These “Best Of” compilations showcase bands that Roadrunner took a chance with, and in doing so, brought new music styles to the forefront of the heavy metal scene. The series spans bands as wide-ranging as Annihilator, Deicide and Life Of Agony, but here we have three of the best-selling bands in Type O Negative, Fear Factory, and the once-mighty Sepultura.
Type O Negative’s presence is announced by the 13-minute “does exactly what it says on the tin” epic of Unsuccessfully Coping With The Natural Beauty Of Infidelity from their debut album. This was certainly something different at the time, theatrically heavy and raw, and it is interesting to hear TON’s style evolve from late ’80s electro-pop laced with heavy riffs and growled vocals to the somewhat softer, more commercial likes of Love You To Death from 1996’s October Rust.
Frankly it’s a bit strange that two cover versions are included as part of this Best Of album (with Deep Purple‘s Highway Star in particular verging on the criminally bad); however the collection does show how TON progressed, and with the final tracks the strongest, their forthcoming new album should be eagerly anticipated.
Concentrating on the original band line-up, the Best Of Fear Factory shows how Fear Factory were pioneers in combining many techniques that are in full use today, including alternate heavy/melodic singing (although I don’t think they will be rushing for the “godfathers of emo” tag!), sampling and singing about machines taking over the world. OK, OK, maybe not the last one, but you get the picture.
The highlights are mainly in the crushingly heavy, early ’90s tracks such as Demanufacture (whose drilling sounds are reminiscent of the chain gun in Quake II). Again, a questionable cover version creeps into the fray with a paint-by-numbers version of Gary Newman‘s Cars, symptomatic of the gradual easing up of Fear Factory’s heaviness with time. Nevertheless, this album is a detailed and strong picture of Fear Factory’s formative years in the limelight.
Unsurprisingly, the tracks on The Best Of Sepultura are all taken from the classic pre-Cavalera split era, and show a band moving in a wave of brutality from initial head-down thrashings to more mature crossovers with their native Brazilian sounds in their later albums.
I remember being enticed into the Sepultura world by a basic video for Inner Self on the late night ITV show RAW (showing my age!), tucked in amongst the Poison and Motley Crue videos. The slightly off-kilter lyrics, and the speed of the drums and guitars were intriguing then and still are.
Sepultura’s metal onslaught matured with slicker production, extended melodic portions, and inventive complexity created using Brazilian instruments. Roots Bloody Roots and Ratamahatta are great conclusions to this particular chapter of the “Noise from Brazil”. If you aren’t familiar with the early days of the Seps then grab this slice of history, quick.