Various Artists

New York's Hardest, Vol. 3

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In the late '70s, punk and metal audiences had a reputation for not getting along. You didn't see a lot of mohawks and pink hair at Black Sabbath or Van Halen shows, and many punks were known for hating metal as vehemently as they hated disco. But all that changed in the '80s, when headbangers and punks suddenly realized how much they had in common. All of a sudden, it became fashionable to wear your Sex Pistols t-shirt to a Judas Priest concert or to have long hair in a mosh pit. Punks and headbangers not only gave up their disdain for each other -- they became close friends, and their alliance was still strong in the early 2000s. Thus, it makes perfect sense for a compilation like New York's Hardest, Vol. 3 to give punk and metal equal time. Focusing on bands from in and around New York, this 24-song compilation has one foot in hardcore punk and the other in alternative metal. And the two work well together; forceful punk bands like Agnostic Front, the Step Kings, Distance, and All Boro Kings sound perfectly natural alongside forceful alternative metal headbangers like Demonspeed, Ill Niño, Day in the Life, Full Blown Chaos, and the brutally noisy Home 33 (all of which have been greatly influenced by punk). These punk and alt metal bands share a certain aggression -- a certain in-your-face attitude -- that makes them natural companions. Most compilations contain material that has already been released elsewhere. But New York's Hardest, Vol. 3, like Go-Kart's previous New York's Hardest compilations, emphasizes new songs that were produced by Sal Villanueva. Those who hold punk and alternative metal in equally high regard will find a lot to admire about this generally respectable CD.

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