Monday, October 15, 2018

Strange Highways

One of my prouder blogging moments was my string of "Dio-cember" posts last year, where I filled a couple major holes in the collection, and picked up a few oddball promo records. That string of records was so much fun to chase, and taking the group photo of my Dio collection laid out on display felt like a major accomplishment...even though it was still incomplete.

I was only missing a few big ticket records from the Dio collection...Strange Highways, Magica, and Heaven & Hell Live From Radio City Music Hall. There are a few others that I need, like some early singles, but those three command higher price tags...and it feels great to cross one of them off the list.

Some people only hang with Dio through the Sacred Heart album, or maybe stick it out through Dream Evil from 1987...I know that was my position for the longest time...but you are missing out if you are still stuck in that mindset. Dio had some amazing albums when metal started to fall apart in the 90's, and Strange Highways is one of my favorites.

1993 was not a friendly time for vinyl, and many record companies were only releasing CDs, so Strange Highways only saw a European release on wax...therefore, it can cost you some good money to get your hands on a copy. Although, after I picked up this copy, there was a reissue campaign for Dio's catalog from Holy Diver through Strange Highways, so maybe that will drive the price down for the original pressings. Either way, I'm just happy to finally own a first press for this.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Remission To Believe

There was a time when I was all about Remission, and would get wild when it came to collecting every pressing that I could get my hands on. It has been over five years since they released the Pain Understood 7 inch, and I was surprised to see that they were still around when React Records announced preorders for a new album. Damn. I was initially underwhelmed with the last Remission 7 inch, and while I did grow to enjoy it, with so much time having passed, I wondered if the band could still deliver.

Without a doubt, this is a strong hardcore album. Remission have not missed a beat, and keep going with their Verbal Assault influenced sound...although this time around, I get a little Jon Bunch/Reason To Believe flavor here and there...even that screaming face on the cover is reminiscent of Reason To Believe.

Here I am buying Remisison records from React. It feels like it's 2010 all over again, and that put me in the mood to buy multiple copies.

150 pressed on white colored vinyl, and 350 on red.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Orange Goblin Bites Back

2018 has felt relatively strong when it comes to new releases. Across both metal and hardcore, there are records that I keep queuing up for repeat spins, so yeah, it has been a lot of fun buying new records this year. There have been a number of new albums that I've been really excited for, and the new Orange Goblin certainly was one of the top on that list.

First of all, the packaging of this album is fucking stellar, even though it is damn impossible to get a good photo with that UV spot print and the reflective foil wolfs head. Still it looks amazing. Second, this album is a rager. I love all the Orange Goblin records, and The Wolf Bites Back is no exception.

Another 2018 release to fit into the Top 10 for the year.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Doomsday Catacombs

When bands reunite after calling quits 30 years prior, I don't hold out much hope that they are going to rekindle any of the original magic, or release anything close to what they were doing previously. Surprisingly, Satan was able to do just that, and the two albums they released in 2013 (Life Sentence) and 2015 (Atom By Atom) were a couple of my favorite metal albums from the last five years.

When I heard that Satan was releasing their third album since reuniting, you can bet that I was ready to jump and get my order in as soon as it was available. To prime the metalheads for what is to come, the band released a 7 inch single in advance of the album.

Man, these songs are great, with The Doomsday Clock coming from the new album, and the b-side, Catacombs, being exclusive to this 7 inch.

Of course this is 2018, so labels are required to flood the market with colored vinyl, and this single was released with four different color options. Red vinyl was available from Metal Blade, and hand numbered out of 200.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Shadowlands

Four years ago, I first heard Mos Generator when they released their Electric Mountain Majesty album. That album was huge for me, and I spent the next couple of years obsessed with the band, and ate up every split and 7 inch they released until their next full length album, Abyssinia, dropped.

I've cooled off on the band since the Abyssinia album...I mean it was still a great record, but the band was getting overplayed in my playlist, so I put them on the back burner for a little bit.

Tony Reed has to be one of the hardest working dudes in Heavy Rock music. I mean, Mos Generator has basically had a new release every year since 2012, and he has no signs of slowing down...and he keeps the fire burning with the release of Shadowlands.

