MTV 2: Headbanger’s Ball

MTV 2: Headbanger’s Ball

Various Artists

Roadrunner

I never thought I’d see the day when it appeared that MTV was trying to help lesser known metal bands get more recognition, but it looks as if that day has come! MTV 2: Headbanger’s Ball offers 40 metal tracks, by all manner of artists, and for the price of a single disc. I must admit, I’m stunned at how enjoyable and vast the music is on this compilation, and I’m equally stunned that MTV had something to do with it.

It would be my guess that, were I still a 15 year old male adolescent, I would think that this compilation was the best thing since sliced bread. Take, for example, the list of tremendously huge unit shifters on the set’s first disc: Godsmack (“Straight Outta Line”), Staind (“Price to Pay”), Cold (“Stupid Girl”), Deftones (“Hexagram”), Marilyn Manson (“This is the New Shit”), Stonesour (“Inhale”), Slayer (“Raining Blood [Live]”), Murderdolls (“Dead in Hollywood”) and Rob Zombie (“House of 1,000 Corpses”), just to name a few.

But, what I find more interesting is the second disc, which is made up of better quality, yet lesser-known bands that young metal heads should know about. Included on this disc is the incredible Lamb of God, and their blistering track “Ruin.” Had Lamb of God been around during my teenage years, I wouldn’t have had to immerse myself in Megadeth records. Eighteen Visions offers up the second sparkling nugget, their chugga heavy “You Broke Like Glass.” The mighty and thick riffed Sworn Enemy gives us a song that shares the band’s name, and it’s a real grinder. The next jewel here comes from 36 Crazyfists, a band that I was pretty sure I didn’t like, before hearing “At the End of August.” They’re more screamo/metalcore than most of the bands on this compilation, and this song is chugga-riffic, to boot! One of the world’s most underrated bands, Demon Hunter supplys us with “Infected,” a gnarled sing along of sorts, with guitars thicker than a molasses and tar stew on a mid-July afternoon in Texas.

The steamroller guitars of Mastodon kick more buttocks than any band on this entire compilation, and their song, “March of the Fire Ants,” is the highlight of this compilation. Poison the Well is another band that I would have been brought to tears by when I was a teenager, the band’s music simply dripping with emotional napalm, shrapnel laden guitars and a command of the arty side of the metalcore genre which remains unmatched, to this day. Their song here is the soupy “Botchla,” and it’s awesome. I had never heard Unearth before hearing “Endless” on this compilation, and I’m glad I got to hear them. They’re screamy metalcore chugga guys, with tons of aggression and power, complete with little breakdowns. Strapping Young Lad is a band that could use a new vocalist, because their music, a blistering mix of death and grind, is absolutely stunning. Their track, “Relentless,” is totally marred by the vocalist, who sounds like a tired Ronnie James Dio. Continuing the storm of destruction is As I Lay Dying, who let loose a train of chugga riffs and screams on their song “Forever.” They remind me of Canada’s Grade. The compilation ends with the immensely heavy Meshuggah, who, on “Rational Gaze,” sound heavier than I’ve ever heard them. The guitars are tuned really low, and the slow tempo of the song makes for a really devastating steamroller. The guitars on this song are quite possibly the coolest sounding guitars I’ve ever heard — in my 27 years of life, no exaggeration.

I figured that this would be a bunch of Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park sound-alikes before I got it in the mail. Not only am I eating my thoughts (if that’s possible), but I’m totally grateful to the folks at Roadrunner and MTV for putting this compilation together. When I think of all of the young teenage metal heads who will be turned on to new, quality metal bands by this two-disc set, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling in my tummy. This one’s definitely a great jumping off point to find new, quality metal acts.

Roadrunner Records: http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/

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