October 31 – Metal Massacre (Hell’s Headbangers)

Monday, 31st October 2016
Rating: 7.5/10

As far as tribute albums go, it can’t get any worse than the dung Chris Barnes and Six Feet Under have rolled out as part of their Graveyard Classics series. Therefore, the bar is pretty low. The tribute/covers album idea has long worn out its welcome; its usefulness is debatable, too, but for King Fowley and October 31, the idea of paying homage to the bands who made up the first eight Metal Massacre compilations (released by Metal Blade Records) is right in their dusty denim jacket wheelhouse.

Lots of obscure bands scattered about here, some of which are probably only known to those who prowled since during the glory days of the ‘80s. However, October 31 plays with these cuts with quite the conviction, from raunchy thrash on “Cross My Way” (originally performed by Death Dealer), Omen’s fun “Torture Me,” and the strident “The Battle of Armageddon” (Tyrant). Fowley’s vocals—forever the acquired taste going back to his prime days in Deceased—give the songs an animated, loose spin. Technically sound Fowley is not, but there’s a clear fanboy element to him singing songs that he more than likely holds near and dear.

Few bands are card carrying members of the “true metal” club like October 31, which explains the authenticity of Metal Massacre. Again, a pretty neat idea, one that adds a new dimension to what is somewhat of a tired format.

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