I was a bit underwhelmed with Shadowlands when I first gave it a spin, but I think that was because I was getting dragged down by the seven and a half minute album closer, The Wild And Gentle Dogs, which falls a little flat for me. However, with repeat listens, I'm really digging all the other songs here, and some of them are some nice heavy hitters. Great stuff.

One of my favorite things about the Mos Generator records is the story that is included for each song, explaining the song writing and recording process. I geek out over this cool behind the scenes insight.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Bootleg Fugitive

I love Iron Maiden bootlegs, so when I was recently in the Shadow Kingdom webstore, and scrolling through the list of Maiden records available, I hit the brakes hard when I came across a couple of record covers that weren't from their regular catalog. While these weren't the live bootlegs that I was hoping for, they still held my attention enough for me to drop one of the two into my cart before checking out.

The two albums were from the No Prayer For The Dying and Fear Of The Dark era. Nothing really special here, and they just capture the b-side to the singles from those albums. The first one, titled The Assassin, captured the cover songs that Iron Maiden released between 1990 and 1992, but I went for The Fugitive, which is a bunch of live b-sides...and I was itching for some live Maiden.

The majority of the songs on this record are live recordings from the No Prayer For The Dying and Fear Of The Dark albums, which just happen to be the two Iron Maiden albums that I pay the least amount of attention to. Seriously. I listen to the two Blaze Bayley albums more than these two. Which isn't to say that I don't like those records, I just really love Iron Maiden, and when things shake out, something has to end up on the bottom.

However, listening to these live versions of those songs has me all excited to reach into my collection and listen to those studio albums very soon.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Haunted Eyes

There may have still been snow on the ground when I first started hearing about Haunt earlier this year. I had no clue about this band, but I made some assumptions based on the posts I was seeing on Instagram, and thinking they were Death Metal, I ignored them.

Months later, I discovered that Haunt is basically a project from Trevor William Church, who fronts the Doom band, Beastmaker, that did a couple of albums with Rise Above Records. When I heard that Haunt was to have more of a traditional metal sound, I finally gave in and grabbed a download to check them out.

The Luminous Eyes EP is only four songs long, and it is a great introduction to a cool new band.

While I missed the boat on the first pressing, I was okay with the colored vinyl option for the second press. 300 pressed on orange and white vinyl.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Midnight Highway

While I walked into one of my local record stores with the expectations that I wasn't going to find anything of interest, I somehow managed to walk out with four albums and around a $60 charge on my credit card. Sometimes, even I'm amazed at this incredible talent that I have. I don't even have to work at it or doing any kind of training...I'm basically a natural at this shit.

I bought this Accept album basically because I'd never seen this cover before. I recognized a few of the song titles, but I really wasn't sure what this was, so for $8, I figured that I'd just buy it and find out the details later.

Basically, this Midnight Highway record is a compilation of songs from the first three Accept records. The first two albums from Accept have the band still trying to find their identity, and they really started to pull it together with their third record, Breaker. This comp really shows the difference in sound, with those songs from Breaker definitely holding a harder edge...even though the version of Son Of A Bitch is the weak and watered down censored "Born To Be Whipped" version that the band recorded for uptight British and American record labels.

Overall, this is a cool snapshot of those early Accept years...even if it is completely unnecessary.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Another Bronze Day

I've long held dreams about collecting the UK Bronze pressings for the early Motorhead records. It was a great feeling to add my first piece to the collection with Ace Of Spades a couple years ago, but all has been shamefully quiet on the Motorhead front since then.

Imagine my surprise when I was recently flipping through the used bins at one of the local record stores in town, and I stumbled upon a vinyl copy of Another Perfect Day. When I saw it, I assumed it was the US pressing on Mercury, but after slipping the vinyl out of the sleeve and noticing the Bronze labels, I quickly added it to my growing pile of records that I was going to have to buy.

The 1983 release of Another Perfect Day was an odd time for Motorhead. Fast Eddie was out of the band, and Brian Robertson was on board after leaving Thin Lizzy. It would seem like an odd pairing, especially with Robertson's silk shorts and headbands, and Motorhead took a bit of shit at the time for it, but goddamn, this album holds up. I don't really listen to this one that often, but after giving it a spin today, I'm going to need to make sure this one gets some regular rotations into the playlist. So fucking good.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

A Catalogue Of Destruction

Outside of the Metal Massacre series, I've never really been interested in collecting older Metal comps...but after Doug started talking up the Speed Kills records, and I grabbed a copy of the first one earlier this year, I thought that it might be fun to casually chase the rest of them.

