Various Artists - '30 Years Of Nuclear Blast'

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Various Artists - '30 Years Of Nuclear Blast'

Once you've graduated from the seventies and eighties mainstream Metal bachelors, '30 Years of Nuclear Blast' is your Masters education.

Among my inner circle of friends, I am often regarded as the tastemaker of all things Rock and Metal, the authoritative middleman between them and extreme music, away from the safety blankets of their commercial trappings. A question I get asked often by them and others is by far one of the most inordinately challenging questions for a fan of Heavy Metal, the one question that has you banging your head off of walls instead of up and down, moshing with your mind rather than with the pit. You probably guessed it � what should I listen to as a starter?

If, like me, you've become sick and tired of relentlessly lending your copies of 'Number Of The Beast', 'Master Of Puppets' or 'Paranoid', you're probably finding yourself in quite a pickle in broaching this beast of a question. Well, fear not, for Germany's pioneering Nuclear Blast Records have duly supplied us with their extended edition of the Holy Bible � a 4CD/DVD collection that spans and celebrates the label's thirty years of blasting our ears on a regular basis.

The four audio discs are split into eras of the label's history, forming a chronological narrative through their ongoing rise, throwing your eager ears right into the middle of their "nuclear blast", with Death Metal stalwarts Gorefest's 1992 staple 'State Of Mind' (admittedly not a place I suspect any of our readers will start) which was the beginning of the label's now-historic departure from a strict supportive diet of Hardcore bands into one that respected the roots and protected the future of extreme music. Without even looking at the specific tracks, a quick glance at the bands listed on each disc is enough to show you the prestige Nuclear Blast has collected in the three decades of its existed � Slayer, Helloween and Paradise Lost. Those three names are all pioneers of their genres, leaders of the pack in revolutionising areas of Metal no one had yet heard and they have all spent time in the company of Nuclear Blast.

Whilst all four audio discs and the accompanying DVD are heavy hitters, it is perhaps the fourth CD that shines the most in terms of content. Its era is Nuclear Blast's most recent � 2012-2017. Its sixteen tracks are all killer and no filler, from its opening klaxon of Slayer's comeback-defining post-Jeff Hanneman jam 'Repentless' to its doomy Death-riddled end in the form of Paradise Lost's recent epic 'From The Gallows'. The fact that in the last five years Nuclear Blast have been responsible for the all-conquering super-group Killer Be Killed and Blues Pills' genre-bending era-traversing breakthrough is one hell of a testament to the legacy they've constructed.

What strikes me the most about this collection is perhaps the way in which it not only tells a tale of Nuclear Blast's history, but of a personal history to the listener, and in many ways, there are moments you, our dear 'Fireworks' reader, will look back fondly at, particularly during the second and third CD eras � 2004-2007 and 2008-2012 respectively � which fly heavily through the lands of Power, Symphonic and Progressive Metal with the highlights coming from Nightwish's 'Wish I Had An Angel', Eluveitie's 'Inis Mona' and Sonata Arctica's 'Wildfire'. Journeying through the various discs was like journeying through musical and magazine past in one.

Above all, this collection is the answer to the age-old friendship ruining question of what the ultimate Heavy Metal starter pack is, and quite honestly, once you've graduated from the seventies and eighties mainstream Metal bachelors, '30 Years of Nuclear Blast' is your Masters education.

Jack Press

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