V/A

Masters of Horror Soundtrack
Metal Dreams - Volume 2
Black Light Magazine #4 - compilation CD
Slave to the Power - The Iron Maiden Tribute
White: Nightmares In The End
Medea Records Compilation
Until the End of Time
One Hell of a Compilation


Masters of Horror Soundtrack
(Immortal Records)
Enslain Magazine Volume 2, Issue 1
Order Issue #8!  This review included. You don't even have to listen to this album to know it will be a big hit at your local Hot Topic. Mudvayne, Buckethead (featuring Serj of System of a Down), Every Time I Die, Andrew W.K., and Norma Jean are among the contributors to this who's who in modern heavy music. If you weren't aware that this compilation is the soundtrack to a 13-episode Showtime series of short horror films, you might be expecting something much heavier and gorier than these acts. Even still, it's almost wrong not to include some horror metal like Necrophagia on this 30 track 2-disc set of screamo, punk, and metalcore. In reality, this is closer to a soundtrack for the Sounds of the Underground Tour meets the Warped tour. The best selling point of this compilation is that all tracks were previously unreleased in the U.S. Of immediate interest are Shadows Fall's "This is My Own," which was a Japanese extra on "The Art of Balance," and In Flames' "Discover Me Like Emptiness," released only on the European digipak. Each of these are about par with their current works, and worth a listen. Mastodon also shares a live version of "Megalodon" which is produced well enough that you'd never guess it wasn't a studio track. Few of the other songs had an impact on me, other than Death by Stereo's "Bottled Up" which reminded me of To-Die-For's goth vocals meets metalcore instrumentation, and It Dies Today's cover of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence." Still, there are too many weak points to overlook, including punk songs and accoustic tracks that completely miss the point. This is a quality release if you enjoy today's mainstream underground, but otherwise, you'll be doing a lot of track-skipping. -- Lady Enslain

Metal Dreams - Volume 2
(Nuclear Blast)
Enslain Magazine Issue #8
I'm sorry... who the hell's idea was this? I can see a bunch of men in suits thinking, hey, let's take the girliest metal bands ever, take the fruitiest songs they've ever written, and release them all together? Alright, I do like some of the bands on here, like Iced Earth and Nightwish, and yes, I'm usually quite fond of the balladesque tracks on a CD, but only because they serve as a break from the assault. This CD doesn't allow you the opportunity to have a break, because there is no initial attack. And besides that, some of these songs are REALLY gay. What's with releasing a bunch of newer songs on the same compilation as Helloween, Skid Row, and Mr. Big? Oh, and the ballerina on the cover of the CD, what's with that? As far as concepts go, I guess this is relatively unique, but I think there was a reason it was never thought of before. Again, I enjoyed some of the songs on here... but I just can't listen to the whole thing without suppressing a few dozen laughs. -- Lady Enslain

Black Light Magazine #4 - compilation CD
(Black Light Magazine)

Enslain Magazine Issue #7
Order Issue #7!  This review included.
This is definitely a unique compilation CD. Foremost, it doesn't just cover one genre, and it has a great line-up of mostly up and coming signed European acts. They seem to all be of a more musical nature, lots of slowed down songs with additional instrumentation and unexpected madness! Outstanding tracks come from: The Embraced, talented Swedish black/death; Ewigkeit, who include a drum-programmed song with some really nice keyboards added for a sort of unreal sound; an intense track from Nocturnal Winds; and a powerful tune from Malevolence. In fact, it's hard to pick favorites as each of these bands has something that sets them apart. Most notable is the CD-Rom video from none other than Russia's Mental Home... one of the most whacked out claymated videos you'll ever see! And a good song to go along with it. This compilation CD comes with Black Light Magazine, a Spanish-written magazine with full color gloss-ish pages throughout, it's very impressive! The compilation CD itself is so good, it should make up for the fact that you may not be able to read the magazine that it comes with!-- Lady Enslain

Slave to the Power - The Iron Maiden Tribute
(MeteorCity)

Enslain Magazine Issue #7
Order Issue #7!  This review included.
This is the definitive Iron Maiden tribute. It's been done many times before, as it's hard to find a band that isn't influenced by or fans of Iron Maiden, but never before has it been done so correctly. Though there is a wide range of different styled bands on this tribute, mostly prog/stoner/doom, for the most part they sound most like the originals, especially vocally. There are a few songs that are so slowed down or altered that you can hardly tell they were originally Maiden classics, but it's always good to hear a new take on these songs. Most true to the originals would be Error7 doing "Stranger in a Strange Land" and Eleventh Hour playing "Alexander the Great," both so much like the originals, you'd hardly guess it wasn't Maiden recorded live. Other highlights include Crowbar's depressive cover of "Remember Tomorrow," The Quill's energetic cover of "Where Eagles Dare," and Solstice's strong take on "The Prophecy." Then there'd be the very, very memorable cover of "The Trooper" by Höyry-Kone... you may never be the same after hearing this! Iron Maiden meets cello, sax, and trombone? Scary! Overall, this 2-CD set covers it all, and reminds us of the empowering effects on one of the greatest bands of all time!-- Lady Enslain

