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Showcasing a virtual who’s who in today’s metal realm, the latest twin-disc installment of MTV2’s HEADBANGERS BALL compilation series is aptly titled THE REVENGE. Containing over 2 and half hours of proven superstars, rising acts, and the underground’s finest, this collection is the perfect primer for the casual mall metal fan who wants to encounter a good cross-section of what’s going down in today’s extreme music genre. However, a hardened fan may be disappointed, perhaps even upset with some of the choices included. Starting off Disc 1 with the latest singles from the potent nu-metal tandem of Slipknot and Korn, the endeavor pulls no punches from the onset, unleashing its commercially viable heavy hitters right off the bat. From there, classic metal gets a revisit via an Iron Maiden live track. The first of the few gems on the disc appears in the form of Roadrunner Records’s newest signee Hatebreed with the undeniably brutal “To The Threshold”, heard for the first time exclusively here. Some of the more questionable content via Mudvayne, Avenged Sevenfold, and HIM is next, guaranteed to utterly satisfy your little brother’s metal fetish yet probably won’t register for anyone over the age of 25. Following this lame triple threat are the revival metal of Trivium (just check out those guitar solos), the Pantera-esque groove thrash of Lamb of God, and the moody Tool-esque alternatively flavored 10 Years, a band whose slot on this comp is understatedly out of place. Everyone’s favorite whipping boys Disturbed, a band that continuously get no respect despite sold out tours and platinum album sales appears, followed by metalcore’s favorite Christian soldiers As I Lay Dying. Lacuna Coil is up next, featuring metal’s “it” girl, the angelic Cristina Scabbia, followed by yet another God-fearing metal act in Underoath. Saving up its arsenal for the tail end, Disc 1’s last five cuts include the mighty Mastodon, a blistering live offering from Killswitch Engage, a tender Dimebag tribute by Black Label Society, blackened metalcore courtesy of Bleeding Through, and rounded off by Swedish pioneers In Flames. Not bad, eh? But wait, there’s more… Disc Numero Dos starts off with the overrated Chimaira (recently severing its ties with the label), the UK sensation Bullet For My Valentine, and the always-compelling Arch Enemy. Delving a little deeper into the underground sounds, emocore upstarts It Dies Today, the grandiose Opeth, and the dissonant din of Norma Jean continue the descent into the catacombs. Devildriver, Still Remains, and God Forbid provide a good cross-section of how different American metal can actually be, while hardcore stalwarts Throwdown get their Sepultura on, as From First to Last unleash its Gothic metallic punk on the unsuspecting. 36 Crazyfists throws a new track from their forthcoming release into the ring, to be followed by UK power metallers Dragonforce and Philadelphia’s biggest goons since the Flyers, A Life Once Lost. The caustic tones of High on Fire help you pack the bong, while Bloodsimple’s metallic hardcore approach and Haste the Day’s Massachusetts metal impersonation trails behind. Ending the disc are brand new cuts from the female fronted hardcore troupe Walls of Jericho and the soulcrushingly heavy debut of the Jamey Jasta side project Kingdom of Sorrow (which includes members of Crowbar and Seemless). So, there you go, folks. Encompassing 38 tracks that span the metal spectrum, this installment of The Headbangers Ball compilation series is an awesome way to get acquainted with today’s metal akin to how the Cliff Notes version of any literary gem helps you brush up before the big exam. Unfortunately, if you are a grizzled metal fan, most of this stuff you either already own, discount as not being “metal enough”, or doesn’t pack the punch that your latest Manowar contains. However, chances are if you have a buddy, a smaller sibling, or a co-worker curious about the ways of the horned hand, this collection is a fine place to start, but don’t be offended if the most ardent metal fans rebuke this given the MTV stamp and the commercial metal acts sharing disc space with cult faves and legends alike.
- Mike SOS