Released: 2003, Century Media
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Continuing on with their popular sampler series, IDENTITY, Century Media offers up the eighth volume of tracks from their stable of artists. IDENTITY 8 contains 18 tracks and carries a price tag of about $5.00. How can you go wrong?
There is an even mix of tried and true bands like Nevermore, Krisiun, Arch Enemy and Children of Bodom with newbies like Nightrage, Watch Them Die and Passenger to pique the interest of buyers. The Bay Area’s, Watch Them Die, offer up “Torn Pages”, which features double-tracked vocals over this black metal/hardcore-influenced track. This song has made me curious enough to look for their CD. The tracks from Arch Enemy and Children of Bodom are the best cuts from their respective new albums and are among my favorites on this collection. Massachusetts thrashers, Shadows Fall, are featured with a rare Japanese EP track that I could give or take. It isn’t among their best work but is still decent. Haste borders on nu-metal with its alt-rock radio friendly sound but GREAT SONG TITLE! The charismatic My Ruin weighs in with the catchiest track on the CD, “Made to Measure”. Eyes Of Fire seems, uh….interesting?! This one might have to grow on me. “I, Voyager” from Seattle’s Nevermore is another excellent track from this consistently impressive band. Though I had never heard of Into Eternity, “Splintered Visions” blew me away. What begins with a prog-metal intro, segues into what sounds like a heavy version of Queensryche’s Geoff Tate with clean/death vocal trade-offs and a thumping groove. This is my favorite track on this CD…and they’re Canadian to boot! Moonspell follows and I have always found this band to teeter between brilliant and tedious and boring. Fortunately, this new track tends to lean towards the more brilliant end of the spectrum. Just not for me. Labyrinth is a veteran Italian power metal band that executes all the expected parts of the genre. Nothing special but not bad either. Passenger is the side project of In Flames vocalist Anders Friden and this track is NOTHING like In Flames. I suppose alt-rock or melodic rock would best describe it but I quite enjoyed this song, at least. The chorus is very catchy. Extol is an interesting Norwegian band who I’m still not sure what to make of. Their vocal style is very much from the hardcore school of thinking but they do more than just scream and sound angry. These guys are a band to watch. What can be said about Krisiun? The Brazilian death metal masters once again play with blinding speed and precision on the brutal “Murderer”. The Forsaken is another band to watch. Their blend of At The Gates with Morbid Angel had me right away. Speaking of At The Gates, former ATG vocalist, Tomas Lindberg’s new band, Nightrage, offers up a track from what is one of the finest releases of 2003. This is melodic death from one of its pioneers. Swedish thrashers Carnal Forge include “Bullet Proof God Material”, a Japanese bonus track from their latest album, THE MORE YOU SUFFER. This song kicks serious ass. Why this band is not better known I have no idea. The CD finishes off with a track from Skinlab. I have never been a fan this band and this teaser from their new album hasn’t converted me either.
These samplers are always difficult to rate because they are often all over the place as far as material goes. For every brilliant track from Into Eternity, Krisiun and Nevermore, there is worthless trash from Hate, Eyes Of Fire and Moonspell. No label can bat 1.000 and these samplers get the new bands into people’s ears under the selling point of the marquee ones. IDENTITY 8 continues an excellent tradition that I hope continues on for many more releases.
1. Torn Pages (WATCH THEM DIE)
2. Leader of the Rats (ARCH ENEMY)
3. Needled 24/7 (CHILDREN OF BODOM)
4. Deadworld (SHADOWS FALL)
5. With All The Pride and Dignity of a Drowning Swimmer (HASTE)
6. Made To Measure (MY RUIN)
7. Disintegrate (EYES OF FIRE)
8. I, Voyager (NEVERMORE)
9. Splintered Visions (INTO ETERNITY)
10. The Southern Deathstyle (MOONSPELL)
11. The Prophet (LABYRINTH)
12. I Die Slowly (PASSENGER)
13. Grace For Succession (EXTOL)
14. Murderer (KRISIUN)
15. First Weapon of Choice (THE FORSAKEN)
16. Macabre Apparition (NIGHTRAGE)
17. Bullet-Proof God Material (CARNAL FORGE)
18. Beneath The Surface (SKINLAB)