Metal For The Masses [Vol. 4] / Various [2 Disc Set]

Continuing the highly successful Metal For The Masses series, the Century Family unseals Metal For The Masses Volume Four, once again,exclusive to Hot Topic locations nationwide. The 2-disc compilation contains 40 tracks totaling over 2 hours of music. The artwork for Volume Four incorporates the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to stunning effect and also depicts the album art for each featured artist within as well as additional artist and album information. Volume Four comes housed in a deluxe double Digipak and is available now at all Hot Topic locations nationwide.

The Analysis: Disc One

The End Of The World [God Forbid]—-Coming out of your speakers at hyper speed, this is fine Metal delivered with blistering intensity. For me, the vocal is a bit generic, although this has never been a very favorite band of mine. What is stellar is the instrumentation and the vocal melody. This has some pretty great drums, an incredible bass line and some clean vocals that provide all of the melody you need.

Weathered Soul [Manntis]—-I like this…I have not listened to this comp in quite sometime…it is almost like everything is brand new to me again! This has a great crunch to the music..the vocal is brutal and at the onset reminds me of early Fear Factory. This has a great melody line…the leads are huge as are the drums. This is a band I need to investigate…if you see this release in a bargain bin, pick it up!

These Days [Diecast]—-This comes roaring out at you from a darkness that literally breathes aggression. I love the double bass sound and the way that the vocal magically switches from growl to clean vocal. the song is laden in emotion and leans very heavy on the Nu-Metal doorstep. This is nice!

Days Are Numbered [Brand New Sin]—-Just freakin brilliant….if you are in the mood for nice stoner rock, this is the band that will satisfy you every time. The sound of the band is recorded in a retro way that allows you to think it is much older than it actually is. The chorus enters this track and makes you think of the big 80’s style verses that used to blast from speakers everywhere. This has a nice taste of the dirty South…nice!

Without A Trace [Agents Of Man]—-Beginning with a soft acoustic sound, the song comes out at you with a nice aggression that is delivered with some almost punk style vocal…they slowly disappear and allow for a clean melodic voice. I have listened to this a number of times…I just can’t wrap my heart around this.

Enlightened By The Cold [Shadows Fall]—-One of my more favorite bands, this proves to me that Heavy Metal is alive and well in this century. This borders on the edge of every musical genre in the Metal Community you could imagine…thus appealing to the teenagers, emos and crusty guys like me. This has a nice brutality, a great lead line, incredible drums and a killer vocal.

Nemesis [Arch Enemy]—-Long a favorite band of mine, I wish they would hurry up with a new release already. Angela can sing like no man ever dreamed of…the brutality and force of the vocal literally shakes you to your bones…the band that is behind the voice is loaded with even more brutality than the double edge tongue that Angela delivers. This is heaven for me…I never get tired of listening to these songs. Just brilliant!!!

No Compromise [The Haunted]—-Taking a bit to really get started, this is another of those bands that have never really found a place in my heart. I love this song, but a release full of material sounding like this was a bit hard for me to find. The brief glimpses of brilliance do not make a stellar band. The standout for me is the very upfront in your face drums!!!

Slaves Shall Serve [Behemoth]—-The mighty Behemoth!!!! One of my personal favorite bands and one that in my book has never made a misstep. This band has always stayed true to its vision and intent…delivering a blistering and aggressive brand of Black Metal that will leave your brain echoing inside of itself. This is masterful…intense and brutal as you know what. The kings…hold on guys…..

Enslaved And Condemned [Old Man’s Child]—-This is another of those brilliant bands that are incapable of making a bad record. Resplendent with that cold European Black Metal sound, slight but magnificent symphonic sounds and a vocal that rattles your bones, this is a band that is very dear to my heart. I love this stuff…I could listen to this all day!!!

Perpetual Horrors [Naglfar]—-Man…..I need to find out some more stuff about this band. I love the vocal…this is very primitive Dimmu…the overt symphonic sound is incredible and the sound, even though a bit primitive, shows huge promise. I love this stuff…the drums..even though pushed to the back of the mix, really shine. This is incrredible….why have I not heard more from this band?

Possessions [Strapping Young Lad]—-Devin Townsend delivers a track that really borders on Industrial Metal. This is not to say that this is bad, but the change between genres on this compilation is a bit abrupt. I like Townsend and his many incarnations…but not enough to really start collecting it. this is acceptale….but far from stellar.

