Metal is a valid form of music, the album Ozzfest-Live-Second Stage is not. With the genre of metal seemingly fading on the national scene the notorious bat biting Father of metal concocted his own traveling metal show, self indulgently, yet deservingly titled Ozzfest. But a festival usually means an all day event and with only three or four top quality acts there is much room for filler. Filler finds itself playing in front of smaller crowds on a much smaller stage aptly titled the second stage. As the title of the album bluntly says the music is entirely from the second stage, which implicitly says it sucks.
Since the bloody birth of metal from Satan”s womb each generation of metal-ers try to weld their brand of metal into the toughest, and heaviest metal of all. Bands have traded screaming for barking, and traded the melodious sounds of a tuned guitar into mush as their detuned strings flap in the wind. These practices have turned a grand form of music into a stew of cacophony.
All the bands featured on Ozzfest-Live-Second Stage suffer from this heavier than thou complex. The bass guitars sound like a lactose intolerant after three bean burritos and four milkshakes. The guitars are tuned so low that their intestine rattling lows seep into the flatulent sounds of the bass. The trained seals that pass for singers sound as if their vocal chords were removed, put into a blender set to puree then reinstalled so each shriek is saturated with the pain of having vocal chords ripped out and the lack of clarity associated with a blended set of vocal chords. Tragically enough this album is a two CD set. Nineteen tracks and 18 different artists, yet it would be quite a formidable chore to differentiate between the acts. Disturbed”s track “Voices” is one of the few flowers in this pile of dung. Much of the vocals seem to be words and there seems to be a bit of singing interspersed with the yelling and the addition of a synthesizer adds a breath of fresh air into the dense cloud of gas that hangs over the two albums.
Slaves on Dope add the poetic lines “Pushing me/and I can”t push you back/pushing me/I”m ready to attack.” While these simple couplets of anger may be enough to peak the interest of troubled testosterone filled teens it won”t do much for anyone else.
One of the most interesting tracks comes from a group of seventeen-year-old Canadian girls smugly named Kittie. A group of girls doing death metal should have a place in everyone”s heart. Other standouts include Ode to Clarissa”s “Ode to Clarissa,” Powerman 5000″s soulful funky pepperesque “Organized.”
Metal is tolerable and even enjoyable while standing in a sea of adrenaline valiantly braving the dangerous whirlpool of the moshpit. This type of energy is impossible to catch on CD. If you find metal enjoyable take the twenty bucks you were going to spend on this CD and go see Ozzfest in concert this summer. Even live it may not be good but it can”t be worse.