Thursday, December 31, 2015

Gruesome End To A Year

It's the end of the year, and that can only mean that everyone and their grandmother are shoving Top 10 lists in your face, showing off the shit that got them off in 2015. Like it or not, here is my Year In Review.

Let's start with the numbers. Over the course of the year, I bought 192 records...I also had a couple episodes of picking up some original CD pressings, which boosted my 2015 total to 223. It may sound like a lot, but when you look at where this blog has been the past few years, 223 new records ain't shit.

This past year, I made attempts to try and restrict my record shopping...or at least make better choices when I'm buying. I vowed to not chase every single pressing for each record I bought. No more. I'm only playing that game with a select few. In addition to my more restrictive buying habits, I was also very much in a Metal state of mind, and couldn't be bothered to chase every Hardcore release. I don't have the money to spend on everything that I want right now, so I had to make some not-so-tough decisions, and I only paid close attention to shit that gave me a charge. Focusing on Metal caused my 7 inch count to drop from 129 last year, to a pathetic 48 this year.

While I may have cut back on the number of records that I bought, that didn't mean that I was going cheap. I still bought some cool shit. I imagine that this list will bum some people out, but these are my Top 5 favorite vinyl purchases from 2015.

1. Black Sabbath 'Master Of Reality' Vertigo pressing - As long as I'm buying Black Sabbath UK Vertigo swirl pressings, you can expect to see them in my Top 5 for the year. Finding this record, with the original poster, and in great shape is no small task. New watermark high was set for how much I'd be willing to spend on a single record.

2. Savatage 'Sirens' original Par Records pressing - I've had wet dreams about this pressing for a long time. While it doesn't match the insanity of the colored vinyl pressing for this, picking up the black vinyl ain't no joke. Quite possibly one of my favorite Heavy Metal records.

3. Iron Maiden 'X Factor' original pressing - Yeah, it is a Blaze Bailey Iron Maiden album. You got a problem with that? As Summer was winding down, I found myself obsessed with the two Blaze Bailey albums from Maiden. If you think that the original vinyl pressing for X Factor carries a ridiculous price tag, don't even think about trying to mess with Virtual XI.

4. GBH 7 inch singles - GBH were one of the few non-Metal bands that I obsessed over this year. These original 7 inches from Clay Records didn't break the bank, but they were fun as hell to chase and finally add to the collection.

5. Manowar 'Into Glory Ride' Megaforce silver label pressing - No joke. This record was my white whale. I was pretty sure that it existed, but I'd never seen one with the original silver labels from Megaforce. Listing after listing on eBay is for the black label with red Manowar logo, and I was starting to doubt if Megaforce pressed this with their trademark silver labels. Finding one of these elusive records puts Manowar on this list for 2015.

I still love Hardcore, but man, I had a tough time staying interested in it in 2015. No doubt there are still some cool bands doing their shit, and doing it well...I've just had my attention focused elsewhere. If you've still been following this blog as I dribble out Hardcore posts in a flood of Metal, my hats off to you. Thanks for sticking with me.

Now you are fucking talking! 2015 was all about the Metal. Classic stuff from the 80's, those sticking it out through the 90's, the resurgence in the 00's, and those new bands slugging it out today. I listened to it all, and I listened to it a lot. You know that the year was good for Metal when Iron Maiden drop a new album, and it can't even work it's way into the Top 10.

So, that was my year collecting records and generally just loving music. I still enjoy writing this blog, and believe it or not, I was able to keep up with it this past year, and not fall too far behind with the vinyl backlog. At times this thing can be a chore, but generally I still get a kick out of blogging about how great my musical tastes are...even when I'm talking to nothing but a computer screen. If you felt the desire to keep up with this diary of a vinyl madman, I thank you...there is more to do in 2016.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Enforcer Live

In a couple of weeks, I should be making a roadtrip to see Enforcer play live. They are one of my favorite newer Metal bands, so I'm pretty excited to see them play. As a little taste of what's to come, I figured that I'd grab the new live album.

Let's not go cheap though, might as well dive in head first with the limited box set edition.

If this album is an accurate representation of what Enforcer can deliver live, that show in January is going to be a blast. So many fist-in-the-air anthems.

Blue colored vinyl is limited to the box set.

One of the big reasons that I was drawn to the box set edition of Live By Fire, was the exclusive 10 inch. What was I supposed to do, just get the regular vinyl pressing, and miss out on these three new songs? Get the fuck out of here with that nonsense.

Enforcer deliver once again. Heavy Metal...loud and proud.

