When I first started out listening to heavy metal, I used to buy loads of magazines like Metal Hammer, Rock Street Journal etc., partly due to the compilations such magazines offered. These compilations and album samplers often pointed me in the directions of bands I liked and were a great source for finding new material before the bandcamp era. So it is good to see compilations still being relevant today. Following last year’s ‘Operation: Underground’ compilation, Bluntface Records turn their focus towards the metal talent in the New England area with their new free compilation, 27 Tons of Metal New England. Consisting of 27 tracks, this compilation does a good job of representing the talent present in Massachusetts and surrounding areas.
This compilation features bands from across the spectrum of metal and each band on this record has something new to offer. It caters to both fans of the extreme side of the genre and to those who like the lighter side. Comprising of death metal, death / black metal, doom metal, progressive metal, groove metal, sludge metal and much more, this compilation has so much to offer.
The compilation starts with the groove dominated death metal style of Carnivora with the track ‘Pessimist’s Tongue’. It is a brutal start to the compilation with some heavy groove to boot. ‘OB/GYN O.G.’ by Composted is another track of the death metal variety. This band takes a lot of cue from grindcore and blasts out brutality of high speeds. Satisfying the listener’s hunger for more sheer brutality is Untombed with it’s slam filled track ‘Criminal Inception’.
But if you prefer your death metal to be dark, with a shade of black metal, then Ashen Wings is the band for you. Their track ‘Cancerous Bones’ offers a raw tone of black metal meets death metal. Sorrowseed is another band that approaches death metal with a blackened touch. ‘Scourge of the Hierophant’ features gothic overtones led by harsh female vocal work.
My personal favorite side of this compilation are the doom metal tracks, in particular the track ‘Awakening the Ancient Ones’ by Makavrah. This is a slow burner that has spaced out, hypnotic feel to it. This is the longest track on the compilation, but every second of it is mesmerizing and blissful. Conclave and Cactus Hag tread on similar waters with sludgy droning tracks. Cactus Hag has the harsher and more dense track, with a suffocating atmosphere and dredging pace. And then there is the epic album closer ‘The Dim Light of Introversion’ by Vacant Eyes. A hauntingly beautiful track, it does a brilliant job of finishing the record on a heavy and emotional note.
There are bands representing some of the more modern varieties of metal like deathcore and metalcore. Graveborn deliver a high energy, semi technical deathcore with the track ‘Leviathan’. Beneath the Burial offer a mix of heavy metal meets hardcore punk. A melodic and technical version of deathcore is rendered by Alterius in ‘A Citadel’s Demise’ and this is a track that is quite fun.
For those who are not overtly fond of the extreme metal genres, there’s Travel Amygdala with a progressive rock number that features melancholic tones and some intelligent song writing. Speaking of intelligent song writing, the guitar – drum duo of The Aberration make a strong case for minimalistic approach to progressive metal. Forever’s Fallen Grace also take the progressive metal route, with guitar work that takes a lot of cues from power metal.
‘The Truth of the Lion’ has a traditional heavy metal feel, with beautiful vocals by Adrienne Cowan. Energy levels increase as the track ‘See Through’ by Epicenter kicks in with it’s modern thrash metal riffs. Mixing power metal like melodies with the thrash metal vigour and strength is Verscythe with ‘Land of Shells’. They sound like Iron Maiden on a sugar rush.
Coming out of the left field is the avant garde industrial sounds of Skin Drone. ‘God Complex’ is a trip into the weird, macabre sounds of Skin Drone which is beautiful one minute and pounding the listener’s skull the next. Isolated Antagonist also feature industrial elements in their music, but are a bit more accessible that their industrial partners on this disc.
Bluntface Records are doing a solid job in representing the talent coming out the New England region and this compilation will leave you as fans of some of the bands featured. Head over to the link below and download this free compilation right now, and thank me later.