The Psalm Of Lydia [Nevermore]—-Nevermore is one of those long-term outfits that you either love or dismiss. This is a pretty great song…the power chords that the band deliver are pretty impressive. I love the high and accentuated leads from the production. I could do without the overblown Power Metal vocal though…it just does not fit in to well with the music for me. This is not to say that this is bad, it just sounds like this is a band, that after all of these years, is still struggling for an identity.

It All Dies Today [Eyes Of Fire]—-I’m really not to familiar with this band….the sound is a bit underproduced and removed…never really reaching your speakers with the intensity that you think it deserves. There is so much going on in the backdrop of the song, that you lose much of the vocal because of the lack of clarity and production. Too bad…I think this is a pretty great melodic Metal track.

Splintered Visions [Into Eternity]—-Well, right from the onset this reeks of progressive genius. The chords that are released from the lead and the bass alike just captures and hypnotised me. The vocal is stellar…I love this stuff. This is like the perfect mix of 80’s hair metal progression with 00’s brutality and grunts. I love this…you will not hear one single complaint form me…sometimes I’m so slow when it comes to some of this stuff…where the hell have I been living…under a rock?

The Pestilence That Walketh In Darkness [Cryptopsy]—-Right off, this is a surprise for me…not really familiar with this band, i was listening with preconceived notions based on the name alone. The song starts off rather sedate and accessible…but the brutality grows and grows until you are planted deep in a nice mix of Black Metal, Grind and Progressive chords and lyrics. This gives you a nice taste of all of them…magnificent!

Bastard Son [Watch Them Fall]—-This is another of those bands that combine a nice retro sound with more progressive elements of Thrash and Death Metal. I love the voice on this guy…the energy that the band manages to produce is pretty incredible…Tthe drums are freakin magnificent. When the whole band joins in on the vocal, you are whipped into a frenzy from the energy of the music alone. This has nice Maiden style guitar galloping that makes you comfortable…only the vocal reminds you this is not your brother’s favorite band!!!

Silence Is Deafening [Napalm Death]—-Have no doubts, this long-term band is alive and well…and still thrashing the hell out of your brain. This is so layered with instruments, that the distorted delivery seems appropriate and like nothing else you would get from any other band. These guys are some of the kings of the genre, and they still deliver enough brutality and energy to make you say…..OH SHIT!!!

The Sunset Will Never Charm Us [Despised Icon]—-This is very noisy….the vocal is extreme and somewhat comforting, but the music seems to lack a clear direction and ends up all over the place. This is like rudimentary Thrash that still needs time to mature.

Harnessing Ruin [Immolation]—-Another of those bands that really hold a special place in my heart. This is as aggressive as two fists right in the fucking face…and delivered with enough power to send you reeling back for two blocks. This track is delivered at a much deeper recording level than the newer material…the bass and the deep tone of the vocal almost blocks out everything else…this is not the more polished 2009 Immoliation….none the less, the brutality and the venom is well intact. This brings a huge smile to my face!

Disc Two:

Alt Lys Er Sunnet Hen [Dimmu Borgir]—-Anyone who has read my blog entries for any amount of time knows that I have a huge love affair with this band. There is seldom that has ever been a misstep in my book and this song is just another crown jewel in the evolution of the band. shagrath sounds literally possessed…the foreign language delivery makes it even more menacing and the keyboard orchestration allows this track to be HUGE!!!

Nerve [Soilwork]—-Although I have never really been int  this band too much, this song may make me rethink my choice. I like the far away slight orchestration sounds of the band…the vocal smacks you right upside the head and the slower interludes gives the song a huge substance. This is fantastic…I love this.

Like You Better Dead [In Flames]—- Aggressive leads set the song off to a great start. the drums are pretty far up in the front of the mix. The vocal enters and I find my enthusiasm deflate…this really does not impress me.

Shed [Meshuggah]—-Just freakin’ aggression!!!! Right from the onset, your head almost explodes…the scream slows to allow the guitar to settle in a bit and the bass line to capture a permanent place in your soul. The vocal returns…in a deep and menacing tone…leaving me with goosebumps. This is stellar…the density and depth of the song is incredible…the cross over appeal is magnificent. This one is a keeper!

