Various Artists - Panther: A Tribute To Pantera
Pretty cool job of this by Eclipse, the label assembling a bunch of capable unknowns in balance with bigger acts (OK, just checked, one less, not the same Hollow as the classic under-rated Swedish act!) for twelve tracks of groovy, grinding mayhem. Best body-blows are Boiler's stoner-ish Mouth For War, Murder 1's slighty rappy Five Minutes Alone, and A.C. doing The Great Southern Trendkill, forcing the brawlers to turn in something slightly musical, coming off as a cross between New Englandcore and old Napalm Death. I guess the biggest acts on here are Pissing Razors, who play it pretty uneventful (unsurprising given their Pantera genes) and The Step Kings, who do a loony version of a loony song Good Friends & A Bottle Of Pills. Sum total: one half too straight and/or amateurish, and one half flavoured for value. Go to www.eclipserecords.com for more details.
Queensryche - Greatest Hits
Maybe this is sacrilege, but even as a metalhead who's been there since the week the first EP came out, I almost prefer a mountaintop-skimming of the chief robust choruses like this more than any of the band's full albums, Operation: Mindcrime included. Yeah, well, I normally despise hits packs, but this rilly does have all my faves like Take Hold Of The Flame, Walk In The Shadows, Empire, Sign Of The Times, as well as a couple Japanese bonus tracks, Chasing Blue Sky (basically Chris Isaak elevator music) and a full band version of Someone Else?, a piano ballad from Promised Land which in this case sounds like a Thin Lizzy power ballad, close to three minutes longer than the original, and pretty forceful in this state. See 'em live and you'll get what I mean. The connection is in these anthemic songs, even if there's a D&D contingent who salute Trek-style more obscure moments. Other nice touches include traditionally chilly Hugh Syme graphics and a great band history from Kerrang!'s Paul Sutter, as well as full remastering. No Q2K.
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