Saturday, October 31, 2015

In League With Satan

My anticipation was pretty high for both the new Iron Maiden and Slayer albums, but when I heard that there was a new Satan album coming down the pike, my excitement went through the fucking roof.

30 years after releasing their NWOBHM classic Court In The Act, Satan came roaring back with their original line up in 2013 with Life Sentence. Man, that thing came from out of nowhere, and blew everyone away, so expectations were set pretty high for the new album, Atom By Atom. Hell, before it even had been released, people were writing it off as not being able to stand up to their last album. I don't know if it measures up to Life Sentence, but I can say for certain that Atom By Atom is fucking killer...easily out shining both the new Iron Maiden and Slayer albums.

Limited to 280 on red vinyl.

Since I was picking up the limited Atom By Atom vinyl direct from Listenable overseas, I figured that while I was there, I might as well add Satan's double live LP to the cart as well.

Recorded on Satan's 2014 North American tour, this is a great live album. I love it when you can hear the people in the crowd on a live recording...not just the roar of the crowd, but individual people shouting within the when singer Brian Ross tells the audience, "It's that time of night to...", and before he finishes his sentence, you can hear someone in the crowd yell, "...drink a beer!"...or as soon as the song Break Free finishes, you can hear a happy voice from the crowd scream "Fuck yeah". It makes you feel like you are in the room, and part of the crowd.

I was tempted to make the drive to see the band in Massachusetts for this tour, but given all the bands that were playing that night, and that the show had such a late start, I figured that Satan wouldn't even be taking the stage until midnight or so...and then after their set, I'd still have to make the 2+ hour drive home, and I bailed on it. What a turd. I'm kicking myself for not just taking the day off from work the next day, and making the trip. Band rules hard, and this live album proves that.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Night Creepin'

The hype around Uncle Acid hasn't seemed to die down over the past couple of years, and while I'd entertained purchasing one of the special pressings that Rise Above did for the new album, by the time I'd realized that they were for sale, they were all long gone.

To be honest, while I enjoyed the last Uncle Acid album, Mind Control, it didn't have a lot of staying power for me, and as we rolled out of 2013, I rarely reached for it again. Fully acknowledging this fact, I still rushed out to purchase The Night Creeper as soon as it was available at my local record store.

In the end, I think I enjoy the idea of Uncle Acid, more than the record itself. The look of this album is top notch, and fits the creepy vibe that Uncle Acid bring to the table, with songs that weave a story of drugs, sex and violence. The songs on the other hand kind, while decent, don't really excite me...with the exception of Melody Lane...that song rules.

Who knows, maybe with a few more listens, I'll warm up to this record...or maybe I'll just shelve it and listen to the 35 other new Metal records that I've purchased this year.

1,000 pressed on purple vinyl for the US.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Crypt Sermon

I'm already in my "end of the year" mode. Basically once we get to October, I start narrowing my focus to new releases from the past year. My thoughts are consumed with Top 10 lists, and I repeatedly listed to albums from the year, desperately trying to rank them from top to bottom. In addition to these records dominating my daily playlists, I'm also in a frantic search to make sure that I've checked out any new bands, to make my Top 10 as complete as possible. I hate making that Year End post at the end of December, only to find a hidden gem from the year a couple months I spend theses days scouring the Bravewords messageboard, and going through reviews in Iron Fist magazine, doing my best to make sure that I haven't missed anything. I obsess, and I'm a completist. It is what I do.

As I was flipping through the review section in Iron Fist #14, I read the one for Crypt Sermon's debut LP, Out Of The Garden. I'd never even heard this band's name before, but when the review drops the terms "epic doom" and "traditional heavy metal", I'm quickly heading to soulseek to download a copy to check it out.

Oh damn! This thing blew up my daily playlist. I could not believe how great it was, and measuring it up against other releases from the year, it took a steady climb up my Best of 2015 list.

After sitting with the download for a couple of days, I knew that I was going to need a copy on vinyl. A quick search online, and I was surprised to find that my local record store had a copy in stock. Obviously, I needed to step out of work for a quick shopping trip!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Second Protest

It should come as no surprise to anyone that my instagram feed is full of people posting photos of their record collections. I don't care about your sunsets, rainbows and babies. Just show me your records.

A couple of months, I was scrolling through some recent posts, and I came across a photo of the new Protester 7 inch. Wait. New? I had no idea that Protester were releasing a new record. Five minutes later, I'd tracked down the No Identity 7 inch from Triple B, and I'd ordered myself a copy.

