“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.

I am told that there are extensive historical liner notes included and the whole package comes in a limited edition case that resembles a Marshall Amplifier head. It includes a volume knob that turns up to “11”, which is a Spinal Tap reference for those who might be unaware. For the purpose of review I only was sent a 12 track sampler, but lets face it – that’s all that is necessary since so many of these songs are legendary and part of any discerning Metal fans collection or personal songbook already. As a boxed set this seems to work in my eyes and my hope is that it schools the unbeliever or the one who needs to be converted to what Heavy Metal is all about. Since it began with Black Sabbath so long ago the genre has continually impressed and surprised me with its level of creativity and the amount of enjoyment that I was able to get from it. I can only hope that more join in to the forces and make this their music of choice. Let’s hope this gets a Volume 2 sometime in the future so even more bands get a chance to be reflected on. Raise them horns for the glory of Metal.

CD2: Ace Of Spades – Motorhead, Am I Evil – Diamond Head, Nice Boys – Rose Tattoo, Attack Of The Mad Axeman – Michael Schenker Group, Denim And Leather – Saxon, Blitzkrieg – Blitzkrieg, Gangland – Tygers Of Pan Tang, Witching Hour – Venom, You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ – Judas Priest, Number Of The Beast – Iron Maiden, Star War – Raven, Say What You Will – Fastway, Black Funeral – Mercyful Fate, Animal (F**k Like A Beast) – WASP, Mean Streak – Y&T, Holy Diver – Dio, Queen Of The Reich – Queensryche, Whiplash – Metallica.

CD3: Rock You Like A Hurricane – Scorpions, Metal Health – Quiet Riot, Into The Fire – Dokken, Balls To The Wall – Accept, Round And Round – Ratt, I Wanna Rock – Twisted Sister, Boulevard Of Broken Dreams – Hanoi Rocks, Big Bottom – Spinal Tap, Midnite Maniac – Krokus, I’ll See The Light Tonight – Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Crazy Nights – Loudness, Shake Me – Cinderella, Watch The Children Pray – Metal Church, To Hell With The Devil – Stryper, Little Time, Wrecking Crew – Overkill, Caught In A Mosh – Anthrax, Peace Sells – Megadeth

CD4: Still Of The Night – Whitesnake, Rock Me – Great White, Talk Dirty To Me – Poison, Bathroom Wall – Faster Pussycat, Hall Of The Mountain King – Savatage, Kiss Me Deadly – Lita Ford, Hail And Kill – Manowar, Trial By Fire – Testament, Welcome Home – King Diamond, South Of Heaven – Slayer, One – Metallica, Cult Of Personality – Living Colour, Youth Gone Wild – Skid Row, Cowboys From Hell – Pantera, Dead Embyonic Cells – Sepultura

Track Listing: CD1
1. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida – Iron Butterfly
2. Summertime Blues – Blue Cheer
3. Easy Livin – Uriah Heep
4. Highway Star – Deep Purple
5. Billion Dollar Babies – Alice Cooper
6. Lost Johnny – Hawkwind
7. Bad Motor Scooter – Montrose
8. Working Man – Rush
9. Man On The Silver Mountain – Rainbow
10. Detroit Rock City – KISS
11. Ripper – Judas Priest
12. Cat Scratch Fever – Ted Nugent
13. Lights Out – UFO
14. Godzilla – Blue Oyster Cult
15. Demolition Boys – Girlschool
16. White Witch – Angel Witch
17. Phantom Of The Opera – Iron Maiden
18. Neon Knights – Black Sabbath

Official Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heavy_Metal

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