Various Artists

Heavy Metal: Geomatrix

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In the early '00s, metal-oriented compilations tended to have a lot of rap-metal. Artists like Korn, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine, and Kid Rock had sold a lot of albums, and metal compilations tried to cash in on rap-metal's popularity. But Heavy Metal: Geomatrix is an exception; this is one metal release that doesn't inundate listeners with interchangeable, dime-a-dozen Korn clones and (hed)p.e. imitators. Heavy Metal: Geomatrix is the soundtrack for a video game, but you don't have to be into video games to realize that this is a solid metal compilation. The oldest track is Motorhead's "Ace of Spades," which goes back to 1980. But most of the material is from the early '00s, and most of it is from the Sanctuary catalog. To fully appreciate this CD, you need to appreciate a variety of metal -- and that means liking everything from melodic fantasy metal to thrash and alternative metal. Artists who were big in the 1980s aren't neglected; Megadeth's "Moto Psycho" and W.A.S.P.'s "Hate to Love" demonstrate that those '80s favorites still had some tricks up their sleeves in the early '00s. And Halford's brutally infectious "Locked and Loaded" proves that there is most certainly life after Judas Priest for the influential Rob Halford. Meanwhile, Dust to Dust's "New Low," Biohazard's "Uncivilization," and Entombed's "Say It in Slugs" are captivating examples of alternative metal. Although brutal, "Say It in Slugs" is a lot more accessible than the amelodic death metal/grindcore that Entombed favored in the early '90s. If you're a headbanger who considers yourself fairly versatile and broad-minded, Heavy Metal: Geomatrix is well worth acquiring.

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