Is Just the Beginning II album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Death... Is Just the Beginning II
Death Metal 1993
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) At Death's Door II album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
At Death's Door II
Death Metal 1993
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Christmas album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Christmas
Heavy Metal 1994
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Epitaph - New Zealand Death Grind Compilation Tape album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Epitaph - New Zealand Death Grind Compilation Tape
Death Metal 1994
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Hard Music Volume 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hard Music Volume 1
Heavy Metal 1994
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Corporate Rock Wars album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Corporate Rock Wars
Alternative Metal 1995
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre XII album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Metal Massacre XII
Thrash Metal 1995
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Death... Is Just the Beginning III album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Death... Is Just the Beginning III
Death Metal 1995
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Dynamo Open Air 10th Anniversary album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Dynamo Open Air 10th Anniversary
Alternative Metal 1995
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Spectrum Fest: Micro-Brewed Musical Artistry album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Spectrum Fest: Micro-Brewed Musical Artistry
Grindcore 1996
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Death... Is Just the Beginning IV album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Death... Is Just the Beginning IV
Death Metal 1997
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) In Decay We Trust Vol.1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Decay We Trust Vol.1
Black Metal 1997
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Death... Is Just the Beginning V album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Death... Is Just the Beginning V
Death Metal 1999
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Death... Is Just the Beginning VI album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Death... Is Just the Beginning VI
Death Metal 2000
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) The Return of Darkness & Hate album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Return of Darkness & Hate
Black Metal 2000
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal ReMaster album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Metal ReMaster
Heavy Metal 2001
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) VH1 Classic Presents: Metal Mania - Stripped, Vol. 1 album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
VH1 Classic Presents: Metal Mania - Stripped, Vol. 1
Glam Metal 2004
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) The Best Heavy Metal Album In The World...Ever! album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best Heavy Metal Album In The World...Ever!
Heavy Metal 2004
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) The Glam That Stole Christmas, Volume 1 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Glam That Stole Christmas, Volume 1
Glam Metal 2004
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) 13 Bands Who Think You're Gay album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
13 Bands Who Think You're Gay
Grindcore 2004
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) VH1 Classic Presents: Metal Mania - Stripped, Vol. 2: The Anthems album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
VH1 Classic Presents: Metal Mania - Stripped, Vol. 2: The Anthems
Glam Metal 2005
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Massacre XIII album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Metal Massacre XIII
Death Metal 2006
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Funeral For A Friend ‎– Back To The Bus 3 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Funeral For A Friend ‎– Back To The Bus 3
Alternative Metal 2007
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Anus Flames For Jesus Christ Vol.1 album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Anus Flames For Jesus Christ Vol.1
Grindcore 2007
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) VH1 Classic Presents: Metal Mania - Stripped, Vol. 3 album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
VH1 Classic Presents: Metal Mania - Stripped, Vol. 3
Glam Metal 2007
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Hell Comes Around album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hell Comes Around
Thrash Metal 2007
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year
Heavy Metal 2008
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Hell Comes Around II: The Second Coming album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hell Comes Around II: The Second Coming
Death Metal 2009
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Scream Until You Like It (2009) album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Scream Until You Like It (2009)
Glam Metal 2009
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Maximum Metalcore album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Maximum Metalcore
Metalcore 2012
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Earache: World's Shortest Album album cover 4.17 | 2 ratings
Earache: World's Shortest Album
Grindcore 2012
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Rise 200 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Rise 200
Metalcore 2013
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Maximum Metalcore 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Maximum Metalcore 2
Metalcore 2013
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) The Classic Hard Rock Christmas Album album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
The Classic Hard Rock Christmas Album
Hard Rock 2014
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Pure...metal album cover 1.50 | 1 ratings
Pure...metal
Heavy Metal 2014
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) 35 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
35
Hardcore Punk 2016
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Legends Of Metal album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Legends Of Metal
Alternative Metal 2016
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) In Profound Sorrow album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Profound Sorrow
Depressive Black Metal 2017
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) 100 Goregrind Porngore Cybergrind Bands Compilation Vol. 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
100 Goregrind Porngore Cybergrind Bands Compilation Vol. 2
Grindcore 2017
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) THE SOUND OF X (1) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
THE SOUND OF X (1)
Grindcore 2018

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) EPs & splits

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Muthas Pride album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Muthas Pride
NWoBHM 1980

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) live albums

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) re-issues & compilations

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Fiesta Comes Alive! album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Fiesta Comes Alive!
Grindcore 1997
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Worldwide Metal album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Worldwide Metal
Death Metal 2008
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Grind Madness At The BBC album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
Grind Madness At The BBC
Grindcore 2009
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Insufferable Noise album cover 0.50 | 1 ratings
Insufferable Noise
Grindcore 2015
VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Madness: Vol. 1 album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
Metal Madness: Vol. 1
Metal Related Genres 2018

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) singles (0)

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Death... Is Just the Beginning V
Death Metal 1999
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Death... Is Just the Beginning VI
Death Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Manifesto Of Metal For The Masses
Death Metal 2009

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Reviews

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Speed Kills - The Very Best In Speed Metal

Album · 1985 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vim Fuego
No compilation is quite definitive of a genre.

