Full disclosure before I get into this review, I jumped on board this project when I first heard about it. A crowd funded idea by John Raptis at Rue Morgue Records, an old fashioned mixtape if you will. For those who can remember, back in the day the metal compilation was a thing. Back before the internet this was how many bands got their break, it’s fair to say without the Metal Massacre compilations we may have never heard of Metallica, Armoured Saint, Ratt or Metal Church. Ok we would have heard of them, bands like that make it for a reason, it just may have taken a little longer.
So from its beginnings back in 1982 fast forward to 2019 and a hair-brained scheme out of Melbourne was starting to take shape. Bands were being assembled, artwork was in full production … what happened next was nothing short of a clusterfuck, an COVID-19 fuelled one at that. With half the world and the whole country shutting down production came to a halt, the end never seemed so far away. Throw in a second wave and brutal lockdown in Melbourne and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking this project will never see the light of day.
So what feels like a lifetime later I have finally in my hot hands a sample CD of Murders In The Rue Morgue Volume 1 (hopefully by the time of publication I’ll have the black and red splatter vinyl). . To be honest there’s a whole article in just the journey so far, but for now I’ll stick to the review.
As with any compilation there’s likely to be some bands you’ve heard of and some you haven’t, there’s also bound to be songs you like and others not so much. But the whole point is to be exposed to new bands and music, so scrolling through the list of artists there are some I know and many I don’t. The phoenix who rose from the ashes of Taberah Tasmania’s own Fierce Deity kick things off in scintillating style with ‘The Path’. I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to ease into this album. That said there’s very little easing going on, this track is a straight-out balls to the wall old school metal song. It’s riff city as Jonathon Barwick’s Les Paul howls with Zakk Wylde-esque grooves along with his vocals bringing a splash of soul to the realm of metal. The old school vibe continues with Melbourne’s White Devil Detroit dropping the ‘Guillotine’ on the second track. If you’re not familiar with the band they ooze cool, with a bluesy hard rock sound like a cross between Alice in Chains and The Rolling Stones with a look to rival The Darkness.
If you grab the vinyl version rounding out side one Perth’s own Dan Brittain, the lanky Silent Knight front-man has a solo effort added to this compilation in the guise of ‘Behind Bars’. There’s no holding back with Brittain’s impressive vocals soaring into his upper register ably helped by a swag of W.A’s best musicians. This song is, like many others on the album is a no-nonsense hard rocker, if you’re an Iron Maiden or Judas Priest fan you’ll appreciate what Dan’s laying down. This hard rock / metal approach is a common theme throughout the album with one surprising addition. Killrazer bring the heavy, their track ‘The Burial Begins’ is crushing, quite the departure from the rest of the album. This decidedly old school mix tape gets a dose of old school thrash / death metal. If gravelly vocals with riffs and drums fast enough to give whiplash is your thing, these Sydneysiders won’t disappoint. A complete contrast is the addition of Adelaide’s Subtract-S with the lucky 13 track ‘One The Line’. There’s a definite Nine Inch Nails vibe to this track, an electro rock mix with a hard edge. It’s different and not what I was expecting, but for me it works.
Honestly there’s so much going on with this album it’s almost futile to break it down track by track. The vinyl version has 10 killer tracks, grab a copy of the CD and you get 4 bonus ones. If you’re a fan of heavy music you’ll find something to like on this collection and the best thing, it’s Australian made!
Murders In The Rue Morgue Vol 1 tracklist:
- The Path – (Fierce Deity)
- Guillotine – (White Devil Detroit)
- Space Truckin’ – (Palace Of The King)
- Face To Face – (The Vendettas)
- Behind Bars – (Dan Brittian)
- Lost In Space – (Espionage)
- Final Crime – (Nothing Sacred)
- Dance With The Devil – (Atomic Riot)
- The Burial Begins – (Killrazer)
- Negative Infinity – (Grant Burns)
- Hard One – (Midnight Alibi)
- Bad Ass Blues – (Southbound Snake Charmers)
- On The Line – (Subtract-S)
- Suicidal Butterfly – (Death Of Art)