New Deep Elm artists covering old Deep Elm classics… ooooooh boy, this is gonna get ugly. Listening to this thing, I don’t know if I feel sad for the originals or for the kids who obviously have no idea how to emote properly. Ironic, ain’t it? Most of these bands are supposed to be “emo.” Cover Your Tracks is cold, hard proof that the glorious ’90s are long, long gone.
Play can be enjoyed by anyone between the ages of one and 101 because it isn’t aimed to placate and “please” children “just for the time being”: It’s meant to stay with you as you grow up, never becoming kitschy or nauseating. So whether you’ve got a little one or want to feel young all over again, Play is perfect for you.
It was a good idea the first time around, and it’s a good idea now, although four discs worth of ’70s covers does seem to be pushing things to the saturation point. Back in the Saddle Again is less consistent than its predecessor. The concept remains the same: Heavy rock bands, most of them carrying a marked ’70s influence, cover some of their favorite songs from that hallowed era.
Ostensibly the soundtrack to the documentary of the same name (which itself is based on Steven Blush’s book), American Hardcore provides a pretty spiffy overview of the hardcore genre. At 26 tracks, it’s hardly a comprehensive retrospective, but it’s hard to argue with choices like D.O.A.’s “Fucked Up Ronnie,” SS Decontrol’s brutal “Boiling Point,” or Void’s crushing “Who Are You?/Time To Die.”
Available exclusively through Hot Topic, Metal = Life 2 features some of the best and worst metal and hardcore acts of today. The two CDs pack a bulky 38 tracks and run from the ultra lame (Escape The Fate), and the quasi-horrible (Calico System), to the obvious (In Flames), the blackened (Dissection, Goatwhore), the just plain ordinary (Underoath, The Devil Wears Prada), the influential (Converge), the outstanding (The Jonbenet) the funny ha-ha (Every Time I Die), the interesting (Burst), the dull (Misery Index, This is Hell), the copycats (Demiricous, Nights Like These) and the typical (God Forbid, The Autumn Offering).
I personally like it when they sound more like Hellhammer and Venom than Cradle of Filth, and a good number of the bands on this black metal compilation play that cool, old school, broken down, punk-influenced style. Absu rocks out a grungey one called “Mythological Occult Metal,” and Enslaved channel a little Entombed to groove out “Below The Lights.” All in all, this is one solid compilation, light on the progressive stuff, heavy on the untamed raw shit.
Releasing this sort of classic-leaning heavy rock music today is pretty much a losing proposition financially, so you’ve gotta figure a label this devoted to kickass of the long-haired, bellbottomed sort is destined to a short, painful life. Against all odds, Small Stone is alive and more productive than ever at 11 years of age.
If you’re too young to remember Atari Teenage Riot’s headache-inducing style (called digital hardcore, and released on ATR’s Digital Hardcore Recordings) from the mid-’90s (mainstreamed by Happy Walter’s Spawn soundtrack, which paired ATR and Slayer), here’s yer crash course. It takes an underground movie like Threat to have the courage to bring metalcore and digital hardcore together.
I’ve held onto Bat Head Soup: A Tribute to Ozzy all this time for the cover of “Mr. Crowley” that opens that CD as well as this one (it sure wasn’t the duet between Dweezil Zappa and Lisa Loeb someone thought was worth bragging about, not being humiliated by). Ripper Owens and Yngwie Malmsteen are both amazing, stylized, and have the tendency to show off, yet both stay admirably on-target here.
A sweet double disc from Century Media, the folks who regularly bring us some of the best real metal around. 20 songs on each disc, a few edits and demo tracks, and inclusions from Nuclear Blast and Liquor and Poker to boot. There are Hot Topic and Revolver logos on the back, sure, but no one’s perfect.
I’ve heard Melvins records over the past few decades, seen’m, dug their stance as “we do it our way” individualists, and am heartily impressed with their ability to mind some sorta mind bend metal” by language continually out of any and all source material, be it from being weaned at the nip of Black Flag or birthing Boris. The bands below learn on the whomp! Crunch! Grrr!, eng? Crunch! side of things; and it works as a piece.
Can Generations really be a product of 2005? Apparently so, and thank fucking god. In an age when everyone’s trying to out Coheed And Cambria each other or Throwdown in the pit, it’s nice to see young bands wearing Warzone shirts and yelling lyrics like “never have shit to say, but something’s always coming out of your mouth… you fucking judge, but where are the facts? Face it, you don’t know shit, you’re just another problem that I don’t want to deal with” (“Never Stop” by Lights Out).