In addition to the vinyl, this box set also includes a huge poster, a booklet with tons of photos spanning Enforcer's career, a hand numbered certificate, CD that includes a few extra songs that couldn't fit onto the vinyl pressing, plus a DVD of a show from Japan. Solid.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Exodus Official Live Bootleg

Night of the Vinyl Dead is a record label out of Italy that specializes in pressing records that originally never saw an official vinyl release. I was obsessed with this label back in 2008, spending good money for vinyl releases for King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Sodom and Saxon. Vinyl pressings were never more than 500, so they were pretty limited, and trying to grab them through eBay got to be damn expensive. After my initial shopping spree throughout that year, I got overwhelmed with the pricing and moved on.

I got the itch for more Night of the Vinyl Dead pressings with the copy of the Laaz Rockit live LP that I picked up earlier this year. Then when I saw the latest NOTVD pressing available in the Nuclear Blast Germany webstore during a last ditch attempt to get a few more 2015 releases before the year came to a close, I jumped at the opportunity.

Exodus - Live at the DNA 2004 | Official Bootleg.

Nuclear Blast originally released this on CD, back in 2005, so it is nice to finally have a vinyl pressing of it ten years later. This show was recorded for the band's record release party for Tempo Of The Damned back in 2004. At one point Exodus was selling DVDs of the live show, but it is apparently out of print and rather difficult to find these days. While I downloaded an unofficial bootleg of the show years ago with the full set list of 24 songs, this official release contains only nine of the songs...all from Tempo Of The Damned.

Pretty cool "bootleg" packaging, on red vinyl with hand stamped labels. Number 393 out of 500.

While this isn't something that I'll probably return to very often, it is still cool to own this record, and it makes a nice addition to my Night Of The Vinyl Dead collection.

Monday, December 28, 2015

No Cross Left Unturned

I've never been a big fan of Death fact the DM surge around 89/90 with bands like Obituary and Deicide, is what turned me off of Metal at the time, and helped push me towards Hardcore. Recently, however, I've started to feel an attraction to the genre. I'm not compelled to listen to it in large doses, but man, sometimes I want something ugly. Death Metal provides that fix.

On a whim, I checked out the Raging Death album from Entrails late last year. I enjoyed it, but I didn't really spend my time with it, as other records were commanding my attention. When I discovered that Entrails were releasing a new album this year, I dove in head first with Obliteration.

While it isn't going to come close to my Top 10 for the year, this album was a blast to rip times reminding me of those Black Breath albums I loved a few years ago. This is an absolute rager, and has me growling along to the lyrics and banging my head like a nut.

Murder, my only urge is to murder.
I feel empty without murder.
It makes my life complete.
I am the epitome of death.

Goddamn right. That's my jam.

This second picture doesn't really capture the true color of the vinyl, like the first one posted here. 200 pressed on "translucent red" colored vinyl, that was exclusive to Nuclear Blast Germany.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Black Trippin'

Joseph Tholl likes to get around. While he plays guitar in Enforcer, the band seems to be more of Olof's baby. However, with CC Company and Black Trip, Joseph takes center stage behind the mic. While CC Company has more of a Motorhead flavor, Black Trip goes with more of a Thin Lizzy inspired sound, and Joseph manages them both flawlessly.

The guy is in three bands, and all of them dropped an amazing new release in 2015.

While I enjoyed the first Black Trip LP, Goin' Under, for one reason or another, I just never picked up the vinyl for it. Given my obsession with ordering all 2015 releases before the year's end, as soon as I saw that the band had a new album out, I quickly added Shadowline to my cart over at Nuclear Blast Germany.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

None But The Metal

I've been trying to curb my record spending recently. Christmas gifts, car repairs and bills have me taking hits left and right, but I've got to keep my eye on more important know, like buying all the 2015 releases before the year comes to a close. The past few weeks have been a mad scramble to pick up a few more pieces to the 2015 puzzle, and even though I'm not going to be able to get them all, I'll still make a solid dent.

As I've been reviewing and reworking my Best of 2015 list...comparing one album in the list to another and deciding if they needed to be moved up or down in my ranking, it dawned on me that I get a real charge out of listening to the newest Ironsword album...more so than the new Iron Maiden. Once I'd gotten that sorted out, I knew I needed to grab the Ironsword vinyl.

I had the option of colored vinyl when I was ordering from Shadow Kingdom, but honestly, I didn't like the way it looked. I went the safe route and just ordered the black vinyl.

