Metal compilations have been pumped out in extraordinary numbers since around 1980, but few are worth paying for and listening to regularly. K-Tel put out a comp of mainstream metal called Masters of Metal
, a pointless collection of stuff you could find at any Kmart store: KISS
. This comp was absolutely everywhere, and similar cash-grabs followed: among the slew were New Metal Monsters
, Enuff Z'nuff
) and Metal Masters
(Pat Travers is a metal master?).
Independents like Metal Blade
did something similar, with more useful results: the three-part Best of Metal Blade
series was a necessary buying guide, helpful in sorting through the masses of releases coming out at the time (and it helped you stay away from junk like Krank). The release of compilation series' continued into the '90s and 2000s, some worthwhile, others not at all. And then there's Nuclear Blast's all-ballads Metal Dreams
series. Don't get me started on that one.
Due to the amount of junky comps, "compilation" became another word for "crap" to a lot of collectors. A few of them, however, are mandatory.
The compilations featured below belong in the library of every serious metal aficionado. Some contain material that was exclusive at the time, others provided definitive overviews of a particular movement that landed at the right time. Earache's Grindcrusher
, for instance, came in 1990, right in the middle of the first death metal boom, and for a lot of people it acted as a soundtrack for the era. All of these did that in their own way, or turned people onto a movement from earlier years.