VARIOUS : Meltdown – Echoes of Eternity. (Meltdown Music : B01GF1DZ04)
One of the highlights of the Greenbelt festival in its Cheltenham days was the Meltdown showcase, consisting of about four young metal bands all crammed into one high-energy sweaty rapid fire set. Even better when there were two of them in the same weekend. This album comes from the same people, who believe that Metal is not only not the devil’s music but that it can be used to glorify God and build faith in young Christians. It’s got all you’d want: riffs, powerchords, soaring vocals, riffs, heavy drumming (how many double bass drum pedals does it take to make a great album?), screamed vocals, strummed bass lines, riffs, guttural vocals and more riffs. Lyrically it reflects the ethos of Meltdown described earlier. As with most samplers it doesn’t have one overall style (despite being solidly Metal) but does showcase the genre well and actually holds together better than most. I’d normally list bands the album reminded me of, but the list here would just be far too long (and be different lists for each track). Just assume that if you have a favourite metal band, there’ll be someone here who’ll play something that reminds you of them, without being too directly derivative. Oskord even bring a flute to the party. It’s very well written, played, performed and recorded – there’s not a duff track here. My only criticism would be that there’s no let-up as you’d find on a “normal” album, where you draw breath before piling back in again, but it’s a minor quibble really. Standout tracks for me were “The Rose” by Fades Away (for ), “Vivente” by Aggelos (for the simple but infectious keyboard line and Nightwish-esque chorus), “The Change” by As We Are (more American pop-rock than metal but holds its own), “Pounded” by Ancient Prophecy (which reminded me of Amaranthe with a lovely Moore-era Thin Lizzie styled middle 8 that was an unexpected delight), “Salvation Ark” by Oskord (for the celtic influences), “LD50” by Saving Strike (for the jangly guitars which gave it an indie metal feel) and “Refresh” by Final Surrender (for definitely the best intro on the album – a hummed tune that made you sit up and listen, wondering what was coming next: Helloween-style speed metal is the answer). Suffice to say that I will be checking more of these bands out, which is the point of a sampler really. Best track: “Pounded” by Ancient Prophecy (with “Vivente” by Aggelos a very close second).
8/10. Paul Ganney.