So you get a bunch of local outfits, give them two hours to record a track and see what you get. Sounds like the next greatest installment of an MTV Real World-type show, right? Wrong! This is how the latest volume of Deathkiss came to fruition over at the now defunct EMF building.
With bands curated and lovingly handpicked by local legend Mary Frances Church (Progenitor of Deathkiss Radio over on WEMF) then recorded and mixed by Glenn Smith over at Amps Vs Ohms, mixed at New Alliance East by Nick Zampiello and finished off with artwork by Nicole Anguish of Daykamp Creative, Death Kiss Vol. 2 truly is a labor of love that embodies the collaborative spirit of what makes the Boston music scene truly great.
Now onto the tunes!
The struggle with reviewing a compilation such as this, or any for that matter, is choosing what to focus on and what to leave for the listener to experience on their own. Do I focus on the bands that’ll be at the record release party at O’Brien’s Pub on June 22nd (For deets and tix, go here) or do I just focus on whatever piques my interest? Or just a smattering of all? When it comes to this particular beast the problem is this: All eight tracks/bands deserve a review of their own!
So that’s what we did…
First up is Swarm Of Eyes who kick things off with their brand of West Coast-style thrash for us New Englanders with a sound that’s like Exodus mixed with Havok (For all you kids that need a contemporary comparison) on “Turn Back To Light” which relies heavily on the grooves with Derrick Albertelli and Justice League Deathkiss co-conspirator George O’Connor laying down some sinister shredding as front man extraordinaire, Randy Carter, lets loose some serious screams.
Then there’s Birnam Wood who wins just for the song title alone…which you would’ve heard if you tuned into the May edition of Deathkiss Dinner and a Movie when we premiered “Leno The Barbarian”, right? You missed that one? Well, lucky for you that everything on the internet is forever so you can click here to hear Matt Wagner talk all about how the tune came about.
Gasoline Virgins is seriously one of the greatest instrumental desert rawk bands that you’re not aware of and their contribution in the form of “Rum Ham” is no joke. Jay Scheffler’s heavy riffage and Josh Howard’s rumbling bass lines pulled together by Bob Nisi’s precision drumming is just sheer rawk perfection.
Conclave heralds some Doom up in this piece with “War Stalks The Land” and finds vocalist/bassist Jerry Orne adopting an old school Neil Fallon delivery. Like “Shogun Named Marcus”-style barks on a track that gets progressively more awesome and heavy.
Next up, Gaskill brings the fun with “I Am A Spider” which sounds as if Jello Biafra fronted Anthrax. Did we already say how fun this track is? Because it is! Oh, wait. This is metal. Serious faces on, people! But seriously, this track is fun! Listed as “Psychedelic Thrash” on their FB page, that description ain’t too far off after listening to Kevin Grant rant about arachnid eyes and legs amidst a massive breakdown.
Set Fire’s “Smoke Rolls” is a great indicator of where the band is headed, incorporating Jess Collins’ keys solidly into the mix but keeping Jim Healey’s guitar heft chunkily lurching along as well. And man, that harmony that Healey and Collins conjure up when they vocally sync up is so divine! If this doesn’t get you excited for EP #2 from Set Fire then you might need to see the otolaryngologist toot sweet!
Panzerbastard contributes “Days Of Fire” and it’s a shreddy behemoth of a little ditty with an anthemic chorus and a Hardcore breakdown that’s a step above most modern metal out there. Speaking of little, while it might be the shortest track on here it helps that it’s also the heaviest.
Lastly, Test Meat has the unenviable task of concluding the comp but luckily they have what it takes! And what it takes is “Jocelyn” which treads grunge territory hearkening to some Nirvana meets Mudhoney sounds.
The best thing about this compilation is how diverse the sounds are on here yet the cohesiveness with which it all flows is extraordinary! If you don’t find one of your new favorite bands through this compilation then you might wanna consider moving to a different town.
Myself and Mary will be celebrating the release of the album over at O’Brien’s on June 22nd. You should, too. Tickets are on sale now and you can get yours by clicking here. The next installment of Deathkiss Dinner and a Movie is slated for Friday, July 6th, from 7-9 PM EST only on WEMF. For all the details on upcoming shows and the coolest local bands, follow our FB page here and the Deathkiss one here.