Various Artists - Curse Of The Demon: A Tribute To Mercyful Fate
Dwell Records are the undisputed factory kings of the tribute record, having hatched nigh on a dozen in '99, and now this one (plus a cloying Ministry spread) to usher in the ironic metal '00s. Curse Of The Demon is one of the better ones since the early Dwell days when this stuff was still a novelty, containing roughly one-half name acts (much higher than usual: see the label's Ozzy and Megadeth whozzits). Quality is high, even lesser-knowns like Mystic Force and Psycho Scream doing well through their power metal inclinations, while bigshots like Deceased and Memory Garden getting the nod. Deceased kind of shagpunk it out to nil effect, but Memory Garden are their usual eccentric prog selves. Undisputed champ of this thing is Soilwork though, who whip Egypt into an inexorable frenzy, especially for the closing section, which might be the most heavenly, heavy, apocalyptic couple of minutes you'll hear all year. Finally, the biggest ace of this one is the fact that you get all the hookiest, most connecting tracks, the anthemic riff monsters that make Fate worthy of their unarguable legend status. One complaint: a few too many low quality death vocals; but once again, this seems diminished from past Dwell hells. Packaging note: Dwell has taken to putting long, detailed band bios in these things (this is a 12-pager). Let's hope they keep it up.