Various Artists

Sonic Excess

International Country of Origin: International

1. Dillinger Escape Plan - Monticello
2. Mortiis - Parasite God
3. Autonomy - Was It Worth It?
4. Diecast - Singled Out
5. Linea 77 - Potato Music Machine
6. The Haunted - Bury Your Dead
7. December - Waiting For Rain
8. Decapitated - Spheres Of Madness
9. December Wolves - Porn Again Christian
10. Rabies Caste -Got It From Blake
11. Usurper - Warriors Of Iron And Rust
12. Insision - My Fever
13. Rakoth - Fear (Wasn't In The Design)
14. Without Face - I And I (Demo)
15. Ephel Duath - The Embossed
16. The Berzerker - Pain

Review by Jack on September 4, 2002.

The latest sampler from metal juggernaught label, Earache Records is upon us and by all accounts is a perfect introduction to a large selection of what current records the roster of Earache and sub-label Elitist Records is putting out around the metal world.

The Dillinger Escape Plan‘Monticello’: Turning a few heads with their successful combination of metal/punk/rock influences over a hardcore base. It will be interesting in a few years to see what these guys are putting out.

Mortiis‘Parasite God’: Mortiis put out possibly his most controversial album in “The Smell of Rain” last year; some loved it, some hated it, but regardless of your stance it is an awfully hard to disregard the talent of Mortiis and his dance/darkwave/80s noodlings.

Autonomy‘Was It Worth It?’: In my opinion ‘Was It Worth It?’ is one of the weaker tracks from “Sonic Excess” and doesn’t do a lot of credit to the Earache/Elitist roster. These guys remind of the Beastie Boys in a lot of aspects and this is not such a good thing...

Diecast‘Singled Out’: This was my first initiation to the world of Diecast and ‘Singled Out’ was quite a pleasant introduction. Combining the worlds of brutal drumming, melodic/hardcore vocal attacks and hard riffing, Diecast may be an outfit to check out.

Linea 77‘Potato Music Machine’: With an absolute stinker of a song title, Linea 77 bring back the old phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ straight to the forefront of my mind when I gazed at the track list of “Sonic Excess”. Not a bad song in all regards though, perhaps they could up the tempo a little...

The Haunted‘Bury Your Dead’: Old favorites in the melodic death scene, and with a track like ‘Bury Your Dead’, it ain’t so hard to see why The Haunted remain at the top of the melodic death scene.

December‘Waiting For Rain’: Angry, furious and rampageous are three adjectives I could use to describe the frenzied metal of December, don’t be fooled by the gentle song title, these guys are ready to rumble.

Decapitated‘Spheres Of Madness’: Probably the strongest track of the 16 songs of “Sonic Excess”. Death metal doesn’t get much stronger in my opinion. Featuring members of Lux Occulta and some very smart songwriting, I don’t think you can go too wrong with Decapitated.

December Wolves‘Porn Again Christian’: My problem with ‘Porn Again Christian’ is that December Wolves have arranged the song in such a way that it has very little room to breathe and suffocates the listener by a full on assault of noise, not music.

Rabies Caste‘Got It From Blake’: A deep sludgy sound accompanies ‘Got It From Blake’ and it is clear Rabies Caste are pretty clued into writing intelligent songs. This is pretty interesting material with a good atmosphere.

Usurper‘Warriors Of Iron And Rust’: Heavy metal with some interesting riffs and above all generally catchy elements. Almost bordering on power metal structures in some respects, but still retains a harsh edge that most power metal does not have.

Insision‘My Fear’: Blasting death grind metal that emanates a very healthy glow from ‘My Fear’, Insision seem to have a knack (for ‘My Fear’ at least) to give the death metal genre a bit of spice.

Rakoth‘Fear (Wasn’t In The Design)’: Following Insision, Rakoth make a departure into left feel with their brand of medieval, Blind Guardian clean vocals black metal. Very Celtic/very mid 1400s atmosphere, but very cheerful. Inspired me to dance a highland jig. Definitely worth a gaze.

Without Face‘I And I’: Certainly the most oddball creation on “Sonic Excess”. Very folk in a lot of senses, but also very spacey and progressive. To be honest I am unsure as to my disposition towards Without Face. I am certain Without Face is a band that needs many weeks, and possibly months worth of consumption to really appreciate.

Ephel Duath'The Embossed': I admit I wasn’t a big fan of Ephel Duath’s overtly symphonic black metal album in “Rephormula”. ‘The Embossed’ certainly is not a bad track and nor is the rest of the album, but I think Ephel Duath over-include too many outside samples on their songs.

The Bezerker‘Pain’: ‘Pain’ is like stepping into a time machine and stepping back to the day of early Fear Factory circa “Soul of a New Machine”, except that The Bezerker raise the tempo a few notches.

Presenting so many new bands, and some older well-known outfits “Sonic Excess” really is a ticket to some of the best contemporary metal talent out there.

Bottom Line: With such an apt title for this compilation album, how could I possibly not recommend this album? One has to only look at the sheer conglomeration of Earache/Elitist Records and it should become apparent that this is one sample album worth a look. “Sonic Excess”; remember the name and track it down.

Categorical Rating Breakdown

Musicianship: 8
Atmosphere: 7.5
Production: 9
Originality: 8
Overall: 8

Rating: 8.1 out of 10