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|04-01-2023, 09:17 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Born to be mild
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Through the Gates of Hell! Metal Compilation Albums
I did this some years ago and thought it would be fun to revive and continue it. Basically I listen to a metal compilation album, give you my verdict on the songs/artists, tell you what I can about them and where, if anywhere, they are now. These are NOT reviews, just a basic few comments on each track, and videos where available, as they are not always. It's more a fun thing than a review thing, but feel free to comment or join in if you wish. Some of these artists will be well known, some less so, and some perhaps not at all. Some will have gone on to greater things, others may have gone on to a successful career in insurance or something. If I can find out what happened to them, where they are now, I'll note that.
Tracks will be colour-coded to show what I think of them at a glance. The key is:
Red = Terrible. Hate it.
Orange = Decent, not bad but could be a lot better.
Purple = Meh
Green = Good or maybe even very good
Blue = Killer! Love this!
If you wish to suggest comp albums for me to look at, go ahead but bear in mind they MUST be compilation albums of tracks by DIFFERENT artists. So no Metallica's greatest hits or anything like that. Also, I'll make no promises: this first series has like thirteen volumes, so it's going to keep me busy for a while. Mind you, I'm not saying I'll stick with this till I get through all thirteen; I may mix it up. We'll see. As usual, my rules and intentions are about as rigid as a weak jelly, so let's get going.
Metal Massacre Volume I, released 1982.
Track one: “Chains Around Heaven” (Black'N'Blue)
Yeah, about that: Black'n'Blue are probably most famous, like it or not, for having at one time had future Kiss lead guitarist and manager Tommy Thayer among their ranks. Though they are still around, having released a total of five albums since 1984, their last effort was in 2011.
The track: It's a decent uptempo song, with a nice hook, but I don't feel it's anything special. They supposedly had an “in-your-face” sound. Well, maybe you had to see them live to appreciate it. Still, it's a good enough song.
So where are they now? Still around, though as I said their last album was in 2011 with nothing heard of them since, though they did play live gigs in 2013.
Track two: “Live for the Whip” (Bitch)
Yeah, about that: You have to admire a female-fronted band who just say **** it and to hell with convention and caution. Bitch used S&M themes in their live shows, incurred the wrath of PMRC and Tipper Gore, were ironically kept in the news by the same self-styled do-gooders, aiding the sales of their second album, but later toned their set and their music down, changing their name to Betsy, for the lead singer, Betsy Bitch, nee Weiss.
The track: Faster and punchier than the opener, and Betsy's a decent (though not fantastic) singer. The BDSM overtones of the song are perhaps a little cartoonish, but at least they garnered them some controversy when released. No publicity is bad publicity, right?
So where are they now? Still going, after a rather long hiatus. Officially their last album was 1998, with some live performances in the intervening years, but last year they returned as a full band and played a live date in April, with a two-day headlining festival gig lined up and a new album due soon.
Track three: Captive of light (Malice)
Yeah, about that: Malice hailed from Portland, Oregon, and immediately drew comparisons to Judas Priest, which was not helped by the fact the one of their two guitarists looked just like a certain KK Downing! They survived though, and supported Motorhead, Alice Cooper and WASP, even Slayer on tour, though the last did not end well.
The track: Got a good boogie rhythm to it, kind of reminds me of early Diamond Head. Vocalist has that Eric Adams kind of operatic scream at times. It's okay but again nothing eye-opening.
So where are they now? Malice released two albums in the late eighties, plus an EP in 1989. Other than it was compilations until 2012, when they recorded four new songs to go with yet another compilation. So technically they're still around, though not much seems to have happened over the last three years.
Track four: “Octave” (Avatar)
Yeah, about that: I can find nothing about this band, who unfortunately chose a name that about twenty other bands, spread across the world and working in various sub-genres from thrash to doom, also chose. Not to mention a small, little-known movie...
The track: It's an instrumental. It's metal. It's not bad.
So where are they now? Not a scooby doo pal!
Track five: “Death of the Sun” (Cirith Ungol)
Yeah, about that: Possibly one of the very earliest doom metal bands, Cirith Ungol were formed in 1972 but survived without any major backing from a label for eight years, only releasing their debut album in 1980. They lasted till 1991 and released four albums, changing their original doom metal approach to a more progressive one as the years went on.
The track: Right away, this is the first track that has stood out for me. The high-pitched, almost screamed (but still intelligible) vocals, the almost seventies hard rock sound, the dark guitars, the pace of the music, everything marks this band out as one to watch.
So where are they now? After four albums Cirith Ungol split, and in 1998 founding member Jerry Fogle passed away, leaving other founder Greg Lindstrom playing with his new band, Falcon.
