Various - _...Where Tattered Clouds Are Stranding_
(The Eastern Front, 2008)
by: Quentin Kalis (8 out of 10)
Most compilations are more aptly described as samplers, presenting a broad cross-election of bands, often only having perhaps a country or label as the only -- and somewhat tenuous connection. From a label's perspective they must possess some intrinsic value, otherwise why release them? From the vantage point of critic, consumer and fan, there is little value in buying samplers, as they are not the most effective way to promote new artists; one four minute song is insufficient to form an opinion on an artist's merits, and the artist concerned would be better served through the underground standard of split albums.

The reader will excuse for my ranting, but I needed to explain why as a general rule, compilation albums are just not worth anyone's hard-earned dollars or euros, which needs to be outlined before I can explain why this is the exception.

Firstly, this is not a compilation randomly compiled or consisting of bands tenuously linked through geography or style. This is a "conceptual compilation" in the sense that the album is based upon, and dedicated to, the art of Icelandic sculptor and painter Einar Jonsson.

Secondly, the overwhelming majority of the songs have been recorded for this compilation -- only four (out of 28) are previously released. And it's not just the big boys like Belborn who have previously released material on this compilation; martial stalwarts HERR and Von Thronstahl collaborate together for an exclusive track.

The first CD is labelled "Grief"; I'm not sure why it is named as the predominant neoclassical bombast is suggestive of Wagner. The aforementioned HERR / Von Thronstahl collaboration is the undisputed highlight of this CD, possessing martial stirrings far removed from Von Thronstahl's recent deviation into neofolk and lacking the Casio tones that marred their earlier but otherwise well composed work. Other artists on this CD include Agnivolok, Rukkanor and Storm of Capricorn.

The second CD is subtitled "Birth of Psyche" and is the yang to Grief's yin, consisting of more sombre and introspective textures, largely within the dark ambient fold. Artists on this CD include Rose Rovine e Amanti, Bisclaveret and a surprising ambient track from noise fiend Kadaver. The dark beauty of Bisclaveret stands out as being worthy of mention.

When done like this, with loads of exclusive tracks from a wide range of artists and united by a common and relevant theme, compilations no longer seem like hoary cash cows but an album to be bought and treasured like any other. Good stuff.

Contact: http://www.theeasternfront.org

(article published 22/6/2008)