Think about it. One of the most famous compilations in all of metal is the 1980 album “Metal For Muthas”. This album exemplified the essence and feel of the NWOBHM, a scene which combined an invigorating new take on metal combined with the DIY ethos of the punk scene. It was a great starting place for the scene, but definitive? The NW in the acronym stands for new wave. Nutz had been releasing albums for six years. The stands for British. E.F. Bands was Swedish. And the HM is, of course, heavy metal. Toad The Wet Sprocket and the aforementioned Nutz let the team down here. There was some excellent stuff on this album, like Iron Maiden, Praying Mantis, Samson, and Angelwitch, but Geoff Barton, he who coined the tongue twisting NWOBHM acronym, rated this album a lowly two out of five. He called the album an embarrassment, and “metal for masochists”, because it basically missed the point of the NWOBHM. Perhaps “Metal For Muthas” was too ambitious, or the whole scene too wide and amorphous to be covered by an album or two (the second inferior volume followed later the same year). Think of the names missing here – Def Leppard, Saxon, even Diamond Head.

However, compilations were a hugely important promotional tool for underground music scenes. Many punk scenes the world over did a great job of getting their sounds out there through the art of the compilation. There would be unexpected hits and inexplicable misses, but compilations were often the best way to get music to a wider audience when there was zero chance of radio play or mainstream media coverage.

As the NWOBHM faded, the winners departed on world tours, the losers went back to their day jobs, and another embryonic scene started to bud and blossom. It was more international than the NWOBHM, but was still a bottom-up groundswell, and borrowed a bit of the punk sound as well as the ethos. That was the speed metal movement, or as we know it in hindsight now, thrash metal. The first compilation to include this new style of music was volume 1 of Metal Blade’s long-running “Metal Massacre” series, released in 1982 and featuring a band called “Mettallica”. Yeah, Metal Blade’s forte was metal, not spelling.

By 1985, this scene was really starting to come into it’s own, and a handful of independent labels were starting to grow some impressive rosters. Through cross promotion and co-operation, British label Music For Nations managed to secure tracks from some of the more important independent metal labels and almost put together a genre defining compilation. Almost...

If you run through the roster of bands here, you find Venom, who along with Motörhead were really the grandads of thrash metal. You get three of the not-yet-labelled Big Four (it seems that label arose in 1986). There’s Celtic Frost and Possessed, without whom doom, death, and black metal would be very different beasts to what we know now. You get Exodus, who were a bit late out of the starting gate. There’s a track from Canadian space cowboys Voivod, before they went full cyberprog. The most obvious gap here is the German one. Yes, there’s Destruction at the top of their bestial game, but the rest of the German biggies are missing – no Kreator, no Sodom, no Helloween (Helloween belonged in that company in those days, and Tankard was still a year off releasing their debut album). So not a perfect definitive roster, but pretty fucking impressive in it’s own right. So what’s actually here?

First track “Metal Merchants” by Hallows Eve is probably the easiest to digest stepping stone for a traditional metal fan stumbling across this album. It’s a perfect cross between NWOBHM melody and the new-fangled speed metal tempo. The noodling riff and militaristic snare of the introduction (actually a separate track called “Valley of the Dolls”, but run together here as one song) pulls the listener in before the smack in the face of the main song bursts into full on thrash riffing overlaid with NWOBHM leads.

Hallows Eve really doesn’t prepare the listener for the next track. Exodus’ “A Lesson In Violence” is just what it says. This song is violent as fuck. Paul Baloff’s vocals are vicious and full of hate for the uneducated. There are a lot of ifs, buts, and maybes which have dogged Exodus’ career. Forget them and soak up the metallic fury here instead.

Destruction’s “Bestial Invasion” is a good choice here as it is a lot darker than the catchier “Mad Butcher”. There was an element of Venom worship in some of Destruction’s early material, but Schmier’s vocal style is quite different to Cronos, and this is far more technical than what Venom was famous for, and showed a band which had carved out it’s own evil little niche.

Bulldozer is the least known band here, having formed in 1980. If even recognised at all, these Italian thrashers are often remembered as second rate, but “Insurrection of the Living Damned” is the blackest song here (yes, even more so than Venom), and their evil sounds have attained a strong cult following in the black metal underground. Alberto Contini’s gruff vocals are particularly impressive, and this track showed a band confident enough not to have to play flat out all the time.

Metallica sounds streets ahead of everyone else here. “Fight Fire With Fire” is professional and clear sounding, and fast as fuck, sharp, and vital. If you don’t know this song, you probably shouldn’t be reading this review, so no use in describing it. Where did this band go? And how the hell do you follow the most intense song of Metallica’s career? Well, with Slayer, quite obviously. While it’s not stated here, and hasn’t ever really fully been clarified, this sounds like the in-studio-live version of “Evil Has No Boundaries” from the “Live Undead” EP. It’s barely controlled chaos. The lyrics and image are cheesy, but it’s executed so convincingly that listeners forgot to laugh at them. A young Tom Araya sounds particularly gleeful here.

Possessed kick off side 2 (This was 1985. CDs were ridiculously expensive to produce, and most metal labels couldn’t afford to press them, so you had vinyl or cassette) with “Pentagram”. It is Satanic and evil sounding enough to have caused a Christian panic, complete with backmasking and and an evil sounding riff.

Exciter was right there when it started, one of the first handful of thrash metal bands to release an album, not far behind Metallica and Slayer. Yet “Riders From Darkness” is the weakest track on this entire album. It’s earnest but silly speed metal, and really demonstrates why Exciter are a footnote in metal history and not remembered as a major player.

