Monday, August 31, 2015

Time To Burn

Here we are, over a month later from when I scored some records while out shopping downtown...and I'm still blogging about what I picked up. Sorry, it has been a busy summer, and I've been neglecting posting stuff up here.

While flipping through the used bins, my eye caught a strange looking cover with the Dio log across the front. Whoa, what is this? I had never seen this cover before, and in my mind, I was purchasing it before I even knew what songs were on it. Well in this was just one song. Sure I had the song Time To Burn from the Intermission EP, but I had no problem adding the 12 inch promo single to the collection for this song as well.

Buying this 12 inch single only highlighted the fact that I'd been slacking on keeping up with the recent Dio live albums. In the five years since his passing, we've seen six live albums for the Dio band. Some may think that is a bit excessive, but given that each performance is passionate and vital, I'm in for each and every one...except that I seem to have let a couple of them slip past me. Picking up this copy of Dio's live set from Hammersmith in '93 is a step in the right direction.

Recorded on the Strange Highways tour, this live set is amazing. While Ronnie still delivers those classic songs that are the foundation of his live set, it is the six songs from the band's new album at the time that truly makes this concert unique and special. Strange Highways is such a strong album, and it is well represented here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Chain Rank

So the last Boston Strangler LP left you strangely disappointed? Don't worry. Boston ain't going to quit on you that easily, and Chain Rank steps up to knock you around a bit, and remind you that the early 80's Boston Hardcore sound is still vital.

I'd seen Chain Rank's name tossed around the past couple of years, but honestly, I didn't pay it much attention. When Sandwell gave me the heads up that the LP was up for pre-order, I was feeling a bit risqué...real living-on-the-edge type I took a chance and ordered myself a copy. I'm so glad that I followed Sandwell's advice, because this album rages. Holding it in my hands, I can even pretend that I'm in touch with what is happening in Hardcore these days.

300 pressed on clear vinyl.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

City To City

I spend a lot of time over at the Bravewords messageboard, where it is Metal talk 24/7. Someone recently posted a poll, pitting 6 or 7 lesser known 80's Metal albums against each other, and the clear winner for me, among the choices, was the Hallow's Eve classic, Tales Of Terror. Surprisingly, there was another album that seemed to attract a bunch of attention from the voters that I'd never even heard of before. Seeing how Cities released an album on Metal Blade, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I stumbled upon them in my quest to own the early catalog from that classic record label, but with the amount of attention it was getting in that poll, I made a mental note to check the band out at some point.

When I was shopping downtown a few weeks back, I was surprised to find the Cities LP sitting in the Used Metal bin...even more surprising was that it was the UK pressing on Metal Masters. Even though I'd still never listened to the band before, I figured it was worth the gamble.

Apparently, Cities' claim to fame was that AJ Pero (R.I.P.) from Twisted Sister played drums on their Annihilation Absolute LP. Seems as though Pero was with Cities in the early days, but jumped ship to join Twisted Sister. When Cities first released Annihilation Absolute as a six song 12 inch in 1985 on Metal Masters, AJ Pero was not included on this initial release. However, in 1986, the drummer returned to Cities and they re-recorded those initial songs, along with three others for the Metal Blade LP release.

This is pretty decent mid-80's Metal. Nothing too exciting, and not even close to beating Hallow's Eve in any poll, but still it reeks of denim, leather and studs, so it is still a fun listen. Given the differences between the original UK pressing, and the Metal Blade release, I'm obviously going to need both at some point.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

10 Inch Blues Pills

Last summer, I was introduced to Blues Pills and it was love at first sight. On a whim, I decided to check out some of their youtube videos, and the first song that I queued up was a live version of Black Smoke at Rockpalast. I was initially hooked by the guitar tone, but once Elin Larsson started singing, I was crushin'. Such a powerful voice, and such a beautiful face...I was soon searching for any Blues Pills video, just to watch her. Yeah, there was some serious creeping going on.

I listened to the Blues Pills album on repeat all last year, but when I was placing an order with Nuclear Blast this Spring, I figured that it was time to finally grab a couple of the earlier of them of course being the Live At Rockpalast 10 inch.

300 pressed on "orange" vinyl.

The other 10 inch EP from Blues Pills that I grabbed was the Devil Man record. Sure the band re-recorded the song Devil Man for their full length, but really, this EP version is the one you need. With Elin's incredibly powerful and passionate vocal intro, man, this is so good.

