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MP3 Defenders of Metal - Volume II - The Darkside

True Heavy Metal, lots of guitars and screaming vocals, rippin'' guitar solos and thundering drums.

17 MP3 Songs
METAL: Heavy Metal, METAL: 80''s Metal

The follow up to Man In Black Music''s ''Defenders of Metal - The Seduction''. This CD+ disc features 17 True Metal Bands from 9 countries with full band notes,lyrics and photos included! Here''s what is being said about ''Defenders of Metal II''
Reviewed at: https://www.tradebit.com

I remember a day when compilations like this were a great way to discover new and unsigned bands. Somewhere along the way these kinds of projects seemingly lost their way and became nothing more than rehashes of songs you already knew all too well. MIB Music and Bryce Van Patten are trying to bring back the glory days of 80''s metal and compilations like The Northwest Metal Project and of course the Metal Massacre series. I really enjoyed the first volume in this new series and The Darkside contains an even more global line up, encompassing bands not just from the states, but Australia, Norway, Britain, Austria, Italy, Canada, Brazil, and Russia. Van Patten chooses bands from hundreds of submissions, man the internet is a wonderful thing!

All of the bands that make the cut are unsigned by labels and play with an energy that shows their desire to remedy this situation. Most play a straight forward old school metal style that will comfort anyone who was amongst the living in the 80''s, but occasionally he throws in a band that shakes things up. A few of these bands are repeats from Volume I like THE PROWLERS, MERCURY RAIN, ART OF FEAR, and Van Pattens own band BABYLON. Not surprisingly these are some of my favorite tracks from the album, especially "Reach For the Sun" from BABYLON. I did like the change of pace tunes more this time around than on Volume I. "Awake Asleep" by VIOLENT POWER is a nice European power metal tune, I loved the straight shred instrumental of ONE FALLEN called "An Empty Diary of A Lost Soul", the NINE INCH NAILS feel of "Mindless" by SLAW, and the SATRIANI groove of LOCOMOTIVE with "90 Miles From Chicago". Really there is enough variance here to please all kinds of metal minds. There is even an appearance by old school rockers WILD DOGS, a band that Van Patten has some ties to having briefly been the bands drummer back in the early days of the 80''s, before a certain guy named Dean Castronova showed up on the scene. Many of these songs attached themselves to my psyche immediately while others took repeated spins. Only final tune "Invented Heaven" would qualify as a dud in my mind.

PITRIFF RATING - 8/10 - Like I said before, the upside to getting an album full of unsigned bands is that there always seems to be a sense of urgency and a want to show their worthiness by the bands involved. Van Patten does a great job of including enough variety to make these collections intriguing to metal fans of all tastes. It would be nice if somewhere down the line you see some of these bands sign a contract with a big label, and then we can say we heard them back when they were just getting started. Word has it that there will be a third installment of this series sometime down the line.

Added: Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Reviewer: Shawn Gould
Score: 4 devils

Reviewed at: Hardrock Haven

by Derric Miller
Staff Writer

Comments: Man In Black (MIB) Music comes at us for a second round with the Defenders of Metal saga, this time with Volume II, The Darkside. Like the first volume, this CD is chock-a-block with 17 bands from nine different countries. If you like your metal diverse, eclectic but mainly heavy, this is your CD.

Because there are so many damn songs to forge through, this review will be broken up into three main categories: Defenders, Noncombatants and Offenders.

Defenders: Starting a CD of this nature off, you''d better pick the right song. MIB picked right, with Babylon''s (USA) unrelenting "Reach for the Sun." A trio, Babylon is made up of Bryce Van Patten on vocals and drums (who you''ll find smattered all over this CD in different bands and even with different instruments), Eddie Nixon (guitars) and Allen Grey (bass). This song has sort of a Dio feel to it, just the embodiment of a true metal song. The guitar solos rip, and the lyrics are smart and depressing. A fun way to start this journey off.

Prowler Inc. (USA) almost have the best song on here, "Mountains of Madness," but since they have a full review (with this song included) coming up on Hardrock Haven shortly, just trust that this old school thrash and slightly odd band defend the metal.

Falling Closer (USA) DO have the best song here, but they don''t fit the formula at all. Their track "Grounded" sounds like something you''d hear on modern rock radio, ala Breaking Benjamin or maybe even a harder Puddle of Mud. There is heavy emotion in the vocals and even a sort of death vocal part at the end, the song is driven by down tuned and noisy guitars, and it''s just a well constructed tune. They don''t fit on this CD, especially alongside the aforementioned bands, but that doesn''t mean they aren''t good.