The version of “Black Metal” included here is not the same as the one from Venom’s classic second album of the same name. The production has been tightened and sharpened, which removes the blackened rough charm of the original. Fear not though, this makes up in power what it lacks in raw energy, and isn’t a disappointment.

Speaking of raw, Voivod’s “War and Pain” is bleeding edge, with lacerating guitars, weird, crashing riffs, and nasty, incomprehensible vocals. Voivod has never been an easy or comforting band to listen to, and fans wouldn’t have it any other way.

You can’t keep a good Dave down, and Megadeth’s “Rattlehead” is a storming track. Technical, sharp, and fast, nevertheless it’s not as heavy as Metallica. And this is the last time you’d see the two bands on the same bill for 25 years. Never mind, listening to Dave Mustaine trying to out-do his former bandmates is always a pleasure.

“Into The Crypts of Rays” is a bit faster than most Celtic Frost songs, but this is a speed metal compilation after all. The song perfectly displays the proto-death metal riffing and Tom G. Warrior’s signature death grunt, and is a strong finish to a classy collection.

The best thing a compilation can do is to whet the listener’s appetite to explore further. “Speed Kills” teases and titillates like a lingerie ad on a bus stop. You want more? Go get it. Just keep your state of arousal under control in public.

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Pure...metal

Album · 2014 · Heavy Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal Madness: Vol. 1

Boxset / Compilation · 2018 · Metal Related Genres
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
VARIOUS ARTISTS - METAL MADNESS: Vol. 1 https://wisteriatn.bandcamp.com/album/metal-madness-vol-1

Rate Your Music's own Abishai Smith is back for another huge colossus of a project on his newly created Wisteria Records and this time he’s not holding back (um, well maybe he never has!). While it’s hard to believe, Bishopboy1999 (his site user name) puts out a punishing behemoth of a compilation in the form of METAL MADNESS: Vol 1 which includes a whopping 66 tracks by no less than 39 artists from all over the globe spanning the entire subgenre aisles at your friendly metal superstore. Yeah, that’s right. You name it. Progressive, death, black, sludge, technical, screamo. It’s all here! Ok, sorry you glam metal lovers. That didn’t make the final editing sessions. The album swallows up 388 minutes of your life to get through but when all is said and done…. THIS FUCKING COMP ROCKS!!! Although it took me only a mere two months to sift through ten tracks at a time for a few listens. It was definitely worth it as there are indeed MANY metal bands with great talent out there lurking in the shadows. Do yourself a favor and check them out on this handy one-stop listening center.

The comp starts off with two tracks from the sequencer and MIDI based POSITRON (France) which harnesses elements of black metal and industrial to create hyperactive little electro-metal pieces. The music is based more on the industrial elements with a rather polished metal backing. OK, but not my favorite style of metal.

HEDNINGER (Canada) brings the headbanging elements on board with a rather Amon Amarth-esque take on melodic death metal with Viking march styled melodies, soaring guitar riffs and pummeling percussive drive with a nicely placed bass part that doesn’t get buried in the din. The vocals are angry and shouted with emphatic warlike charge. Three tracks from these guys.

THRASHING MOSSDOG (US) takes the brutality to the next level with some stellar brutal death metal that offers a unique mix with blackgaze as a pummeling death oriented guitar riffs and percussion ascend from a blackhole of noise haze with the vocals screaming and still barely emerging from the gravitational pull of the chaotic din. Compositionally the track sounds more like black metal as well, so this is some sort of blackened deathgaze, perhaps? Cool stuff. 2 tracks from these guys.

Next up, SCOREDATURA (Australia), uh whaaat? Do you know what datura is? It’s a hallucinogenic drug that will make you jump off buildings and shit. And it sounds like this is the soundtrack! Taking a completely different detour, this band pumps out 2 tracks of fine djent-rification laden progressive instrumental metal with sizzling neoclassical guitar solos, thoughtful compositions and sounds like something that would’ve emerged on the Shrapnel Records label had it come out two decades prior as it’s prime finger melting wankery of the highest calibre. Animals As Leaders fanatics will eat this up!

THE BLUE PRISON (US) aka Keigo Yoshida only contributes one track but what a killer one it is! What would i call this? Sounds totally unique. “Patriot” is characterized by a military march percussive style, sizzling neoclassical shredding techniques and a tear inducing ambient synthesized background that evokes the fallen angels haunting the heavens above. The guitar work is absolutely outstanding and the emotional tugs are equally compelling. One of my favorite tracks on the entire comp. Thematically chilling and technically executed to perfection.

Next up, MOLEKH (Ireland). Now these guys have conjured up some of the absolutely wickedest sounding metal since Deathspell Omega scared the shit out of us with their trilogy of jangly Satanic liturgies over ten years ago. This band pummels with unrelenting percussion, similarly scary jangly atonal guitar riffs and franticly possessed shouted vocals that sound like several exorcisms ravaging the vocalist at the same time. The atmosphere is just plain creepy with strange theremin type guitar runs creating strange sounding effects. MOLEKH is another favorite discover as they have nailed the creepy technical black war metal sound like very few have. A true talent i’m anxious to hear more from.

