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A Blaze In The Southern Skies 2CD Compilation

Review by: Goreripper - Pyromusic Webzine - 2008

Prime Cuts is perhaps currently Australia's most prolific metal-specific record label and presently the home of a solid raft of bands from as far apart as Perth, Melbourne, Wagga Wagga and Auckland. Coupled with the Sound Works Touring arm of their operation, the Prime Cuts lads are doing more than almost anyone to fly the flag of Down Under metal at the moment, and to further prove this they have just unleashed an enormous double CD of what this part of the world has to offer. Those who still believe that metal begins with Slayer and ends with Celtic Frost may not be impressed by some of the artists represented, but, apart from the surprising omission of any really melodic bands, A Blaze in the Southern Skies is perhaps the most all-encompassing domestic metal compilation released in Australia in a long time and probably ever.

Disc one of Blaze features all the bands attached to the label's now quite expansive roster. Among the 16 cuts that make up this first CD you'll find the irreverent hard rocking of Psychonaut's "Rosemary's Baby" (complete with a 'Hail Satan!' chorus), The Furor's slab-like "Rebirth Mark", Vespers Descent's sinister dedication to the immense Night's Dawn trilogy "Reality Disfunction" (sic), blast-beat fuelled black metal from Mytile Vey Lorth, classy metalcore hammering courtesy of Left Ablaze, technical brutality from Grotesque, complete porno-grind mischief from the wonderfully-named Cuntscrape and melodic thrasharama from Pathogen and Frankenbok. Dawn of Azazel and Malignant Monster make punishing contributions, Noctis delivers a short but stunning order of progressive death metal and Claim the Throne has some sort of interesting pagan thing going on. Only Human Extinction Project seems out of place with possibly the weakest track on the entire album; Humonic and Dyscord are also somewhat less remarkable.

The second disc contains 17 bands that Prime Cuts or Sound Works has dealt with in some significant way over the years. So here you'll find the berzerk technical blur of Psycroptic's "Alpha Breed", an uncharacteristically aggressive Alchemist serving up "Tongues & Knives", the insane blitzkriegs of Terrorust and Five Star Prison Cell, Ruins being thoroughly ominous, the legendary Mortal Sin and 8Ft Sativa sounding more brutal than ever. But it's the lesser known bands that bring a new dimension to what could otherwise have been just a collection of big names. And so we also have Picture The End's technical deathcore, Double Dragon, Black Asylum and Enlightened By Darkness opening up with some catchy thrash and Synthetic Breed throwing off some of their Fear Factory worship with a nicely developing style. The excellent Chaos Divine blend genres seamlessly with "Still Bleeding" and Darkest Dawn fuse a subtle trash element with dark melodic rock highlighted by contrasting male/female vocals. Tzun Tzu's thunderous death metal onslaught is surprisingly tempered by a female vocal track towards the end and Be'lakor's "Neither Shape nor Shadow" shows why they are becoming one of Melbourne's most talked about progressive extreme bands. Finally Guild of Destruction wraps thing up with a quirkily-arranged mixture of shrieking, growls, black metal tremolo picking and a stumbling death metal riff.

All in all A Blaze in the Southern Skies is a comprehensive and enjoyable journey through the best that the Aussies and the Kiwis have to offer and anyone who's into metal should find plenty to like. Every home should have a copy. 9.5/10

Review source: A Blaze In The Southern Skies Review

Review by: Steven Inglis - The Metal Forge Webzine - 2008

Ten years ago the Australian metal scene was but a pup. Local gigs were small and under promoted, venues were scarce for this kind of radical music and local bands were barely heard of. The US was unleashing a new wave of metal that would overshadow the rest of the world, and it looked bleak for the Australian fans who would have to wait years just to see their favourite bands, for more money than many could afford. But let's not forget that a lot of bands also avoided our dusty shores. Dream Theater only jut made their long awaited debut tour around Oz, despite the mighty, strong fan base that we proved existed here. And Iron Maiden only just made the rounds again after over 15 years of absence. Even Dubai came before Australia. But that has all changed. With bands such as Daysend and Alchemist touring internationally with bands as famous as Slipknot, the true 'Southern Metal' is finally being given the recognition it deserves. And to showcase this to the world and to those of us still left in the dark ages, a double-disc compilation, entitled A Blaze In The Southern Skies has risen from the ashes. Showcasing the best of what Australian and New Zealand metal has to offer, this is the ultimate insight into the beast that lives in our very own neighbourhood.

The compilation covers a broad range of genres, but the bands are dominantly death and grind influenced, making the album very extreme. With featured bands including black metallers Pathogen, extreme prog metallers Vespers Descent, the thrash influenced Daysend and the Satanic wailers Psychonaut, this really is a true best of for Australian metal, giving the world a chance to see what were getting all excited about. Unfortunately there were some really great bands left off the CD who could have easily taken the place of some of the featured bands, but it's not the individual bands that make this compilation so special, but it is the group as a whole.

With 33 bands offering the best of their metal archives, this compilation is a rare beauty that should be cherished as a time capsule. This is our chance to bring the NWOAHM (new wave of Australian heavy metal) to the world, as we prove that we don't do things in halves, we don't go through nu-metal trends and we don't tone down our music for anyone. So instead of waving a flag next Australia Day parade you go to, why not show your patriotism by waving a copy of A Blaze In The Southern Skies, and encouraging your council to instead play one of the home-grown anthems from one of the two discs. (9.5/10)

Review source: A Blaze In The Southern Skies Review


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