CD Review: Various Artists

Heavy Metal Killers (Earache)

Apparently the heavy-metal wayback machine is still running on full steam. In addition to the retro-thrash movement that's inspired a fistful of excellent bands (Merciless Death, Hatchet, Warbringer, Fueled by Fire), there's a retro-New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound emerging from garages and basements worldwide. These groups emulate the sound of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden circa 1979-81, with high-pitched vocals, melodic riffing and anthemic choruses. Highlights of this 13-track compilation include Powervice's "Behold the Hand of Glory," which sounds like a Paul-Di'Anno-era Maiden tribute; Enforcer's "Mistress of Hell," which throws some Mercyful Fate influence into the mix; Voltax's "Steel Maker," which shows these Mexican teenagers have been paying attention to the thrash band in the next garage over; and In Solitude's "Witches Sabbath," featuring a vocalist who's straight-up cloning Rob Halford circa 1980. Is this the future? Nope. Is it fun? Fuck, yeah. — Phil Freeman