While I wasn't exactly in a rush to pick up more from the Speed Metal series, I was pretty damn excited to find a copy of record number three at a local record store. I mean I never would have expected to find a copy in the wild, it a small little used record store in Portland, Maine. Of all the things to stumble across while flipping through the racks, I would have never guessed that this would be it.

Released in 1987, Speed Kills III contains another roster of great thrash bands from the day. Most of the stuff, like Possessed, Death Angel, Nuclear Assault and Dark Angel, I was already familiar with, but there were a couple of bands like English Dogs and Sacrilege that I'd never heard before...so it was funny to finally be introduced to them on a comp that is over 30 years old.

I love the comments for each band. Sorry, I still don't understand the attraction to Bathory.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Back For More

Ever since I picked up that Ratt and Dokken vinyl during my Record Store Day haul, I've kind of been obsessing over both bands. Seriously. I think that I've listened to Ratt and Dokken more this year than I have for the past 20 years combined...add to the fact that a German pressing of Breakin' the Chains is currently at the top of my mental Want List, and that is saying something about how deep I've gotten myself.

I've seen the first Ratt 12 inch in the record stores around town over the years, but I've never really been drawn to grab a copy...until now. As I was killing some time in Portland recently, I stopped into a small used record store. I really wasn't planning on buying anything, I was just using it to fill some time until I met a friend for dinner. As soon as I saw the Ratt EP, I knew that I was going to walk out of the store with it.

This record is some pretty solid early 80's Metal. Goddamn. I might never get out of this hair metal hole I've dug for myself. I can see why they were picked to be included on the original Metal Massacre comp from Metal Blade Records. 80's forever.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Leave Me In Hell

At the start of the year, I was obsessing pretty hard for the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. I was listening to it non-stop, reading books on the subject, and searching out hidden gems that I'd never heard before. I couldn't get enough and soon I was on the hunt for some big NWOBHM vinyl wins. I came out hot, and grabbed a few heavy hitters with Quartz, Blitzkrieg and the first Venom album. To be honest, I dropped a lot of money real quick, and I wasn't able to fully sustain that momentum, and I backed off the NWOBHM hunt.

As we were moving into summer, I found myself with a little money in my Paypal account, and I wanted to invest in back into another great record. While my NWOBHM obsession had cooled off, I still found that I wanted to knock out another heavy hitter.

Once again I found myself returning to Neat Records and Venom. I was so happy when I grabbed a copy of Welcome To Hell earlier this year, and I decided to chase Venom's second album, Black Metal, as well. It's funny...through the years, I've figured that Neat Records early pressings for Venom were probably outside my price range, but after buying a few other big ticket items these past couple of years, when I finally started checking prices for Venom albums, I kind of just shrugged my shoulders and thought, "Well, that price isn't too bad". They certainly don't come cheap...especially if you want one in good condition, but I guess that the years have dulled my reservation about throwing this much money at records, and here, I didn't hesitate.

Man, with the black cover, I figured it was going to be impossible to find a copy without a ton of ring wear. This copy looks absolutely stunning, and I couldn't be more happy.

I wasn't able to find a copy of Welcome To Hell that included the poster, so when I saw that this copy of Black Metal came with one, I was pretty excited. These things don't seem to show up very often, so I consider myself fortunate to have one.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

But Wait... There's More

D.R.I. released a new 7 inch, But Wait...There's More, back in 2016. It had been twenty years since the last D.R.I. record, so I was a little hesitant to see if the band could deliver. The singer had released an album with the Pasadena Napalm Division a few years earlier, and I found it pretty boring, so I did not have high hopes with a new D.R.I. EP.

I downloaded the songs and gave them a quick listen. Of the five songs, two of them were new recordings of D.R.I. classics Couch Slouch and Mad Man. Seriously? What is the point of this other than total filler. I was so put off by this, that I lost interest and after a few spins, and I moved on.