I'm not sure who came up with this hype sticker, but I don't think they listened to this album. Comparisons to Manilla Road, Manowar and Omen would have been more on target than Exciter, Venom and Metallica. Seriously, the similarities were so strong that there were times when I thought the singer for Manilla Road was doing guest vocals on this album. Great traditional Heavy Metal!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Error Generator

Mos Generator don't ever stop. After releasing one of my favorite records last year with Electric Mountain Majesty, Mos Generator have released three split 12 inches (one of which I still need to pick up), a split 7 inch, and a limited 7 us a total of eleven new songs for 2015. While I wish the band would stop dicking around with the split record format, and just release everything on an LP, you've got to be impressed with their work ethic.

When I first receive this newest split with the band Stubb, I was quite confused. I dropped the needle to the record, and everything sounded like some kind of fucked up chaotic mess. It starts off with some spoken word intro, then drops into an old Mos Generator riff, and from there it goes off the rails with some atmospheric noise shit for the next 15 minutes. I figured that this must be the Stubb side, as it didn't sound like the Mos Generator I knew. I flip the record over...nope...while these songs don't sound bad, they sure aren't Mos Generator. Must be Stubb. So what the hell was going on with my Mos Generator side?!? I fired off a message to Tony Reed from the band, and he wasn't aware of any issue, so I finally reached out to the record label. Yup...seems like there was an error at the pressing plant, and while the majority of the pressing turned out fine, a few of them must have been pressed with the wrong or faulty plates. Mine was all fucked up, and they offered to send me a replacement copy. Here we are three months later, and I'm still waiting.

Tony Reed is a solid dude, and when we coordinated a three way deal between me, him and HeviSike out of the UK, Tony emailed me mp3s of the songs so that I could listen to them while I waited for the record to arrive. I'm glad to have them because these songs are damn good.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Silent Night, Bloody Night

Christmas Eve. Some people see it as a time to wish for peace on earth, to be thankful to surround themselves with family and loved ones...but for me, it is a signal that the year is coming to a close, and if I want to get my records from 2015 posted before the year ends, I better get off my ass and start writing. I've got six more new releases lined up, and six days to wrap things up before my Year End recap on December 31st. Pressure.

I've got a hard on for Metal 7 inches lately. I started off the year with a handful of Raven singles, and while I didn't make much progress after that, I find that I've come full circle, and my mind is wandering into this 7 inch territory again. I don't know...there is just something cool and unique about 7 inches from Metal bands.

While shopping online, I recently stumbled upon a 7 inch for Amulet. I love everything that this band has done, and while the Bloody Night song is featured on the band's first LP, the b-side is a Hawkwind cover, and exclusive to this 7 inch. I've never paid much attention to Hawkwind, but I'm on board for Amulet's version.

250 pressed on clear vinyl.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sucker For The Clutch

Clutch released one of my favorite records for 2013 with Earth Rocker. I played the shit out of that record, so there was no doubt that the band's new album was going to be one of my most anticipated releases this year.

Earth Rocker was such a great album from start to finish, in the back of my mind, I wondered if Clutch would be able to come close to matching it with Psychic Warfare. It was a pretty tall order, but as soon as I checked the first single for X-Ray Visions, I knew that Clutch would deliver. This band is consistently great, and many of these songs send the album screaming up my Best of 2015 list.

While the album was officially released in October, it took until December for the vinyl to finally show up. Week after week, pressing plant delays kept the vinyl from hitting the shelves. I'm pretty sure that it is Record Store Day's fault.

Limited to 1,500 on white vinyl for independent record stores.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Stranger Danger Death

CC Company impressed me so much last year that their 3 song Red Baron EP worked its way into my Top 10 for the year. Just as 2015 is winding down, CC Company come in and deliver their third 7 inch in three years.

CC Company are out of Sweden, and feature a couple of guys from Enforcer, but it was cool to see them release the Stranger Danger Death EP on some label out of California that I've never heard of. Cool because it meant that I didn't have to pay for shipping from overseas. I can live with $5 shipping costs.

Goddamn. The record kicks off with the song First To Fight and immediately the riffs take you back to Motorhead's Ace Of Spades or Bomber albums. Man, this band excels at churning out three song blasts...hit hard, hit fast, and leave 'em wanting more. So good.

300 total pressed on vinyl. 100 on red, 100 on yellow, and 100 on black.

