Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Accept The Chaos

Accept came blazing out of the gate with their new singer, Mark Tornillo, back in 2010 with Blood Of The Nations. Follow up albums, Stalingrad and Blind Rage proved that the band wasn't just a brief flash of brilliance...nope...Accept were something special, and were in it for the long haul.

Accept have a formula with Tornillo, and on their fourth album together, the band don't stray from the path they have tread. While some people might want the band to push some boundaries, and show some growth, I'm perfectly happy that the band stay consistent, and The Rise Of Chaos keeps up pumping out those solid Metal tunes. No surprises here...just fist banging Metal the way that I like it.

Nuclear Blast offers up about nine different vinyl options for The Rise Of Chaos. Given the number of gross looking splatter and swirl colored vinyl options, I went with a nice solid red wax. 300 pressed.

Friday, October 13, 2017

'87 Talks, And I Listen

My final post from the fallout of my 1987 obsession.

For a straight month, I did nothing buy listen to albums from 1987. Very little else mattered to me, as I worked through everything in my collection from that year. I made lists, ranking everything...and then I'd go back and spin my favorites again and again...tweaking my list like some crazy science experiment where I needed everything measured and mixed in the proper order. This shit was serious business.

Along the way, I committed myself to making a decent run at my Top 10 Metal and Crossover albums from '87. My collection was pitiful, and I wanted to take this opportunity to fill some big holes. As I was winding down in my spending spree, I knew that I had to make one last move to knock off one of my big targets.

Cryptic Slaughter's Money Talks album was hugely influential to me when I bought the CD as an angry and awkward teen. I didn't even know what Straight Edge was at the time, but already songs like Wake Up ("Smoke and drink just to be cool, Can't you see you're just another fool") were planting seeds that would take root for lifetime mindset. Cryptic Slaughter nailed it lyrically...from politics to positivity...and Money Talks really made me think about who I wanted to be, and what I wanted to stand against.

Buying this album to cap off this obsession was a must. I was hoping for a copy with the hype sticker still attached, but I'll settle for this one in excellent condition.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Possessed By 1987

During my time travelling back to 1987, I obsessed over a lot of different albums, but one of them received more plays than any other...The Eyes Of Horror by Possessed.

This 19 minute EP absolutely destroys with it's all out Thrash attack. From start to finish, this record does not let up. Even now, after some time has passed since my 1987 spending spree, I still can't stop spinning this.

Combat had stopped using the green labels sometime in '86, so by the time The Eyes Of Horror was released, they had switched over to the camo ones. While I really want to focus on collecting those green label pressings, it still feels good to cross an original Combat pressing off the list.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Storming Through 1987 With Menace

Even though I was on a strong Crossover kick while revisiting my 1987 playlist, let's not forget that Thrash was a fucking force to be reckoned with as well. So many great albums were released that year that it was easy to get caught up in my obsession to buy one after another.

Over the Summer, I read the Damn The Machine book, which documents the detailed history of Noise Records...and it should be of no surprise to anyone that this fueled a minor obsession with the label. Noise released a lot of classic Thrash albums, and I spent a lot of my Summer playing those over and over again.

While reviewing my 1987 playlist recently, Kreator's Terrible Certainty shot right to the top of the list. In my effort to cross those top records off my Want List, I set my sights on finally picking up the vinyl.

When I started checking Discogs for a copy, and I discovered that Noise did a red vinyl pressing, I knew that was the way to go.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

More 1987? You Got It!

While I was reviewing my '87 playlist, Excel quickly shot to the top of my list with Split Image, but let's not overlook that the entire fucking year was amazing for Crossover albums. Right in the middle of it all, Gang Green had an album that was connecting with some solid punches of their own.

You Got It ended up being another long lost treasure. Outside of their early Hardcore stuff, I'd pretty much written Gang Green off...forgetting all about how great their Crossover shit was. Revisiting it during my '87 obsession, and suddenly I'm thinking that You Got It might be my favorite Gang Green record.

Sure some of the lyrics can get goofy and cheesy...but you'll still find this Straight Edge kid singing along to Let's Drink Some Beer.

One of the big selling points for this copy was that the seller listed it with two green promo sheets, and the glossy promo shot. I love the extras!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Your Life, My Life In '87

As I was working my way through my '87 playlist, I rediscovered a few forgotten treasures. At the top of the list was the Split Image album from Excel.

I was already familiar with the album, having owned it originally on cassette as a kid, and then on CD when it was reissued in 2000...but still, I'm not sure if I really appreciated it as much as I should have. Queuing up the songs for my drive to work, I was quickly amazed at how great this record truly is. With it's hooks firmly in place, I couldn't resist playing the album day after day after day.

