Write-up by The Metal Advisor
Music publications today occasionally include a sampler disc to reel buyers in, and most readers carry the assumption that the material is selected with quality in mind. More often than not, though, that isn’t the case. Take, for example, a sampler (24 Carat Gold) I received with an issue of Classic Rock, a decent enough magazine, but one that seriously needs to re-evaluate what they include as bonus content.
That being said, there are a few gems scattered throughout the track listing. The Deafening, a band previously featured on Rockthought, are one of the few up and coming hard rock acts I find interesting because their music is, most importantly, fun and never tries to be something it’s not. In other words, it’s a nice alternative to all the metal usually packing my playlists.
Besides the Alice in Chains track, “Hollow,” and Deep Purple’s “Hell to Pay,” the rest of the sampler is best described as tired. Indeed, the majority of the bands included on this disc are newcomers to the scene, but they fail to emit even a sliver of originality and appear stale, if not a complete rip-off of their inspirations.
I understand that most Classic Rock readers and subscribers probably want music that hasn’t progressed in any sort of way and sounds exactly like something from their childhood. That’s fine and dandy, too, but the material here lacks substance and energy, which robs hard rock/prog/whatever of its liveliness and charm. Without vivacity, this kind of music isn’t even worth playing in the background, which is a travesty, all things considered.
Perhaps the worst groups on this disc are Scorpion King, Black Star Riders, and S.U.N–heck, most of it is throwaway. Black Star Riders have received quite a bit of press, considering their relation to Thin Lizzy, but they sound like a second-rate wannabe of the legendary band, and jaded vocals sour otherwise decent music. The rest is in much the same vein: little originality and clearly a substandard stab at the glory days of mainstream hard rock, etc.
Now that I think about it, I suppose I should reconsider. Classic Rock’s reader base wants exactly what the sampler serves up, and they’re delivering, even if the material is, at best, noted as “lacking.” Music is one of those beautifully subjective things and, in this case, speaking with my wallet is the route to take, as I instead choose to listen to the more obscure, original, and stylistically-similar groups. Good thing I’m not a Classic Rock subscriber based simply on the disc included with issue 184.