If you liked the previous Protester record, you can't lose with this one. Solid, ripping Hardcore.

There was a bunch of hype around the first Protester record, and everyone seemed to be digging this band. Surprisingly, even though I was late to the party this year, the more limited pressing on white vinyl was still available...and even crazier that it is still currently available. Why aren't more people jumping on this?

300 pressed on white vinyl.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Bad Motor Magic

Whenever Motorhead release a new album, the thought crosses my mind, "Is this the swan song for Lemmy?". Christ, the dude is approaching 70, and still cranks out an album every few years. Health issues and hard living be damned, with Motorhead celebrating their 40th anniversary, and releasing Bad Magic as their 22nd studio album, the guy just keeps on swinging.

You know what you are going to get with a Motorhead album, and Bad Magic doesn't really offer any surprises...Lemmy and the boys just keep on delivering. While the last album, Aftershock, was a bit flat, this one recovers nicely.

The vinyl comes with a free CD, but it is still weird to print the song titles for both the CD and vinyl on the back cover. What designer thought it made sense to print the song titles twice? Are you going to listen to the CD, and pull out the vinyl sleeve to check the song sequence?

When picking up my copy of the vinyl, the store had a couple of options...either the indie store exclusive white colored vinyl, or black vinyl with the gatefold sleeve. I was torn, but in the end, having the nice thick gatefold spine on my record shelf won out. I'm a visual guy, and when I'm scanning through the LPs on my shelf, I hate it when a thin little record spine gets swallowed up and lost into the collection. Gatefold spines pop out, so that's the way I went.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Live After Death Angel

A month or so ago, I picked up the Thrashumentary DVD from Death Angel. I've liked this band since I picked up their first album back in '87, so it was cool to spend a few hours following them from those early days to today.

Included with the DVD was a bonus CD of a live set from 2014, titled The Bay Calls For Blood. I was so impressed with the Thrashumentary, that I decided to pick up that live album on vinyl. Yeah yeah...I know that I will probably rarely listen to it, but I needed it for the collection.

Death Angel continue to release great thrash albums, and are not ones to sit back and rely on the strength of their classics. When I saw them a few years ago with Testament and Anthrax, Death Angel only gave us one song from the early days...Mistress Of Pain...everything else was from their newer albums. DA do the same deal here on the live classic song with Bored, and everything else is new shit. Bold move, and I love it.

300 pressed on clear vinyl.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Content With Buying

I've been thinking more and more about thinning the herd, and selling off some of the more pointless pieces of my record collection. Seriously...what is the point of owning three different pressings of the B9 reissue of Victim In Pain, when I don't even own an original Ratcage pressing? With the stupid number of different pressings that Reaper did for the Turnstile records, I'm never going to attempt to collect them all, so what is the point of owning 14 different pieces of vinyl for their two 7 inches? Why bother with 12 different colored vinyl for Orchid's Mouth Of Madness, when I need to make space for Vio-lence and Atrophy records? It may be time to give up on some of the dead weight.

That said, I feel like an idiot posting about Chokehold reissues.

Man, I played the shit out of my original Bloodlink CD for Content With Dying. The production sounded like shit, but goddamn, it was the soundtrack to my '95/'96 year. It completely captured that angry PC Hardcore sound and style of the time. We don't have time for fun when we are this serious and pissed off.

This LP also contains the songs from the Tooth And Nail 7 inch. I bought that 7 inch back when it was released in '97. You know what else was released in '97? 7 inches from Rain on the Parade, Bane, Reach the Sky, Outspoken...the Ten Yard Fight LP...the In My Eyes demo. You know what got pushed to the side and never listened to? That last Chokehold 7 inch.

Listening to all of these songs today, I'm surprised at how well they have held up over the years.

A year or so ago, I made a run at a first press, blue vinyl copy of the Prison Of Hope album. I was desperate to get a copy and was prepared to spend big money to own one. In the end, I lost the auction, and then couldn't seem to find another one that was available for sale. After coming up empty handed, my initial fever for the blue vinyl quickly burned out, and I moved on. Oh look, blue vinyl for the reissue, and also limited to 100...meh...close enough.