With the album quickly becoming one of my favorites for 1987, it was obvious that I needed to track down the original vinyl pressing.

Sometimes I'm a sucker for the merch insert, and will gladly pay more than the going rate to get my hands on a record that includes one. The Split Image insert looks sick, and there was no way that I was going to walk away without one.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Don't Panic, I'm Still In 1987

There were a lot of great albums released in '87, but as I was going through the process of listening to everything that was released that year, I found a few gems that I'd forgotten just how good they were.

No Need To Panic might not be on the same level as the first few G.B.H. records, but I was all about this album when I picked it up as a seventeen year old kid. I was heavily into metal and thrash at the time, but punk was starting to work its way into my world bit by bit. The songs were still fast and catchy as hell, but it was somehow even more stripped down and raw when compared to my thrash records. To me, the two genres fit together perfectly, and it made perfect sense to place my G.B.H. cassette right alongside the latest from Grim Reaper. There were no lines drawn...for me, they both just fell under the umbrella of "good shit".

I listened to this album so many times over the summer, I knew that I had to track down a copy on vinyl. I wasn't fussed to track down a UK copy for this one, and the Combat pressing was good enough for me.

Monday, October 02, 2017

1987 Is Taking Over

I love making lists. Putting together my annual Top 10 is something that I look forward to all year. Ranking records, and adjusting their placement brings out the obsessive nerd in me.

For a while now, I've been tossing around the idea of taking a trip back in time, and ranking the albums from years long gone. With so many holes in my record collection, my thought was that if I can rank them all in a given year, it would help me prioritize and focus on picking up those classics that I still don't own.

With this year marking the 30th anniversary for a lot of my favorite albums as a kid, I decided to kick off my list making with 1987.

As soon as I started putting the list together, two things became clear very quickly...one, with so many classics from my teenage years, 1987 may just be one of my favorite years for music ever...and two, I was missing an embarrassing amount of these albums on vinyl.

With the facts laid out in front of me, I got to work on my latest obsession...filling holes from '87.

For the longest time, I've held the opinion that Overkill stand as one of my favorite Thrash bands of all time. Sure, other bands have released albums superior to Overkill, but with their recent output, and their classic run from 1985 through at least 1989's The Years Of Decay, I have no problem giving the crown to them.

Yet, even as a total Overkill fanboy, my collection for the band is quite thin. I've made some false starts in picking some of those classic records, but I have never stuck with it, and after quick searches of Discogs and eBay, I typically push them to the side, with the promise that I'll get them next month.

Step one in my 1987 mission...quit fucking around with that Overkill collection.

After procrastinating on this record for so many years, it feels great to finally add it to the collection.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

I Saw Jesus At McDonalds

As the history of this blog has shown, I'm a Metal and Hardcore kid through and through...but every once in a while, my resolve will slip, and you'll see some cracks in that foundation, and it will reveal some weird shit.

As a teenager, I wasn't too concerned with genre labels...if it was loud, obnoxious, and had the possibility to offend, I'd probably be down. Case in point, Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper.

Mojo was goofy as hell and liked to take the occasional dig at Republicans, so teenage me thought those records were great...however, they had been largely forgotten about after I was out of college, just sitting on my CD shelves and collecting over 20 years of dust. After digging out some other off-the-wall stuff, like Big Black and Butthole Surfers, last year, it got me thinking about what other oddball albums I was listening to back in those days. That brought me those old Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper CDs.

I wasn't sure if I was going to still enjoy them, but man, revisiting that first album was a blast. Jesus At McDonalds, I'm In Love With Your Girlfriend, Moanin' With Your Mama...while they might not be classics, it sure notched up my nostalgia for those younger, more innocent times...and since I was able to pick it up on vinyl for under $10, I decided to just roll with it and grab a copy.

While I was in a Mojo mood, and checking out those albums on Discogs, I noticed a listing for the Frenzy album. While I was familiar with a few Mojo Nixon albums, I realized that I'd never heard their second album. With this discovery, it was time to fire up Soulseek and download a copy.

I thought that I might get bored after one listen, but man, there is something about singing along to the lyrics to I Hate Banks that just puts a smile on my face and puts me in a good mood..and for that reason alone, I picked up another cheap Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper record.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Splatter Vinyl Or Die

Burn released a new 7 inch last year, and even though I was hesitant about checking it out, I bought into the hype, and grabbed a copy. Surprisingly, the record wasn't terrible...I mean, it was a far cry from their debut, but for Burn in 2016, I kind of enjoyed it.