LIGHT DWELLER (US) follows with four tracks of brutal blackened death metal mayhem. A great followup with similarly blackgazy death metal pummelation of unrelenting percussive fury, downtuned guitar string abuse, tortured shouted vocals and technically challenging compositions that allow harsh dissonance and steady stream rhythms to bombard the senses with the occasional break into bleak bouts of slowed down guitar parts for contrast. They also utilize the creepy atonal jangle guitar effect for maximum brainfuckery and it soooo works. Their debut EP is called “Nullity Of Light” but their music could easily fall into the “Nullity Of Sanity” category as well. I love it!!

Named after a birth defect in which the baby’s intestines extend outside the body, GASTROSCHISIS (US) deliver a short one track of pure adrenaline goregrind with the expected adrenaline infused grotesque nature that one would expect. Fast and furious and to the point.

DEVICE (Brazil) offer 4 tracks of an old school death metal sound bringing more of a classic era Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse or Bolt Thrower style to the table. Superbly executed with snarling vocal growls, classically themed deathened drum rolls and nicely delivered guitar riffs from below hell with a semi-melodic underpinning. Evil yet just enough sweetener to get through. Nice.

FRAYED ALIVE (US) deliver one track of brutal slam death metal goods on “To Dwell In Time” with deep growled unintelligible vocals the almost sound like a demonic frog croaking with subdued guitar riffs, blastbeat percussion and nice atmospheric passages that make this sound quite unique. A nice mix of dark ambient, sludge metal tempos and death metal overall feel. Awesomely evil sounding!

THE HORN (Australia) deliver a strange blackgazy sort of metal with “Spell 8” that has a heightened dark ambient fuzz with a murky mix of heavy black metal riffs, tales from the crypt vocals and a relentless percussive driven groove that allow a subdued melodic guitar run to creep through the sonic brume. “Spell 30a” follows suit but offers Egyptian sounds similar to Nile only these guys are more groove oriented in a weird galloping way. “Child In Time” is completely different as it covers the classic 1970 Deep Purple song and completely brings it up to date. Beginning with a demonic spoken word intro it slowly ratchets up both the dark ambient melodic backdrop as well as the ever encroaching guitar presence until it bursts into full metal fury. The keyboard work is extremely impressive. This is one helluva cover track! These guys are another favorite. This is another outstanding evil as fuck sounding band that released an astonishing number of albums dedicated to The Egyptian Book of the Dead. Three tracks from these guys.

NTIZKVM (Philippines) kill it with a primeval lo-fi indie sounding war metal track with “Dark Ends Of Eternity.” Sloppy guitar and drum action, psycho killer vocal ranting. All the makings of a great underground kvlt classic. Particular interesting is the drummer’s use of cymbals which accompany the pummeling blastbeats. Nice blackened journey into the underworld!

NON EST DEUS (Germany) only present one track but at nearly 10 minute long is one of the longest of the compilation. Another black metal band although this one reminds me more of the second wave 90s bands like Rotting Christ with a steady fast beat but not blastbeats. The vocals very much remind me of Hellenic black metal as do the guitar riffs which are rather boogie-woogie oriented like AC/DC on speed. While i’m reminded of those other bands, this is really rather unique in how it’s presented. Very digestible for black metal as it’s melodic but also badass. Kinda has a Violent Femmes folk punk groove to it as well.

Æthĕrĭa Conscĭentĭa (France) immediately brings Metallica’s “One” to mind as the opener seems to simulate the opening riff of that track and when i see the name of the track is “The Exalted Ones,” it almost seems like a given that that intro was used as the basis for its development however don’t worry because it branches off into totally different arenas. This is atmospheric black metal and sounds like it. Buzzsaw guitar distortion at mid tempo. Creepy deranged vocals and a dark ambient fuzz. Melodic with tremolo guitar parts. Kinda has a touch of Doors psychedelia in the keyboard department. The guitar becomes thrashy at times. Also becomes very noisy and changes things up including an unexpected sax presence toward the middle. Cool track.

CULTOR NOCTIS (Belgium) continue the black metal streak with more dungeon synth oriented bleakness. Quite a downer and depressive with guttural howling of keyboards with downtuned guitar arpeggios that lead. Brings Sweden’s Shining to mind as the actual metal kicks in but while Shining is a slower drudging band, these guys aren’t afraid to unleash some wicked speed and heft in their depressive black metal. Nice chord changes offer a semi-progressive metal workout. The subdued frigid vocals convey the ultimate nadir of bleakness. Very effective.

THERESIA (Japan then Canada) offer another dose of depressive black metal only with higher octane and more agression. The percussion pummels the blastbeats, the tortured vocals scream from the pits of hell while the buzzsaw guitar. While the track plods along in a straight forward manner, i have to say that the violent vocals pleas make this the most unhinged track on the entire comp.

INNER SUFFERING (Ukraine) continue the depressive black metal show with four tracks characterized by heavy drumming, atmospheric backdrop, jangly dissonant guitar riffs and a doom laden dirge effect which offers an interesting hybridization of styles. More subdued screaming vocals from the pits of hell. While stylistically similar, the lengthy near twelve minute “Slow Dance On The Ashes Of Failure” take a funeral doom metal detour with echoey doomgazey ambience and slow dirge driven tempos glazed with atmospheric gloom that takes a lengthy journey into the darkness and never relents as it becomes slower and darker and even bleaker and more depressive. Oh god. Keep me away from that gun!

