Various Artists – Metal Assault Mixtape Volume 2 (Metal Assault Records)

Tuesday, 4th February 2020
Rating: 9/10

Curator Andrew Bansal has his hands in numerous waters through his metal endeavors – band manager, concert promoter, merchandise man on the road, website owner/writer, and now running his own record label. Feeling the need to expose the talent in Los Angeles and beyond – Metal Assault Mixtape Volume 2 features eleven underground heavy bands and is available as a limited-edition cassette tape run (150 copies) beyond digital Bandcamp means. The thought process of digging through the scene and picking out talent isn’t taken lightly by Andrew – with the results proving there’s diverse talent in a broad spectrum of metal styles.

Opening with Void Vator and their instrumental “Nitrus”, the power riff charge and swirling twin harmony leads get the party started right – before Monolith and “Man Without a Soul” sends the listener back to early Iron Maiden through it’s galvanizing musical hook and engaging, spitfire vocal spirit. You’ll get everything from early-sounding US power metal in Hydrea with “Witch King” to occult-themed synth doom from Circle of Sighs for “Burden of the Flame”. Highlights can change by the day as you gain more exposure to the tracks, right now for this scribe the semi-thrash meets Judas Priest-nature of “Destructible” from Living Darkness as well as the Washington sludgy/doom metal weight and savage vocals pouring out of Grim Earth in “Ruins” adequately hit those aural sweet spots for approval. What’s great about a release like this is if you aren’t familiar with the California scene or even beyond up the West Coast, you are bound to discover one or two artists that meet your musical tastes – and expand your collection beyond the larger label rosters.

Much like the older days of the Metal Massacre series, Metal Assault Mixtape Volume 2 brings the focus back to the quality of the bands and the songs – which is where the underground thrives and allows for a fervent, energetic scene to blossom. Andrew is an astute aficionado of the genre and has selected an ideal array of bands through this compilation to treasure for the latest bands moving up the ranks.

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