BadenBaden Metal’ (it sez ‘ere) is a German local scene support platform that has been on the go since 2002. It released it’s first compilation – an unsigned local Metal band compilation, back in 2008 called “Rise Of The Griffin” and due to it’s success, Volume 2 is now being released to showcase another 15 local bands, to try and help them get signed/promoted etc. Very admirable indeed! Something we are in dire need of here in the UK…

I’ve never reviewed a compilation before – not sure what the protocol is…so 15 different bands surely warrants 15 different mentions don’t you think? Otherwise it would be unfair to miss someone out. Hmmm, this could go on a while, so I promise I’ll be as brief as possible! I have ZERO info on ANY of the bands (the CD booklet info is in German), but that’s ok, let’s just crack on;

SONS OF SOUNDS kick things off with a great bit of Down-tuned Trad-ish Metal, smacking a bit of Slough Feg, with plenty of early Maiden and Grim Reaper. Some nice twists and heart-felt NWOBHM style vocals. We’re off to a damn good start people!

STORM WARNING are actually in quite a similar vein, but coming across more like early Kai Hansen sung Helloween crossed with Roadrunner 1985 one-offs Dark Heart. Vocals are a little off-key at times and the riffs are quite simplistic, but if it’s that ‘Ebony Records’ NWOBHM sound they are after, then they’ve nailed it!

SCEPTOR have a bit more urgency about them and are veering more into Hammerfall Power Metal territory – and doing a bloody good job of it! They remind me of Mania or maybe latterly of Human Fortress. There’s a really authentic late-eighties German Power Metal quality that shines through – This was the only band on here that I had heard of before (I think High Roller have snapped them up) so we can all hear a bit more of this lot already.

MALICE IN WONDERLAND explode in with double kick drums and minor key riffing. Then offer up a grunt + female vocal duet of vocals. She then takes the lead on the chorus, twinning up with great effect. There’s bits of latter-day After Forever, but especially the most recent offering from Trail Of Tears. A great song well arranged and executed. More please!

MAERSUNG follow on nicely, with an early Paradise Lost/Amorphis vibe. There’s some excellent skins-work holding together everything from Melodic Death Metal to Sentenced-style Dark Metal. A mix that works really well.

BLOODFORGE – Death Metal time, but leaning towards the Melodic side – so fitting in with the feel of what’s gone before. It’s a heady mixture of everything from Amon Amarth to Obituary. A slight 80’s thrash attitude from the riffs & drumming (some damn fine time changes on offer) and a clear production elevate this somewhat in a very crowded genre.

THE PRIVATEER are great fun! Ensiferum meets Tyr drinking with Running Wild! And Is that violin I hear? Fabulously optimistic and happy in mood, they apply mixed vocal techniques and a if-we-think-it-works-THEN-IT-WORKS attitude that I applaud whole-heartedly in this style!

PAINFUL is a bit of Varied Melodic Black/Death, full of aggression and conviction. Nothing particularly new granted, but I’ve heard FAR worse with multi-album deals out there. Maybe the name puts people off – I mean, It’s just asking for crappy reviews isn’t it?

GEFRIERBRAND follow on a very similar path. Maybe leaning more towards Speed/Death Metal with a bit of Kreator thrown in for good measure. Again, I’ve heard more generic band’s sitting on a nice cosy record deal!

CHAOSSPHERE are nudging more into Thrash territory. That’s a great main riff that Nuclear Assault would slaughter their own grannies for, but the vocals are a little one dimensional Death Metal and fail to capitalize on it. Probably a shrewd move to attract a few Melodeath fans. And let’s face it, John Connelly’s vocal style would probably sound a little bit shite if we heard him for the first time in 2013.

PESSIMIST are in a submarine for the intro, but luckily once the track kicks in they don’t sound like they recorded in one. More Thrash, but in a Deathrow/Assassin area, with, again, a bit of Kreator – very convincingly done too! 80’s Thrash with a better production, plus a ‘Mosh bit’ too??!! And I’m 16 again…

MISSION IN BLACK are also thrash, but Chuck Billy of Testament has had an influence here…so have the rest of Testament too to be honest! Another big full production shows what Testament’s early albums could have sounded like. MIB also appear to have a bit of an Alex Skolnick on their hands too – well executed, authentic and gimmick-free 80’s Thrash that just elaborates on what a multi-faceted genre Thrash actually is and was!

PANICZONE have a more modern take on the whole Metal/Thrash/Death thing. It’s fine for what it is, but they are aiming squarely at the late-teen Metal-Heads and would probably have been snapped up by Roadrunner once upon a time. Good luck to them.

LAMERA too have plenty to thank the 2000’s Roadrunner bands for. This just isn’t my thing and I feel I’ve heard it all before all too recently…sorry guys, I can’t like everything and I’m at least 20 years too old to be in your demographic anyway. It seems really well done for it’s genre if that counts?

SOILID mix the styles of Killswitch Engage and, obviously Soil, but with some In Flames and Soilwork as well. I actually thought this Heavy ‘Modern Metal’ genre had actually died on it’s arse 5 years ago, but if not then kudos to these guys for keeping it alive in a very succinct way. I really have heard MUCH worse and if this genre is indeed alive and kicking then this is a damn fine example of how to do it!

There’s actually 16 tracks on this CD – the last one is a German language, Multi-Metal-Styled ‘everyone in’ type track where the members of many of the above bands get an invitation to play. BADEN METAL ALLSTARS is a very ‘Bavarian’ anthem of a track, that is a suitable amount of light-hearted silliness to bring to a close an album of serious talent!

This compilation was great fun to review – every single band on it deserves a deal of some sort. I can’t believe the wealth of unsigned talent that Germany still has to offer…well, I can really. When I was a teenager, among some of my favourite bands were Helloween, Scanner, Running Wild, Warlock, Rage…and a few years later Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, Angel Dust, Poverty’s No Crime etc…etc… Talent like that doesn’t just vanish (unless you live in the UK apparently!) and it’s great to hear a new generation just waiting to be discovered!

(7.5/10  Andy Barker)