SADAEL (Armenia) continues the dirge driven doom laden melancholy with dissonant guitars and bleak atmospheres conjuring grim reapers for dark rituals in a near ten minute dark march into a mid-tempo metal excursion. The semi-spoken, semi-growled vocals provide a rather grim narrative of sort that exacerbates the darkness. One one track from the Armenians.

MOONDWELLER (Russia) provides another two tracks of atmospheric black metal that takes more than a few cues from Darkspace with thick atmospheric complexities and heavy pummeling guitar riff based black metal aggression. Instrumentally this is well executed but the production seems a little off for my tastes. The keyboards have a rather cheery vibe to them that clashes with the metal aspects.

DONARHALL (Germany) continues the atmospheric black metal but only one track with more emphasis on the atmospheric part as it straddles along with arpeggiated guitar chords heavily amplified for a lengthy period of time before breaking into black metal bombast mode. Honestly, this one is a little too generic for my tastes and doesn’t really distinguish itself from the legions of similar sounding acts.

COMA (Austria) brings back the depressive blackgaze with wrenching heavy distortion only the oddest vocals are delivered on at the 14 minute plus “Dance, Burning Butterly” with guest Narbengrund (of Totengeflüster) who sounds more like a Goth rock singer instead of the expected raspy evil sounding vocals associated with black metal. The track turns into a weird noisy psychedelic trip with a faint piano providing some sort of melody but then when the metal returns it becomes angry, bombastic with stomping power chords and furious growls from the pits of hell. This track continues to alternate between a sort of sound collage with clean arpeggiated guitar and the distorted black metal. Pretty cool. Their second track “Ghosting” sticks to the atmospheric black metal with the deranged growly vocals, dark ambient backdrop and heavy buzzsaw guitar. The time signatures are quite progressive though. This is another favorite band of this comp.

REMOTE (Russia) dish out one track of heavy duty sludge metal that marches around at a mid-tempo stomp with nice beefy type distortion and screamed vocals that bring a sense of impending despair. The sludge riffs are thick like an oil spill on the ocean’s surface and the melodic prance brings a quickened Black Sabbath vibe to the forefront. Nice filthy raw sludge metal here.

DEKONSTRUKTOR (Russia) delivers another dose of Russkiy sludge metal from the land of frozen tundra and vodka. Their one track takes a more lo-fi approach and a high energy galloping guitar riff and heavy percussion that makes this one border on death metal however the vocal style is definitely in the same camp as sludge metal bands such as Neurosis or Eyehategod. Nice aggressive sludge metal albeit nothing tremendously out of the ordinary either.

SMOKE (US) deliver another one track of American sludge metal all the way from the sludgy swamps of southern Louisiana. The track “BMF” makes me think “Big Monster Fuck” as the sludgy creeping guitar riffs that allow as much sustain as possible slowly build up for full attack. The track builds up to more of stoner metal vibe in the vein of Kyushu but the vocals take it to the twisted world of black metal as raspy vocals scream from the abyss. Nice.

SUNDRIFTER (US) dials things down a bit from the extreme metal universe but continues the stoner vibe as a tribal drum starts things off. The heavily distorted guitar has a Sabbath sort of feel as do the bluesy shuffles. The vocals are what ground it to the stoner rock world as they are clean and sound a bit like Jim Morrison of The Doors. This band sounds more like Danzig than a bona fide metal band but the heavy guitar, bass and drum are ferocious enough to get them in this club.

THE SLEEPER (Germany) changes the direction with their one track into the world a more progressive metal sound with a rather alternative Alice In Chains sound from the “Dirt” era. In fact Steven Jost’s intro vocals sounds very much like Lane Staley but the track takes on a heavier melodic metalcore stance as the Between The Buried And Me type style merges with a Linkin Park sort of piano riff. This is an interesting mix between alternative metal, metalcore and even touches of nu metal.

yrs. (Germany) is one of those newer band that just refuses to use capital letters in their name. What’s up with that guys? These guys dish out two tracks of eerie atmospheric sludge metal with depressive background ambience, a melodic guitar riff attack and anguished vocals screaming from the abysmal bottom of hell. The band name makes me think “years” which brings to mind some sort of sentencing and condemnation to a jail cell in some dark torturous location. If the tag depressive sludge metal existed, i’d definitely use that since this is a sludge metal equivalent to the anguished black metal of Shining and similar bands. We get two tracks from this band.

EMPRESS (Canada) cranks out four tracks of their unique style of atmospheric sludge metal which has a more evil sort of take on 90s Neurosis. They provide a heavy distorted groove, tribal drumming patterns, gazy atmospheric mix and a subdued shouting vocal effect emerging from beneath the heavy distorted din. When the guitar drops the incredibly evil sounding bass is allowed to shine which is my favorite instrument for these guys. Bouts of shoegaze type psychedelic meandering also occur. With four tracks they are one track away from featuring their entire debut EP “Reminiscence.” While sounding a bit like a more aggressive version of Neurosis, these guys have a firm command of their murky atmospheres married with heavy guitar sludgery. Nice tones they achieve and the instruments don’t bleed into each other too much leaving enough independence to be heard. Definitely an up and coming talent here.

