Saturday, November 28, 2015

Return Of The Iron Tyrant

RAM have been one of those bands that I've enjoyed over the past few years, but one that I've never really spent much time with. I remember getting excited about them when I first saw their video for Flame Of The Tyrants, from their Death LP, back in 2011/2012. When I first heard that song, I was sure that the album was going to rocket to the top of Best of 2012 list, but in the end, I guess I wasn't feeling it as much as I initially thought...or I was too focused on Fire & Ice and Boston Strangler records to really spend much time with it, and RAM never got much attention.

When I heard they were releasing a new album this year, and dudes over at the Bravewords board started complementing it by stating that it was Judas Priest worship, I knew that I had to check it out the first single, Eyes Of The Night. Yeah, I can hear the Priest influence, but at times it also reminds me of the first Sanctuary album.

Of course, Metal Blade distribution for vinyl releases sucks balls in the States, and I had to find an overseas distributor. Surprisingly, there was a European distro that offered free shipping to the US, so I considered myself lucky, and I grabbed a copy.

It feels good to finally have a piece of RAM vinyl in my collection, and this is a solid Metal album. Traditional Metal is killing it in 2015.

I love seeing the old school Metal Blade logo on this release. I was never a fan of that newer skull logo, so it was good to see the old one make a comeback.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Win Hands Down

When Armored Saint released Win Hands Down earlier this year, there wasn't a whole lot of new Metal albums coming out at the time. I didn't rush out to buy the vinyl because I figured that I had all the time in the Metal Blade has a terrible habit of releasing the vinyl only in Europe, and it is a pain in the ass to chase down a copy in the States.

As we started to close in on the end of 2015, suddenly I was dealing with a flood of new releases, and struggling to keep up with buying them all. I was kicking myself for not picking up that new Armored Saint record earlier, when things were quite so hectic. Now that I was a bit pressed for money, I was going to have to find a way to fit the Wind Hands Down LP into the mad scramble to buy all the 2015 albums before the end of the year.

When the band posted on Facebook that vinyl was available in the Metal Blade store, and at a discounted price, I knew it was time to make my move.

Sure the title track for Win Hands Down grabbed be right from the start, but initially I was a bit underwhelmed with this new Armored Saint record. Time has certainly changed my opinion, as the record has steadily climbed up my Best of 2015 list these last few months. I don't think it is going to crack my Top 10 for the year, but don't let that fool you, this album ain't no slouch.

When I was adding the new Armored Saint album to my cart, I noticed that the vinyl for their Revelation LP was available as well...and at a very low price. Even though I shouldn't spend the money, I couldn't just walk away from a deal this good.

I remember finally checking out Revelation when my interest in Metal was rekindled around 2006/2007. I fell in love with it from the start with the heavyweight album opener of Pay Dirt, and I've toyed with the idea of picking up the vinyl ever since I first heard it. Feels to finally cross it off the list.

Now that I have the vinyl for Revelation, it reminds me just how close I am to completing my Armored Saint collection. Maybe I'll be able to keep focused and complete this shit in 2016.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Steppin' On A Landmine

I picked up this Tank 7 inch back in January this year. I was hot on those early 80's 7 inches from Metal bands at the time, and grabbed this Tank record when I was grabbing a few Raven singles. At the time, my plan was to buy a copy of Tank's Filth Hounds Of Hades LP, and combine it with this single for one post here on the blog. Here we are, ten months later, and I still haven't made a move on that LP...and since only have a couple records sitting here to write about right now, we might as well get this one out of the way and officially add it to the collection.

When I received this record, I was initially a bit put off by the condition of the sleeve. I like my stuff in the best condition, and seeing this sleeve all beat up was a big disappointment. However, the more that I thought about it, I figured that the wear and tear gave this record some character. This single saw some action. In the middle of the legendary days of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, this piece of vinyl was right in the middle of things, mixing it up and throwing punches. Fuck that pretentious record collector shit, this single was bouncing from turntable to turntable, passed between mates in their London flats, as they practiced with their scrappy little NWOBHM cover band, with dreams of sharing a stage with Motorhead one day.

Well, that's how this record's history played out in my head.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Stallions Of The Highway

Look, I've been to see Saxon play live twice this year, and both times they have knocked me on my ass. To see them play twice in a small and intimate setting, and regardless of the size of the crowd, they gave everything they had to their set. Even with only around 75 people at the show in Portland Maine, Saxon looked like they were genuinely having a fun time on that stage.

