VARIOUS ARTISTS: From Russia with Hate: CD

I fell out of the heavy and speed metal scene when I was fifteen or so, but I still have a soft spot (irony!) in my heart for the genre. I lot of what I hear these days, especially on regional comps such as this, is gaggingly one-dimensional; hearing one band on the comp is more or less the same as hearing any other band on the record. That was not, I am damn pleased to say, the case with this outing. From Russia with Hate features fifteen bands who have all parachuted squarely into the black metal drop zone. The stereotypically “evil” names across the board are a dead giveaway but there is a surprising diversity of sounds among those bands. Some of the tunes are fairly typical black metal offerings, and yes, there is an abundance of cookie monster vocals, but even those garden-variety metal bands were actually pretty good at such garden-variety songs. Some of the songs bore the musical tattoo of Napalm Death pretty clearly, and some even strayed towards the anarcho-punk border, bearing gifts for Amebix and Discharge. My personal favorite, “Metal Zombies” by Blood Pollution, is highly reminiscent of Kill ‘Em All-era Metallica, and that sound fucking rules. So if you’re into black metal, check this out. If you don’t like black metal and somebody happens to play this for you, give it a try.

 –Eric Carlson (Wings Of Destruction, [email protected])