APE CAVE (US) continues the sludge metal attack with a progressive edge with heavy guitar riffs that have an angular edge unleashing jittery time signatures and an edgy sort of percussive bombast. In fact the drummer is highly skilled with blitzkrieg lightning fast drum rolls. The vocals alternate between depressive clean and anguished angry growled screams. Their one track alternates from clean guitar led calmness to heavy distorted sludge outbursts. Nice attention paid to the details which makes this a pleasant mix. Another up and coming band ate watch out for.

TALLER THAN TREES (Belgium) provides two tracks of atmospheric sludge metal more in the post metal vein of bands like Isis and Pelican with repetitive grooves, lazy percussive backing and sludgy distortion. The vocals emerge as growly screams more in the vein of Eyehategod or early Neurosis. Not the most original band but passable. Needs work on variety the monotonous riffs become generic.

BESTIA (Poland) continues the sludgefest with a fierce heavy dual guitar assault that allows a bassier riff to cruise along with a higher registered one. This is also a band that blurs the line between metal styles. While the guitar riffs are based in sludge metal, the growly vocals are more akin to old school death metal such as the Morbid Angel years. The tracks have a more melodic alternative metal sort of approach that sound a little like accessible 90s grunge however it’s all balanced very nicely as not to be too saccharin and have enough metal ballsy gusto to feel like i want to run down the streets beating my chest and growling like a fucking animal! Nice semi-dissonant arpeggios and just off enough to have an edge yet grounded in traditional compositional structures. These guys have an instantly addictive mix of styles that will remind everyone of some band or other but really don’t sound like any other. Nice two tracks from the Poles.

LEFT TO WITHER (France) offers one of my least favorite types of metal hybridization and yeah that means screamo, an offshoot of hardcore punk meets math rock but this may be that i haven’t really delved to deeply into this little nook of the hardcore universe. It’s usually the vocals that drive me away (and i’m saying that as an extreme metal fanatic.) OK, on this French band’s two tracks, we indeed get a nerdy math rock that is heavily distorted with the expected unintelligible emotional outbursts that in this case emerge as the expected angry screams. Touches of atmospheric sludge metal make this a littler more digestible for me. Heavy sludge riffing, hardcore drum assault and a decent amount of slide guitar and interesting changes make this a nice set of headbangin’ hardcore.

SATURNIST (Finland) present just one track on this comp but these Finn’s know how to make an impact with this almost twelve minute doomfest. These guys take the traditional doom metal route with immediate Black Sabbath connections from the getgo as the tintinnabulation of bells and a bass gently usher in an incrementally more aggressive stance. The riffs are very Sabbathy as they churn on but close to the three minute mark a distorted atmospheric break allowed guitar sustain to transmogrify the music into a more 90s based doom metal not unlike Candlemass or Saint Vitus. Although it takes almost five minutes to introduce the vocals, once they hit, they are nicely unique not sounding like any of the aforementioned influences and instead convey more of a clean vocal style that sounds most like bands like Slough Feg rather than a doom metal band but it’s a nice contrast. Although the track plods along, this is indeed a nicely done doom metal track although not really groundbreaking in any way.

DEATHBELL (France) delivers the next round of doom metal with the expected nonchalant flows of distorted guitar riffs, lazy percussive backing and gloomy marches to infinity. What’s not expected is the vocal style of Lauren Gaynor who makes use of a high clean vocal style that is melodic and rises above the bass heavy instrumentation. Over their two tracks, they implement Sabbath-esque chord changes only dragged out into near funeral doom arenas but yet retain a sort of Kyuss styled stoner vibe to the mix. Rather catchy for doom metal but delivers all the doomy, gloomy goods.

SWALLOWED WHOLE (US) provide a rather unique soundscape on their one track. Straddling somewhere in the ether mix of black, industrial and death doom metal, this Seattle based band deliver an ominous assault on the senses with somewhat catchy melodic riffs that have a black metal guitar, a cymbal laden percussive backing and a freaky deep gargling vocal style. The melody is somewhat catchy but kind of teeters in and out of tune in an apparent dissonant / consonant tug-of-war. With a name like SWALLOWED WHOLE, their unique sound does kind of convey that they recorded this track at least in the belly of a whale! Now wouldn’t THAT make a killer recording studio? LOL

V.H. CLEANER (Australia) is the odd band out on the mix. They really aren’t a metal band at all but rather are more known for vaporware, plunderphonics, electronic and dark ambient. However, here they do implement some mean guitar distorted riffs that although echoing and writhing about like land locked octopi, they do provide a darkened ominous assault on the senses. A very short track that not exactly metal still fits the overall vibe.

SZAR (US) deliver the only drone metal track on the comp. This Louisiana based act is really the alter ego of Thomas Dwayne Hargrave who plays all instruments but don’t get too impressed. Drone metal is the easiest metal to play with virtually zero effort, however it is about the right atmospheric dynamics and SZAR does provide a nice romp through glaciated guitar sustained distortion with minimal drumming and more chord changes and faster tempos than frozen in time acts like early Earth. Drone metal is not my favorite in the least but this is decent.

Our metal circus ringleader saves his own contribution for the very last and while that alone doesn’t surprise me, the fact that this is not metal at all really does. ABISHAI ends the long journey through this comp with a little bit of a pallet cleanser. Instead of dishing out yet one more dose of heavy guitar distortion and growly vocal attitudnal misalignment, Mr Smith ends with a dark ambient track titled “Immortality And Hatred Within The Zealots.” While i would’ve loved to hear ABISHAI’s own metal concoction, this one is a nice grounding piece that keeps the darkness churning on til the very end.

