Sound: Some may call the Taste Of Chaos Tour a winter version of the Warped Tour, but the latest compilation CD proves it is a beast all its own. Sure, you'll find a few of the same bands you might have seen live at Warped on The Best Of Taste Of Chaos Two, and it's great to have them on another compilation. But the overall feel of the 2-disk collection is very different, providing a new experience that you don't necessarily get with the Warped Tour compilation.
Each disk is dedicated to a specific style of music -- one that is primarily set up with a hardcore blend of metal and the other for an alternative-screamo-hybrid mix. Yeah, it's not so easy to pigeonhole bands these days, and that's a very good thing. Essentially you get two different CDs for the price of one. Given the different extremes, some listeners may decide to shun a select disk altogether. If you're fonder of an easy-on-the-ears melody with minimal scream, you'll definitely be given a jolt when you pop in disk 2, which features the likes of Suicide Silence, Gwar, and As I Lay Dying.
This is not to say that disk 1 is completely devoid of any rock edge. Chiodos stands out from the bunch with The Words 'Best Friend' Become Redefined, a track that includes everything from an inspired guitar intro reminiscent of the great '80s metal bands to a beautiful piano line -- even a dash of electronica is thrown into the mix. It's just a great example of how a band can break out of the usual rock format. Other highlights include The New Black by Every Time I Die (the riff running through it screams classic) and Anti-Flag's Press Corpse, which will probably evoke more memories of the Warped Tour than Taste of Chaos.
Disk 2 almost immediately throws you into a metal storm. Starting off with Empty Hearts by As I Lay Dying, you are greeted with an ample amount of roars that make the screams on disk 1 seem sedate. If you're not a fan of songs with lyrics that are unintelligible, then you won't be listening to the second CD very long. You'll want to stick around, though -- around the corner you'll hear some fantastic guitar work from DragonForce's Herman Li and a sci-fi-metal from Gwar that is actually very good -- really. // 9
Lyrics: Just as the musical styles veer all over the place, the lyrics take on unique identities depending on the band. It's safe to say that disk 2 will have a little more aggressive lyrics, but disk 1 has no shortage of pissed-off themes either.
With the assortment of bands you'll hear some great lyrics along the way, but you'll also be getting your share of the sub-par. Not surprisingly the cleverest lyrics come out of the political passion of Anti-Flag's Press Corpse. Justin Sane sings, The press scribble scribble every half-truth spoke; Then shoot it round the country like an April Fools joke; Hype the nation for a Desert Storm love affair; Wave the stars and stripes like you just don't care! These lyrics are refreshingly different from the other lyrics on Taste Of Chaos Two, many of which involve self-introspection or anger.
An example of a band that has a solid work of music behind it but still has rather predictable lyrics is Victim by First Blood. While it's a great metal song, it features lyrics that sound a lot like what's been heard before. Carl Schwartz sings, Defend your life, defend your soul; Victims digging our own graves; Terror; Horror. The theme of death, horror, and the like fits a band like First Blood Well, but again, it's nothing that it breaking any new ground. // 9
Overall Impression: You really do get a very unique blend of metal/rock styles in Taste Of Chaos Two, and if anything it is exposing listeners to genres with which they may be unfamiliar. While not every song in the collection is a worthwhile listen, you're still left with a fair amount of solid material.
With 37 representing on the CD, there's a good chance that you'll like enough to warrant the purchase. It's being sold for the price of some 10-track albums, so you'll be hearing a lot more material than in many cases. If anything, you'll find that some of the lesser-known bands completely blow away those that have had the most record sales. It's time a few of these bands get a chance to step in the spotlight. // 9