Various Artists
"Greatest Hymns Volume 1"

(Sin Klub Entertainment 2001)Various Artists - Greatest Hymns Volume 1

Compilations are a double-edged sword. Put too many bands on one and they probably won't all get the same attention from the listener, but at the same time, a listener could hear a number of tracks that get their notice and make fans of them. It's a slippery slope and one that Sin Klub trod well.

The compilation immediately shows promise with its first track, "Drosophilia Mellono Colli" by Chicken Dog, a catchy but simple, grungy yet almost industrial edged song with indistinguishable lyrics (aside from "yeah, yeah, yeah"). And then enters into the heavy metal style that makes up a majority of the CD; "I Am" by Three Below is a mix of screaming heavy metal and melodic toned down vocals with a hook that sounds not unlike Metallica's "St. Anger." There is variety, as shown in the tracks by False Face Society ("Hate The Way," a shot at America's founding fathers with lyrics like "We've made angels bleed/And animals flee their homes/Created disease -- to make us lay down our robes"), the harmonica boogie of Five Horse Johnson ("Candystore"), the punk and hardcore mix of Valve ("All About The Last Minute"), and the comp's cool oasis from metal provided by Irwin ("Progress").

"Greatest Hymns" also gives a taste of rap with the gangsta meets Gorillaz sounds of Rare Species ("What Can You Do With This Rhyme?") but the compilation can't stay away from heavy thrashing sounds as Evolotto ("Movin' On"), The Geminus Sect ("Slavior" (demo)) (who combine electronic with heavy sounds and cleverly hide a melody underneath it all) and Porn Flakes ("Black Magic White Trash Trailer Park Witch") follow up Rare Species. But while the first two-thirds were more metal, the final third of the comp offers punk with Bunjie Jambo ("Ice Princess).

But with the strengths there are also simpler, more unexciting tracks, such as Kitchen Knife Conspiracy ("Curbcutter"), and the songs that are catchy pleasers but not the most original, such as The Thessalonian Dope Gods ("RIP Liz '69") and Environmental Hazzard ("What Evil Brings"), that just can't hold up as well next to the stronger ones. And at over seventy minutes, the compilation is rather long, especially if you're unfamiliar with the artists. But what "Greatest Hymns" does have is a great selection and variety.