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Various Artists 

Rocked and Loaded (Rock and Roll Purgatory) / On the Dark Side: Dark and Heavy (MBR Records)

Local compilations are kind of like 15-packs of Keystone: Perhaps the quality is lacking, but you still get more bang for the buck. That's certainly the case with Rocked and Loaded, which boasts a whopping 26 tracks. Put out by the folks who run the Northeast Ohio punk/rockabilly fanzine Rock and Roll Purgatory, the disc is a fairly authoritative collection of regional and national bands of that ilk. A great value, Rocked and Loaded is highlighted by the smoldering "Daily Bread" from pilsnered punks the GC5, the salacious psychobilly of Rocket 350's "That's Life," the rockabilly road rage of the Lords of the Highway's "Rip Off," and dozens of other quality cuts, all crammed together on a fabulous collection that's easy on the wallet, if not the liver.

Not so intoxicating is On the Dark Side, a collection of local and national goth, metal, and industrial bands that certainly lives up to its title. On the disc is an image of a gargoyle that appears to be taking a dump. Ewww. And speaking of demonic crap, did we mention New York's Castigate666? Its miserable, sub-Mortician death metal is somehow even more unsophisticated than that of its dumb-as-a-stump muse. Buffalo's pretentious Thrown to the Wolves doesn't fare much better; nor does the sleep-inducing U.K. goth outfit Mothburner. One standout is Austin's punchy Squat Thrust, which provides a much needed dose of humor on "Cowboys vs. Vampires." This is one of the only bands on this comp that doesn't take itself so seriously and, consequently, one of the few that we do.

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More by Jason Bracelin

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