Various Artists – Metal Massacre 14 (Metal Blade)

Genre: Heavy Metal

The original series of Metal Massacre compilations are now the stuff of legend, having provided a launchpad for the likes of Metallica, Ratt, Slayer and Armored Saint. So who better to curate the series’ revival release than Primordial’s Alan Averill, a man who has molten iron running through his veins.

While 2006’s Metal Massacre 13 was a round-up of Metal Blade’s roster, with a strong emphasis on death metal and deathcore, its successor is full of up and coming bands who look to the early 80s for inspiration. It’s a pretty mixed bag, as you’d perhaps expect, and some of the vocalists on show are an acquired taste to say the least. But there are some real rough diamonds here, acts who should benefit from the greater exposure this collection will bring. Edmonton’s Gatekeeper, for instance, unleash such a vibrant, life-affirming slab of NWOBHM that you’ll be punching the air within seconds of their tune kicking in. Yep, Bell of Tarantia is a real highlight, boasting some of the album’s finest riffs.

Swedes Noctum are on form too, with Until Then…Until The End having a quasi-pop quality to it, despite it being rooted in the doomier side of 70s rock.

And hell, what’s not to love about Denim Attack, a slice of sizzling speed metal from Peruvians Cobra? “Real heavy metal is back” exclaims their singer, Harry ‘El Sucio’ – and you wouldn’t argue with him…

RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 Precious Metal