Various Artists

MTV2 Headbanger's Ball: The Revenge

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During the '80s, Headbanger's Ball was one of the anchor shows during what many consider to be the glory years of MTV. Featuring Riki Rachtman as the host, Headbanger's Ball would show the videos that many at the PMRC and other organizations considered too graphic or obscene to be featured during prime-time/family-hour viewing. Rachtman also featured in-depth interviews with some of heavy metal's top acts, asking the hard-hitting questions one would expect to ask while interviewing bands barely coherent enough to stand up, let alone do an interview. But sometime during the advent of the alternative nation, Headbanger's Ball began to lose a bit of its steam, and was relegated to infrequent production and other channels as the station branched out and expanded its empire. But circa 2006, Headbanger's Ball appears to be back with a raging vengeance, especially if this two-disc compilation has anything to say about it. Chock-full of today's hard rock and heavy metal all-stars and up-and-comers, MTV2 Headbanger's Ball: The Revenge doesn't hold back any punches and delivers exactly what it promises: the audio equivalent of a shot of Jack Daniels and a kick in the face from a steel-toed boot. Contributions from such legends as Iron Maiden (a live recording of "The Trooper" easily bests most of the young rascals here), Korn, Opeth, and Black Label Society go head to head with the best of the new school. Fans of the program may be disappointed that there isn't much attention paid to the past's rich treasury of bands, but this isn't about paying homage to what the program and the movement have done in the past ten years. More importantly, The Revenge is about where Headbanger's Ball is going. Not exactly a definitive document of today's hard rock landscape, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a compilation that punches as hard as this one.

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