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Metal Years | Metal | Progressive | Power | review | compilation | Lollipop
The Metal Years
Progressive Metal (Spitfire)
By Scott Hefflon
Yes, Yes, YES! These three CDs scoop up some of the cream of the crop per genre and lay it all out for you. While there's no black metal or sludge noise, fuck, no comp series is perfect. And those two genres are opposite ends of the Gothic Doom Metal comp, so while you'll have to get the Beauty in Darkness comps for Dimmu Borgir, Borknagar, and Cradle of Filth, you should get 'em anyway. And, uh, I think you'd have to get a Southern Lord sampler to get Khanate and all that "I left the vacuum on" acid gut foulness, but again, if you can find it cheap, do it so you know who's who.
These three CDs really get it. Spitfire often seems to follow Metal Blade down the "gee, '80s metal was keen, huh?" road, but Century Media still have Jag Panzer and Nuclear Blast seems to have a contract they just can't get out of that requires them to release everything Mat Sinner does, but all these labels stand strong and true for metal, and really, ya gotta respect them for not cashing in and losing all credibility like Roadrunner has (I may be called an old school fogie, but nü metal is like emo: It's short-lived and embarrassing in the long run like Tiffany and Milli Vanilli so I hope you invested wisely, guys. Gimme a call when you're ready to put your might to some good use and work decent bands again).
If you follow these genres at all, most of these bands should be familiar to you. They're mostly the big names, with some "filler" (mostly Black Mark bands, sorry to say), and there's no representation of Limb and SPV on the Progressive Metal and Power Metal discs, but that coulda been licensing. No Kreator or Rhapsody or, ahem, Rage... But also no Arch Enemy or Helloween or Cannibal Corpse or Morbid Angel, so yeah, these suckers ain't perfect. But when you look at the band listings, you say "Damn, these things have most of what I wanna hear."
My faves are (not surprisingly) Gothic Doom Metal and Power Metal (Progressive Metal and Power Metal being divided strangely at times – as is often the case – with Stratovarious appearing on the former and Gamma Ray and Iron Savior on the latter, with Iced Earth on both), but that's nitpicking. Power Metal is kind enough to include In Flames and Dark Tranquillity, often considered melodic death metal and progressive Goth metal respectively, but you get the point that there's good shit here, and you really oughtta see if there's a way you can buy all three for a discount. And ask if there are more genre comps coming, cuz Spitfire really did a good job here. I have multiple releases by most of the bands here, but it's always good to hear a fave Tiamat track, get treated to a Tristania track later on, even if I have to sit through a goofy Moonspell track and realize how far we've progressed since My Dying Bride helped invent the stuff. Other bands proudly waving the metal flag: Gothic Doom Metal: Anathema, Christian Death, Cathedral, Paradise Lost, Lake of Tears, The Sins of Thy Beloved, Cemetary, Theatre of Tragedy, Candlemass; Progressive Metal: Opeth, Fates Warning, The Gathering, Yngwie Malmsteen, White Skull, Angel Dust, Crimson Glory, Steel Prophet, Ayreon, Anacrusis; Power Metal: Demons and Wizards, Nevermore, Hammerfall, Nocturnal Rites, Sentenced, Tad Morose, Morgana LeFay.
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