White: Nightmares In The End
(The End Records)

Enslain Magazine Issue #7
Order Issue #7!  This review included.
I love The End Records... such short a time they've been around, and yet they've introduced me to many sounds I may have never heard if not for their open minded and artistically superior taste in bands. They don't seek out the heaviest, but rather the most creative, the music with the most vision. This is not to say that I listen to and enjoy all of their signings. But each demands some sort of respect above and beyond musical listenability. Odes of Ecstasy, for example, aren't what I would find myself listening to, though I enjoy the majestic atmosphere, I'm not a fan of the female vocals which are the soul of this band. Love History is similar, female vocals front more pianic passages, very musical and melodious. There are also tracks present by artists that I find myself listening to frequently, Russian melodic death metal Mental Home, indescribably pure and vision-inspiring Agalloch, and unimaginably fast yet creative and memorable black/death from Epoch of Unlight. The End quite obviously does not stick to a certain genre, and have discovered so many talented bands that deserve all the exposure they can get. An insight into their history and ideas is present within the cover booklet, which I found to be worth reading. This sampler serves to wet the taste buds, and you will find yourself salivating for a few of these exceptional bands.-- Lady Enslain

Medea Records Compilation
(Medea Records)

Enslain Magazine Issue #7
Order Issue #7!  This review included.
This compilation from newcomer Michigan label Medea Records features two songs from each of the bands on their roster. It begins on a more promising note, with The Lords of Algol. Upbeat, fast melodic metal with keyboards and other symphonic sounds. It switches from this to blast beats in no time. You'll hear classic and black metal influences, vocal chants and guttural growls. They take so many influences from different styles, that nothing becomes expected. Next group of songs is from Rage Against the Machine... oh, I mean Factory 81. I can't help but point out the vocal similarities, both in style and tone, perhaps even subject matter and the rappish speeches. Musically it's also similar, but they are more hardcore. I do think Rage fans will be impressed, as they do what they do well. Too Many Gods also have a mainstream friendly sound, industrialized and sampled, with rapped vocals as well. Black Ocean Drowning are perhaps darkwave, unusual keyboard melodies and simple music with a lot of vocal conviction. Fatal is the last band showcased here. They play speed/death with a lot of time changes, with decent riffs, but nothing really graspable. As a whole, this CD serves as a good introduction to Medea, a label that signs bands that offer something original, which is an unusual feat.-- Lady Enslain

Until the End of Time
(The End Records)

Enslain Magazine Issue #5
Order Issue #5!  This review included.
The End Records is a label that hasn't yet gotten the recognition it deserves. Before this release I was unaware of them. After hearing this, they've become one of my favorites. "Mental Home," who has two tracks on this 8-song comp, is just incredible. Melodic, atmospheric, highly original, and talented, with great clean/growl vocals. "Sculptured" also has a great melodic song on here. Without keyboards, it's a bit heavier, and still gives off an ambient feel. The vocals are a decent growl, very fitting with the music. Other bands include: "Epoch of Unlight", a heavy death/black band; "Nokturnal Mortum", who's two songs on the comp have a neat kind of middle eastern/Egyptian sort of feel, with fast black/death metal and a screechy growl; "Odes of Ecstasy" who have female vocals and slow atmospheric metal; and "Scholomance", who have a sound that is like a haunted house in India, mixed with interesting tempo changes, double-bass, and screechy vocals. I recommend this compilation to fans of black, melodic death, different types of atmosphere, and anyone looking for variety and quality.-- Lady Enslain

One Hell of a Compilation
(Blasphemour Records)

Enslain Magazine Issue #6
Order Issue #6!  This review included. This disc will prove to be one hell of a compilation for fans of deathcore. About three quarters of this CD represents bands with different stylings of a death, hardcore mixture. The sound quality on all the songs is decent if not better, and there are some definite highlights. Goatwhore, the new project of Sammy Duet (ex Acid Bath), has a track on here that is melodically brutal, switching from extremely fast, grinding and uncompromising to a slower assault, with mixtures of chanted, screeched, and growled vocals; a great song that's very thrashable. Another good song is the track by Skinless, who presents the heaviest track on this comp, with guttural vocals, and tight, evil, fast death metal, catchy, brutal, and moshable. As a whole, this compilation should hold some interest, but there are only a few exceptional songs. -- Lady Enslain

ENSLAIN MAGAZINE