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Dust off your denim jacket and polish up those spiked wristbands thanks to Earache's latest compilation installment HEAVY METAL KILLERS, a 13-track excursion that spans the globe to unveil a new breed of followers to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound. Featuring a multifaceted cross-section of groups (that interestingly enough boasts not one band from the United States) that worship at the altar of metal, this disc offers a rousing array of musicians that have studied their craft to summon the moves, nuances, and aspects of the glory days right down to the last guitar gallop. Brimming over with heaps of histrionic falsetto vocals (just check out the mid-paced Cast Iron and the nimble Enforcer for two radically different examples) and flurries of fancy fretwork, much of what's heard here can be directly traced back to Maiden, Manowar, Saxon, and the ilk, though there are some surprises, such as the doomy King Diamond-esque delivery of Portrait and the thrash-influenced elements H.O.D throw in. Nonetheless, if it's speedy rhythms, tantalizing solos (every song showcases at least one bit of guitar gymnastics), whammy bar abuse, and high-pitched vocal caterwauls aplenty you crave, this compilation will catapult right back to 1982, leather vest not included.
- Mike SOS