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Headbangin' 201
Various Artists
Label: Retroactive Records/Bombworks Records
Time: 18 tracks/77 minutes

Retroactive Records and Bombworks Records are quickly becoming my go to place for great Christian metal. Having reviewed most of their current releases for The Tollbooth, I believe that Retroactive is the true successor of the late, great Intense Records (they even have Deliverance!) I love their reissues of the older bands, and I love their new bands too. Bombworks is great too, and the best place to go for extreme Christian metal, bar none!

Here we have Headbangin' 201, the second joint compilation from these two labels, with 18 tracks, 9 from each label, 77 minutes of music total all wrapped up in an exclusive cover painted by Monty Colvin of Galactic Cowboys fame. For a cover price of $4.99, it's the best deal I've seen in a long time.

Usually comps like this are hit and miss, but this is an exception. The overall quality is excellent but there are some obvious standouts. The two Deliverance tracks are classic, and hold up against all this modern music well. Faith Factor has some of the best soaring power metal vocals I've ever heard. My Silent Wake delivers an eight-minute epic with phenomenal growls.

My choice for absolute best here would have to be Holy Blood's "The Patriot." Black metal with Celtic influences, complete with oddly sung (yes, sung) vocals in Russian. It's kind of bizarre, but insanely catchy. This one tune made me an instant fan. And isn't that the point of comps like this?

If you like Christian Metal you can't go wrong with this compilation. Unless you're poor. Even though this is cheap it'll end up costing you a lot of money, as you will undoubtedly find yourself buying all of the bands' full-lengths!

Noah Salo


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