Music Reviews

The Metal Years

Power Metal


Wow! Spitfire Records is really flying the metal flag high with The Metal Years… series of releases. Let’s not waste any time!

Demons And Wizards offer up the unforgivably cheesy and corny “Blood on My Hands,” which sounds like a Iron Maiden reject track. The vocals are beyond operatic and theatric… this is supposed to be “power metal!”

Next up is the widely loved and hailed In Flames with “Moonshield.” Yes-sir-eee, this is truly powerful, a bit of a metal waltz of sorts, with splendidly barked vocals and incredible guitar work. I’d day that these guys are my favorite band on the comp., and they don’t let me down!

“The Politics of Ecstasy,” by Nevermore, is a grating, grinding, and triumphant metal stomper that forced my clenched fist in the air, as my head bobbed with angry scowl and curled lip. This song r-o-c-k-s! After the first few minutes of stomping, the song switched over to some really fast, technical math metal, with odd timing, weird guitar, and fast picking. Oh baby! The song finishes up with a return to the stomping. A true high point of the comp right here!

Hammerfall’s “Steel Meets Steel” should never have been put after the Never more track, mainly because it sucks and sounds totally weak next to Nevermore. The recording quality is crappy, the vocals sound like Don Dokken, and the drums sound totally out of place and stupid.

Next up is “The Wonders at Your Feet” by Dark Tranquility. I’m not sure if I like it all that much… I’m pretty sure I do though. The guitars are really weird during the verse; it sounds like an electric sitar is being played! The chorus is definitely rockin’, and the vocalist’s growl is nicely displayed here, mid range and guttural. I could have done without the totally impotent guitar solo in the middle of the song, though.

Nocturnal Rites strikes me as what Weezer would sound like if they did a metal record, but with Neil Diamond singing. The song is very melodic and fast paced, but the vocalist really ruins it with his idiotic vibrato. Yuck!

“Noose,” by Sentenced, is different than I thought it would be. It was pretty boring and not memorable in the least bit; standard, mid-tempo metal with half sung / half growled vocals. I think I took a nap during this song…zzzzzzzzz…

Wow! Tad Morose’s “Goddess Of Chaos” showcases some awesome guitars and drums, very heavy and propulsive, a la “black album”-era Metallica. The singer, though, is a total chode, and he tries to sound tough, but he’s totally wussy. I didn’t like the unnecessary keyboards, either.

Gamma Ray’s “Changes” is by far the worst song on the compilation, not metal in the least and completely terrible. The lead singer sounds like a cross between Sebastian Bach and Ronnie James Dio, and the band sounds like a second rate Van Halen cover band.

Iron Savior offer up “Iron Savior,” a move which no respectable band should ever undertake. The song is crap and sounds like early-1980s glam metal; the song’s verse sounds just like “Girls, Girls, Girls”-era Mötley Crüe.

“Red Moon” by Morgana Lefay (who seems to be doing a Dave Mustaine impersonation) is a barely acceptable mid-paced metal track with very a very silly sounding vocal delivery.

Thank God for Iced Earth! Their song, “Jack,” makes up for the slew of garbage that the listener has to wade through to get to the track. The song opens with 30 seconds of thrash metal bliss, moving on to mid tempo stomper riffs, and pretty angry sung/ growled vocals. There’s a pretty dumb acoustic part near the middle of the song, but the rest of the rockin’ makes up for it.

Whew! I think the Nevermore, Iced Earth, and In Flames tracks alone make this comp worth a try. Give it whirl, and maybe you’ll find that overly corny and operatic vocals are your cup of tea!

Spitfire Records:

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