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Released within twelve months of the last double-disc compilation, Femme Metal Records have unleashed another mammoth collection of tracks by bands featuring female vocalists. While some will attempt to label this as another "female fronted metal" compilation in a generic sense, 'Melody and Malice' proves once again that such a tag is entirely redundant as a genre. The proof of such is in the diversity of rock and metal on each of the two discs which ranges from full-on metal extremity with the inclusion of such bands as The Agonist to rockier tunes with all girl quartet Jaggedy Ann and the like. And everything in-between. As with its predecessor, 'Beauty and Brutality', 'Melody and Malice' includes well-known, established acts such as Lacuna Coil, Arch Enemy, and everyone's favourite Disney metallers Edenbridge etc alongside a whole array of relative newcomers and underground acts that are still trying to make it big. A minor criticism is that tracks from the bigger players are generally somewhat old now (for example, Arch Enemy's 'I Will Live Again' first appeared 4 years ago on 'Rise of the Tyrant' and Lacuna Coil's 'Spellbound' in 2009) but at least their inclusion will garner more attention for the compilation in that it's not solely comprised of largely unheard of bands. And that's the real draw for me here; the discovery of exciting new music that would otherwise be buried and concealed in a deluge of mediocrity that plagues the likes of MySpace. So full credit to Femme Metal Records for providing bands with this great opportunity of allowing their music to be exposed to a wider audience in a more concentrated format. Said point in action - American stoner merchants Witchburn are a new name for me and their 'Bleed the Stone' track is simply incredible. Most definitely a band I'll be delving further into. Likewise, Croatians Rising Dream also stand out with 'Religion for the Weak', a track that has overtones of melo-deathers Epicurean. Lifeforce Records' Deadlock also shine with 'Virus Jones' as do underrated Swedish thrash/death band Decadence with Kitty Saric's aggressively growled delivery on 'Vulture' perfectly fitting for the up-tempo metal offensive over which she sings (and I'm reminded by the band shot in the booklet how long her hair is - surely the longest in metal!). The Agonist's '...and Their Eulogies Sang Me To Sleep' impresses too with its technical prog-rhythms and blend of multifarious metal subgenres. All in all, the question might be asked what exactly the point of compilation albums are in an age where music is readily accessible for free on the internet through band's social networking pages etc. Well, 'Melody and Malice', with its strong collection of tunes, is sheer proof that compilation albums do still serve a function in the twenty first century's second decade. Why wade through the profusion of shit on the internet when someone has bothered to fulfil that quality control role and compiled such a fantastic collection of music? Rhetorical, I know, but that's the question you should be asking. Admirably, this latest Femme Metal compilation, as with the last, is for charity, this time in aid of the NSPCC. So then, thirty two quality tracks for an amazingly good cause - what are you all waiting for? It's a no-brainer. Go buy now. I have deducted half a mark, however, for the inclusion of a small number of older tracks.
Femme Metal Records
Review by Mark Holmes
73:55 & 71:54
26th Sept 2011
DISC ONE ARTISTS: 1) Deadlock; 2) Exoterik; 3) Regardless of Me; 4) Kittie; 5) In This Moment; 6) Mongrel; 7) hAND; 8) Decadence; 9) UnSun; 10) Katra; 11) Crystal Viper; 12) Winter Storm; 13) The Agonist; 14) Alerion; 15) Sarah Jezebel Deva; 16) Jaggedy Ann
DISC TWO ARTISTS: 1) Magica; 2) Witchburn; 3) Edenbridge; 4) The Mariana Hollow; 5) Luna Mortis; 6) Beneath the Stares; 7) Achilla; 8) Amberian Dawn; 9) Lacuna Coil; 10) Triosphere; 11) Solsikk; 12) Noctis Noctus; 13) Arch Enemy; 14) Further From the Truth; 15) Evil's Desire; 16) Rising Dream
"...thirty two quality tracks for an amazingly good cause - what are you all waiting for? It's a no-brainer. Go buy now."