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Headbangers Ball 
the Hobo Review

Headbangers Ball 
MTV’s Headbangers Ball – sadly one of the last sources of free, publicly broadcasted metal in the world. Whether it’s any good or not, I simply cannot comment because sadly I do not have the privilege of having MTV in my house (what a damn shame.) It seems that the first disc is a collection of more ‘well known’ (dare I say ‘popular?) bands, that is to say that it holds a bit of a numetal majority, which annoyed me because there are some damn good tracks stuck in the middle of some rather expendable ones. The second disc generally holds harder and heavier tracks, which are generally less popular in the mainstream. 

DISC ONE: The ‘Popular’ Disc

Genre: Popular Metal (Predominately Numetal)
Best Track: Slayer – "Reign In Blood" (Live)
So what’ve we got? A fairly mish mash collection of numetal, with a tiny bit of hardcore, pop rock and thrash metal thrown in just for the hell out it. This disc will please many numetal fans with the catchy little numbers from Staind, Cold, Manson, Ill Nino, Spineshank, Stone Sour and Mushroomhead. 

For a change the Staind track "Price To Pay" is almost tolerable, with quite a nice little hook in the chorus. I am in no way a fan of Cold and their ‘widely acclaimed’ hit "Stupid Girl", to me they just seem like Staind without the fat, baldy whiney bitch of a singer. Spineshank’s "Smothered" was actually one of my favourite tracks off their latest album Self Destructive Pattern, and well worth a bit of a listen. The Manson track "This Is The New Shit" aptly demonstrates why I rated his latest CD so low – namely the abysmal song writing. I mean who the hell wants to hear ‘rabble rabble bitch bitch rabble rabble party party sex sex sex blah blah blah’ (et cetera)? That’s right, no one, and especially not me.

The Ill Nino track "When It Cuts" was poorly chosen, being perhaps the least inspiring track on a fairly decent numetal record. 

The same can be said for Mudvayne’s "World So Cold", an extremely bland little ballad from an otherwise sound release. Stone Sour’s "Inhale" represents a mediocre effort from a mediocre band, but no track on the album shouts ‘overrated piece of burnt-out crap’ quite like the Deftones’ "Hexagram". It’s numetal, but in no way catchy or clever, reusing the same s***ty fragmented four-chord progression they have used throughout their entire career. Mournful. 

The little hardcore ditty "This Is Now" depicts Hatebreed doing what Hatebreed do best; getting angry and playing loud. 

Killswitch Engage’s "Fixation On The Darkness" provides a nice little introduction for some to the bands rather fragmented song structures. The new Static-X track "Destroy All" is uncharacteristically weak for the band (much like the new single) without any of the half-serious hooks from Wisconsin Death Trip.
And when we have the Stone Sour contingent of Slipknot, we must therefore have the other half, the (slightly) lesser-known Glam Metal band Murderdolls. The band’s first single "Dead In Hollywood" is a bit of satirical fun, as are indeed the band live.

The biggest letdown on the disc is similarly the biggest let down on Anthrax’s new album We’ve Come For You All. >From quite possibly the best metal release of the year comes one of the cheesiest rock ballads in "Safe Home". Don’t let the track turn you off buying the album. As for the best track on the disc, naturally Slayer’s live rendition of "Reign In Blood" takes the cake a thousand times over.

DISC TWO: The ‘Scary’ Disc
Genre: Varied
Best Track: SYL – "Relentless", In Flames – "Cloud Connected"

Ahh, at last, now we get to the business end of the disc! We’ve got some death metal, hardcore, rap metal, math’s metal, Devy metal - even some black metal compliments of Cradle Of Filth. Quite a nice little collection of varying metal sub-genres. 

The one major pitfall of this disc is that in places it seems MTV believes ‘real’ metal requires nothing but downtuned guitars and s***ty screams, which allows for a collection of substandard tracks to slip through the gaps amongst ‘underground’ heavyweights. 

Highlights can be found in Lamb Of God’s "Ruin", Arch Enemy’s "We Will Rise", In Flames’ "Cloud Connected", Chimaira’s "Down Again", Strapping Young Lad’s "Relentless", Meshuggah’s "Rational Gaze" and surprisingly enough Cradle Of Filth’s "Mannequin". I am by no means a fan of Danny Filth, but this track is heavy, melodic, catchy and very different.

There is however a few let down tracks on the disc, namely being the collection of ‘underground’ (IE: s***ty Ozzfest Stage 2) bands MTV decided to throw in. Weak tracks appear in the songs from Eighteen Visions, Lacuna Coil, Mastodon and Motograter whereas a note of derivative psuedo-hardcore crap can be found in 36 Crazyfists, Demon Hunter and Poison The Well. Then comes perhaps the worst song on the entire compilation – a sh*tty hip/hop come metal song entitled "Mandibles" by E.Town Crazy.

Out of the total forty-track line up, only nine or so can actually be counted as ‘good’ and a further seven as ‘average.’ The sobering reality is that even this so-called ‘Headbangers Ball Compilation Disc’ blows pretty solidly. Definitely not a ‘must buy’ album but perhaps it will do some social good in introducing a few numetal darlings into the realm of In Flames, Slayer, Arch Enemy, Strapping and Lamb of God. Any ‘real metal fan’ will find this disc bland and unfulfilling.

Not surprisingly, MTV fail. Again.

CD Info and Links

Headbangers Ball 
Label: Road Runner
Listen to Samples and Purchase This CD online

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