Earlier this year, the songs from this 7 inch came up in my 2016 playlist, and much to my surprise, I was really digging them. Sure the two new recordings are a waste, but the three new songs are a lot of fun.

I checked out Discogs and Beer City Records has a store there, and were selling copies of the record. The price was low and it made it an easy decision to grab one.

Of course this had to be pressed on 100 different colors. Who the fuck cares?

While I was buying some D.R.I. vinyl from Beer City, I remembered that they did a Record Store Day release a few years ago. I was thinking it was the live set from the Ritz in '87, but checking around, I found they did the CBGBs set from '84 for RSD in 2015. That's cool. For $10, I figured that I'd check that out too.

40 songs in 40 minutes. D.R.I. in their prime!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Three Strikes

It has been a few years since I've been sucked into buying multiple copies of a record. That game kind of got played out for me, and it stopped being fun to chase different colored vinyl for the same record...but I've start to slip on that commitment this year as I've found myself hunting down additional copies of older records, and feeling compelled to grab some multiple copies of newer releases.

I don't know why I'm doing it, since I get more of a kick out of concentrating on filling the more serious holes in my collection...but I guess I still find some joy in collecting multiple copies for some bands as I keep finding myself drawn to it.

I absolutely loved the Ecostrike 7 inch from last year...I mean, this record is basically like time travelling back to the 90's, drawing some fat X's on your hands, and catching Earth Crisis and Strife down at the local YMCA. When Triple B reissued the record this year, I couldn't resist grabbing a couple more pieces of colored vinyl for it.

By the time that I realized that preorders were up for the record, I was already too late, and missed the purple vinyl pressing. Ugh. Still, I grabbed the green vinyl (300 pressed) and the clear vinyl (600 pressed).

For the new Ecostrike LP that was released earlier this year, there were 200 pressed each of black vinyl and some crazy electric blue with red splatter design. I thought the splatter looked like shit, so I opted for the black vinyl. Now that I'm toying with the idea of buying multiple pressings, no one is putting up the splatter design for less that $40 on Discogs, while you can buy the black vinyl for $20. Kids love their colored vinyl.

Anyway, while I was buying the reissue of the 7 inch, I figured that I'd waste more money and buy another copy of the LP. Pink vinyl limited to 800.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Witchskull's Will

I first heard about Witchskull a few years ago. I'm pretty sure that Chris over at Unwavering Spirit posted about their first record, but since Wordpress is kind of shitty, I really don't have a way to search his blog to confirm that. Oh well, let's just go with the story about Chris introducing me to them. Anyway, I downloaded a copy of The Vast Electric Dark, and while I enjoyed it, I didn't really spend much time with it, as it was competing pretty heavily with some other new music that I had coming in at the time. When it was announced earlier this year that they were releasing their second album Coven's Will on Rise Above Records, suddenly I was interested to check them out again.

There was a time when I went crazy with Rise Above releases. It didn't matter what it was, I was jumping in and throwing a lot of money at the most limited, die hard pressings. Grabbing the new Age Of Taurus earlier this year, and now the new Witchskull, has me doing Doom-flashbacks to those days. I'm not getting in over my head this time around though, as the label has a number of new releases that are not doing anything for me, so we'll keep things low key with just those two records for now.

Witchskull have a nice doomy stoner sound going on here, and the album is a good listen when I want that kind of thing.

100 pressed on clear vinyl.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Welcome To The 3rd Floor

Last year I went on a tear with albums from 1987. It was the 30 year anniversary for a number of great records from my teen years, and I had a blast buying a bunch of them for the first time on vinyl. I've been wanting to do the same thing this year for 1988, but for one reason or another, I haven't been able to get focus on that goal, and I'm all over the fucking map.

Still, when I took a quick walk through my 1988 playlist earlier this summer, that second Death Angel album sunk its hooks in me. I'd forgotten how great this album is, and I quickly had it queued it up for repeat listens. It was an obvious glaring omission from my record collection, and I quickly set to remedy that.

The copy that I found on eBay included the original hype sticker.

