"Voices from the Arctic Circle" (Arctic / Frozen North; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Yet another compilation! I can't get inspired by compilations anymore. I remember when compilations were the wonderful and versatile guides of my metal journey. But, no longer call it an unfortunate side effect of actually figuring out the genres that I like and the types of bands that I like. "Voices From The Arctic Circle" seems interesting enough simple artwork that echoes the icy cold impression of extreme metal. However, the artwork alone wasn't enough to entice me to fulfill my reviewing duties and it sat in my pile of review discs for nearly three months.

Once I felt the time was right (read tired of looking at it in my review pile) I plunged forward with all the good intentions in the world. And I ended up pleasantly surprised. With sixteen bands represented (over 17 songs) you get value for your money in broadening your extreme metal horizons. Each band is competent in their own way, but I did find some bands more to my liking than others.

Good tracks on "Voices From The Arctic Circle" include Throneaeon's "Oblivion" with its twisting death metal style (note: the band now goes by the name Godhate), Denata's "Art Of The Insane" replete with see-saw dynamics, Visceral Bleeding's raw energy caught in the form of "Fury Unleashed," Viking metal purveyors In Battle's "Pioneers Of A Dead Future," and Portal's dark imagery fused with a black metal attack on "In The Steps Of Forgotten Gods." Lord Belial's "Purify Sweden" also caught me by surprise as a good track as I was uninspired by the sole CD of the band I reviewed way back in the day.

The coolest track, however, is probably Diabolical's "Under My Skin." Diabolical came onto my radar a few years back when I got to review the band's 2001 release "Synergy" I really liked the band's hyper-aggressive, angular attack. The track that appears on this compilation sounds like the band was pushing a little in the direction that Hypocrisy is currently famous for without losing their edgy style.

The packaging offers little but the band's logo, country of origin, URL, and some basic information on the origins of the track. Given the nature of this compilation it is enough because if you like what you hear on a particular track you have enough information to seek out the band.

The production values, as you might guess, are varied. Most of the tracks that originally appeared on 7" vinyl singles sound as if they were converted to mp3s from the vinyl source rather than the studio recorded material. Now that's disappointing.

"Voices From The Arctic Circle" would be a great purchase for those of you who like your metal extreme and varied within that narrow genre.

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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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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04 Oct 2018 19:54:50 -0400.