Taking a turn 180 degrees, Wild Dogs (USA) tear things up with "High Roller." You''ll find Van Patten on this song, doing drums again, but vocals and guitar go to Matt McCourt, with Dr. Mastermind on bass. Now, this song is the one that begs you turn up the loudest, and the one that wants you to mainline whiskey. It has an AC/DC vibe, but doesn''t sound like AC/DC. It''s that kind of dirty, groovy rock, though.

Noncombatants: Mercury Rain''s (U.K.) "The Messenger" is a symphonic metal track, sort of like Nightwish, Theater of Tragedy, and the trillion other "chick sings opera/dude sings death" bands. Their saving grace is the female vocals, which unlike the aforementioned similar bands, Sonia Porzier doesn''t seem pretentious or to be faking earnestness. She just delivers, and it''s good. Whoever handles the male vocals, though, sounds like someone took a cheese grater to his vocal cords. Not good. That doesn''t ruin the musicianship or smart lyrics, so it falls into the middle ground of this review.

J.A.T.A.''s (USA) "Eyes of Fire" is good and bad all at the same time. The vocals by Tony DiRienzo are WAY up front in the mix. So much, you can''t really hear the drums or bass. He has a distinctive voice and a good range, and maybe it''s just the production that needs to be altered to make this one a true defender. The guitar solo doesn''t seem to make sense with the flow of the song, giving it a disjointed feeling. Still, it does make you wonder what a whole album by these guys would sound like.

Celestial Dawn (Canada) have a power metal offering called "Queen of the Damned." This is more Manowar than Helloween, though. Its greatest flaw is that is just seems to be an OK song. Nothing truly stands out: not the vocals, guitars or rhythm section, and certainly not the lyrics. It seems they find their stride about 4-minutes in and deliver a hell of an ending, though, with a wicked cool scream and a Dickinson-like finale.

Agatta (Brazil) have one of the coolest, meanest songs on the entire CD in "Messiah of the Sun." The song changes tempo at weird times, but doesn''t get in the way of the overall song. The harmonic vocals sort of hide behind the double bass in parts, being muted when they should stand out. They need to ditch the two-part disharmony and let the lead singer carry things along - he has a cool voice, so let him shine.

Offenders: MIB definitely and maybe defiantly DID NOT save the best for last. Nope ... they saved the worst for last. Invented Heaven''s (Russia) "Rest in Pain" is awful. The lyrics are nonsensical - "paralyzed by immobility," really? - and the vocals are the worst on the entire CD. Maybe MIB wanted to chuck one death metal band into the maelstrom just to give us a flavor of a different type of band, but it just didn''t work. On a good note, though, the music does seem influenced by Slayer, and the guitars are the highlight of this song.

COD (Australia) are the second track, falling off the map compared to Babylon, failing with the dunderheaded "Armies of the Elephant God." The drumming is completely insane, though, something to be amazed at. For a 3-minute song, it seems to go on for 10 minutes, and the vocals are awkward at best.

Overall, this is an excellent CD to snag if you are curious to what the rest of the world is creating, especially for an American. Although you''ll hit skip a few times and deal with the herky-jerkiness of a 19-song disk, some of these bands are going to keep creating the music we love to hear. So check them out while they are still underground, defending the metal ...


Track listing: Reach For The Sun - Babylon - Portland, OR. USA * Armies of the Elephant God - COD - Australia *
Mountains of Madness - Prowler Inc. - Molalla, OR. USA * Awake Asleep - Violent Power - Alfoten, Norway *
An Empty Diary of a Lost Soul - One Fallen - Estacada, OR. USA * The Messenger - Mercury Rain - United Kingdom *
Eyes of Fire - J.A.T.A. - FL. USA* Mindless - SLAW - Newberg, OR. USA * Prisoners of Hate - Art of Fear - Austria *
90 Miles From Chicago - LocoMotive - Portland, OR. USA * Grounded - Falling Closer - Portland, OR. USA * High Roller - Wild Dogs - Portland, OR. USA * Metalness - Reapers - Italy * Queen of the Damned - Celestial Dawn - Montreal, Canada * A Descent Into the Maelstrom - The Prowlers - Rome, Italy * Messiah of the Sun - Agatta - Brazil * Invented Heaven - Rest in Pain - Russia

HRH Rating: 7.3/10

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