Fast forward to this year, and when Deathwish announce preorders for a new Burn album, I found myself struggling with those familiar feelings of doubt. I mean, how much was I going to care about this record down the road? A year from now would I have any desire to listen to it, or would it just take up space on my shelf? Still, not wanting to miss out, I took a chance and ordered a copy as soon as they were available.

Opinions on this new record are pretty divided. Some people are delusional and are treating this as the record of the year, totally losing their shit over how great they think it is...while others find it completely unlistenable.

I've only given the record a couple of spins, so time will tell how this holds up, but my initially impression is kind of "meh". Some parts of this record are straight up awkward...that chorus for Do Or Die makes me cringe a little bit...but to be honest, it is these weird moments that make the whole record kind of stand out, and not just sound like another Hardcore record. I'm torn on the whole thing at this point.

One thing is for certain though...Deathwish pulled out all the stops when it came the packaging for Do Or Die. With the thick insert booklet, the poster, the extra stickers...everything looks amazing..even the splatter vinyl looks great.

300 pressed on clear with orange and red splatter.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Iron Maiden Remasters: Live

I don't know if there is another band that releases as many live albums as Iron Maiden. Since reuniting with Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith, they have followed up every studio album with a live one documenting their latest tour. For a while, I was kind of tired with the live album cycle and felt it was unnecessary. Lately though, I've been more like, "Fuck yeah! More Iron Maiden live!"

I'd initially missed out on the Rock In Rio vinyl when it was released back in 2002. Iron Maiden came back with a vengeance, touring for Brave New World, and refusing to just play the hits. Playing a full six new songs from their last album, plus as an extra treat, we get Bruce singing two songs from the Blaze-era with Sign Of The Cross and The Clansman...this live album shows that Iron Maiden aren't just fucking around.

I initially passed on the initial picture disc pressing, because at the time the price for a triple LP seemed ridiculous to me, as I had grown accustomed to $15 CDs. Over the years, prices jumped up well over $100, and I was left with regret for passing on it the first time around. Just when I started to entertain the idea of putting up the cash to finally own the vinyl, Maiden pull through with these vinyl remasters, saving me a lot of money and from having to own another stupid picture disc.

Death On The Road was another live Iron Maiden that I didn't bother with on vinyl at the time, and resigned myself to only buying the CD when it was released in 2005.

Once again, Maiden include six new tracks from their latest studio album in their set, and throw in a bonus song from the Blaze-era with Lord Of The Flies, making this another live album you can't miss.

Flight 666 captures Maiden on their Somewhere Back In Time tour, which was one of their nostalgia tours that basically only covered their career up to the Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son album. No new songs here, just a setlist full of songs from Maiden's classic era.

The En Vivo album finds Iron Maiden out on the road, supporting their Final Frontier album. Sadly, Iron Maiden did not bring this tour through Massachusetts, as I would have loved to have seen this setlist full of their "reunion era" songs. The band still squeeze in enough "hits" for the fans, but for me, this was all about the five songs from the new album, Dance Of Death and Wicker Man.

These albums are a perfect time capsule for what Iron Maiden were doing out on the road at the time, and I can't get enough.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Iron Maiden Remasters: Studio

A couple of years ago, Iron Maiden started reissuing their back catalog on black vinyl. This covered the band's first eight albums...from 1980's self titled debut, through Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son that was originally released in 1988. This was the band's classic period, and since I have my original pressings, I paid no attention to these reissues.

When there was talk earlier this year, that Maiden were going to finish their vinyl reissue campaign, that was when I sat up and started paying attention. I love the Maiden "reunion" albums, which started with Brave New World in 2000, but up until 2015's Book Of Souls, the band annoyingly would only release the vinyl option on picture disc. It was maddening, but as the only option, I stepped up to buy them every time. To finally have a regular black vinyl option, was like a gift from the gods.

Of all the "reunion" era albums, when all is said and done, Dance Of Death is probably my favorite. There isn't a weak spot on this album, and I still never tire of it. Shame about that cover art though.

Dropping the needle on the black vinyl, and comparing it with the initial picture disc pressing for this record, the improvement in sound quality was obvious, and reaffirmed my stance that picture discs are garbage.

With each new Iron Maiden album since reuniting with Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith, I would inevitably think that it was my favorite since they'd gotten back with together, and A Matter Of Life And Death was no exception. I placed this one above Dance Of Death and Brave New World when it was released in 2006, but as time has marched on, this one probably ranks last in my list of the "reunion era". That is no knock on the album, as I love all Maiden records, it is just the one that I reach for the least.

