The Heavy Metal Box

Sweeeet

Box Sets

The Heavy Metal Box

(Rhino)

Rhino's Heavy Metal Box will elicit a "sweeeet" from 'heads given its Marshall amp packaging with an actual knob that goes to 11. In homage, Spinal Tap's "Big Bottom" is included, and therein lies the 4-CD, 70-song collection's problem: The term "heavy metal" tends to be associated with a certain era of glammy showmanship and cocksure leather bravado. Though the first disc's embryonic journey starts off promisingly with some of metal's forefathers – Blue Cheer's "Summertime Blues," Hawkwind's "Lost Johnny," Deep Purple's "Highway Star" – disc two starts veering into the abyss: Dio-era Black Sabbath (no Ozzy here), Mercyful Fate, and British goofballs Saxon mixed in with solid assaults like Motörhead, Iron Maiden, and Kill 'Em All-period Metallica. With discs three and four devoted heavily to 1980s hair bands (Hanoi Rocks, Stryper), the set devolves into headband-scratching kitsch, save disc four's late-1980s/early-1990s scene heroes like Slayer, Anthrax, and Pantera, which is where the collection ends. The accompanying booklet is slick and colorful, with explanations of Dio's devil-horn salute and metal's obsession with the occult, plus an interview with Sunset Strip legend Mario Maglieri, among other scene histories. Sadly, subgenres like black metal, death metal, and grindcore have been left out, metal-heavy countries like Norway and Japan mostly overlooked for an American- and British-heavy collection.

**

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