CONCLUSION: Bravo to Abishai for creating a fan-damn-tastic METAL MADNESS comp! I do hope that the VOLUME ONE part of the title refers to a future Volume Two and beyond because this dude has proven to be a veritable talent magnet that has turned me on to some totally ripping good times here. Granted there are ups and downs on this one and everyone who can fantasize what their favorite type of comp should be, probably has not worked through the painstaking processes of compiling what is available for them to work with. While i’m sure everyone could think of a better way to do it themselves, the fact is they didn’t and Abishai shows a mature way of compiling some veritable contemporary talents in the underground metal world. Sure i would’ve loved to hear more power metal, more thrash or even more technically based avant-garde weirdness but i do have to say that there is more than enough here to please any extreme metal fan even if they don’t dig every single track. Although some tracks are stronger than others, there are really no throwaways either. This was a pleasure to experience 66 tracks worth of dark underground metal even though it took me forever to get through it a few times. I mean, wow. This easily could’ve been broken up into six volumes, so this could easily be considered a box set of sort had it come out before the digital age. EXCELLENT album! More of these please ;)

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) Metal for Muthas

Album · 1980 · NWoBHM
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vim Fuego
The New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Thanks a lot Geoff Barton, for one of the most awkward labels for a genre of music ever. NWOBHM. If you try to pronounce the acronym, it sounds like somewhere in North Africa where Montgomery and Rommel scrapped it out during World Ward 2, at the Battle of NWOBHM. Writing for Sounds magazine, Barton first coined New Wave of British Heavy Metal in May 1979. Is the term descriptive? Yes. An underground swelling of heavy metal bands popped up in Great Britain the late 1970s and early 1980s. They supposedly had a new sound, distinct from that of the old guard of heavy metal. Is the term accurate? Not really. Define the sound exactly. Was it Iron Maiden’s galloping riffs? Was it Diamond Head’s hard edged take on prog rock? Was it Angel Witch’s occult inspired freakouts? Was it Saxon’s working class denim and leather? All NWOBHM bands, but all that’s really similar in them is their British origin, and they all played metal.

“Metal For Muthas” was an attempt to catalogue these disparate sounds, and in doing so created an album both definitive of and symptomatic of the scene. Released in February 1980, the ten tracks on this album featured some of the best and worst of metal for the time and place.

“Metal For Muthas” is probably most famous for being the place where many a metal fan first discovered Iron Maiden. Maiden had released the single “Running Free” a week before this compilation came out, and their debut album was still a couple of months off. What was on offer here was early versions of “Sanctuary” and “Wrathchild”. These are far and away the stand-out tracks on this album, and it’s easy to see why Iron Maiden became Iron Maiden. In an odd twist, neither was included on the original version of Iron Maiden’s debut.

“Sanctuary” was intended to be a non-album single. It was recorded as a four piece, with Doug Sampson on drums. The band were most unhappy with the way it sounded, so re-recorded it for the single, and the re-recorded version was later added to the US and subsequent versions of the “Iron Maiden” album. However, the rougher “Metal For Muthas” version has a gritty charm all it’s own.

“Wrathchild” also sounds rougher than the version which would eventually appear on “Killers”. The guitars have a bit more bite, the solos are demonstrably different, and it doesn’t quite have the Martin Birch punch of the later version.

There’s more to this album than Iron Maiden though. Sledgehammer’s “Sledgehammer” just perfectly sets itself up for any number of hammering, pounding, thumping, or bashing clichés, so just pick your own one while you listen to Mike Cooke’s excellent melodic vocals and his powerful rhythm section. Like many of the songs here, it has a bluesy swagger to it, owing great debts to the likes of early Deep Purple and Status Quo.

E.F. Band kept the blues flavour, but upped the tempo somewhat, and completely fucked the British part of NWOBHM by having the temerity to hail from Sweden. Never mind, “Fighting for Rock and Roll” does just that, and there are some incredible solos mid-song.

Toad The Wet Sprocket borrowed their name from a Monty Python sketch, and you might almost think someone was having a laugh by including “Blues In A” on the album. The song reeks of boozy, smoke-filled barrooms, complete with someone tinkling the ivories, and vocalist Mick Mostafa wailed all over it. A great hangover song, but a bit of a momentum killer, and there was a vital element missing from it, namely THE METAL!

Praying Mantis had all the ingredients to have made it bigger than they did. After all, guitarist Rob Angelo wrote “Sanctuary” when he was in Iron Maiden. Yes, the same “Sanctuary” that led off the album. Angelo was paid £300 for the song and was well satisfied with it. Interestingly, he didn’t have a writing credit for “Captured City”, the song featured here. While not as quick as Maiden, this still has a similar bass driven feel, with some great memorable vocal harmonies.

Ethel The Frog... Not a promising name. Another amphibian from another Monty Python sketch, but it’s a matter of not judging a book by it’s cover. “Fight Back” is one of the heaviest songs here, and featured some Judas Priest-like guitar work.

