Can you maniacs believe we've now done 25 of these rockin' samplers? Pretty cool huh? And I believe a record in the biz. Anyhow, here are the hot new bands that you will be banging your Halloween-masked heads to come that chilly Autumnal eve. It's the usual mix of all the metal styles any open mind should be brave and crave. Winter awaits. Here's your first stiff drink.
1) THE HAUNTED - 'Hollow Ground' 4:08; from The Haunted Made Me Do It (Earache)
A big ballsy batch of thrash is about to kick yer ass. By that, of course we mean the hotly-craved second record from The Haunted, a band fired by the core writers from At The Gates and Jensen from Witchery. Pretty much highly revered legends by way of one lone but deafening album, The Haunted are the perfect blend of manic metals to melt your winter blues.
2) EARTH CRISIS - 'Slither' 3:59; from Slither (Victory)
Victory's marquee act Earth Crisis have never shied away from change. Their hardcore past is legion and their experimentation with metal riffs both traditional and nu-metal continues, creating a seamless, always creative and cutting edge whole. Top it off with creamy but hard as nails production and you've got a viable big breaker. www.victoryrecords.com
3) NILE - 'Chapter For Transforming Into A Snake' 2:24; from Black Seeds Of Vengeance (Relapse)
Nile have vaulted themselves into pole position as the buzz band to beat within the realms of death metal. And they've done it through intelligent riff constructs, elaborate Egypt-based storylines and the inclusion of exotic instruments. This, friends, is their master statement and already advance orders are fetching and robust. Ride the river.
4) SOULFLY - 'Back To The Primitive' 4:20; from Primitive (Roadrunner)
Max Cavalera continues to prove himself one of the seers of _orld metal_ creating another Soulfly album that purifies through harsh rhythm, political anger and grinding guitars. Also, look for key performances from Slayer's Tom Araya, Chino from The Deftones, #8 from Slipknot and believe it or not, Sean Lennon. But fear not, the metal flows, bubbles and boils hard and often.
5) KILLINGFIELD - 'Full Throttle' 4:26; from Year Of The Zero's (3rd World Inc.)
Combining a modern metal approach with a mesmerizing grasp of restraint and economy, Killingfield create aggro-metal atmospheres befitting of their hard-ass take on their L.A. homeland. Look for sparse intros, hooky textures and a muscular grind that has made Killingfield one of the most vicious live acts on the local scene. Contact: POB 93213, Los Angeles CA 90093-0213 or www.killingfield.net
6) SCRATCHING POST - 'Sleepwalking' 2:39; from This Time It's Personal (Beastmaster Recordings)
From Nicole's personal, passionate vocals to the crush of the band's rhythm section, Scratching Post are ready to kick Kittie's furry butts with an intelligent, layered, metallic display of future rock stuffed with hooks, production acumen and memorable songs. Check out the guitar textures on this one. Should be a smash single. See www.scratchingpost.com for more info.
7) PISSING RAZORS - 'Fork Tongue' 4:51; from Fields Of Disbelief (Noise)
Texas tankers Pissing Razors are quickly rumbling together a reputation as the aggro band to stomp all comers. The sound is a lethal cross-stitch of Skinlab, Crowbar and Pantera, juiced with a few note-dense strains of virulent noisecore, topped with groove-laden hot sauce sure to burn a hole in your moshpit. Bon appetit, and watch for those razorblades.
8) ENSLAVED - 'Davdningakvida (Dead Hymn)' 3:31; from Mardraum - Beyond The Within (Necropolis)
Big priority band for Necropolis here, the god-like Enslaved returning from frosty points north to blister a bubble of old school blackness that is sure to push the genre forward, much like the latest from Immortal, Mayhem and Satyricon did. Slashing, intelligent riffs, thrashy production and uncompromising vokills are the order of the day. You have been served.
9) ROTTING CHRIST - 'Aeternatus' 3:12; from Khronos (Century Media)
Greek devilkings Rotting Christ have heeded the call of their carnal roots and assembled a harsh black metal feast that is both vicious and atmospheric at once. Said effect is accomplished through uncompromising vocals pumped with the air of dreamy keys, over an expected panorama of disturbingly creative riffs and arrangements. The band's exalted reign continues.