I know that I enjoyed this album back when I first heard it in '88, but honestly, I don't think that I appreciated just how great and diverse this record really is. I mean, when you stack Frolic Through The Park next to what Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax were releasing that same year, Death Angel beats them all.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Ghost Macabre

With each release from Ghost, I've grown more and more resistant...pushing back and half expecting/half wanting to not like it. Each time I've been proven wrong, but still, when they were set to release their forth album, Prequelle, once again, I found myself feeling a bit jaded and ready to write them off.

While I was entertained by their new video for the song Rats, I initially wasn't feeling the song. I think it had to do with the singer doing his impression of Gene Kelly in Singing In The Rain, and the dancing in the streets image clashed with my expectations for a Metal band. I immediately reached out to Doug to gauge his impression, and he loved it (as I should have expected), so I didn't write it off completely, and I let things settle before revisiting it.

I came back to that video a few times, and while the dancing was still putting me off, I started to hear the song instead of just being drawn to the visuals, and you know, the song was actually pretty good. I've been enjoying a number of new albums this years, so I rolled the dice, and took a chance, preordering the record.

I was a bit underwhelmed at first, and I was getting caught up in some negative reviews, so I was initially lukewarm on the entire album...but just like Meliora, with each listen I find that I like the album more and more.

Let's not forget to mention how amazing this packaging is. The art is incredible and the 3D lenticular cover is cool as hell. This shit looks so good, you almost have to buy it just for the cover.

4,000 pressed on this great red with black smoke colored vinyl for the US, and it comes with a bonus 7 inch.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Live In Over-hausen

I'm not that big a fan of live albums, but I do love Overkill, so when preorders went up for Live at Overhausen, I felt obligated to pick up a copy of this two album set.

Back in 2016, Overkill played a show in Germany to celebrate the anniversary of their Feel The Fire and Horrorscope records, and were going to play those albums front to back in their entirety. I love these kinds of shows in a live setting, as you finally get to hear those deep tracks live, but I'm not sure how much we need that released as a live album. Still it's Overkill, so I couldn't resist.

Double albums for each set, and each was sold separately, so if you wanted both of them, you ended up with four pieces of vinyl. That's a lot of Overkill to commit to.

The packaging for these records isn't too exciting since the same insert is included with both albums, and the gatefold photo is the same as well. Thankfully they at least kept the back photo unique for the Feel The Fire and Horrorscope packages.

300 pressed on neon green vinyl for each.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

22 Going On 23

After picking up a small haul of records from the Armageddon Shop, and showing Marcus how disappointing Newbury Comics is these days, we decided to walk a couple miles through the blazing hot city to get some vegan ice cream. A little over halfway to our destination, we spotted another record store, Looney Tunes.

We had a quick discussion about if we should even bother stopping at this small hole in the wall. Since I had sweat dripping down my back, and the intense sun overhead was baking me on the sidewalk, we decided to take a break and at least enjoy some air conditioning.

We really had low expectations with this record store, and were prepared for the stacks upon stacks of old, beat up 70's records...but hidden within all this useless vinyl, we were shocked to stumble upon the occasional record for Botch and The Rival Mob. We had a laugh wondering who might stumble into this store to pick up the latest Botch reissue, but surprisingly, there was one record that really caught my eye.

A couple of years ago, I was surprised to find myself on a serious Butthole Surfers kick. I was listening to those early albums a ton, and I ended up grabbing a first press colored vinyl pressing of Psychic...Powerless because I was so obsessed. I wanted colored vinyl pressings for Rembrandt Pussyhorse and the Cream Corn EP, but then my infatuation cooled off, and I was running after something else. Since the Locust Abortion Technician album didn't see an colored vinyl pressing in the original run, and I found a first press copy at Looney Tunes, I didn't hesitate to grab it.

Locust Abortion Technician was the first Butthole Surfers album that I'd heard back in 1987, and they sound was so far off the wall that I loved it. The intro to Sweet Loaf is a classic, and is something that my brother and I will quote to each other to this day...and I've used the "A funny thing about regret is, it's better to regret something you have done, than something you haven't done" line as justification for some questionable choices throughout my adult life...so the record definitely made a lasting impression on me. While I don't think this is their strongest record, it does have the song Human Cannonball, which is one of my favorite Butthole Surfer songs ever, and 22 Going On 23, which may be one of the creepiest.