Kill Tank [Bleed The Sky]—-Right out of the gate, this sits in the pit of my stomach and brings a smile to my face. there is just enough melody and substance to this mayhem to really appeal to many Metal and Punk fans as well. This is really a stellar track…when the clean vocal hits, you are wondering if you are listening to a more aggressive Fear Factory….brilliant!

Secondary Effects [Darkane]—-This is brilliant…a nice mic of aggressive Thrash and layered with elements of Death, the vocal comes through and shows the true roots of the band…settled deep in the Exodus style of thrash Metal with a bit of an updated sound. this is aggressive, but incredibly accessible and listenable. I love this stuff!!!

Door 2.12 [Mnemic]—-Wow, I really did not expect to like this, based on past listening experiences. This from the very first notes reminds me of classic Testament. I love this stuff…there is a remarkable melody, a nice aggression…all delivered with a sound that is damn accessible…this is stellar!

Scrutinized [Hypocrisy]—-This is another of those bands that are hard pressed to do anything bad in my book! I love the aggression of this band and I love the dedication to delivery pure and brutal Death Metal that shines above all the rest. This has great crunching guitars…the drums are intense and the vocal will leave you wringing your hands because of the sheer intensity. Just what I needed today…remarkable!!!

Now Thy Death Day Come [Exodus]—-The God-Fathers of modern Day Thrash are still alive and kicking….your ass!!! The sound has seldom deviated from the beginning…the production rarely gets better, but you ALWAYS know what to expect from an Exodus recording. This is predictable and as freakin’ fantastic as ever!!!

Tree Of Life And Death [Cathedral]—-This is intense as fuck from the very onset. the music is delivered in a huge mess, but somehow it magically seems to make sense. The vocal is delivered in that early day Thrash manner that makes me think of the very beginning days of Slayer. This is loaded with intelligent and frightening lyrics…but never loses any of its demented feel despite them. This is a band that had a direction and is still headed in it!!!

Sundown [Fireball Ministry]—-This comes across as hollow to me and incredibly misplaced on this compilation. This is much more Pop/Rock with a vocal that rivals Ozzy. To me, this is a waste of space…there could have been such better material put in its place.

Lightbringer/Demo [Nebula]—-This is raw and rude…just as Metal was meant to be. There is nothing polished or professed about this demo track. The metal quotient is a bit hollow for me, but it would be interesting to hear the fully polished finished track. In this state, it just blends in too well with hundreds of other average bands.

Everything’s On T.V. [The Hellicopters]—-Wow, to me this is just slop! This is a quasi-UFO sound-alike band that is delivering sounds that have been re-hashed and re-re-hashed. This is just a waste…this is not Metal!!!

Goin’ Down [The Illuminati]—-Ugh…..oh lord!!! This is quasi Metal that is so steeped in Blues that I can’t even begin to like this….next…PLEASE!!!

Three Sheets To The Wind [The Black Halos]—-The track begins with a huge intro, the drums enter and seem to take control of the entire direction of the song. the downfall enters when the vocal does. This sounds like a cheap and BAD ACCEPT impression…please…why do bands make music that they think will be successful riding on what has already been done before….I’m so over this!

Love Me Electric [Crash Kelly]—-Well, it would seem obvious to me that the last 1/4 of this compilation is steeped in some Blues bullshit that has nothing to do with Metal. This is crossover Pop/Metal crap that makes me want to throw this against the wall.

Gimme Some Lip [The Thieves]—-Oh For God’s Sakes……….

The Day Of Neverending/Demo [Scott Reeder]—-This is nice, with an alluring Alternative Metal sound that makes me think of bands like Alice In Chains. This has some nice powerful guitar leads and a drum track that although moved to the back still shines through. The production of this ‘demo’ track is pretty damn awesome.

Things Are Looking Up [American Heartbreak]—-Lord….even more blues influenced sad excuses for Metal….this is not Metal people…this is pop/rock that does not belong on this compilation next to bands like Dimmu or Immolation. This is embarrassing!

Brand New Hate [Backyard Babies]—-This is much more Post-Punk metal than Heavy Metal….although it is much better than most of the slop on the last part of this compilation. Still, this deviates from so much of the material on this release that you wonder if you will ever invest in another one of these again!!!

*** out of 5


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