10) DEE SNIDER - 'Hard Core' 4:06; from Never Let The Bastards Wear You Down (Koch)
Long rumoured, long discussed, here now. Yep, this is a Twisted Sister's Dee Snider coming full-on with a batch of barnstormers from the man's many career incarnations, all of it spit with the fire and drive you've come to expect from this walking, talking metal show. 'Hard Core' is Dee's tribute to Motorhead's Lemmy.
11) SUPERSHINE - 'Won't Drag Me Down' 4:04; from Supershine (Metal Blade)
One of the most hotly anticipated collaborations in some time lives up to the hype, Doug Pinnick from King' X and Bruce Franklin from doom legends Trouble turning in a no-frills blast of retro guitar muscle, topped of course with Pinnick's soulful vocals. Pure metal magic is the pristine result, making for one of the highlights of 2000 thus far.
12) BREAKER - '10 Seconds In' 4:25; from Get Tough! (Auburn)
Hot off a triumphant showcase at Wacken, where the band's first pressing of CDs sold out, Cleveland's legendary Breaker are enjoying a resurgence thanks to the resplendent 2 CD 26 track reissue of '87's Get Tough, toughened immeasurably by 16 bonus tracks! Classic, song-sturdy US power metal before there were Germans. Contact POB 925, Medina OH 44258-0925 or Auburn833@aol.com or www.auburnrecords.com
13) DORO - 'I Give My Blood (Dedication)' 3:53; from Calling The Wild (Koch Records)
Germany's esteemed metal queen returns after nearly a decade without U.S. distribution, Calling The Wild being a heady mix of passionate ballads and surprisingly dirty metal stompers. Guests on the album include Slash, Al Pitrelli and Lemmy, with which Doro does two tracks, Love Me Forever and previously unreleased Lemmy composition Alone Again.
14) NOCTURNAL RITES - 'The Sinners Cross' 3:45; from Afterlife (Century Media)
Defiance. Integrity. Nocturnal Rites have operated with fire and brimstone seemingly in a vacuum, cranking a form of power metal that is elegantly underground. But now things just got harder, the band acquiring a grittier vocalist, as well as venomous doses of both speed and production edge, pointing Afterlife to a strange and headbanging sound characteristic of cool American traditional metal.
15) CANNIBAL CORPSE - 'Stripped, Raped and Strangled' 3:38; from Live Cannibalism (Metal Blade)
The originators of American gore are back with an era-crowning live spread, accompanied by a fair dose of touring. Live Cannibalism comprises all the favourites, many surprises, all of it totally live, warts and all, just the way a death metal show should be. Come witness the master blasters pasting their beloved fans to the wall.
16) DYING FETUS - 'Pissing In The Mainstream' 1:55; from Destroy The Opposition (Relapse)
Hard-charging futuro-deathgrind is what you get on this first new Fetus spread in two years. Technical virtuosity is balanced beautifully with hardcore chaos. Glazed over the top is a catchiness that verges on infection. Brilliance plain and simple (complicated?) from one of the genre's best.
17) USURPER - '1666 AD' 4:30; from Necronemesis (Necropolis)
Usurper are the creepy Chicago flag-flyers of all things black. And for Americans, they do it with frightening frosty Scandinavian authenticity. On the heels of their rarities pack earlier this year, the band are back to clutch a few more souls with their nasty blend of death, black and quickened thrash.
18) EXHUMED - 'Decrepit Crescendo' 2:25; from Slaughtercult (Relapse)
If anybody can kick the graves of its predecessors and become the new blood-caked gore kings, it is San Francisco's Exhumed. And this time, the _oretet_have delivered a frightening marriage of thrash and death that is stellar in execution and star-studded in presentation (get it, and see or yourself!).
19) APOCALYPTICA - 'Path' 3:02; from Cult (Mercury/Universal)
Finnish cello innovators Apocalyptica continue their commercially and creatively successful run with a new album that finds them thickening and layering their unique orchestral sound. Having cut their teeth on wild Metallica covers, the band have moved well into a career based on classy originals which metalize classical but good.