Various Artists

Metal Assault Mixtape: Vol. 2 (Metal Assault)

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, this L.A.-based DIY heavy metal record label is releasing a slab of nostalgia with its second in a series of mixtapes. This limited edition cassette tape (only 150 made) features 11 songs from some of the finest metal/hard rock acts in the underground. The cassette tape (and digital download) was released on January 31.

Los Angeles metal band Void Vator’s first track on this mixtape is a crushing, ripping, short instrumental. At just under 3 minutes, this is reminiscent of old school Megadeth and Iron Maiden with some subtle modern rock elements woven into the mix. The song, entitled “Nitrus,” showcases the band’s precision and expert musicianship.

Oceanside rockers Monolith’s “Man Without A Soul” is a rhythmic and heavy dose of Iron Maiden and Motorhead-esque metal, with just enough speed to keep you headbanging to the melodies for the entire song. L.A.-based Hydera’s “Witch King” is a catchy and old school power metal song that sticks in your head and features amazing guitar skills.

Up-and-coming L.A. band Living Darkness offers “Destructible,” a heavy, downright thrashy song that gets your fists pumping in the air, with a groove reminiscent of greats such as Lamb of God, Fear Factory and Pantera, though with a vocal style more akin to Judas Priest or Mercyful Fate. To contrast next, OC rockers Motor Gun Hotel give listeners a unique dose of slightly metallic hard rock tinged with a modern flair. Fans of Alice In Chains would approve of this band’s song “Leave it All Behind.” Finally for side one, L.A.’s progressive hard rockers Aparant contributed the song “Home,” which fits into this compilation with its own unique sound. Fans of bands like Mastodon, Between the Buried and Me, or Coheed and Cambria would appreciate and enjoy this tune.

Starting off the second half is L.A. rock band Drift and the track “From Within,” which has a build-up opener that slowly gives way to a sound that fuses elements of hard rock, power metal, industrial, new wave and even blues. Hell Kross, a metal band from L.A., offer their song “Howl of the Wolf Brigade,” an anthemic power metal tune, blessed with a dose of old school fury and glory. This is a band that is best appreciated live, but this song’s epic reach and volume are a testament to the band’s dedication to traditional heavy metal music, played within a modern setting.

SoCal doom metallers Circle of Sighs leave listeners with a mysterious and occult-influenced sound with “Burden of the Flesh.” The song is slowed down and transcendent in its heaviness, and performed with soul. Olympia, Washington-based, two-piece doom metal band Grim Earth offer the song “Ruins,” which is a gritty and ultra-heavy piece of music that evokes a sound that is equal parts Sleep and Eyehategod. Closing out the compilation is another two-piece band from L.A., Blue Prison. “Vengeance” is experimental from the start with a technology-based, futuristic sound that morphs into a sped-up shredding, bringing together progressive elements and thrash and leaving listeners mesmerized.

A release party is scheduled for February 8 at the Old Town Pub in Pasadena, and will feature live performances from Void Vator, Monolith, Circle of Sighs, Motor Gun Hotel and Living Darkness. For more information on the mixtape, visit

(Metal Assault)

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