I have to say that the thought of reviewing a compilation with the Kerrang! branding on it from 2008 hardly filled me with joy. The magazine has been getting progressively worse for years, to the point where albums are now reviewed in as little as 3 or 4 sentences, the slide can be pinpointed to the day they stopped printing the "View From The Bar" column and the writers there have so little knowledge of rock music that any reader could pick up Smash Hits by mistake and not notice the difference. Add to this the fact that most of the music that "the kids" seem to listen to these days sounds like shit to me and confidence was hardly high that I was gonna like any of it. So, were my preconceptions right?
Not quite. Granted there's some shit here, Pendulum, Enter Shikari and Linkin Park to name three but there's also some damn good stuff on offer. Rockstar by Nickelback, a band I've desperately tried to dislike over the years but I just can't, will have you singing along despite yourself. As will Kid Rock's All Summer Long, neither are great songs but they are very catchy. The biggest attraction here for me is Pork And Beans by Weezer, this song alone is worth the price of any album, admittedly though you'd be better off spending your cash on their Red album but the inclusion of this alone guarantees your money isn't wasted. Quite simply one of the best songs from a band that can turn out memorable hooks in their sleep. Other notable tracks include the raucous Runnin' Wild from Airbourne, Green Day's American Idiot, My Chemical Romance with Welcome To The Black Parade and Nine In The Afternoon by Panic At The Disco who after releasing a shit debut album seem to have written the follow up after overdosing on the wonderful Jellyfish. For fans of the heavier end of the spectrum there's the always dependable Machine Head with a great track from The Blackening album - Aesthetics Of Hate. Slipknot's offering is Psychosocial, a track with a fantastic riff that could have come from the heady days of the Bay Area thrash scene, while young pretenders Bullet For My Valentine also impress with Waking The Demon. However the whole compilation is let down by the inclusion of two bands who are so excruciatingly bad that they're pretty much offensive to all 5 senses, Elliot Minor and Madina Lake. The days these two groups of caterwauling fuckwits split up will be cause for celebration the world over.
As with any compilation album that's covering the whole of the rock spectrum it's gonna be pretty much a 50/50 split between stuff you like and stuff you can't stand, the same can be said for this one - although I'm surprised, and happy, to report that there's actually more on here to like than there is to dislike. Some great tunes, some average tunes and some tunes I expected to hate but ended up liking. All in all I'd recommend it, it opened my eyes and ears to a few acts I'd never have bothered listening to and I'll be going off to find more stuff by some of these bands and isn't that one of the highest compliments you can say about any compilation album? That it turned you on to a few good bands, or even just songs, that you'd otherwise never of heard? I'm glad that it did anyway!
by John Baxter