Not fooling anyone with the questionable "Music from and inspired by..." disclaimer applied to so many of today's sad excuses for movie soundtracks, this massive, two-disc set actually represents something of a "state of heavy metal address" for the mid-'00s. Well, kinda, since, to be perfectly honest, it ostensibly works as a roster sampler for sister labels Nuclear Blast and Century Media, with a few other major metal players (the modest, but always taste-making Relapse, the dwindling but still powerful and at times relevant Roadrunner), but ignoring literally hundreds of smaller, but very active record companies pushing metal across the globe. But, seeing as it's always almost impossible to promote heavy metal outside of its limited borders and loyal fan base, any effort must be welcomed -- especially one as expansive as this one, with its whopping 36 entries. Of course that hardly means we're getting the very best from each artist, but with a laundry list including notable contributors as varied as Bay Area thrash stalwarts Exodus and Death Angel, neo-thrashers the Haunted, Dew-Scented and Arch Enemy, black metal titans Dimmu Borgir, Samael and Cradle of Filth, death metal giants of both melodic (In Flames, Dark Tranquility, Soilwork, Hypocrisy) and super-technical (Meshuggah, Misery Index, Suffocation, Kataklysm, Dying Fetus) persuasions, American metal headliners both old (Fear Factory, Machine Head) and new (Shadows Fall, God Forbid, Chimaira), and genre-busting originals like the Dillinger Escape Plan, Strapping Young Lad and the mighty Mastodon. Add to that stylistic one-offs (at least within this collection) like gothic metal favorites Lacuna Coil, stoner/doom revivalists Fireball Ministry, power pop metal stars Nightwish, and even crossover legends Agnostic Front, and the metallic menu is clearly bursting at the seams. All of which makes highly recommended for beginning metalheads looking for a convenient, one-stop location where they can sample a huge cross-section of vital heavy metal bands. Oh yeah, and supposedly there's this movie linked to it, too.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2