On top of that, the band just released a new album recently. With all this going on, it has been a fucking breeding ground for a Saxon obsession in my head, and I've been listening to them like crazy this year.

I thought that by picking up the Saxon Chronicles and the Warriors Of The Road DVDs, it would have helped scratch that Saxon itch, but all it did was stoke the flames even higher. I'd already spent more than I should have these past couple of months on new vinyl releases, and I'd talked myself into finishing out the year by taking it easy on record shopping. However, after watching those Saxon movies, the desire to own some original Carrere UK pressings for them was simply too much to ignore.

Typically when I set out to start a collection for a band, I usually just jump in somewhere in the middle. With Saxon, I wanted to start at the beginning with their first album.

The 1979 self titled is a bit of a tentative start for Saxon, before they became one of the bigger names within the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, but there are still some great songs on here with Stallions Of The Highway and Backs To The Wall building upon Saxon's classic sound that they would use as their formula for their next few albums.

Saxon's second album, Wheels Of Steel from 1980, really sees them hanging with the best of the NWOBHM scene, next to debuts from Iron Maiden, Angel Witch, Diamond Head, and Def Leppard.

The good news in Saxon shopping is that you can pick up this shit relatively cheap. For about $14.00, I was able to grab the first two Saxon LPs from a UK seller through the discogs marketplace. Solid deal for these classics.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bloodletting From The Underground

Overkill are one of my favorite Thrash bands of all time, so it was with shock and embarrassment when I recently discovered that not only did I not own a copy of their Bloodletting album, but I'd actually never even heard it. Of course, when it was released back in 2000, I wasn't really listening to very much metal, and a new Overkill album didn't even cause a blip on my music radar.

I'd stopped paying attention to Overkill after 1989's amazing The Years Of Decay album, and only started to make up for lost time with the release of Immortalis in 2007. At that time, I was surprised to find that Overkill had kept chugging along through those dark days for Metal, and I started picking up the ten albums that I'd missed while I'd had my head buried in Hardcore. For one reason or another, Bloodletting got missed in this process.

The late 90's and early 00's were not only a dark time for Metal, but also for vinyl. When I started looking for a copy of Bloodletting, I soon discovered that it had only been released on CD...and even CD pressings for this album were commanding a rather high dollar amount on eBay and discogs. Dropping $30 for a used CD just wasn't an option, so I sat back and played the waiting game.

It's all about the timing, and this time it was in my favor. While I was patiently waiting for a cheap CD to appear, I noticed that Nuclear Blast was pressing some of the late 90's Overkill on vinyl for the first time. This was the best news I could hear at the time, and I quickly jumped at the opportunity to grab each one that was being released.

Thankfully Bloodletting was one of the three albums that were finally getting pressed to vinyl. Man, what a solid Metal album. I'm so glad to finally have a copy in my collection.

Another Overkill album to finally see a release on vinyl is their all covers album, Coverkill.

While not a mandatory album, this is still a cool release of Overkill paying homage to their influences. It is a fun spin every once in a while, but why would Nuclear Blast reissue this one and not Necroshine instead?

To complete this trilogy, Nuclear Blast also gives From The Underground And Below it's first vinyl pressing. Man, this record is one of my favorite Overkill records from the 90's. What an underrated album. I'd love to see Overkill bring some of these songs back into their live set list.

All three are limited to 300 pressed on green colored vinyl.

Great job with this reissue campaign, Nuclear Blast. How about you also do W.F.O., Necroshine and a proper vinyl release of Immortalis, and we can call it good. Thanks.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Give Me Fire

In addition to picking up the vinyl for all the new 2015 releases before the year's end, I also was hell bent on completing one other goal. I needed to finish my collection of the early G.B.H. singles on Clay Records.

Earlier this year, I became interested in early 80's Metal and Punk 7 inches, and suddenly I had G.B.H. on my radar. I picked up a couple here, and a couple there, but then I hit a couple stumbling blocks trying to get my hands on the final piece to the puzzle...the Give Me Fire/Man-Trap single.