Because this was released on Nuclear Blast, there are about 10 different pieces of colored vinyl pressed for each release. I think that I got lucky with my purchase, because both the gold and blue vinyl that I picked up for these two match the covers perfectly.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Don't Turn Your Back...On The Heretic

For most of my life, I've made attempts to stay up to date and current with new bands. "Hey look at me. I'm not old...I'm digging this new youthful hardcore band"! This year, however, I'm struggling to give a shit about remaining relevant. Sure I still get the occasional charge from discovering a new band, but for the most part, all I want to do is sit around and listen to those albums that were released when I was a teenager through the 80's. Maybe it is nostalgia, or as I sit here on my 45th birthday, maybe it is a mid-life crisis...either way, I'm just rolling with it and hitting up eBay for those Heavy Metal classics on vinyl.

When it was announced that Mike Howe was back in Metal Church, the nostalgia needle buried itself in the red, and Blessing In Disguise and Human Factor started getting daily spins.

As I was listening to Howe-era Metal Church, I suddenly remembered that he had also done an album with Heretic back in 1988. I remember my brother had the Heretic cassette, but I didn't really remember much beyond him owning a copy. I grabbed a download, and after a couple of listens, I suddenly couldn't get enough. I can't imagine why we didn't like this more back then. This this classic Mike Howe, and a great precursor to what he would do with Metal Church.

After listening to the album repeatedly for a couple of weeks, I was in desperate need to buy the vinyl. Once again, discogs came to the rescue.

Still sealed and with the hype sticker on the front...for $12 I didn't hesitate to quickly buy it.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Night Songs

Earlier this year, my friend Rob sent me a message, confiding in me that as a guilty pleasure he was currently listening to Poison. I decided to play along, and half-jokingly replied back that when it came to 80's hair bands, that I was more of a Cinderella man. Things escalated quickly from there, as he challenged me by asking if I had the vinyl for Night Songs. Not one to back down, I immediately went to eBay and started searching for the record. I placed a couple of low bids, hoping to get a copy for a steal, but I was outbid at the last second, and I walked away empty handed. Shortly after that flurry of activity, Cinderella were soon forgotten about.

I was recently at a work function downtown, and had a few hours to kill between activities. It was a pretty chill afternoon walking the streets and hitting the four record stores within a few blocks of each other. I hit pay dirt at Moody Lords, which sells a bunch of vintage clothing, and occasionally has an respectable used section for Metal vinyl. When I saw the Cinderella LP with the $8 price tag, I couldn't resist the opportunity to finally add this record to the collection.

Don't let the pink and purple hues, and the big hair fool you, this is a killer rock album. While Cinderella would get lumped in with the Poison's and the Warrant's of the 80's, they were more blues than bubblegum...lots of early Aerosmith influence.

Listening to this record today, I can believe just how much I'm loving it. You know, I've never paid any attention to the band's follow up, Long Cold Winter...I remember kind of digging the Gypsy Road single, but I never cared enough to go deeper than that. I may have to grab a sneaky download and check it out.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Sign Of The Witch

Two years ago, things got kind of crazy. I was obsessed with Orchid, and I spent a silly amount of money chasing every vinyl pressing for their entire catalog. Under normal circumstances, this might be an easily attainable goal, but since we were dealing with Nuclear Blast, it was straight up over the top. When all was said and done, I ended up with 35 pieces of vinyl...with the majority of them only released that year. The chase was fun, but in the end it burned me the fuck out. When Nuclear Blast came through with yet another pressing, I dropped out of the game. What is the point in racing to the finish line, only to find that it keeps getting further away?

That experience changed my view on record collecting, and I walked away from it a bit more jaded than I was before. Collecting always meant something to was historical and important...but after the "Orchid incident" I saw that not all labels have such a pure mindset. It isn't always about the music, and at times it is about how many units they can move. To me, it corrupts the game, and I won't play that anymore. When Nuclear Blast announced the new Orchid 10 inch, Sign Of The Witch, on six different colors of vinyl, I was quite content to pick up my one piece and then bow out.

This four song 10 inch is well worth the price of admission though. While there were obvious nods to Sabbath with the occasional riff here and there over the years, when I listen to these new songs, I just hear Orchid. The band have grown into their own...although there is still the tie to Sabbath with this release through the artwork on the insert, which was also used on Sabbath's Greatest Hits album from '77.

300 pressed on red vinyl.