Along with Endtime Productions' "In the Shadow of Death", this is easily one of the best compilations I own. Of the 4 or 5 compilations that Rowe Productions put out, this one takes the cake. There are 5 bands to speak of here - Ethereal Scourge, Screams of Chaos, Embodiment (not the Solid State band), Metanoia, and Vomoth.
First up is Ethereal Scourge and four songs of brutal death metal with a good dose of groove. If you have their "Judgment & Restoration" release you know that these guys rip big time! The music here is maybe a tad heavier than on their full-length and the vocals have a little more of a deeper growl. All four songs kick butt and have some very good and very bold lyrics. Best songs would be "Death of Hades" and "Content to Rot".
Next up is Screams of Chaos. This band is headed by Neil Johnson who has done a lot of the video work for Mortification. This is a three song/part piece called "The Plague". It's kinda industrial with some death metal elements thrown in. Some of it is kinda boring, but some of it is really cool. I really like the song called "A New World". It's really mellow with just some soft piano, industrial elements, meandering guitar, and some really awesome vocals! There are also some really sweet choir type parts in the song "Destroy the Plague".
Embodiment is next and they grace/pulverize our ears with 3 more great death metal tunes. These guys are very brutal and have some great growling vocals. It's not a really deep growl really...it's more of a screaming, semi-deep growl. Hard to explain, but they are really cool. More great lyrics here - very bold, as is everything on this disc. For some reason, I could easily see these guys turning into a metalcore band. They are not metalcore, but I could see an easy transistion. Best song here is "Loophole".
Metanoia is next with 4 brutal, no, I said BRUTAL grinding death metal songs. I probably like these four songs (at least the style) better than anything off their 3 albums that followed. The songs, even though plagued with just average production, are more brutal than their newer material. A little sloppy at times too. They are also slower...more of a slow, plodding pace. That does take a back seat on "Eternal Destruction" though, where they come out guns-a-blazin'! I love this song! The vocals are freakin' sick! Brings to mind the mega-sickening growls that Steve Rowe did on "Ancient Prophecy".
The final band is Vomoth. A shrill, black metal band that has it's one moment of fame on this disc. The music and lyrics were done by a guy called "Unsadisticoth". This song totally rules! Not real "heavy" sounding, but very extreme. The vocals are really wicked sounding. The drum sound is hard to get used to, but it really fits with the dark and haunting tone of the song. I would've loved to hear a full-length by this band. Cool logo!
Even though this was released in 1995, it is still an awesome release that no fan of extreme metal should pass up. I still listen to it very frequently. The artwork is pretty decent too...not fabulous, but good. Too bad Rowe Productions doesn't do the "extreme metal" compilations anymore. (Review by Matt)