Raw M.E.A.T 1 and 2 were released simultaneously, but I stupidly didn’t buy 2 because it was all thrash, and I hadn’t grown into metal that heavy just yet. I missed out on an early Varga track and who knows what else. Raw M.E.A.T. 3, released a couple years later, had a bit of all metal styles. Even a Christian metal band! 15 new groups (and one repeat) put their money on the line to prove that Canada had world class rock bands.
Unfortunately this CD will simply not play (or rip) correctly in any computer. Try it yourself and good luck with that.
Russian Blue were the lone band who also appeared on Raw M.E.A.T 1; an excellent band who easily could have been the next superstars. From their second self-titled demo tape is “Mama’s Love”, a brilliant groove that explodes on the chorus. Russian Blue were just a little ahead of the times, and “Mama’s Love” eschews any trappings of outdated hair metal.
Another established indi band on the CD was Deadline, second up in the running order. A new version of “Friction Addiction”, originally from their self-titled CD, was slickly produced and blew away the original. Singer Tim Wood was certainly versatile, here doing his best Mike Patton circa The Real Thing.
As usual, Raw M.E.A.T CDs boast plenty of highlights. Raw Trixx, from Calgary Alberta, had the glam rock chops and impeccable harmonies. They were just a little behind the times, or just sticking to their guns! Similarly with Slam Glory who clearly had a Skid Row thing going on. Another goodie is the Cult-like “Blackhearted Man” by No Morals. Lead singer Beau appeared on Raw M.E.A.T 1 with his previous band Trouble In Mind. With No Morals, there was a darker edge involved. He just sounded too much like Ian Astbury to avoid comparisons. Then there’s Hamilton’s Overlord, with a very cool track called “Never Enough” that could have been a breakout song. Solid groove, no compromises, and yet could have been played on the air in the grunge era.
There’s only one female member in any of the Raw M.E.A.T bands. Tryton’s Nina Zzo had a Lee Aaron vibe, and their song “Burning the Cradle” absolutely kills. World class indeed, with groove and hooks. What happened to all these talented people?
The most impressive song clocks in at almost seven minutes. It’s a very 90s, somewhat progressive epic called “Illusion” by Justin Sane. This mysterious quartet recorded their track at the legendary Metalworks in Mississauga. This is the kind of rock and roll that really hit the spot for me at the time. It combined the trappings of the old with the style of the new. Blazing hot solos are mixed with groove, key changes, melody, and complexity in a potent whole. If there was only one winner on Raw M.E.A.T 3, it was Justin Sane.
But there are lots of winners actually, and so if you like hard rock and heavy metal, you’d do well to seek it out.