Monday, December 14, 2015


I'm generally not a fan of bands re-recording their classic albums. I just don't get the point. I'm not interested in you recording it with better production, or giving it a more modern sound. Those excuses don't mean shit to me, and when I heard that David Coverdale was going to record a bunch of his Deep Purple songs with his current Whitesnake band, I threw up in my mouth a little.

I'm a big Deep Purple fan. Coverdale's first album with the band, Burn, is flawless as it practically boils over with passion and power...and Made In Europe is one of the all-time greatest live albums (move aside Made In Japan, Coverdale's got you beat here). I considered this new re-recording an offensive abomination, and I wanted nothing to do with it. I'll stick with the originals, thank you very much.

Then I had an old friend from High School reach out to me about this new Whitesnake album of Deep Purple songs. He sent me a link to the new Stormbringer video, and wouldn't stop praising how great he thought it sounded. I resisted, yet he wouldn't shut up about it. It was just like it was '86/'87 all over again, with him trying to sell me on Deep Purple and Whitesnake, and me wanting no part of it.

I finally broke down, and stole a free download of the album. I gave it a listen, and prepared to set my friend straight by tearing it apart. Well, I was wrong.

Now while I love Deep Purple, the one thing that has always rubbed me the wrong way was Glenn Hughes. I fucking hate his R&B/funk influence on Stormbringer and Come Taste The Band. So while this Whitesnake album is too thick and heavy to really let those Purple songs properly breathe, they do have one thing going for them, and that is that there is no Glenn Fucking Hughes. Having him removed from the equation, lets me appreciate these songs on another level, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed this fresh take on the old classics. Goddamn it, I hate being wrong, but I'll give credit where it is due, and this Whitesnake album is a blast to listen to.

I'd procrastinated on picking up the double vinyl for this album all year. Since it was 2015 release, I really wanted to buy a copy before the year came to a close, but time after time I kept finding records that I wanted to own more than this. Plus, as an import, it wasn't easy to justify spending the extra money on it. When I got a notification from eBay last week, stating that The Purple Album was available at a reduced price, I figured that I'd check it out. Considering that this was typically a $30 album, I jumped at the Buy It Now option of $14. Sold.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Curiosity Kills

When Pentagram announced they were releasing a new album over the summer, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the new Metal releases. The month prior, I'd already downloaded about 20 albums to check out, and as dumb as it sounds now, I was hoping the new Pentagram would suck so that I could write if off and not have to bother with it. When the new video single for the song Misunderstood was posted, I half-heartedly checked it out. It wasn't the standard Pentagram doomy sound, and leaned more towards early punk. It was just what I needed to turn my back on it, and say "This sucks".

When Sandwell recently mentioned that he was going to see Pentagram play live, we started talking about the new album, Curious Volume. Apparently, he really liked it, and since I trust his judgment, I decided to finally check it out myself.

Much to my surprise, I really liked the record. Hell, even the song Misunderstood sounded great in the context of the full album. I added it to my list of "2015 releases that I need to purchase before the year is done" list...yes, such a list exists. Since I had a $200 credit at the local record store after I sold a bunch of old punk CDs, it was an easy move to burn part of that credit for the new Pentagram LP.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Contract On A Purson

A while back, full-time good dude/part-time vinyl blogger over at Couch Slouch, Sandwell reached out to ask for a favor. Seemed that he was over from the UK, visiting New York City, and needed some help with some records that he'd ordered while he was in the States. I was happy to help out a fellow record nerd, so I told him to do what he needed to do.

I fall for this shit every time, and when a box from Revelation landed at my door a week or so later, I'd forgotten all about that conversation between Mark and I. I was scratching my head as I opened the package, wondering what I'd ordered from REV. As I started flipping through all the records in the box, I was pretty stoked, as I thought that REV sent me a bunch of cool records for free in error. Then it hit me...fuck...these aren't mine, they are for Mark.

Since I was helping him out, Sandwell offered to send me something in a way of a thank you...and promised me that it would not be a Madball record. That was a relief, as I couldn't think of a thank you gift that was much worse than a Madball record.

Turns out that he had a spare of the The Contract 7 inch from Purson, and decided to send it along to me. Considering that only 300 of these were pressed (100 on clear vinyl, and 200 on black), and were only to be available at Rise Above's 25th anniversary show. 50 of them did make their way to Rise Above's webstore, and sold out pretty quickly. I remember seeing them go up for sale at the time, but couldn't be bothered to spend Rise Above's shipping prices for this one, so I let it pass me by. Very cool to eventually receive one anyway.

