GRIM REAPER - See You In Hell (1983)
That song rules.
Ok, back to the scary stuff! In this final chapter, I will share with you what is now a lost art: Cheap Compilation Albums. Back in the 1990's, almost every independent record label would release cheap compilation albums (all under $5) that would feature their roster of bands. For many of us, this was how we checked out a plethora of bands from various underground circles. I often bought these cheap compilations as well as movie soundtracks, because I didn't have any other way of listening to a wide variety of metal.
Here's 4 compilations that opened the door wide. Enjoy.
TALES FROM THE CRYPT: DEMON KNIGHT - Official Movie Soundtrack (1995)
Sepultura - "Policia"
Remember the "asshole metalhead kid" from my 9th grade algebra class that I mentioned in Part 1? He's responsible for me buying this album. Pretty much the only reason I bought this was because I recognized Biohazard, Machine Head and Sepultura from the asshole's t-shirts. Since I wanted to get more into metal, I figured why not.
As it turns out, most of this CD sucked. I greatly enjoyed the Megadeth song, as well as Sepultura (linked above), Machine Head and Ministry...but the rest was blah. However, both Sepultura and Machine Head led me to checking out their albums (released by Roadrunner Records), which in turn exposed me to more of the extreme bands out there.
MORTAL KOMBAT - Official Movie Soundtrack (1995)
Napalm Death - "Twist The Knife (Slowly)"
Honestly, it was a toss-up between this one and The Crow soundtrack. However, the Mortal Kombat soundtrack featured more "extreme" metal and techno, while The Crow soundtrack featured more grunge and industrial. In the end, the Mortal Kombat soundtrack introduced me to Fear Factory, Napalm Death, Type O Negative and GZR, so it wins.
I don't really remember much about the movie. I'm sure it was cool when I was 15 and probably doesn't hold up well today. I'm sure the same could be said about the soundtrack, but it was a product of its time. There was a silly trend in the late 1990's to do mash-up movie soundtracks. In addition to The Crow and Mortal Kombat, they did it with the Judgement Night soundtrack (metal and hip-hop), the Spawn soundtrack (metal and techno) and even the Escape From L.A. soundtrack (alternative/grunge, industrial/metal). It was a bit ridiculous. Of course, I owned all of these soundtracks...but it was specifically the Mortal Kombat soundtrack that led me to checking out bands like Napalm Death and more.
EARPLUGGED 2 (1997) Earache Records
At The Gates - "Blinded by Fear"
I still listen to this compilation to this very day. It was one of those cheap discount compilation CD's that I mentioned earlier, and has always been one of my favorites. Earache Records was home to a lot of the classic death metal and grindcore bands, and this compilation featured their newest stuff, along with a few more oddball bands that Earache signed that didn't really mesh with the metal stuff. Despite that, this was a killer compilation that introduced me to such bands as At The Gates, Carcass, Entombed and Cathedral.
As with most compilations, I didn't like everything on this CD, but it definitely gave me a shopping list of bands and albums to check out, and that's why it was one of my more influential purchases.
IDENTITY 3...D! (1997) Century Media Records
SAMAEL - "Rain"
This cheap compilation CD was probably the one that is responsible for exposing me to extreme metal more than any other album out there. Upon listening to this CD and discovering bands like Samael, Strapping Young Lad (Devin Townsend), Moonspell, Arcturus and Rotting Christ, Century Media Records became my go-to label for the bulk of my metal collection.
From my fascination with extreme metal came the idea of doing my own fanzine (anyone remember Isolation Magazine? Anyone?) and from that my many other endeavors in life.
You may have noted that the bulk of the albums I discussed were released between 1995 and 1997. I was definitely a metalhead product of my time, and even though not everything that got me into metal are classics, they opened my mind to the world of wonder that is metal.
I hope you enjoyed this blog series. Bow us out, Devin!
STRAPPING YOUNG LAD - "Detox" (1997) Century Media Records