Various Artists

Chop Your Own Head Off

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If anything is aptly titled it's this groovy comp from Earache. Showcasing some upcoming releases, some new ones, and some upcoming reissue projects, the 17 tracks on the CD part of Chop Your Own Head Off are simply killer. The DVD contains 19 selections of live and video footage of roster mates from Addiction Crew to the Haunted to With Passion and Morbid Angel. There is also a preview of a PC video game entitled Extreme Metal Racing. The CD portion here opens with a different mix of "Homage for Satan," a brand new cut from Deicide (off their Stench of Redemption album) of full-on death metal with Cookie Monster vocals and simply brutal guitars and drumming. (Of course, almost everything on Earache could be qualified as being brutal, thank goodness.) Other standouts -- though there are no weak picks -- are the goth-drenched doom metal of Cult of Luna on "Back to Chapel Town" from their excellent Somewhere Along the Highway issued in 2006. The jazzed up prog metal of Ephel Duath with "Crystalline Whirl," and Mortiis' crazy "Way Too Wicked [Absinthium Mix]" (from the Grudge album) are alternately shrieking industrial dance music and gothic-textured messes, but they work here. Anata's "Better Grieved Than Fooled," is a knotty prog metal cut that has amazingly labyrinthine guitar work The sheer power metal of Biomechanical's "Existenz" smokes. Municipal Waste's "Set to Destruct" brings a beautiful blend of hardcore punk and metal which is bone blistering. The disc ends with "Swallow the World," by the incomparable, massively loud and freaky Anaal Nathrakh. Taken from their second album (reissued by Earache) this is the new sound of black metal. There are sublime textures and outrageously sick ones in this label's canon, and here they keep it to what they know best. For the cash, this is one you gotta have if you're a metal fan.

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