Over the summer, I tried to pick this single up from a couple different sellers through the discogs marketplace. Each time, I ended up empty handed, and I eventually gave up on it, moving on to other things. Last month, a conversation with Doug pushed G.B.H. back to the front of my mind. We were talking about early 80's punk bands like Zero Boys, Angry Samoans and The Exploited, and before I knew it, I was back on discogs, determined to pick up that last G.B.H. single that I needed.

Of all the G.B.H. singles, I was most excited to get the one for Give Me Fire, as I'd never heard the b-side, Man-Trap. I love finding hidden treasures like this.

My complete collection of the GBH Clay punk singles...well, until I decide to grab the 12 inch pressing for Do What You Do and the black and red cover of the Sick Boy 7 inch.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Gentleman's Hustle

Yet another post, in a long string of new releases for 2015. Man, I've been scrambling to try and keep up with all the great new music this year. With the new Gentleman's Pistols LP, you can add another one to the list.

I clearly remember the first time I heard Gentleman's Pistols back in 2009. On a tip from Marcus, I decided to check out a couple of songs online late one night. At the time, there was a website called myspace, which was a cool site if you wanted to either scam on trashy girls or check out a band's page to preview some songs to see if you wanted to purchase their records. Things are slightly different these days, and bands are back to doing videos and promoting them on youtube...while if you want to hook up, you can check the action over at Ashley Madison (or so I'm told...I really have no knowledge on these kind of things).

Since I'm less awkward with new music than I am with talking to girls, I immediately checked out the new Gentleman's Pistols video as soon as they posted it. I wasn't too impressed when I first heard the song Devil's Advocate On Call, but by the time the song was finished, the 70's hard rock melodies started to capture my attention, and I had to immediately play the song again. Soon after, I was hooked, and knew that I was going to have to rush out and buy their new album, Hustler's Row.

Gentleman's Pistols have made the move from Rise Above Records over to Nuclear Blast. I assume that since Bill Steer from Carcass is in the band, and Carcass released a huge record on Nuclear Blast a couple years ago, that his presence helped gain Gentleman's Pistols more attention and give them a bit of a push to a bigger label.

300 pressed on white vinyl.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dark Tower Of The Sorcerer

I've listened to a lot of Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath this year. Over the summer, Cross Purposes was easily my most played Sabbath album. I know a lot of people write off the Tony Martin albums, but while they don't measure up to the original Ozzy and Dio stuff, those records that have him at the mic, are no slouch.

After reading some high praise for the new Sorcerer album, I decided to check out the video for The Dark Tower Of The Sorcerer. Oh man, those vocals reminded me so much of Tony Martin! I downloaded the album, and it immediately worked it's way into my daily playlists alongside Headless Cross and Cross Purposes. Epic doom at it's finest.

I don't know why Metal Blade only has such a limited offering of new vinyl releases in their US store. Nuclear Blast have stepped up their game recently for the US, and you would think that Metal Blade could follow suit. Apparently they think that the States is still fixated on CDs.

I was tempted to get colored vinyl from overseas for this great record, but with money being a bit tight as we come into the end of the year, I decided to save a dollar or twenty and just order the black vinyl from a US distributor. Good deal.

The vinyl version of In The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross contains an exclusive track, The Legion Of The Serpent, so yeah, vinyl is the way to go for this.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Decadence In The Graveyard

Each Graveyard album takes a while to grow on me, but after sitting with them for some time, they tend to blow my mind. That was certainly the case with Hisingen Blues, and after my intial tepid response with Lights Out in 2012, that album ended being a favorite of mine for a while.

After three albums under their belt, I thought that I had Graveyard figured out. I knew their sound inside and out, and they weren't going to catch me off guard with Innocence and Decadence. I was prepared to be sucked in from the first spin.

First off, let me say that this dude has a killer voice....and there are times it borders on a Jim Morrison level of sexy. If you could make his voice a physical thing, and slap a set of tits on it...I'd sleep with it. That voice sounds so good on songs like The Apple & The Tree, that it gets me a little wet. The Graveyard US tour has a stop in Portland this January...look for me...I'll be the one down front, throwing my panties at the singer.

Overall, I still think that this new album falls short of their last couple of records. A couple of the songs just fall flat for me. Too much R&B soul influence in Too Much Is Not Enough, and Stay For A Song is too close to a ballad, and I just don't dig them and they drag the album down a couple of notches. Who knows, maybe they will grow on me in time.

