Tooth & Nail's long-running Songs From The Penalty Box compilations featured a good mix of the label's artists. In the early compilations, it was a mixture of the alternative bands and the hardcore bands, thus giving the listener a sampler of not only the Tooth & Nail branch, but its co-label, Solid State. As the compilations kept releasing, they started leaning toward mainly Tooth & Nail groups. When 2002's fifth installment of the series came out, it was up to all of it being Tooth & Nail except for one song. Seven years later, with the series making a comeback, T&N has taken a different approach to it. Instead of only one compilation this year, they put out two on the same day. Songs From The Penalty Box Volume 6 focuses on the alternative artists on the T&N branch, and Volume 7 brings back a focus on Solid State Records.
While many of the songs on Volume 6 were songs that Tooth & Nail has used (and overused) on several other occasions (such as "Cuckoo" by Neon Horse or Children 18:3's "All My Balloons"), Volume 7 takes a step away from that, and offers some tracks that you may only have if you bought the actual album it's a part of. While the occasional reused song is here or there (for example, "Mad Man" by Haste The Day or "Vices Like Vipers" by Oh, Sleeper), the majority of the tracklist consists of different songs from the band's respective albums. As I had expected to see songs on the list like "Desperate Times, Desperate Measures" from Underoath's newest album or "Robots 3, Humans 0" from Norma Jean, it was a pleasant surprise to see the former's "Anyone Can Dig A Hole But It Takes A Real Man To Call It Home" and the latter's "Self-Employed Chemist" in their places. Though going with the non-singles is not a frequent occurrence with T&N/Solid State, it's definitely something that you will rarely see on one of their compilations.
Aside from that, the tracklist ends up being an incredible line-up. It features some of the hardest that Solid State has to offer (such as The Chariot, Becoming The Archetype and Advent), some of the [somewhat] newer artists (The Famine, The Ascendicate), and, of course, the label veterans (Underoath, Norma Jean, Demon Hunter). The complaints are minor - for instance, the inclusion of "Trip The Landmine" from Trenches, whose debut album The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole was less than appealing. And I can't help but think that maybe adding a song from Living Sacrifice's highly-anticipated new release would've been a great addition (even if as just a bonus track or something). All in all, it's not a bad compilation for metalheads who don't have most of these albums already. And if you're debating between the two Penalty Box comps for this year (despite being reasonably priced), I would recommend Volume 7 first.- Review date: 6/13/09, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
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