Sound — 10
This album was made to mark the 25th anniversary of arguably the best record label out there. 57 artists from 45 bands within the label contributed to the album, which in some ways could have been a downfall of somebody wanting to stand out but it was taken care of with 4 team captains so to speak. Matt Heafy (Trivium), Rob Flynn (Machine Head), Joey Jordison (Slipknot/Murder Dolls) and Dino Cazarez (Fear Factory/Brujeria) as leading role models and promising artists were given the task to get in touch with members of the roadrunner label to create tracks for the album. This created many contrasts in the sounds from the album. There's a full acoustic song which you wouldn't expect, to cut it short it's not that good but if you're into it, it very well could be, the use of an acoustic guitar in the 2nd track "The Enemy" couldn't have been done better, it works to perfection. There's also heavy metal for all you drop B fans out there, for anyone that says drop B is boring, the 1st track "The Dagger" will have you really thinking about how boring it is. There's speedy thrash metal also a lot like bullet and trivium. There are 3 tracks which stand out as being in a way, experimental, almost pop rockish, but have faith one of them isn't too bad, "Tired And Lonely" written by Joey Jordison is just not what you'd expect from him, really shows his talent and imagination off so well, the others being "I don't wanna be (a superhero) written by Matt Heafy is made very pop rockish from the lyrics, it's very cheesy and simply shouldn't have been put on the album but it only lasts 2 minutes so you don't have to suffer for that long, and "No Way Out" written by Joey Jordison, I don't care how talented a person is, to write that track for this album was just not a good idea, you'll be skipping this track no doubt. Almost every song has a solo, so for guitarists that are able to play to that standard can have great fun learning these, the best for me is the dagger, lasts quite long, and amazingly technical, it goes all over the place.
Lyrics — 9
Each singer has been made to write the lyrics for each song primarily themselves, each song has a different singer, so you really haven't got 18 completely different tracks with this album. One of the best performances has to be Howard Jones known as Killswitch Engages front man, he uses a lot of shouting and singing to make the opening song appeal to anybody. If you're up for being entertained by some brutal roaring/shouting Mark Hunter of Chimaira will see to you as well as, Glen Benton who uses both high pitched and low pitched screaming to create an amazing effect, you will definitely notice this. There's a great song which is actually sung by Matt Heafy, this track being "The End" that I'm aware of is the only track that made it radio play and a music video, being the most melodic you can clearly tell why. Couldn't have had a song without Max Cavalera in, giving a great rough voice, other performances from Dani Filth, Corey Taylor, Tim Williams and a great shouting/singing performance from Cristian Machado are within in the album. What I'm trying to get at, is no matter what type of metal gets you going, you'll be pleased with this. Personally for me I'd prefer some more singing in the tracks rather than in some tracks lyrics that are impossible to understand, but that works for a lot of people to just head bang to.
Overall Impression — 10
This is for metal heads what Ministry or Sound is for chavs, only this doesn't suck. 01. The Dagger - best track on the album, this song has everything great tom rolls from Andols Herrick, bass that you can actually make out, can't say that about too many metal songs, once again an amazing job from Howard Jones vocals wise, finally to top it all off an unbelievable solo by Jeff Waters followed by an impressive fading out ending. 02. The Enemy - will make you jump for the 1st time of listening if you have it loud enough. Starts off with a smooth calming clean introduction to the song and then out of nowhere an amazing combination of drums and guitar gets your head going and if I was good enough, would be one of the best songs to play along to. There's a pause of silence in the middle, don't worry isn't over it's to kick in a solo which sounds a lot like just noise but hey the pause was good, the song ends in the same way as it starts as if none of the mayhem in-between had occurred. 03. Annihilation By The Hands Of God - the main things which jump out at you in this song is the incredible drumming by Joey Jordison, a pretty cool dual solo, would be sweet to play with someone n get it in time, finally the high/low scream towards the end of the song is the finishing touch, really sounds like some poor soul is in agony. 04. In The Fire - is definitely for guitarists of a high level, there are plenty of solo's to get stuck into, the rhythm of the song isn't that hard at all but what's that the solos are for anyway. Personally King Diamond doesn't fit very well but he doesn't quite ruin the track. 05. The End - is the slow, melodic track found in nearly every album out there, it's not amazing, not a disaster but it made me buy the album anyway so it can't be that bad. 06. Tired 'N Lonely - is very different from the rest it's seems like something velvet revolver would produce which isn't a bad thing, but for this album I don't feel it fits, the solo isn't too good either. It's the kind of music you'd jus play in the background and not acknowledge. 07. Independent (Voice Of The Voiceless) - is just pretty simple really nothing stands out that much apart from the dual solo at the end but even this can't doesn't make it amazing. 08. Dawn Of A Golden Age - drumming is crazy in this track, and for any cradle of filth fans, here's your track! 09. The Rich Man - Corey's turn, really strange track this opens with a speech on some politics junk, followed by a calm pretty boring vocal bassy section in the song, the chorus though is just brilliant, shows off coreys voice perfectly, bit of harmonics going on, without this in the song it would have been pathetic but because of it, it's perfect. 10. No Way Out - is a joke! Too slow, might as well have Abba singing, I can't believe it's been put on such an amazing album, it's the equivalent of catching ghonorea. Can't find a thing good about it, skip this track! 11. Baptized In The Redemption - thank god that this track is next, this is an amazing combination of heavy guitaring and a what sounds incredibly painful vocal performance, great track, weird but decent solo. 12. Roads - you can tell effort was put into this track but, they shouldn't have bothered, if you go church you'll like it I suppose. 13. Blood & Flames - much like track 7 this track just passes you by, you'll hardly know t exists. 14. Constitution Down - solo! An incredible solo for you in this song, last ages goes quick, goes slow have fun. 15. I Don't Wanna Be (A Superhero) - terrible! 16. Army Of The Sun - possibly the 2nd best track on the album, there's all sorts to shout about the vocals in this song, an exellant voice helps, just after the slow quiet section of the song, there is the best vocal performance on the track with shouting/screaming behind gentle melodic singing, this track really is amazing, you will know exactly what I mean about the singing, it's just a great experience to even hear this. 17. No Mass Control - good to see a powerful voice for both shouting and singing, backed by a great drum beat and guitars, this track does everything to please you. 18. Enemy Of The State - it seems to have been intended to be a sort of anthem style song but personally I think it's boring, there could have been another thrash metal crazy speed song put here to finish off the album, but this just doesn't do it for me. This is one of the best albums I've bought, never gets old, if you see it in shops buy about 3 copies, you break this, you'll be disappointed. One thing to add it also comes with a DVD, taking you through the steps of how the album was created, after reading this review you'll already know anyway.