- Relapse Sampler 2012
- Relapse Sampler 2013 – [Alternative: Amazon]
- Relapse Sampler 2014 – [Alternative: Amazon]
To get one of the Relapse samplers–which are released annually in October–find and click the “Buy Now” link after you go to one of the sampler websites listed above (or get it straight from Amazon; I couldn’t find the 2012 edition, though). When prompted to enter a dollar amount, enter a zero (or whatever you wish), then proceed to enter a valid e-mail address.
Each sampler includes a whopping 26 songs. Casual Metal fans will be familiar with a few of the Relapse artists, like Baroness, Royal Thunder, and Red Fang, but many of the songs feature screaming rather than harmony. Some songs, however, are kind of shoegaze, like Nothing’s “Get Well,” which is a bit weird amongst all the screaming.
The 2012 and 2014 samplers include a PDF with some information about those screaming bands, which is a really nice feature. For whatever reason, the 2013 sampler does not come with a PDF.
Century Media Records’s Carnival of Sounds features a much more melodic mix than the Relapse samplers. Their current rendition includes Queensryche, while past issues have featured popular bands such as In Flames, Iced Earth, Lacuna Coil, and In This Moment. The problem with Century Media Records is that they only keep a sampler up for a limited amount of time; get Carnival of Sounds III now if you want it (and you want it, trust me). If you are interested in Carnival of Sounds II–or have Carnival of Sounds I, which I missed–let me know.
Much like Relapse, Century Media requires you enter an e-mail address by which you’ll start your download. This particular mix features some great harmony in Kill Devil Hill’s “Crown of Thorns,” which sounds like a cousin to Alice in Chains. If you like the more classic kind of metal, you should definitely check them out. I like their last album so much I’m embarrassed I didn’t know about them sooner.
If neither Relapse nor Century Media quenches your thirst–or if metal just isn’t your thing–check out Amazon.com’s free music section. You need an Amazon account, of course, but signing up unlocks a couple thousand legit songs (the 40,000-plus miscellaneous songs are just that, and most are not going to be worth your time). Hits include “Gimmie Sympathy” by Metric, the techno beat “Homeless” by Fatali, and “Losing You” by Solange, Beyonce’s baby sister. Ok, sometimes you get what you pay for, but if you’re looking for a few songs to fill a playlist, Amazon really does have a ton of free options (search for “samplers,” for example).
Lastly, if you have an Android phone or tablet (sorry, I’m not an Apple guy), be sure to check out “Play Music.” Every so often they offer a completely free album. Past albums have included Ariana Gande’s breakout album, “My Everything,” as well as Motley Crue’s “The Greatest Hits.”
To get to the store, press the three lines on the top left and press “Shop.” Scroll down a little until you get to “Free Music.” At the time of this post, options include “Ain’t It Fun,” by Paramore, and “Good Riddance,” by Green Day. Additionally, if you click the “Free” banner, you will be directed to the Antenna Sampler, a 16-song, multi-genre mix. According to Play Music, they’ll be giving a sampler out every month.
Have a free music solution that isn’t here? Let me know in the comments.