I'm getting bloody fed up of compilation CDs. They're always full of the big bands newest releases who we're all more than familiar with and essentially serve no purpose other than to initiate the unaware. Getting them for free at a show or with a magazine is fine, because, well, it's free, but asking me to pay for it is out of the question. I know what's on it, I know what I like, I'll just go out and buy the album instead.
Dark Reign Records took my complaint to heart, and decide to make the best damn compilation that they could. The result? A massive four disc set spanning well over four and a half hours of Extreme Metal. The big surprise with this one is that despite some bigger name acts found across the four discs, like MAYHEM, GOD FORBID, DERANGED and ORIGIN, the compilation seems more concerned with bringing some lesser known bands, such as TRIUMPHATOR, THE END, and SCHOLOMANCE, as well as some completely obscure acts such as ZYON, MAHAVATAR, ALL OUT WAR and OF THE FALLEN to the forefront.
The material on this disc ranges from excellent to average to poor, but the rating remains a solid 10 for just that reason. This collection isn't meant to be regarded as a collection of the best Extreme Metal songs of all time (unless it is, in which case I'd have to completely have to rework this review), but instead as a tool for discovering new bands, and maybe even informing you about some other bigger name bands you've always forgot to check out.
The other huge pitfall that was avoided was concerning the genre selection. Instead of making a massive collection focusing on one or two Extreme Metal sub genres, Dark Reign decided to tackle on as many as they could, and did an excellent job at giving each of the main three (Death Metal, Black Metal and Grindcore) proper representation, spanning through the more popular acts to the more obscure ones. Of course, different choices could have been made, somewhere someone had to put their foot down and make a decision, and when it boils down to it, the selection is really quite impressive.
It's great to finally see a compilation that serves a purpose. From a newbie to those well versed in Extreme Metal, there is something here for everyone. (Online August 18, 2003)