And then on to Angel Witch. While Samson is probably more famous, Angel Witch would have to be second behind Maiden from this album for their influence on future metal bands. “Baphomet” is firmly rooted in the occult lyrically and thematically, and from this song come the roots of speed and thrash metal, with the likes of Mercyful Fate being obvious descendants of Angel Witch. This was also a big influence on Dave Mustaine, Chuck Schuldiner, and Tom G. Warrior. It is easily the best song outside of the Maiden tracks.

And so to Samson. Probably best known for featuring a pre-Iron Maiden Bruce Bruce (fucking good thing he changed his name from THAT!), it’s actually Paul Samson singing on “Tomorrow Or Yesterday”. Once again, it’s a blues rock/ballad, with some hard driving mid passages, but ultimately, it’s a bit dull.

The whole thing is rounded out by Nutz with “Bootliggers”. Nutz also didn’t feature the NWOBHM tag by not being new, as in they were an established band, with three studio albums behind them already. “Bootliggers” has it’s boots firmly rooted in the early 70s hard rock/glam rock sound. Dave Lloyd even lets rip with a Daltrey-esque scream. While not a weak song, it’s an odd finish to the album, complete with fake finale.

Geoff Barton, he who coined the fuckawful acronym for this genre called the album “A good idea abysmally executed”. Well Mr Barton, you were proved wrong. “Metal For Muthas” hit number 16 in the album charts, and is still loved by metal fans the world over, as much for its historical significance as for the actual music. Yes, parts of the album aren’t new, British, or even heavy metal, but it exposed an underground scene to a wider audience, which gave metal a huge kick in the ass, and boosted it to greater things in the 1980s and beyond.

VARIOUS ARTISTS (GENERAL) 'Stars On Thrash'

Album · 1988 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vim Fuego
In pre-internet times, compilation albums were often the best way to discover new music, particularly for thrash metal fans, since thrash has never really dominated the radio spectrum at all. Yes, you could read about new bands, but that is nothing like actually hearing the band for yourself. The downside to compilations however, was often the quality of the music on them was often far from consistent. Yes, every label had their superstars, but they also had those odd, hard to promote bands.

Flotsam and Jetsam’s “Dreams of Death is a good start. It’s up-tempo, as you’d hope on a thrash compilation, and bounces along in a very satisfying manner. Big things were expected of Flotsam and Jetsam at the time, and while we now know they didn’t quite eventuate, it wasn’t through lack of talent.

Mucky Pup shouldn’t be confused with Skinny Puppy. Skinny Puppy have been making people uncomfortable on and off since 1982 with dark, cutting edge experimental industrial/electronic music. Mucky Pup will waste about two minutes of your life with ham-fisted crossover thrash. D.R.I. always did such things better, and did just that on the next track.

Roadrunner were on to a winner with Pestilence, and showcased the Dutch deathsters with “Commandments”, one of the heaviest songs on the entire album. While not pure, unbridled death metal like the band’s later work, this song definitely points to where Pestilence were heading. It is also still a pleasure to hear a vocalist like Martin Van Drunen, who could teach many modern vocalists about their trade.

And then along comes Toxik. Inexplicably, this band’s two 1980s albums are now highly sought after. “Heart Attack” shows exactly why Toxik should be forgotten and consigned to the ranks of also-rans. It is generic bubble-gum thrash, complete with idiotic lyrics, high pitched vocals, and ill-fitting guitar solos.

German band Paradox were streets ahead of Toxik, mixing thrash with power metal, but this track is ultimately forgettable.

S.O.D.’s “Kill Yourself” stomps in like a motherfucker, drinks all the beer, fucks all the girls, smashes the TV and stereo, and then, while saluting with a skeletal middle finger, stomps off again. While one of the best songs here, it’s inclusion is a bit of a mystery. Most of this compilation is a showcase for new bands and albums, but this was already three years old.

Acrophet’s “Corrupt Minds” is speedy bog standard crossover thrash. Despite the band’s name, there’s nothing Gothic about Gothic Slam. “Fought For Death is more throwaway thrash.

And just when it seems this compilation might be dribbling off into mediocrity, along comes Slayer! Slayer is a no brainer. Then again, this is Roadrunner we’re talking about, so leaving Slayer off could have been a distinct possibility. Another older track which appeared on the first Speed Kills compilation, this is like comfort food for headbangers.

And just when you expect the inclusion of Slayer to be fucked up by another tepid track, you get two fucking beauties in a row. Sacred Reich was still one of the new guard of thrash in 1988, and “Death Squad” perfectly showcased their brand of heavy political thrash.

Znowhite was one of those cult classic bands which really did slip through the cracks. “Baptised By Fire” is a storming thrasher. If this album had had a few more of these and a few less “Heart Attack”s, it could have been regarded as a genuine classic.

Kat!’s “Satan Says”... I think Satan would have been saying shut the fuck up you tuneless harpy!

Atrophy’s “Chemical Dependency” is a surprisingly weighty song. It doesn’t quite border on death metal, but it definitely heads in that direction.

The final track, “Opinionate!” by Hades seems to have a split personality. It can’t think if it wants to copy Anthrax, Death Angel, or Forbidden, and ends up a meandering mess far inferior to all three.

All in all, “Stars on Thrash” is very much a mixed bag with a few cherries to pick, and a few maggots to spit out. It seems to be remembered fondly now, but the odds are good those remembering it haven’t listened to it in years, and can only recall the good bits, and have forgotten the trash among the thrash.

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