Track six: “Dead of the Night” (Demon Flight)
Yeah, about that: The only things I can find out about Demon Flight are that a) they came from LA and b) they released one EP in 1981 before splitting up.
The track: It's interesting again, with a kind of doomy/prog feel to it, wailing vocals which are certainly different (think a toned-down King Diamond perhaps) and it sounds like they could have been onto something. Pity they didn't stick at it.
So where are they now? All indications are that they split after this EP, though there is nothing to definitively confirm this. Still, with no output since 1981, I don't see them returning over thirty years later!
Track seven: “Fighting Backwards” (Pandemonium)
Yeah, about that: Originally formed as Demon in 1977, they changed their name but still managed to pick one that has since been copied by a dozen bands. They hailed from Alaska, of all places, and released three albums before splitting in 1988.
The track: Again, we're looking at more hard rock than heavy metal here, the likes of Zep or Free, with a hard buzzy guitar and a very decent vocal, but I guess they failed to make the big time. Sounds like they had some real talent though.
So where are they now? Split after three albums, in 1988. Don't you pay attention?
Track eight: “Kick You Down” (Malice)
Yeah, about that: The only band to feature twice on this volume.
The track: A whole lot better than their other effort. This has real bite in it, and you can see in this case why it was chosen to be included.
So where are they now? See above.
Track nine: “Hit the Lights” (Metallica)
Yeah, about that: Anyone who needs background on Metallica can just get the **** out now! Go on, turn in your leather jacket and your laminated pass!
The track: An early effort from the LA giants, which became the first track on their first ever album. If you've heard Kill 'em All you know what to expect. If not, then remedy this oversight immediately.
So, where are they now? One of the biggest and richest metal bands on the planet, that's where!
Note: This first volume was actually released in three pressings, apparently, almost identical each time, but there were slight differences, with tracks included on the other pressings that are not on this, the third one. So I'll just quickly address those now.
On the first pressing, the Black'n'Blue song is replaced as the first track by this, which I find about a thousand times superior. Why they changed it for later pressings (dropping the Steeler track completely) is beyond me.
Track one (First pressing): “Cold Day in Hell” (Steeler)
Yeah, about that: Steeler were a band who started off against the odds, as a metal band born in Nashville, the spiritual home of country music. Although they gained moderate success they only ever released the one album, and their main claim to fame is that they once had guitar supremo Yngwie Malmsteen in their lineup. Steeler are said to have been very influential to many metal bands, probably mostly thanks to the Y-Man and his incredible style of shredding.
The track: Has a great bite about it, and even though Malmsteen had yet to join at this point, you can hear the pretty superb guitar work that marks this out as something special. A lot of power with a stomping kind of bravado, and a pretty catchy hook in the chorus, even if to me it does sound like “Holiday in Hell”!
So where are they now? Only three or four months after Malmsteen joined, he left, and due to constant lineup changes the band folded in the summer of 1983. Founder Ron Keel went on to form the short-lived Keel, while Yngwie, well, we all know what happened to him.
On the first and second pressing, there are ten tracks, the fourth (that instrumental) being pushed down to fifth by the inclusion of this, much more important song.
Track four (First and second pressing): “Tell the World” (Ratt)
Yeah, about that: Well I think we all know who Ratt are? Out of the cellar? Invasion of Your Privacy? One of the big glam metal acts of the eighties, they're still around. Hide the cheese!
The track: Ratt were always a cut above the rest, and with the likes of Motley Crue and Quiet Riot led the glam metal revolution of the early eighties in LA. You can see on this why they've stayed the course and weathered the passage of time. Unknown and unsigned when they recorded this originally, it ended up on their greatest hits album ten years later and gave them a title for a later compilation in 2007. The swagger and sass evident even in this early track shows what a big name this rodent was going to be.
So where are they now? Still around, and going strong.
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
|04-01-2023, 10:06 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Zum Henker Defätist!!
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Beating GNR at DDR and keying Axl's new car
Kinda curious about this thread actually. I'm not knowledgeable on metal comps beyond the obvious ones like Metal Massacre, Metal for Muthas, and Scandinavian Metal Attack (and that purely for introducing Bathory), so I'm hoping you'll give me some pieces of history to nerd out on. I feel like I have some comps on a hard drive I can go check out to give you some recs but this is largely a blind spot for me.
|04-02-2023, 09:12 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Born to be mild
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Yeah that's exactly the intention here. Primarily it's a "who are they/where are they now" sort of thing, but it's fun checking out bands old and new and writing about them. I know of many compilations, including the ones you mentioned and Brute Force, The Metal Museum, Monsters of Rock, NWOBHM Revisited, and probably a lot more. It's a good way to find out about bands you may never have heard of, and experience different styles too.
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018