"Identity 3-D" (Century Media; 1997)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Century Media is home to a large number of hard-hitting, but underground bands. This sampler contains 18 tracks from 18 bands with music for each band's release from an album released in 1997 or 1996. The sampler contains tracks from such acts as Sentenced, Moonspell, My Own Victim, and Chum.

However, the best tracks are offered by Stuck Mojo, Samael, Morgoth, Iced Earth, The Gathering, Trouble, Nevermore, and Chum. Stuck Mojo offer a fairly straight heavy metal tune called "Mental Melt Down" that is filled with relentless energy and short, but quick guitar riffs. Samael prove to have one of the most interesting tracks in "Rain." "Rain" symbolizes water in the form of tears and flood as the representation of all the pain and suffering in life while at the same
time realizing that the water that is the beginning of all life. The Gathering, famous for their song "Vanishing Cream", display "Adrenaline" here which showcases a style that has vocals sung over a pulsing rhythm section with plenty of slower interludes for the guitars and keyboards to create many moods and textures.

Probably my most favorite track on this compilation is Iced Earth's "I Died For You" a well-executed song that evokes memories of Iron Maiden and Savatage.

I was unfamiliar with many of the bands on this disc and, hence, it is difficult to say there are weak tracks on this sampler. However, there are certainly tracks from bands that did not gain my interest after a few listens, but that's typically what you get from sampler CDs - some hits and some misses according to your personal taste. I can hardly blame the artists themselves or the producers as I am learning of these bands for the first time. All in all, I was pleased with the overall variety of artists and songs found on this disc; undoubtedly there is something for almost any metal fan - it's just a matter of listening for what piques your interests. I was certainly surprised by the number of songs that I did like that I had initially judged solely by the band's cover art. Equally so, I know a bit more about some bands that I am ever unlikely to purchase for my own collection.

I can confidently say that this compilation might be hard to find, yet it is probably worth the trouble if you can locate it. Check out Century Media's website at for their full roster of bands.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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