Metalblade Presents - DJ Crusher Vol. 11982. A music starved kid named Brian Slagel, killing time in suburban Los Angeles, gets sick of watching the local metal scene being ignored by the major labels. Working days at legendary metal emporium Oz Records and nights putting together one of the first metal fanzines, The New Heavy Metal Revue, Slagel asks some distributor friends if they'd be interested in circulating a compilation of unsigned bands if he put it together. The distributors said 'yes' and Metal Blade Records was born.
This compilation disc features 7 Metal Blade artists who each present 2 songs of their latest albums to the world. Let's take a better look at these songs, as we travel through the vast, beautiful jungle that is called Metal Blade Records.
Unearth - is the first band to unleash their aggression on DJ Crusher Vol. 1. These Metalcore troopers, operating from Massachusetts, USA, are represented by the fast and aggressive riffs of The Great Divider and the more melodic, but still very fast and no less aggressive Black Hearts Now Reign. The songs, coming from their latest album, The Oncoming Storm, represent what they stand for: powerful metalcore which will deflesh you to the bone!
Amon Amarth - 1992 was the year that Stockholm, Sweden, was honored to be the founding place of one of the leading Melodic Viking Death Metal bands of the world: Amon Amarth. From their latest opus Fate Of Norns, the title track and Pursuit Of Vikings are the champions gathered on this compilation disk. Both songs are melodic, mid-paced and filled with viking mythological lyrics. Johan Hegg's dark vocals are a job well done and these songs, although not very interesting when it comes to songstructure, are sure to grip every fan of Amon Amarth once again. If these songs are representative of their work on Fate Of Norns, be sure to check it out!
Cataract - Switzerland's Cataract play Metalcore from a traditional angle. With riffs as aggressive as Slayer and lyrical harshness in the style of Hatebreed, this quintet is represented by the technical riffing from As We Speak and the occasional Thrash -speed and Hatebreed - Hardcore riffs from Nothing's Left, both from the album With Triumph Comes Loss. Not entirely my style, but the songs that were put on 'DJ Crusher...' had enough on them to keep me listening throughout the two tracks with pleasure.
The Heavils - With a style that is more of a crossbreed between Nu-metal and Metalcore, Get Behind Me is a powerful song, mid-paced with deep hardcore vocals. Their second trophy on this record, the Cheap Trick cover Just Got Back, (both songs were taken from Heavilution) is an entirely different story. They indeed did an incredible job covering this song, as there is little to be heard of the sound in Get Behind Me. A good cover, but a pity that it lacks a bit of the band's own, distinctive style.
Six Feet Under - The songs by the Chris Barnes - fronted Death Metal act are from Graveyard Classics 2. You Shook Me All Night Long and Rock 'n' Roll Ain't Noise Pollution, both AC/DC covers (which happens to be one of my favourite bands!), have been perfectly imitated when it comes to instrumentation. Barnes' vocals, however, don't quite fit the music, as it isn't melodic enough. The contrast between the monotuous Death Metal vocals and the melodic, classic Hard Rock from AC/DC is just a tad too big for me. A pity, as the heavier guitarwork doesn't sound bad at all.
Vader - Does this Polish band still need introduction? Being the first band from behind the 'Iron Curtain' to have been signed to a 'western' label, Vader already achieved a legendary status in its lifetime. Dark Transmission and Out Of The Deep, both taken from The Beast, are more than worthy of being placed on this compilation record. Mid-paced, heavy guitaring anger. Not just Death Metal, but Vader all the way!
God Dethroned - Last, but not least it's Dutch reformed Black / Death Metal act God Dethroned's turn. Last Zip Of Spit and Sigma Enigma, both taken from The Lair Of The White Worm (also the title of a rather unknown Bram Stoker story), contain less speed, more brutal guitarwork and more guitarleads than Into The Lungs Of Hell. Although Henri's Black Metal vocals remain, the style of GD is no longer pure Black Metal. These songs stirred mixed feelings within me, as I was quite fond of the 'old' God Dethroned. The songs on this album are not bad at all, however, and are sure to pick up a whole new share of fans for these Dutchmen. But if the guys really find their way with this new style is yet to be seen. After all, they already had more than an impressive discography to begin with.
All things taken together, DJ Crusher Vol. 1 contains some of the best material available by Metal Blade Records. If you just can't decide which Metal Blade artist you want to spend hard earned money on, just buy this record first and then make up your mind. Definitely a good way to select the band of your choice!
1. Unearth - The Great Dividers
2. Unearth - Black Hearts Now Reign
3. Amon Amarth - The Fate Of Norns
4. Amon Amarth - Pursuit Of Vikings
5. Cataract - As We Speak
6. Cataract - Nothing's Left
7. The Heavils - Get Behind Me
8. The Heavils - Just Got Back
9. Six Feet Under - You Shook Me All Night Long
10. Six Feet Under - Rock 'n' Roll Ain't Noise Pollution
11. Vader - Dark Transmission
12. Vader - Out Of The Deep
13. God Dethroned - Last Zip Of Spit
14. God Dethroned - Sigma Enigma