500 pressed on the green/orange split colored vinyl.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Life's A Beach

Night Birds do Punk just the way I like it...lightening fast and sounding like they came straight outta southern California in 1980.

As soon as they released the video for the title track, Mutiny At Muscle Beach, I gave it a quick check and then settled in to wait for pre-orders to go up over at Fat Wreck.

The video was a great teaser for the record, and the album follows the same frantic pace that Night Birds are known for.

Night Birds don't do colored vinyl, and it is a refreshing change to not have to worry about chasing 6 different pressings if you want to collect them. Nope, if you want the limited version, you've got to get in early and get the special cover.

Number 348 out of 500 for preorders.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Metal Thrashin' Powermad

Sometimes, when I have some downtime, and I'm chillin' at the computer listening to music, I'll go back and check some history here on the blog...entertaining myself with where my head was at during certain periods, and reading about what I thought about certain records. Earlier this week, I spent some time reading through old posts from 2010, it quickly became pretty obvious that this blog is a different beast these days. The days of scouring eBay for limited pressings of Hardcore records, and buying one of every colored vinyl for new Hardcore bands is pretty much a thing of the past. I'm sure this bums out a lot of people, but the heart wants what the heart wants...and for a while now, it has been consumed by Metal, and I don't see it letting up any time soon.

It seems like all the old Metal bands are getting back together and releasing new albums. Metal is so strong right now, and I'm loving the resurgence of the old guard. Zetro is back in Exodus...Howe is back with Metal Church...Sanctuary released a new album last year...Armored Saint released a new one this year...Overkill, Death Angel and Testament are still killing it...seriously, I don't think that anything could surprise me at this point. When I saw that Powermad released a new record, I didn't even bat an eye.

Powermad's singer always had a distinct sound, and as soon as you hear him on Infinite, his voice immediately brings you back to those 80's albums. While the new Powermad record doesn't quite stand up to what some of their more well known peers are doing, this is still a pretty solid outing, and I'm happy to see that they are still active. I've been playing Infinite this week, sandwiched in between some underrated mid-90's records, like Forbidden's Distortion, and Overkill's The Killing Kind, and this new Powermad LP fits in nicely with that sound.

I really like the creative packaging for the LP. Great looking gatefold foldout design. Well done.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Iron Brotherhood

There have been some great metal surprises this bands that seem to come from nowhere and make a huge impact to what my Best of 2015 list might look like. These are the bands that make the chase still worth it. Hidden gems still exist, and if you put the work into it, it pays off.

Over the Summer, I was reading a thread over on the Bravewords board, where people were discussing their favorite traditional metal album for the year. Names like Enforcer and Armored Saint were being thrown around, along with some band I'd never heard before...Visigoth. I had initially paid the name no attention, but people on the board were making a pretty strong case for them, so I finally broke down and checked out their video for The Revenant King. The video itself isn't that great, but the song kicks my ass, and once I saw the singer sporting an Eternal Champion shirt, I was in...balls deep.

This record has a great Grand Magus feel to it, and seeing how high I thought of the last Grand Magus album, you can bet that this Visigoth album is rocketing up my Best of 2015 list.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Odyssey Beyond The Stars

Damn, it seems like every band that was releasing a new album this year, waited until after Summer. Suddenly, I can't keep up with all the new records that are coming out. No time or money to spend picking up old stuff right now, as this blog is getting flooded with records from 2015.

Admittedly, while this album didn't jump out at me on the first couple of listens. There is a lot going on with this record...lots of layers and moods, and I can definitely see it being a slow burner. Bad News on the other hand sinks it's hooks in me from the start...what a great song.

Rise Above has started doing a US pressing for their releases...with all of them on purple vinyl. It is kind of nice of them to give those of us in the States a chance to pick up their vinyl releases without having to spend an arm and a leg on overseas shipping. So why do I look at this purple vinyl with a bit of it is some kind of second rate Vertigo French pressing, or an Italian pressing for Neat? I hate buying them, but they are so damn convenient.

At least for this Horisont album, I can convince myself that at least the purple vinyl looks good with the album cover.

Cool looking gatefold cover, with a comic style layout for the lyrics of the title track.

500 pressed on purple vinyl.