Thursday, May 16, 2019

Strong Arm Of The NWOBHM

I've been riding high on the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal this year. I've downloaded a ton of stuff that I've never heard before, and I've been eating it up. I've been itching to buy a bunch of old NWOBHM singles, but since I have so many full length albums that I'm still missing from the collection, I'm trying to focus on the bigger records from that time.

A few years ago, I picked off the first two Saxon albums, and I was ready to chase the other records from their classic period...and then I got sidetracked for a few years. It's taken me a while to get back to it, but it felt great to finally grab Saxon's third album, Strong Arm Of The Law.

Strong Arm Of The Law may be my favorite Saxon record. Heavy Metal Thunder, Dallas 1pm, Sixth Form Girls, 20,000 Feet, the title track...damn...every song fucking rules.

When it came time to buy this record, I wanted to go for the first UK pressing...the one that came with the "free patch". Turns out it was more of a giant iron-on, instead of a sew-on patch, but it was still cool to get one.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Sacred Reagan

Sacred Reich were a hugely important band for me as a kid. Their first three albums, Ignorance, Surf Nicaragua and The American Way, all left a big impression on me at the time. For people that thought that metal bands only sang about killing your parents and worshiping Satan, they obviously never heard Sacred Reich.

In Trump's America, we need bands like Sacred Reich more than ever...bands that are pissed off and vocal about the shitty things going on right now...so I was stoked to learn that the band was back together and recording a new album that is due out this summer. We get a preview of what's to come with this split with Iron Reagan, and it does not disappoint with this fast and furious attack that leaves me wanting more. Bring on that full length album.

Over on the b-side, Iron Reagan offer up a scorcher as well. The band is the king of split releases, and it cool to see them partner up with Sacred Reich this time around.

Only 1,000 pressed...all on black vinyl.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Hand Of Dio

When I saw the list of Record Store Day exclusive releases this year, I wasn't very excited about anything on there, and for the couple of records that did catch my eye, I told myself that I wouldn't sweat it if I wasn't able to grab one. Yet, when the latest Dio picture disc didn't show up at the local record stores around here, suddenly I found myself desperate to find one, and I had to rely on Discogs to finally track one down.

There isn't anything new or special with this newest Dio single. The two songs have already shown up on other albums, but you know that I had to buy it for the Dio collection anyway...plus, it will sit nicely next to the Dio picture disc single that was released for the Black Friday RSD last year.

Just like that Holy Diver - Live at 35 single from last year, this one looks nice, but with some serious cupping, the record is kind of shitty quality. This one is definitely for serious collector nerds only.

3,000 pressed.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Caress Of Steel

Record Store Day 2019 was kind of a bust. Sure I dropped over $60 on records, but overall, it felt like it came up short. Before calling it a day, I found one more record to add to the collection.

I love the early Rush records, but my collection is pretty thin...I mean, the Farewell To Kings album is really the only one that I've bothered to chase down. I'm not sure why my Rush collection has been so slow to come together, but when I saw Caress Of Steel in the used bins for $7, I knew it was time to make a move.

Caress Of Steel is Rush's third album, and their second one to be released in 1975...because bands in the 70's often would crank out two albums a year...and this record sees the band starting to really push the envelope with their two epics The Necromancer (over 12 minutes) and The Fountain Of Lamneth (around 20 minutes). Happy to finally have this in the collection.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Live Without A Net

When I was out hitting the used bins for Record Store Day, I found that there really wasn't very much that was grabbing my attention. I was hoping for a nice big haul, but I ended up with only a small handful. I saw the double live Angel album, and while it wasn't a very exciting find, I figured that I'd grab it just because it was there.

I like Angel. Their first three albums are really great, heavy slabs of 70's rock/metal...but I've never bothered with anything after On Earth As It Is In Heaven from '77...completely ignoring both White Hot and Sinful. I don't know...I've read some reviews that seem to draw the line at that On Earth As It Is In Heaven album, and that Angel got too commercial after that record, so I've stayed away. I saw this Live Without A Net album from 1980, and figured that I'd take the chance. I mean, if there was a place that the band might keep the newer songs energetic and a bit more heavy, I figured it would be in a live setting, so I rolled the dice.

If I'm going to be honest, my first time though this album, I struggled to pay attention, and by the last song, I figured that I'd wasted my money. The second time through the record was a different experience, and suddenly the songs were jumping off the vinyl at me. The songs were alive, and totally sucked me in. I loved it, and the new songs sounded good enough that I might have to finally check out those other Angel records.

One thing that bothers me about this double live album is how it was pressed. For some reason, the pressing plant pressed the record with side 1 and side 4 on one record and side 2 and side 3 on the other, so flipping the first record after side 1, puts you at the end of the show with side 4. So weird.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Boyz Are Gonna Rock

Last year, I had a great Record Store Day haul, full of 80's hair metal bands. I was looking for more of that kind of action this year, but overall, it was a big let down as the record store used bins failed to really deliver. My one and only big hair metal score this year was for the first Vinnie Vincent Invasion album.

I wasn't a fan back in '86 when the debut Vinnie Vincent Invasion album was released. I was really straddling the line that year...on one side, I was a fan of stuff like Raven's The Pack Is Back and W.A.S.P's Inside The Electric Circus...and on the other side I was thrashing it out with Slayer's Reign In Blood and Metallica's Master Of Puppets. Honestly, I don't know if there was a rhyme or reason to what I found acceptable and what I didn't...maybe it was based on the release date, and towards the tail end of the year, I wasn't messing around with big hair bands like Vinnie Vincent Invasion...but whatever the reason, I was never interested in this one as a kid.

Of course, I've been on a big hair metal kick this year, and I've been hungry to find some treasures that I ignored the first time around, and Vinnie Vincent Invasion fits that bill. They certainly had the look, with the hair teased up for miles, and I'm getting a kick out of the songs. Fun stuff!

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Dio County Ball

I'm damn proud of my Dio collection, but I know that there are a few big holes that need to be filled. A couple of those holes are for Dio's first major band, Elf.

I'm not a huge fan of Elf...I mean they are okay, and I enjoy listening to them from time to time, but overall they are too old-timey with that honky tonk piano, and I don't feel compelled to return to their albums very often. The songs are cool, but man, if they had ditched the piano, and gone with a hammond organ like Deep Purple, I think they would have held up much better.

While out for Record Store Day this year, my first stop uncovered this Elf record from 1974. The record was still sealed, so I quickly scooped it up. It ended up being my most expensive pick-up for the day, but for record that was still sealed, the price tag wasn't too high.

This pressing of Carolina County Ball is the reissue from 1984, but I'm cool with that because it matches my pressing for Trying To Burn The Sun, with the "featuring Ronnie James Dio" box in the corner of the cover.