While The Contract is also available on Purson's 2013 full length release, the b-side Blueprints Of The Dream is exclusive to this single. Good stuff. The band have a new full length coming out early 2016, but I wasn't a big fan of their 2014 EP, so we'll see if I dig it or if they are getting too spacey and weird for my tastes. Should be interesting to say the least.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

There's No Justice

A couple of years back, Blind Justice surprised the hell out of me with their Mischief 7 inch. I loved the record so much that, in a strong year of Hardcore releases, it managed to grab a spot in my Top 10 for 2013.

I've obviously been more focused on Metal this year, yet when I saw pre-orders go up for the new Blind Justice LP over at Mass Movement, I felt that old Hardcore excitement stir a little bit deep inside of me.

Of course this was back in August. By the time the record arrived in my mailbox three and a half months later, I was just happy to have received it. I guess I'm out of the routine of waiting that long for pre-orders to ship, and I was starting to feel like the label had lost my order. I'm glad it arrived though, because this is a solid know, for a Hardcore band.

I do love the packaging on this record. That cover art, and the record label named Mass Movement, sure gives it a strong Underdog look...even if Blind Justice don't try to copy the band on musical style.

200 pressed on teal colored vinyl.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Battering Ram

I've mentioned that I've had a bit of a Saxon obsession going this year, so when it came time to pre-order their new album, Battering Ram, I couldn't resist the temptation to go big.

I probably didn't really "need" the box set, but what can I love knows no price.

Included with the vinyl, is a t-shirt, CD, and an exclusive live CD from a Saxon show in 2011. At this point, Saxon may rival Iron Maiden with the number of recorded live sets they have released. Like Maiden, Saxon love their live albums.

With the exception of a few clunkers in the mid-80's, you can't go wrong with any Saxon albums. Battering Ram is Saxon's 21st studio album, and the band show no signs of slowing down or losing any of that fire. While some older bands can only manage to release an album once every five years, Saxon keeps pouring out quality material.

While Saxon no longer has their full original line up, it is impressive to think that the Battering Ram line up have been together and pumping out albums for about 20 years.

Included is also a numbered sheet with liner notes on the recording of the album that is exclusive to the box set.

I'm a visual kind of guy, and I like a nice thick spine for the records on my shelf, and nothing tops how a box set looks.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

I Hope You're Unhappy

I'm a big fan of the original Record Store Day in April, and while I'll acknowledge it's corporate greed wasteful ugliness, I'll still embrace it for it's celebration of vinyl and record shopping. The Black Friday RSD on the Friday after Thanksgiving, on the other hand...yeah, fuck that. Fool me once a year, but I ain't buying into the scam twice.

So three days after Black Friday, I wandered into my local store for some record shopping. The purpose of my trip was to pick up the new Clutch record, but it seems as though the curse of RSD delayed it's production, and the release date had been pushed out...again. Flipping through the garbage of Black Friday leftovers, I found two albums that I didn't own on vinyl, and figured that this was as good a time as any to right that wrong.

I've always had a soft spot for Farside, but the big hole on my record shelf has been The Monroe Doctrine. This is my favorite Farside release, so when REV announced they were repressing it on colored vinyl for Black Friday RSD, I was looking forward to finally adding a copy to my record collection.

1,000 pressed on red vinyl.

Man, some of these songs hit home on some personal experiences...specifically Seven-Day Constant, as I remember driving around town with my daughter, who was terrible at going to bed, and would sometimes just cry inconsolable for hours. I'd pop her into her carseat, and drive until she'd calmed down and had fallen asleep. I specifically remember driving around at midnight, just waiting for her to fall asleep, and Seven-Day Constant playing on the stereo with the opening lines of "Sleep is overrated". Yeah, kids are awesome like that.

When Death By Stereo released their second album, Day Of The Death, back in 2001, I was all over it. They were probably one of my favorite bands at the time, and I listened to that album a lot. However, over the course of about 15 years (and with the help of a couple of sub par follow up albums), I've largely left Death By Stereo to be buried by time and dust. Over the past 10 years, I've probably only listened to this a handful of times, and seeing it in the vinyl bin I figured that maybe it was time to finally pick it up and give it another spin.

This was a nice reminder of how great they were. One of my fondest memories of going to shows in the early 2000's was seeing Death By Stereo open up for Good Riddance in Boston. The crowd was kind of lame, and the singer Efrem climbed down off the stage, jumped the barricade, and spent the entire set on the floor getting in kid's faces with the microphone. The crowd loved the interaction, and were soon climbing over each other to sing along into the mic.

Strictly limited to a billion on gold colored vinyl.