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“The Heavy Metal Box” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “The Heavy Metal Box”
Label: Rhino Entertainment
Release Date: 10/2/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

I think that I have finally found the answer to all those surveys that ask the question “if you were stranded on a desert island what CD’s would you bring”. Well should this ever be the case in my life I am confident that “The Heavy Metal Box” would the best musical companion that any acolyte to the genre can have with them under such a circumstance. The issue after that would be how to play them but that’s beside the point. This release is not a “Best Of” Heavy Metal when considered in the usual sense of such a compilation but is truly quite an amazing collection of tracks that brings you back to Metal’s earliest days and takes you forward decade by decade into the future. As expected the boxed set features heavyweights like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Testament and Metallica but since it has so much music to cover over numerous years, there is only a brief sampling of each artist. This alone might make the listener feel that it’s quite the tease but I think the overall amount of solid tunes will alleviate any such stress when it comes down to it. We do get some Black Sabbath but it’s the lineup we refer to as Heaven & Hell nowadays and there is no Ozzy Osbourne era material or even his solo stuff present on any of the four CD’s. Van Halen and AC/DC are omitted as well as many others yet I found that it really doesn’t take away from the ability to enjoy what has made it to the box. I enjoyed finding some Fastway, Krokus and Savatage as each of these cult-status bands brought a lot of great music to the table when they are looked back upon. The boxed set touches upon a number of Metal’s sub-genres as well by not only focusing on the Heavy Blues aspect that began it but also delving into Glam Metal, Thrash Metal, and even some of the earliest Black Metal bands (such as Mercyful Fate and Venom). For the most part Traditional Metal, or “Old School” is that which takes up the largest portion of the music and with this being my own favorite aspect I hardly minded. You might review the presented tracks and be annoyed that a particular song that you feel needed to be included just isn’t there and that’s definitely to be expected because after all this is not some Time Life collection that covers every single year on a CD but instead over thirty years presented on four CD’s but still made up of 70 smoldering tunes. Not a bad deal when it comes down to it in all honesty.
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