1. Grace – Lamb Of God Great opening track. Gentle intro, then into straight up air-drumming metal. I've heard Lamb of God before, but to be honest it didn't strike me as anything special. This track will have me digging up their CD and giving it an proper listen.
2. Progenies of the Great Apocalypse – Dimmu Borgir I've not heard Dimmu before: it's quite an experience. This is what I call "cinematic metal" - it's like the film score to the apocalypse. There's a lot in common sound-wise with Cradle if Filth, and in sections I swear it's about to break into the Propellerheads' On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Crazy, but good.
3. Gold Teeth on a Bum – The Dillinger Escape Plan I think of DEP as the bastard child of Mike Patton and Devin Townsend. On crack. There's the Patton "pop-chorus/nuts-verse" sensibility, and the layered, textured wall of sound of Strapping Young Lad. In a playlist of great metal, this is a stand-out track and has cemented DEP as one if my favorite bands of any genre. The inclusion of this, rather than one of their more accessible tracks, is genius. After the craziness if Borgir something like Black Bubblegum might have sounded rather ordinary.
4. Jawbreaker – Judas Priest I've never listened to Judas Priest. Bad, bad metal fan! I was really surprised by how great this track is. Old-school without a doubt, but a very nice inclusion. This is the point in the album where I start to air-guitar a la Jack Black.
5. Rumors of War – High On Fire / 6. Dii – High On Fire High on Fire are the other highlight of this playlist. The gravelly vocals are a bit off-putting to begin with, but by my second or third listen I was completely sold. It reminds me a bit of Ministry's Al Jourgensen, in both sound and structure, but less industrial more and more metal.
11. Snowblind – Black Sabbath In the playlist Thomas gave me, Snowblind is here. Not sure if it's a mistake. In his write-up it's at #11. A cousin lent me Paranoid when I was in my early teens. Although I never got heavily into Sabbath, there's definitely something awesome here.
7. Thieves – Ministry I like Ministry, but either this track (or it's placement) leaves me a bit flat. I'm going to re-order the playlist and make this come after High On Fire in the hope that things improve.
8. Neither Shape Nor Shadow – Be’Lakor A solid track that has me interested in chasing up more from the band. It's not a stand-out "this is incredible and changes everything" sound like DEP, but it's very enjoyable.
9. A Nightmare To Remember – Dream Theater Long Dream Theatre is long. Although Thomas was worried about the playlist bogging down at this point, I find it a nice break in pace. Sure, the vocals and guitar can tend a bit towards the wank side at times, but there's an authenticity about Dream Theatre that makes you forgive them.
10. Holy Diver – Dio I can't listen to this without imagining Jack Black as the vocalist. Which is a shame, because that distracts from what would otherwise be a great old-school track. Jump on the tiger!
12. Naked Burn – Mastodon Leviathan, the album this track is from, is my least-favourite from Mastodon. It's not bad, just not as grab-you-by-the-throat awesome as their other stuff. Naked Burn is, however one of my favourite tracks. It marks the turning point in the album, from the mediocre first half to the mind-blowing second half. It works very well here too, building up from the previous more laid-back tracks.
13. Silverwing – Arch Enemy Arch Enemy are in the same boat as Lamb of God for me: I have heard them before but not really been grabbed. I love the melodic flow of this track though, and as with LoG, I'll be spending some more time with Arch Enemy thanks to this mix tape. It still floors me that the vocalist is female: she growls as good as anyone.
14. Deliverance – Opeth Opeth are well, there are no words really. I used to marvel at the variation in pace and time signatures of Tool, but Opeth are on a different level. Listen to any of their stuff. Seriously.
15. Five Magics – Megadeth This is the low point of the playlist, a complete contrast to the previous track. The first album I ever bought was Megadeth's So Far, So Good, So What. I sold it after a week, and have no regrets. This is everything that's wrong with metal: wank guitar and fucking stupid lyrics. It's also annoyingly catchy, so you find yourself singing "give me alchemy/give me sorcery/give me wizardry". Ugh.
16. Hyperdrive! – Devin Townsend Project I discovered Strapping Young Lad in my early Uni days. City remains one if my favorite albums, but I haven't followed up on the rest of Heavy Devy's career. This track makes me wish I had. The only obviously-female vocal track here, and Devy's layered soundscape, make this a palate-clearing experience after the last track.
17. Declaration – Killswitch Engage This is another band that's new to me. A bit Pantera-cock-rock at times, but otherwise lots of fun. Hell, even Pantera-cock-rock is fun.
18. Dethharmonic – Dethklok / 19. Deththeme – Dethklok Are Dethlok a comedy metal band? I dunno, but to be honest I could take them or leave them. Probably leave them.
20. Hallowed Be Thy Name – Iron Maiden This may get me lynched (can Iron Maiden fans still move fast enough to lynch?) but this track remands me a lot of Nick Cave's Mercy Seat, lyrically and musically. And it's got an epic build-up across the whole track. Great "closing" song. What's not to love?
21.Weight – ISIS ISIS I'm still unsure of. On paper they're a great match for my tastes, and while I enjoy their music i don't really connect with it. This is a nice mellow, spacey track to end with though, and it rounds out the album nicely.
Overall A great compilation album does two things: it introduces you to new bands and hangs together as its own entity, as more than just a bunch of tracks. Metal, especially of the prog-ish variety, is usually part of a cohesive album. Pulling it apart and putting it back together again is not easy. With Snowblind moved into it's proper place there's a very cohesive flow to these tracks. Even fucking Megadeth fits with in, in it's own hideous way. While I might have dropped tracks 15, 18 and 19, this is a fantastic compilation.