The last studio album in the Maiden reissue campaign was 2010's The Final Frontier. It has been a blast revisiting these records, and now I'm torn if I should bother to keep those picture discs.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Relentless Pentagram

It has been an amazing year for my record collection. I've knocked some true heavy hitters from my list, and over the Summer, I had the opportunity to cross off another big ticket item.

I had a great experience buying The Effigies record through Discogs. The record was in great shape, it arrived quickly, and the seller seemed like a good dude and we exchanged a few messages back and forth...also, it turned out that the seller was Rob Moss, who was a member of Artificial Peace and Government Issue. He seemed like a good dude, and when he sent me a message saying that he listed some more records on Discogs, I decided to browse his list and see if he had anything else that caught my attention.

Right there at the top of his list was an original first pressing of the debut Pentagram album.

This record is a straight up Doom classic, and for those in the know, it is held in the same high regard as the early Sabbath records. I've wanted an original pressing of this album for a while now, but they don't come around very often, and with the high price tag it usually carries, I haven't really actively pursued it. Seeing it there, available through this Discogs seller, made it incredibly tempting...regardless of the price that he had listed it for.

Initially, there was some inner conflict if I should really go for it, so I turned to Doug's old posts over at We Will Bury You, looking for some guidance. In these times of turmoil, I can count on my record collector friends to show me the light, and there it was, right in Doug's blog post. "Fuck it, when would be the next chance to get one?" So let it be written...so let it be done. Guided by his divine hand, I clicked the Add To Cart button and made it mine.

There were times when I questioned my decision, and wondered if maybe I shouldn't have spent so much for this record. Any feelings of buyer remorse were erased when the record arrived and took it out of the box. Holy shit, this thing was nearly dead mint, and as the needle on my turntable hit those first notes of Relentless, I knew that I'd made the right choice.

I was surprised to find this record in such great shape, but according to Rob, he got it direct from his bandmate in Government Issue, Tom Lyle, who as it turns out, also produced this Pentagram record...and between the two of them, they knew how to take care of their records.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

In Need Of A Miracle

There was a lot of hype around the new Miracle Drug record that was being released this summer. The band features some older Hardcore dudes...no one that I'm terribly familiar with, but they have been around, playing in bands like Mouthpiece and By The Grace Of God, so when preorders went up, I figured that I'd take a chance on it. Seemed like everyone was excited for it, and I didn't want to miss out.

I had downloaded the Miracle Drug demo last year, but I never really spent any time with it. I didn't even bother to chase the vinyl release for it, but with the new release I figured that I'd give them a fresh shot. To be honest, I wasn't really hooked after the first couple of listens...it was solid, straight forward Hardcore...but my first impression left me a bit disappointed. After sitting with it, and letting the songs sink in with repeat listens, I'm starting to appreciate it more.

When I placed my order, I couldn't resist the blue vinyl with the screened b-side.

It seemed a bit odd to screen the image in reverse, but when you check the a-side with some nice back lighting, it looks pretty cool.

100 pressed.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Soul Power

The past few years I've struggled to stay interested in newer Hardcore bands. That's not to say that some cool shit hasn't been released...I just generally didn't care to stick with it after a handful of spins. Considering there was time when I was on top of just about every new release, this was a dramatic shift in my mindset.

Earlier this year, that spark to hunt out some newer bands was reignited, and after being blown away by a string of Triple B records, suddenly I found myself hot to check out some other new bands and see what I'd been missing out on.

This summer, Marcus posted about a new record from a UK band named Higher Power. I'd never heard of them, but looking back at his previous blog posts, he had apparently brought up their name a few times. I must have been pretty headstrong in my resistance, because even though I follow his blog closely, neither of these posts had stuck with me...and I didn't bother following up on his recommendation...until now.

Aesthetically, there was something about this record that grabbed my attention. The bright colors and cover photo just reminded me of some early 90's Euro Straight Edge record. With a bit of nostalgia, and Marcus' recommendation, I decided to take a chance on it.

There is definitely a Desperate Measures-era Leeway vibe here, and at times the vocals take me back to the first Into Another album. Man, there is something about this record that I can't shake, and I want to listen to it over and over again.

300 pressed on clear with orange haze.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Spark Of Influence

Last year, I was crushing pretty hard on 90's Hardcore. I spent a lot of time stuck in daily playlists from that era, and found myself obsessively hunting down records that I thought I'd lost passion for long ago. One of those bands was Sparkmarker. It had been a while since I'd really spent any time with them, and revisiting their discography had me head over heals and hunting down pieces of vinyl that were missing from my collection.