When I first got into Chokehold with the Prison Of Hope LP, I soon discovered that they had also released a 7 inch back in '92. I was pretty excited when I found a copy back in the early 90's, and bought it without hesitation. It was a disappointing listen, and I quickly shelved it and let it collect dust. When I saw that it was being reissued on a 12 inch, with a bunch of comp and demo songs, I figured that I'd buy another copy and give it another chance. Damn it, now I have two pieces of vinyl with these songs that I'll never listen to again.

Each one of these was limited to 100, and only available through the Revelation Records distro. There were other pressings available as well, but this is enough for me.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Freak Valley Blues

Early this year, the Blues Pills released a live album, documenting their 2014 set at the Freak Valley festival.

Live albums tend to be a waste of space in my record collection. I'll listen to them once, and then shelve them to collect dust for an eternity. With that in mind, I promptly ignored the newest live disc from Blues Pills. Christ, they have only released one LP, and a handful of singles...what was the point of a live album at this point? Nope, not interested.

Then while I was bouncing around in the Nuclear Blast store last month, I happened across this line in the Blues Pills Live description, "The release is strictly limited and will not be reprinted – once it's gone, it's gone!". Oh fuck. Now I have to buy one.

In addition to the threat of the record never being repressed, I also have a huge crush on Elin Larsson, so I suppose it was inevitable that I'd pick up this record at some point.

Nice looking gatefold sleeve, and if you look close, you can see the drummer wearing a Have Heart shirt, which is pretty cool.

Side D of the two record set is etched with the Blues Pills logo, and was damn near impossible to photograph.

Limited to 300 on yellow colored vinyl.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


September was a HUGE month for Metal. First we get a new album from Iron Maiden, and then a week later, fucking Slayer! I'm not even sure which one I was looking forward to the most.

Repentless was released on September 11th...which felt kind of ominous, as the last time Slayer released an album on 9/11 was for God Hates Us All back in 2001...and all kinds of shit ended up going down that day.

Holy shit. The cover art on the new album is piss-in-the-face-of-god amazing. Easily their best cover in a while...and surprisingly, it has the songs to back it up. Slayer has been teasing us with songs for a while now...Implode, When The Stillness Comes, Atrocity Vendor, and the Hannemanthem ,Repentless were all released to give Slayer fans a taste of what was to come. Throw them into the context of this album and they are all fact it is surprising just how strong this album is...sure there are a couple of misfires here and there...but overall, this thing does not disappoint.

Since Repentless was released by Nuclear Blast, there were hundreds of colored vinyl options...and most of them looked rather weak. The one that caught my eye though, was the black and white split vinyl. Something about it looked cool to me, so I grabbed one.

Limited to 500 on black/white split vinyl.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Book Of Souls

It had been five long years since we'd seen a new Iron Maiden album, so the release date for The Book Of Souls was a goddamn event. I was so looking forward to the new album, I took the day off from work so that I could pick up a copy, and then devote some time to just sitting and giving it a spin. I told my wife that I was taking the day off of work so that I could fix our leaking refrigerator, but we all know the real motive behind this day at home.

So, on release day, I was only out looking for the CD version of Book Of Souls. Maiden are one of the few bands that I have no problem buying both the CD and vinyl copies, and thanks to great tip from Doug, I'd already pre-ordered the triple vinyl version of the release when Amazon had them available for only $13. Deal of the century...and so good to see Maiden give up on the picture disc as the only option for vinyl.

Needless to say, I was pretty excited for this new album. I love the reunion-era Maiden stuff...although, Dickinson has been back in the band for 15 years now, so I suppose there should be a better term than "reunion-era" to describe this period of the band. Either way, after the Speed Of Light single was released, my anticipation was running high for this new 90 minute Metal opus from Maiden.

An hour and a half is a long ass running time for any album, and while I do enjoy The Book Of Souls, Maiden should have trimmed some of the fat on this one. We can start with the 18 minute Empire Of The Clouds. It's an okay song, but this piano epic might be my least favorite of the post-2000 Maiden era. Solid album overall, even if it is a bit bloated.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Jesus Is Dead

Once upon a time, Atomic Action put up the new Sweet Jesus LP for preorder. Everyone in the Hardcore world rushed to buy a copy of the most anticipated record of the year. Seasons passed...empires rose and fell...the earth struggled under the march of "human progress", and as she breathed her last breath, it's human inhabitants abandoned her to colonize distant planets...and then, and only then, the grandchildren of Hardcore kids' grandchildren opened their mailbox to find a box addressed to their long deceased ancestors, containing a strange circular wax object with the strange words "Sweet Jesus" emblazoned across the front cover.

