Around this time of the year, a lot of labels and artists decide to release compilation albums. Why? For exposure and sales of course, but let’s not forget that it’s also for lots of fun. What we have here is the “Best of 2014” compilation by Roxx Records that consists of all kinds of different artists showing off their talents. Now I have to be honest, I haven’t ever listened to any of these artists that are listed. Perhaps I’m too young to know these bands (I turned 20 in October) so I guess I’m in for some surprises here and there. I do know a few of them, but only by name. Some of these artists really have a great name in the (Christian) metal scene. However, the album is 18 tracks long, so I am afraid I can’t review the entire album track by track.
The opening track “Face in the sky” by Jupiter VI is quite a calm song compared to what I expected. The intro starts off with harmonic guitars that quickly make way for the vocals in the verse. To me, the vocals seemed like a blend of heavy metal and hair metal that was extremely populair during the 80’s. The guitars aren’t really heavy but still enjoyable.
“Bishop of Souls” by Vengeance Rising does not leave you waiting and immediately fills your ears with fast, heavy guitars. While the guitars hint more towards thrash metal, the vocals leaned more towards death metal in my opinion. We’re even treated with a fast guitar solo at the end of the song. The guitars are heavy, the drums are pounding and the heaviness does not leave you until the end of the track and
“Scattered (Body Parts)” by Ultimatum immediately begins with a guitar solo, but frankly the song seems a bit more punk-influenced than previous tracks on this album. And some people might think that I’m wrong, but I think the vocals share some similarities with hardcore vocals, but perhaps that’s also because of the thrashy sound. Honestly, I’m still a bit unsure about what genre this band really belongs to, but besides my confusion, I’m enjoying the song itself. Especially because the guitars are really good. The chorus consists of gang vocals, brutal glutturals and power chords that burst with a lot of energy.
“Slay the Wicked” by Deliverance starts off with mean sounding guitars and picks my interest as soon as the guitar solo begins. The vocals are pretty raw and I find that really enjoyable as I used to be a hardcore metallica fan about 6 years ago. This song sure does take me back. Thrash metal flows through the veins of this band. The double bass gives the song even more power and the fast guitar solo accompanied by some double bass, unleash a lot of energy.
“Saligia” by Pylon begins with classical instruments, which is actually nice for a change. You can hear faint whispers after which harmonic guitars come in to create a hauntingly beautiful intro. The vocals really fit in with the rest of the song. Even though it’s all clean singing, it’s still really powerful. After the chorus, the guitarist shreds his guitar to bits with an awesome guitar solo to wrap the song up. The quality of the recording is really good as well, and the song structure is good which makes the song really solid.
“The Killing Floor” by The Brave has more of a blues and rock and roll vibe, which is a surprising twist in this album. I’m really enjoying it because this gives the album a bit more variety, and it’s quite refreshing after all the metal songs I heard before. The vocalist has a solid voice, and the guitars are excellent. Even though the song might be a bit softer than the rest, it does not lack any energy.
After we were granted short break from all the heaviness we get “We All Stand” by Saint. The song immediately starts off with typical metal guitars, even with a guitar solo to back them up. The song is quite energetic because the guitars and drums work together very well. And besides that, the vocalist isn’t bad either..
“Train Wreck” by GX Project has more of a classic rock vibe in the vein of AC/DC and Def Leppard, which is quite refreshing as well. The voice of the singer even sounds a little bit like Brian Johnson sometimes during the chorus. What I noticed in this song is that the bass is pretty audible, which I really like. Bass guitars really are underrated in metal and should be given the place they deserve, in my opinion. It really is an upbeat song and it has an enthousiastic atmosphere to it.This song will make you bang your head along with the beat, whether you like it or not.
Finally, there’s a christmas song surprisingly called “Merry Xmas” and is performed by Wretched Graverobber. The song is fast, energetic and also quite upbeat, but with its darker moments. The vocalist has a powerful voice, perfectly fit for metal. The song does put you in a christmas mood, but in a metal way. The guitars mostly consist of power chords, but near the end we’re also treated with some harmonic leads.
Overall: This compilation is quite long, so you’ll have plenty of listening pleasure. The variety on this album is great, and there’s definitely something in this for everyone. If you like thrash metal, it’s there. If you like classic rock, it’s there. If you’re more of an 80’s heavy metal fan, it’s there. A good compilation with some artists that have a great name in the Christian metal scene. If you’re still looking for a christmas gift for a metalhead you know: this album will probably be just right.
Written by Geert Prins
1. Jupiter VI – ‘Face in the Sky’
2. Vengeance Rising – ‘Bishop of Souls’
3. Deliverance – ‘Stay of Execution’
4. Ultimatum – ‘Scattered’ (Body Parts)
5. Deliverance – ‘Slay the Wicked’
6. Pylon – ‘Saligia’
7. Taker – ‘Open your heart’
8. Barren Cross – ‘White washed love’ (Exclusive Edit)
9. The Brave – ‘The Killing Floor’
10. Saint – ‘We all Stand’
11. GX Project – ‘Train Wreck’
12. Freakings – ‘Hate in our veins’
13. Letter 7 – ‘Archangel’
14. Faithbomb – ‘So far away’
15. Darrel l Mansfield – ‘Thunder and Lightning’ (Remaster)
16. Promise Land – ‘Harmony in Ruins’
17. Ordained Fate – ‘Minions of the adversary’
18. Wretched Graverobber – ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’
Record Label: Roxx Records, Dec. 2014