Various Artists – Godskitchen Pure Trance Anthems 2011

Lets face it, there’s little-to-no risk involved in a triple-CD-deluxe-edition of ‘anthems’. There will be lots of tracks you love, a few you hate, and a bunch that you couldn’t care less about, but all in all you can at least say you got your money’s worth.

But first: a warning. Do not attempt to listen to this all at once. You’ll O.D on trance, and start hating it like an old piece of gum. Not to say the individual songs aren’t quality, but about halfway through CD Two I started getting seriously cynical about yet another emotional and uplifting breakdown, when normally I’d be flapping my hands at the lasers and twirling like any other happy punter. So stop revive and survive between each album, and you’ll keep the magic alive.

Pure Trance Anthems defies its title, opening with two suspiciously house tracks: One, the first official single from Swedish House Mafia (first clue), followed by Dennis Ferrer’s Hey Hey. There’s nothing pure or trance about it, but these tracks have already proved themselves to be anthems and they definitely started the party (raging in my headphones).

The first remix off the block is, however, a let down, Richard Murray and Dodge providing a fashionably sanitised (and subsequently dull) version of the ‘90s classic I Trance You. Laidback Luke’s Till Tonight lands us nicely in trance territory with a drop nearly as heavy as the breakdown vocals are cheesy; and from here the trance comes thick and fast.

CD One rolls smoothly through the European heavyweights with enjoyable but unremarkable favourites of the season, such as Cosmic Gate’s London Rain, the flow only slightly clogged by a build up of syrupy sweetness when Ferry Corsten’s Made of Love is backed up against Tiesto’s Love Comes Again. Look – no one ever said trance was ‘cool. Daddyrock by Simon Patterson is the first close-your-eyes-and-imagine-the-lasers moment, and the energy remains suitably epic till the close of CD One with a hint of world music in Ali Wilson’s Pandora.

CD Two delivers several palatable, melodic, time-to-sit-down-for-a-bit type tracks that unfortunately begin to sound much the same. I almost didn’t notice Nelly Furtado snuck her way onto this CD (naturally via Tiesto, and his latest venture into the Brave New Commercial World). There were no stand-out offenders, so I’ll pick on Live Forever, by Lange.

Complete with deep, well-rounded bass tones, euphoric synth-rich breakdowns and a sexy chick singing about unattainable concepts like immortality, it truly has been made a thousand times before. It’s not a bad song, but there’s no reason for it, and the others like it, to be canonised in an ‘anthems’ compilation. Things do take a turn for the better after this point, Lucie providing some of the more beautiful vocals of an uninspiring collection in Gareth Emery’s Sanctuary, followed by some darker head-bangers like Rafael Frost’s Flashback or, with my favourite bassline of the compilation, Night and Day, Richard Durand.

Remix-heavy CD Three gradually raises the BPM and lowers the bass so that by the psy-trance intro of Storm ( Mark Sherry and Dr Willis mix) we’re in dark territory. The moment passes, however, as Storm is mixed into Let the Light Shine ( Darren Tate mix) which brings back ye olde euphoric breakdown and really belongs somewhere near the top of CD Two.

The final CD is full of odd placements such as these, but the energy is maintained nonetheless by a barrage of hits to get you dancing. Sway in unison to a reworking of the ‘90s classic Out Of The Blue or get your shuffle on to the Rowald Steyne remix of Time To Burn, which amusingly alternates between classic hardstyle and a riff you can’t tell apart from the drop in Guru Josh Project’s Infinity – true story!

A three-album collection of crowd-pleasers will never have the credibility of a compilation album that is the lovingly crafted personal project of an admired and respected DJ, but it doesn’t need to. Although lacking in direction, Godskitchen Pure Trance Anthems continues its well-established trend of chucking together a truckload of no-risk trance tracks, half of which are loved by everyone and all of which are loved by someone. Not bad odds, really.

Godskitchen Pure Trance Anthems is out now on New State/Balance through EMI.