We’ve been enjoying our recent C90 series. Okay, fair enough, it’s hardly original. What music magazine has not, in one form or another, asked musicians to create a playlist of bands rarely off their turntables? It’s a classic and we have no shame. But this one is especially exciting as it’s actually happening. This is not a fictitious mixtape of songs and bands that inspired the artist, this is a list of songs and bands that the artist – none only than King Fowley of the mighty Deceased – has covered and gathered together on the aptly-titled ‘Metal Massacre 31’ with his equally mighty band October 31.
Out on November 25 via Hells Headbangers King kindly explained his reasons behind each cover and offered us the first full stream of the album to get your teeth into.
If you’re a sucker for those early Metal Blade compilations and love early American heavy metal from Hallows Eve to Omen then this will get your engines revving.
All hail King Fowley. All hail ‘Metal Massacre’ compilations. All hail propa ‘eavy metal.
STREAM ‘METAL MASSACRE 31‘
1. ‘Cross My Way’ by DEATH DEALER
“This is track 2 from ‘Metal Massacre 4’. A killer French Canadian band and an all time fave of mine. The lyrics were very hard to figure out and get exact, and I even asked the guys all these years later and even they didn’t know. I finally broke it down piece by piece and figured it out. It’s a song about trying to find peace after living a troubled life. There’s a killer solo section to this one. I wanted to lead off the album tribute with this ‘cuz it just comes right out and attacks you like a strangler in the night! We also included the ONE, TWO ,TREE, FOUR, ONE, TWO ,TREE, FOUR broken English count in as well.”
2. ‘Forbidden Evil’ by WAR CRY
Very heavy tune out of Chicago and also features on ‘Metal Massacre 4’. Paul Speckmann of Master fame plays bass on it. It’s a nice hybrid of power metal mixed with a very Sabbathy middle part. The pitch shifter vocal effects over the middle part always stood out as fun and wild. This one I think came out really good from us. The vocals were truly in my range and the guys hit all the dynamics just right throughout.”
3. ‘Torture Me’ by OMEN
“When we assembled this tribute I knew 100 percent this song was gonna be on it. Not only is it my all-time favourite Omen song but it’s one of my top ‘Metal Massacre’ tracks of the entire series. I tried to lay the vocal croons over the end of the choruses to my best abilities but my limitations as a vocalist are present during these moments. I really love the energy of the track and a little whips and chains is always important on a heavy metal record.”
4. ‘The Awakening’ by TITANIC
“This song was an underdog track that I knew had to be part of the tribute, as it always was a fave of mine from ‘Metal Massacre 7’. There’s a somewhat rock ‘n’ roll meets metal, almost early Cirith Ungol vibe to it. I love the middle section breakdown guitar runs in this! A lesser known track for a lot of Metal Massacre buffs but one I always found as a real rocker that found it’s way onto the tribute album.”
5. ‘Dead Of The Night’ by DEMON FLIGHT
“These guys found a spot on the very first ‘Metal Massacre’, forming just to place a song on the compilation. The high-pitched vocal lines on the original I actually did a run through on early in the studio recording, but in the end I decided to go with what felt more natural to me. This is a really weird and simple yet effectively eerie track. Brian [Williams, October 13 axeman] really rips the guitar solo out on this one and does the song justice. A fun track that reminded me of the earliest days of the series when a lot of hard rock was still crossing cover to full blown heavy metal.
6. ‘Heavy Metal Virgin’ by ALOHA
“October 31 drummer Sean Wilhide came ripping into this and had to pretty much create his own steady beat as the original had really poor, and in spots, ‘off’ drum beats. The riffs had to be kinda stuttered through on the original as well, trying to keep in synch with the back beat pocket that was anything but tight. This version we did came out pretty raw and ugly and I’m proud of it. The Marty Friedman guitar insanity gets covered by both Brian and Matt [Ibach] in our version of the song maniacally. A great cut from ‘Metal Massacre 2’ and a fun one to play once you get in the pocket.”
7. ‘The Alien’ by SACRED BLADE
“If an award went for oddest lyrics, most amount of lyrics, and weirdest lyrical placement this song might win. An extremely bizarre themed song about a life form from elsewhere having a look over Planet Earth. The lead off song from ‘Metal Massacre 4’, we made sure to include the bottle hitting the curb sound that starts the song and I hit every high end shrill on every chorus vocally; the only way to do it justice. An amazing track that carries a lot of power and conviction. One of my favourites we recorded. A freat solo section too! FIRE!!”
8. ‘Metal Merchants’ by HALLOWS EVE
“From ‘Metal Massacre 6’, this tune was always a cool jam with a truly Iron Maiden inspired intro bit that was attached to the song on the original compilation. Later the intro jam was named ‘Valley Of The Dolls’ and preceded ‘Metal Merchant’ on their debut album ‘Tale Of Terror’. A simple song lyrically about heavy metal rules and ways and an us against the world mentality. I think our bass and floor tom drums are almost identically sounding to the original with some fantastic tones captured. A fun song and an anthem to a lot of us headbangers!”
9. ‘The Warrior’ by FINAL WARNING
“This was the song that inspired me to want to do a tribute album to ‘Metal Massacre’ many years ago. A lesser known song again but one that always kicked my ass to hell. I’m no great singer and I know my limitations but I really went for it on this one as it had to make the final cut. And i’m very pleased with how it came out; the band played their asses off especially that last start/stop finale bit. We used the original intro from the Final Warning recording and jumped in about ten seconds in. I even recorded hand claps as the song fades down at the end like the original but left it on the cutting room floor as I didn’t get the proper vibe. The tune is a real majestic metal type of song that hopefully more people can get a real listen to jumping off of our version. ‘Metal Massacre 5’ has so many classics but I decided to dig deep and pull this oddball ripper out.”
10. ‘Armageddon’ by TYRANT
“Yes, I know its known years later as ‘The Battle Of Armageddon’ but back then it posted to the ‘Metal Massacre 3’ record as simply ‘Armageddon’. Jim Hunter leads us into the battle with the rumbling bass attack and the song goes for a very Dio-era Sabbath vibe throughout. The higher vocal shrieks of Glenn May, I touch on a little but stay more in a heavy galloping vocal delivery for most of the epic track’s duration. It seems more fitting in the scheme of things. Brian kills his guitar many times over on our version with some great freak out lead work at the end that Rocky Rockwell can be proud of, while Matt keeps those guitar rhythms working overtime so it stays super duper heavy, the only way Yyrant can be! A great closer to the ‘Metal Massacre’ tribute record and a classic cut from the Californian cult metal band’s past.”
You can pre-order ‘Metal Massacre 31’ (out Nov 25) and October 31’s past albums at Hells Headbangers
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