ALBUMS
12/29/2010 C Drishner 8 Various - Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft - Gate 1: Yogsothery - Chaosmogonic Rituals of Fear
12/14/2010 N Shahpazov 8.5 Various - Whom the Moon a Nightsong Sings
4/2/2010 Q Kalis Various - Rising of Yog-Sothoth: Tribute to Thergothon
1/8/2009 C Drishner Various - Anthrosphere Volume 1
9/17/2008 P Azevedo 7.5 Various - My Own Wolf: A New Approach to Ulver
8/9/2008 Q Kalis 7.5 Various - Metal Message IV
6/17/2008 Q Kalis 5.5 Various - Extreme Metal Inside
6/13/2008 Q Kalis 8 Various - Might Is Right: Nordic Warchants II
6/11/2008 Q Kalis 4.5 Various - Bajo el Signo de la Violencia: Tribute to Masacre
10/7/2007 Q Kalis 7 Various - Rise of the Eastern Blood
7/24/2007 Q Kalis 8 Various - Might Is Right - Nordic Warchants Pt. I
7/4/2007 Q Kalis 7 Various - Aural Holograms Vol. I
4/20/2007 Q Kalis 8.5 Various - Noise.IL
4/15/2007 Q Kalis Various - Fine-Tuned Disasters
4/5/2007 Q Kalis Various - Defaced and Split
3/25/2007 Q Kalis 8 Various - Fuck the Modern World
3/8/2007 J Ulrey 7.5 Various - Intoxicated Vol. 4
2/24/2007 K Sarampalis 7 Various - Metal Message Vol III
1/28/2007 Q Kalis 8.5 Various - A Reassuring Voice on the Television
1/9/2007 Q Kalis 7.5 Various - Hauautagused Karjed Vol. II: Estonian Extreme Metal Compilation
12/26/2006 Q Kalis 8 Various - All My Dead Friends
11/7/2005 N Shahpazov 7 Various - The Wood Brothers
1/10/2005 T DePalma 7.5 Various - Listen Without Distraction - A Tribute to Kyuss
10/19/2004 P Azevedo 7 Various - Fenriz Presents... The Best of Old-School Black Metal
1/17/2004 A McKay 3.5 Various - Defenders of Metal Volume 1 - The Seduction
11/16/2003 X Hoose 7 Various - Japanese Assault
8/31/2003 J Montague 8 Various - Barbaric Onslaught (Australian Metal Attack)
5/29/2003 Q Kalis 7.5 Various - Victory Through Total Domination: Compilation No. III
5/27/2003 A Wee 7 Various - The Obsolete View
4/5/2003 P Azevedo 8 Various - Better Undead Than Alive
3/31/2003 P Azevedo 7.5 Various - Svartmetall Compilation 2001
3/26/2003 X Hoose 4 Various - Covered in Blood: A Tribute to Slayer
4/12/2002 B Meloon 6 Various - Czech Assault
4/12/2002 Q Kalis 7.5 Various - The Bells of the Mystical Empire
1/14/2002 A Wee 6 Various - Hellion Promo Vol II
1/14/2002 A McKay 7 Various - Colorado Colossus
10/19/2001 Q Kalis 7.5 Various - Beauty in Darkness 5
8/12/2001 A McKay 2 Various - Brazilian Assault
8/12/2001 V Eldefors 7 Various - Triarchy of Vasconia
8/12/2001 A Wee 9 Various - Black Metal Blitzkrieg
5/13/2001 A Wee 8 Various - The Return of Darkness and Hate
5/13/2001 A McKay 8 Various - Requiems of Revulsion: A Tribute to Carcass
3/13/2001 A McKay 4 Various - Chamber Metal: Neo-Classical Metal Guitar
3/13/2001 A McKay 6.5 Various - Overload 2: Tribute to Metallica
1/10/2001 A McKay 6.5 Various - Scream Forth Blasphemy: A Tribute to Morbid Angel
11/20/2000 A McKay 2 Various - Dead Zeppelin - A Metal Tribute to Led Zeppelin
11/20/2000 A McKay 6.5 Various - In the Sign of the Horns - A Tribute to Venom
11/20/2000 G Sanchez 7 Various - Economi$ed
11/20/2000 G Sanchez 8 Various - Coalescence
10/25/2000 A McKay 6 Various - Gateway to Hell 2: Tribute to Slayer
10/25/2000 A McKay 7 Various - King Diamond Tribute
10/25/2000 A Cantwell 7.5 Various - World of Pain -- A Tribute to Sepultura
10/25/2000 A Cantwell 7.5 Various - Jump in the Pit -- A Tribute to Testament
10/25/2000 A McKay 9.5 Various - Root of All Evil 2000 2nd Anniversary Sampler
8/12/2000 A McKay 5 Various - Raise the Flag of Hate: A Tribute to Kreator
8/12/2000 A McKay 8 Various - Curse of the Demon: A Tribute to Mercyful Fate
5/25/2000 A Bromley 3 Various - Power From the North
5/25/2000 A Bromley 7.5 Various - Panther: A Tribute to Pantera
3/5/2000 A Bromley 8.5 Various - Holy Dio: Tribute to Ronnie James Dio