Delay after delay plagued the release of Sweet Jesus' debut was so long ago that I can't remember all the details, but I think at some point the band just gave out free downloads to those of us that had pre-ordered. I'm odd, and in some cases I don't want to listen to the songs until the vinyl arrives, and that was the case with the Sweet Jesus LP. Unfortunately, it took so long for the record to arrive that by the time it got here, I no longer gave a shit, and couldn't muster up the interest to pay it much attention.

As I worked my way through my vinyl backlog for the blog, and was preparing to write this post, I was forced to finally give the vinyl a spin.

Okay, I knew the album was going to be good, but once I sat down with the record and finally paid attention I was surprised with just how good it was. For the Pat Flynn comparison...if you threw You Destroy Yourself into a steel cage death match with Have Heart's Songs To Scream At The Sun, this Sweet Jesus record would be the only one walking out alive.

Still, regardless of how much I liked this record, when the REV exclusive yellow vinyl was made available, or when Atomic Action made the orange vinyl available in their store, I couldn't be bothered to buy more fucking copies. A choice that I may someday regret, but for now, I just don't have the money to keep pouring into this record.

Because of the extended delays with the record, the label included a special Sweet Jesus flexi for those that had waited the longest with pre-orders. All the cool kids had one included with their order, and if you didn't get one, you were a giant loser.

Pretty cool flexi with Sweet Jesus doing a couple of covers. Void on one side, and In My Eyes on the other.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

From The Pinnacle To The Pit

People seem to either love or hate Ghost. The band got a ton of hype in 2010, and Rise Above couldn't keep up with the vinyl demand for their Opus Eponymous debut. Ghost were probably the most talked about Metal band throughout 2011 and then came the eventual backlash. By the time the follow up, Infestissumam, was released in 2013, a lot of people had written the band off as some kind of hipster joke. I didn't buy into the hate at the time, but when the If You Have Ghost EP was released full of cover songs, I'd started to feel like things had been played out. When it was announced that Ghost would have a new LP this year, I was prepared to write it off.

Doug was pretty excited about the new release, but I was dragging my feet on it. The initial listen of the first single, Cirice, failed to move matter how great that video was. I quickly put the new Ghost album out of my mind, but occasionally Doug would bring it up. "Hey man, Swedish pre-orders are up for the new Ghost LP". "New Ghost single is up on youtube"! Reluctantly, I dragged myself to check out the video for From The Pinnacle To The Pit. As soon as that bass line rumbled out of the speakers, my attention was captured, and I was knocked on my ass with how great the song was. Immediately following that song, I queued up the Cirice video to revisit the song, and to my surprise I loved that song as well. Yeah, there was no way I was going to be able to let the new Meliora LP pass me by.

While I enjoyed what I heard, I wasn't going over the top and ordering the Euro box set. Instead, I waited for the regular US pressing, and was very happy to see that the band logo no longer included the additional B.C. in the name. I guess that legal battle over the Ghost name was short lived.

Very cool packaging with the booklet showcasing artwork for each song on the record.

This album was definitely the surprise of the year for me.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Coming Of Age

Remember those days of pre-ordering from React!, seeing delay after delay with the vinyl from the pressing plant, and then having the records show up in your mailbox six months later? That was not the case with the Nuclear Age preorders. Placed my order, and "boom", a week later they were in my mailbox.

Earlier this year, Chris over at Unwavering Spirit hooked me up with an advance press of the Nuclear Age record. It was a great preview of what React! had coming up, and I was looking forward to the regular release from the label. I received the 7 inch from Chris back in April/May, and to be honest, so much time had passed that I forgot that React! still hadn't posted pre-orders for this record. When they went up in August, it was like a knock in the head of "oh yeah, this hasn't been released yet".

This record is a great Hardcore surprise. In my eyes, React! has done no wrong since Ev took over the label around 2013. Every release is an instant classic that gets repeat spins on my daily playlists, but Nuclear Age may be my favorite React! release since that Praise LP last year (although the Suspect LP certainly gives it a run for it's money as well). Great youthful energy with tons of passion. Seriously, how has the limited red vinyl press of this 7 inch not sold out yet?

150 pressed on red. 350 pressed on green. 500 pressed on black vinyl.