I posted about it at the time, and it created a kind of Butterfly Effect that carried it's way across the Atlantic, influencing Marcus to dust off the Sparkmarker catalog, and buy a piece of vinyl that he had been missing.

And that influence comes full circle, as his blog post sparked me (excuse the pun) to chase the vinyl that he recently picked up.

When I was picking off Sparkmarker targets last year, I decided not to mess around with their split with Mystery Machine. I ignored it for two reasons. First, the Sparkmarker song on this split, Keep The Quarter, shows up later on the band's full length record...and second, I'd never even heard of Mystery Machine before, so who gives a fuck about their song?

Still, Marcus made a point of saying that he'd never even seen the blue vinyl pressing before, and that they didn't seem to come around too often, and of course now that he had one, two more were available on Discogs. I took the bait, and 5 minutes later, there was only one left on Discogs. I'm not going to be left out like a sucker.

Not to let Marcus get one up on me in the Sparkmarker game, I had to grab the clear vinyl pressing as well. It only cost me $3.50, so why not. So within the span of 10 minutes, I'd gone from not caring the least about the Sparkmarker/Mystery Machine split, to owning two copies.

The recording for Keep The Quarter here was done a few months prior to the LP, and this version sounds really cool with the more raw production...and surprisingly, the Mystery Machine song here does not suck. I'm not sure if I'd be interested in hanging with them for a full length, but I dig this song.

Okay, now that I had every 7 inch pressed for Sparkmarker, the only hole in my collection was the 500wattburner@seven LP...and for less than $10, I was able to cross that one off the list.

I was kind of surprised that this was such a cheap find. Sure, I would expect Sparkmarker vinyl to fly under the radar these days...but colored vinyl...from Revelation's weird cousin, Crisis Records? I thought it would still take a bit more effort than that.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Haunted Town

I've slowly been cutting back my record collection, and selling some pieces that I no longer wanted through Discogs. My rule of thumb when selling something has been to immediately turn around and spend twice what I received on a new record. Selling something for $30, means that I can invest that into a $60 record. Makes perfect sense to me.

I had some cash sitting in my Paypal account from a recent sale, and I wanted to put that to good use, and hunt down another Hardcore Punk classic. I've done a pretty good job this year, knocking off some serious records from my Wantlist, and I wanted to continue the trend.

With a serious early 80's Punk obsession brewing, I've had the Haunted Town record from The Effigies in my sights for most of this year. With the songs in constant rotation in my daily playlists, I was just waiting for the time to be right to make my move.

The Effigies were out of Chicago, and alongside Articles Of Faith and Naked Raygun, that area seemed to have it's own sound. Those bands don't seem to get the spotlight or recognition that bands from Boston or D.C. receive, but these days, I find myself appreciating them more and more.

Original 1981 pressing on Autumn Records.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Dillinger Gunpowder

Autumn is just around the corner, and cooler temperatures are rolling in...but here I am still digging through my record backlog from those Summer days when the sun was still high in the sky, and pop punk was blasting from my stereo as I was headed to the beach.

Over the past two years, Pinhead Gunpowder had kind of become my go-to band for a Summer soundtrack. I picked up the Carry The Banner record earlier this Summer, and was hoping to expand the collection a bit more.

Last year I discovered that Pinhead Gunpowder did a split with Dillinger Four. It didn't seem to show up from US sellers too often, so I threw it up on my Discogs Wantlist, and played the waiting game.

A month after picking up Carry The Banner, I got a notice the the split with Dillinger Four was available, and the timing was perfect for me to swoop in and grab it.

I've always loved D4, but it was cool to find that this split had a couple of songs that I'd never heard. 17 years after their release, here I am giving the songs their first spin on my turntable and hearing them for the first time.

These songs are great...with all the energy and attitude that you would expect from the classic D4 years. Funny how I discovered this record by hunting down Pinhead Gunpowder stuff, but now, this is tempting me to add some Dillinger Four vinyl to the collection.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Waste Punishment

After busting out a new Thrash album every couple of years since 2003, Municipal Waste has been quiet since 2012's Fatal Feast. There may have been five years of silence, but band members have kept busy with other projects...and with Iron Reagan releasing a new record earlier this year, I really wasn't expecting a new slab of wax from Municipal Waste.

This record was a blind buy. Hell, I didn't even dick around with the video that was released for Breathe Grease...no need for preview...I figured that I'd dive into the full album once it arrived. A new Waste record is always welcome in my collection, and Slime And Punishment does not disappoint. Full on thrash.

I'm not normally a splatter vinyl guy, but this green and yellow pressing is a perfect match with the album cover. 500 pressed.