1/15/2000 M Noll 2 Various - A Tribute to Accept
1/15/2000 P Azevedo 8 Various - To Magic...
12/9/1999 P Schwarz 8 Various - 21st Century Media Blitz Vol. 2
12/9/1999 A Bromley 8.5 Various - Never Give In: A Tribute to Bad Brains
8/12/1999 A McKay 3 Various - A Tribute to Hell: Satanic Rites
8/12/1999 P Schwarz 3 Various - ECW Extreme Music
8/12/1999 G Sanchez 6 Various - Lobot Manual
8/12/1999 G Sanchez 7.5 Various - Needlepoint
8/12/1999 A McKay 9 Various - White: Nightmares in the End
7/7/1999 A Wasylyk 7 Various - Death... Is Just the Beginning 5
6/15/1999 P Azevedo 5 Various - Psyclone Sinphonies
6/15/1999 A Wasylyk 6.5 Various - Beauty in Darkness Vol. 3
6/15/1999 A McKay 8.5 Various - Smells Like Team Spirit III
5/19/1999 G Sanchez 6.5 Various - Extreme America 3
5/19/1999 A McKay 7 Various - Straight to Hell -- A Tribute to Slayer
5/19/1999 G Sanchez 7.5 Various - Freak Animal Zine #11 CD
5/19/1999 P Azevedo 8 Various - Where We Go, Others Can Only Follow...
5/19/1999 A Cantwell 8.5 Various - Chords of the Grave
5/19/1999 A McKay 8.5 Various - To Live Is Ever to Be in Danger
3/14/1999 A Bromley 7 Various - Black Mark Tribute II
3/14/1999 A McKay 7 Various - In Conspiracy With Satan
3/14/1999 G Sanchez 8 Various - WWF - The Music Vol. 3
2/13/1999 A Cantwell 8.5 Various - Full Moon Productions Sampler CD
1/16/1999 P Schwarz 5 Various - Roadkill
1/16/1999 P Schwarz 7 Various - Feuersturm Vol. II: The Ultimate Storm
1/16/1999 P Schwarz 8 Various - Wardance
1/16/1999 A Cantwell 8 Various - From Kaamos to Midnight Sun -- Finnish Metal Compilation
11/19/1998 A Bromley 8 Various - GRRRR!!: Extreme Music From Vancouver
10/1/1998 P Schwarz 7 Various - Cry Now, Cry Later -- Vols. 3 & 4
10/1/1998 A Cantwell 7 Various - Songs From the Penalty Box: Volume 2
10/1/1998 P Schwarz 8 Various - Amduscias
9/1/1998 P Azevedo 6 Various - High Radiation 4
9/1/1998 A Bromley 7 Various - Call on the Dark II
9/1/1998 B Meloon 7 Various - Bestial Sampler: 1997-1998
9/1/1998 A Wasylyk 8 Various - Fiesta Comes Alive!
9/1/1998 P Schwarz 9 Various - Statements of Intent
7/8/1998 A Wasylyk 6 Various - Blackened III
7/8/1998 A Wasylyk 7 Various - Statements of Intent
7/8/1998 A Wasylyk 8 Various - Sepultural Feast: A Tribute to Sepultura
6/7/1998 P Azevedo Various - Peaceville X
6/7/1998 A Bromley 7 Various - Call To Irons: A Tribute to Iron Maiden
6/7/1998 A Wasylyk 7 Various - Voyager: 10 Years Nuclear Blast
6/7/1998 B Meloon 8 Various - Until the End of Time
1/1/1998 A Wasylyk 5 Various - A Declaration of Independence
1/1/1998 A Gaudrault 7 Various - Masters of Misery - Black Sabbath: The Earache Tribute
1/1/1998 A Bromley 7 Various - Untitled (ten)
11/17/1997 A Bromley 8 Various - Earache Unplugged 2
7/14/1997 A Wasylyk 3 Various - The Kanada Compilation
7/14/1997 Z Tsarfin 7 Various - Awakenings: Females in Extreme Music
7/14/1997 A Bromley 9 Various - A Black Mark Tribute
6/7/1997 A Bromley 8 Various - The Ozz-Fest: Live
5/13/1997 P Azevedo 8 Various - Out of the Dark Live Compilation
5/13/1997 S Hoeltzel 9 Various - World Domination II
2/5/1997 A Bromley 5 Various - Frozen Dawn III
2/5/1997 A Bromley 8 Various - The Absolute Supper
1/2/1997 A Wasylyk 9 Various - Beneath the Icy Floe: A Projekt Sampler V.4
8/12/1996 A Wasylyk 7 Various - Black Mark Attack
8/12/1996 G Filicetti 9 Various - ...And Even Wolves Hid Their Teeth
7/17/1996 A Bromley 9 Various - Beauty In Darkness
6/9/1996 S Hoeltzel 7 Various - Nordic Metal: A Tribute to Euronymous
4/18/1996 N Bassett 7 Various - In Memory of Celtic Frost
3/14/1996 A Bromley 7 Various - Identity II
3/14/1996 N Bassett 8 Various - With Us Or Against Us
1/17/1996 G Filicetti 9 Various - Four Ways To Misery
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