I am going to take you on a trip to a faroff time, the Spring of 2007 and see what Century Media had in store for us. I think this shows a little bit of a transition in the label. There are several clearly metal bands on here, but there is also quite a bit of metalcore and deathcore. This was before Century Media completely caved into the latter styles but the warning signs were there.
DARK TRANQUILLITY: "FOCUS SHIFT"
This is a typical DT song. Melodic death with layers of keyboards and Mikael Stanne's deep vocals. I have been a fan of DT for a long time now and even though they are kind of stuck in neutral musically now, have enjoyed all of their albums. I of course have this album.
VITAL REMAINS: "HAMMER DOWN THE NAILS"
Vital Remains HATES Christianity. I know that probably comes as a bit of a shock in heavy metal, but they really do. It's almost cartoonish. To emphasize this, they brought in Glen Benton of Deicide to provide vocals on this album, the only person who hates Christianity more than the band. I like this album, but the production is a little muddy and it is definitely over the top.
DESPISED ICON: "IN THE ARMS OF PERDITION"
Oh, here we go. This was before the deathcore scene became an ungodly parody of itself and this song is actually not too bad for deathcore. It's a shame that the band became a complete farce on their next album. That's not to say that this is good though. Just that it's better than some other deathcore bands.
INTO ETERNITY: "TIMELESS WINTER"
Very good song from this Canadian progressive melodeath band. Singer Stu Block has a great voice and can sing in a variety of styles without skipping a beat. He will be the new singer for Iced Earth. This is a great album as well.
IN THIS MOMENT: "PRAYERS"
In This Moment has risen to prominence mostly due to the presence of Maria Brink and her cleavage-baring outfits. She is not a bad vocalist, just kind of annoying. The music though is extremely stereotypical metalcore. If not for Brink and her breasts, this band would be forgotten.
DIECAST: "NOTHING I COULD SAY"
Essentially In This Moment without Maria Brink. Anyone remember these guys? No? I rest my case.
THE HAUNTED: "THE DROWNING"
I have said it before and I will say it again. I never really got into The Haunted. Their early material is okay, but it just never captivated me enough to get much of it. Their later stuff though shows a real attempt to capture a radio-friendly sound. It just sounds too sterile to me. Thrash is supposed to be dangerous. The Haunted just isn't dangerous enough.
FU MANCHU: "HUNG OUT TO DRY"
Stoner rock, kind of similar to Monster Magnet. I never really liked Fu Manchu even though I did like Monster Magnet. This does not change my mind.
BRAND NEW SIN: "REAPER MAN"
I am not familiar with this band. They sound like a hard rock band with some southern elements. Pass.
FINNTROLL: "KORPENS SAGA"
This is Finntroll doing what they do best, lilting folk melodies playing over some harsh blackened metal. The band is quite good at fun songs and catchy melodies. This is no exception.
NAGLFAR: "THE DARKEST ROAD"
I think Naglfar is a little underrated. The melodic black metal band has put out some great albums, but they get a lot of hate. Perhaps because they are melodic. Not sure. Anyway, this is another very good song by the band off of one of my favorite Naglfar albums.
ABORTED: "THE CHONDRIN ENIGMA"
Aborted, the Belgian brutal death metal band, made an effort to tone down their sound for this release. The result sounds like a really brutal melodeath album. They also added quite a few breakdowns. The result really disappointed a lot of longtime fans. I quite like the sound, but was not terribly familiar with them before this. The band does seem to be following the career path of their obvious idols in Carcass.
IMMOLATION: "WORLD AGONY"
This is off of what I think is one of Immolation's best albums. Their Morbid Angel style of dirty, razor-sharp riffing is at its best and vocalist Ross Dolan sounds even more powerful than usual. Just a terrific album.
FEAR MY THOUGHTS: "BLANKNESS"
Another band I was unfamiliar with. This is basically melodeath/metalcore. Nothing terribly exciting.
CELTIC FROST: "GROUND"
Of course Celtic Frost's reunion album in 2006 ranks as one of the all-time great reunions. Frost did not attempt to recapture their old sound. They released something new and exciting. It's too hard to catalog this under a simple genre tag, it's completely unique and powerful.
Satyricon was one of the more unique bands in the Norwegian second wave black metal scene. Incorporating folk melodies and instrumentation into their sound, they really stood out for awhile. By this point though, Satyricon had streamlined their sound into a fairly simple black 'n roll style. It is okay for what it is, but it is nothing like what it was.
FIREWIND: "FALLING TO PIECES"
Firewind is a fairly straightforward power metal band with some great hooks and an impressive pop sensibility. This is definitely radio-friendly and infectious. It makes you wonder why radio stations can't play Firewind instead of Nickelback. Frustrating.
THE TEMPEST: "RISE AND FALL"
Apparently this band changed their name prior to the release of their first album and became The Agonist. Basically a harsher, more metallic version of In This Moment. Same analysis applies from In This Moment. I do like the singer's voice though. Everything else is terrible.
TENET: "INDULGE ME"
I have never heard of this band either. Apparently this is a demo track from an upcoming album that was not released for another two years. Not sure what happened there. Apparently this is the side project of the guitarist for Strapping Young Lad and it is pretty impressive heavy thrash metal. I like this quite a bit.