Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Album Review: Wacken Metal Battle Canada Vol. 2 by Geoff McGraw

Album Review Format: Digital Download
Band Name: Various
Title: Wacken Metal Battle Canada Vol. 2
Date of Release: 2014
Genre: Metal
Reviewed by: Geoff McGraw
Track listings: 81 tracks various artists

W:O:A Metal Battle Canada is a compilation of 81 bands that made it into the final rounds of the Canadian competition to win a performance slot at the famous (or infamous) Wacken Open Air in Germany. These 81 bands were culled from over 400 submissions, and will compete in 22 qualifying rounds during the months of March, April, and May. Then 6 semi-finals and a final round on June 7th to choose one band that will travel to WOA.
With a compilation of this size and scope one would expect a listening experience that lacks a unifying identity.....and one would be right. That's not necessarily a bad thing though as compilations like this allow the metal fan fan to get a taste of many different bands that may have been overlooked or never heard without it.
It also makes it difficult to give the writer of a review a very difficult time to explain to the reader what they should expect from the compilation, but I'll give it my best shot!
There is a predominate quantity of extreme metal here with most of the other primary metal subgenres scattered amongst the brutality. Everything is compiled in a "fair to everyone" alphabetical order, so the listening experience jumps around quite a bit from technical riffs to groove over to hardcore or progressive and back again contributing to the schizophrenic feel of the overall experience.
What I didn't expect from the compilation was the surprising inclusion of some duds, I would have figured that after weeding through over 400 entries this would have been the ultra cream of the crop. For instance "At Dawn's Edge - Venus Rapture" at first grabbed me with a progressive groove feel....until the wispy, slightly sharp noted, weak vocals that would not have been out of place in a folk song came in. Here they ruined the existing potential. With that being said there are only a few throughout the disc that don't deliver at least acceptably, the above being the worst example.
On the Opposite side "Unleash The Archers" and "Scythia" alternate between melodic and pummeling attacks will satisfy those who like some clean powerful vocals mixed with their growls screams, and somewhat progressive feel. "Morbidly Depraved" and "Death Toll Rising" will essentially rip off your head and defecate down your throat. "Warsenal" gets thrashy, and "Protokult" Does their best Pirate imitation.
The list of bands seems almost endless here, and will require multiple sittings to really find nuances, and to separate out your favorites from the mass. In general I would consider this to be a middle of the road offering. Most of the songs here are enjoyable but don't leave lasting impressions, a few gems and a few duds, mostly what you would expect from a battle of the bands situation.
All In all the title of the compilation says it all "W:O:A Battle vol. 2" delivers what could easily be best defined as a Wacken Open Air experience, traveling stage to stage experiencing something different at each stop....just this happens to be 81 different stages!

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