Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Inception Of Sanctuary

When Sanctuary released The Year The Sun Died back in 2014, the album landed at the number ten spot in my Best of 2014 list. I was surprised with how much I loved that album, and looking back now, I should have rated it much higher. In addition to being a killer album, it served as a reminder for how great their two albums from the 80's were.

Since hearing The Year The Sun Died, I've been itching to finally pick up the vinyl for those 80's classics from Sanctuary, particularly their debut from '87, Refuge Denied. I've come close to pulling the trigger a few times, but have always had something else catch my eye and divert my attention, so I'm still here empty handed.

New releases are easier to commit to, so I'm sure that that band just released Inception because they were tired of me dicking around over Refuge Denied.

Inception contains Sanctuary's lost 1986 demo session, so while it technically doesn't contain anything "new", there are a couple of songs on here that I've never heard before. While the majority of the songs ended up being re-recorded for the Refuge Denied album, songs like Dream of the Incubus and I am Insane, make this well worth the money paid.

With the Ed Repka cover art, all the old photos, and the 12 page booklet on the history of the band...the packaging is top notch. Great release.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

How Gold Can Punk Get

It took me the longest time to finally check out Bad Brains' Rock For Light album. My introduction to the band was through the Attitude CD that In-Effect released back in '89. There was no internet in those days, so my information on the band and their discography was really limited. When I discovered that the Bad Brains had another album called Rock For Light, I checked the packaging and saw the song list...what the hell...I already knew some of these songs. I was not spending my hard earned money on an album where I already knew some of the songs already. I was an idiot.

Around 20 years later, with the help of the internet and illegal downloads, I finally jumped in to check out that Rock For Light album that I was initially so quick to dismiss...and now, after sitting with these songs for 7 years, I'm finally getting around to grabbing a copy of the vinyl. I might be slow, but I do get there eventually.

When it came time to chase down the vinyl, originally I had the original PVC pressing in my sights. My motto recently seems to have been, "If it ain't an original press, it ain't shit", and that's where I started with Rock For Light, but sometimes shit is hard, yo.

Tracking down the PVC pressing turned out to be rather stressful for me. Copies were either too beat up for my tastes, had an ugly promo cut corner, were missing the insert, or just cost more than I was willing to dive in for. After following eBay and discogs for a while, I finally just couldn't take it anymore. I threw up my hands in defeat and decided to make a run at the pressing that looked the best...the Caroline pressing on gold from '91.

Feels great to finally have this classic in the collection.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sign Of The Square Hammer

When Ghost released their Popestar EP, I had every intention of ignoring the damn thing. While I love Ghost, I really struggle with their cover songs. I mean, it was fun when the band was new and they were recording the odd cover from The Beatles or ABBA, but their 2013 covers EP felt like they were jumping the shark, and it soured me on the band a little bit.

When I heard that Ghost had another EP that was mostly covers, I wanted nothing to do with a second serving of bullshit. When it was announced that Ghost was going to be opening for Iron Maiden for their US tour this summer, and I got my tickets, I decided to give those Ghost albums a spin again. I was reminded how great those records are, and in my excitement, I decided to check out their Popestar EP as well...not for the cover songs, but for the one original track that was included...Square Hammer.

Too be honest, Square Hammer is pretty much the only song that I listen to from this record. It is a great song, and while the covers aren't terrible, they don't have the same impact as Ghost's original songs.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Twin Peaks

When digging through used record bins, my friend Jeff has a motto of, "For a dollar, I'll try almost anything". I had him in mind when I came across a couple of used Mountain records at the record store the other day.

I was deep into some early 70's playlists last year, and I spent a fair amount of time with the first two Mountain records...and even picked up both of them on vinyl. I'd been under the impression that things kind of unravel shortly after those first couple of releases, so I've never bothered with anything after Nantucket Sleighride. Seeing their live album and 1974's Avalanche in the used bin...each with a one dollar price tag, I threw caution to the wind, and decided to live dangerously by purchasing a couple of records that I wasn't familiar with. Must be part of my mid-life crisis.

While Avalanche was the kind of lackluster affair that I'd heard about, the live album kind of surprised me. Granted it was the 70's, so like most Rock bands from that time, they had to take the 6 minute song of Nantucket Sleighride and drag it out for seventeen and half minutes, filling an entire side of the record. It's all good though, because they pull off the jam very well.

I like how all the covers kind of fit the same theme, and they all look great together.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Nightmare Logic

At this time last year, I may have had only two new 2016 releases in my record collection...the final Mindset record and the Red Hare 7 inch. Here we sit, two and a half months into the new year, and I've already got nine new releases on the blog so far...with a few more queued up and waiting in the wings. 2017 needs to chill the fuck out on new releases so that I can focus on older shit.

One of the biggest surprises so far this year has been the new Power Trip album, Nightmare Logic.

I've wanted to like the band since I first checked 'em out back in 2010 or so, but man, they have just never clicked with me. You would think this Crossover/Metal style would hit all the right buttons for me, but for one reason or another they have just failed to connect.

With a new album coming soon, I shouldn't have cared...but something made me shrug my shoulders, and decide to give it a shot. I saw they had a song up on youtube...the song title sounded kind of badass, so I headed over to check out Executioner's Tax (Swing Of The Axe).

Damn! Has Power Trip always sounded this great, and I've been missing out? I can't believe how much I love this record. All out thrash attack. It kind makes me wonder if I should go back and give that first album another chance.

500 pressed on red vinyl, and only available at indie record stores.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I Am The Hammer

I hate it when the end of the year rolls around and one of my favorite albums still hasn't been released on vinyl. Such was the case with Eternal Champion's new album, The Armor Of Ire. While I was able to sneak a digital download back in September of 2016, it wasn't until early 2017 that we finally saw the vinyl. These kinds of delays just fuck with my end of year record photos. Unacceptable.

Eternal Champion debuted their first two songs back in 2013, then followed it up with one more song on their split with Gatekeeper in 2015. Three songs were not enough, and with great impatience, I couldn't wait for the band to finally get back to studio to give us a proper full length. When the news came that they were back in the studio, and expected to release their album in 2016, it became, easily, one of my most anticipated records for the year.

The band certainly delivers, and The Armor Of Ire became one of my favorite Metal records of the year. When I discovered that the vinyl was finally available for pre-order, I hopped over to No Remorse to place my order. Much to my surprise, the red vinyl that was limited to 100 had already sold out. I was confused. How had I missed the limited red vinyl? It felt like the early React! preorders, when shit would sell out if you weren't there and ready to roll as soon as it became available. Apparently there was a larger desire for this record than I had anticipated. I ended up missing out, and had to settle for the black vinyl. Limited to 400.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Mean, Green, Killing Machine

Since releasing their debut EP in 1985, Overkill have released a new album every two or three years. Rolling into 2017, Overkill offer up their eighteenth studio album, The Grinding Wheel. Damn. Outside of Motorhead, is there another band that has kept up that level of quality production?

Okay...ignore the fact that the gears on the front cover could never actually turn...once the first song kicks in, you know that I'm gonna move. As an Overkill fanboy, I can hang with all of their albums, and The Grinding Wheel does not disappoint. Goddamn Trouble rises to the top of the heap, but this whole album...especially first half are incredibly solid.

300 pressed on green vinyl.