I recently dug out some of my old tapes that were compilations. I bought this some time in either my eighth or ninth grade year. It was one of the first exposures to death metal I ever had. It blew me away and was a favorite tape in my collection. I have not listened to it for a long time, so this was pretty fun.
MEGADETH: SKULL BENEATH THE SKIN
I was very familiar with Megadeth already. This song is originally off of the band's debut album. It's fast and aggressive and really sets the tone for this compilation. Dave Mustaine's banshee wail at the beginning of the song is an absolute classic. I did pick up this album after hearing this song on the compilation. I also have all of Megadeth's full-length albums and a couple of their compilation albums.
EXODUS: THE TOXIC WALTZ
I knew the name Exodus but had not heard the band. This song is a tribute to the apparently quite crazy shit that fans did at their shows. Pre-dating moshing by several years and other pit madness. This is one of my favorite tracks off of this compilation and surprisingly I have not picked up this album by the band. I do have a couple of their other albums though.
NUCLEAR ASSAULT: CRITICAL MASS
From the pure thrash of the prior two tracks, we dive into a few tracks of hardcore-inspired metal. This song from the crossover greats Nuclear Assault is an extremely heavy tour de force. I am not sure why I have not gone further into this band's catalog. This remains the only song I have actually heard.
PRONG: BEG TO DIFFER
Prong has been pretty hit or miss with me. I own three of their albums, but even on those albums, they have great songs and some filler. This is a good song, but it doesn't match the power of some of their later material. It's a lot more simple than some of the stuff the band would come up with later. Still, a decent song. It's just no "Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck".
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY: LOSS FOR WORDS
This one surprised me. I had two albums by C.O.C. already, so I thought I knew what to expect. To be fair, I was only in my early teens. C.O.C. started out with much more hardcore influences and changed singers a few times. The albums I owned were more sludge metal and traditional metal. This is one hell of a song though.
DEATH: PULL THE PLUG
This is it, the first real death metal song I ever heard in its entirety. And what a great first song it was. Obviously the first thing to take notice of is the extreme vocals, which are a little tame by today's standards. The music on this song is more of an ultra heavy thrash sound. That's what death metal was in the beginning though. I own four albums now by this band, including this one.
VOIVOD: KILLING TECHNOLOGY
Voivod is weird. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what their sound is as it contains influences from thrash, hardcore, and progressive rock. Quite an eclectic mix. This song also features a lot of keyboard effects and strange vocal effects. Still, it made an impression. I own two albums by this band.
CELTIC FROST: ETERNAL SUMMER
Hard to believe that this was the first time I heard this band. The guitar tone is what really grabs the listener. That and the crushing riffs and ramming speed. This is one of the better Celtic Frost songs. Tom Warrior's vocals are terrific on this track. I now own three albums by this band, one double album by their predecessor Hellhammer and one by their successor Triptykon.
The vocals on the Death track were extreme, but these put them to shame. John Tardy has always sounded like he gargled with a glass of battery acid before singing. This song was shocking for a young teenager to hear. I now own four albums by this band, including the album from which this track came.
SUICIDAL TENDENCIES: YOU CAN'T BRING ME DOWN
Finishing things off on a lighter note, but by no means a slower one, is this Suicidal Tendencies track. This is the only other band I owned an album from prior to getting this compilation, but this track blows all of their other stuff out of the water. It's fast, complex, and metal as fuck. Plus, it's a rare song of triumph and hope in an otherwise bleak genre. What a great song and message.