Friday, August 17, 2018

This Is Boston, Not UK

The Born Again album was a large hole in my Black Sabbath collection. When I saw Doug post about the record four years ago, it became obvious which pressing I was going to need...the UK Vertigo pressing with those custom labels.

I had actually bought a copy though Discogs a couple years ago, but even though it was listed as a UK pressing, it turned out to be a Dutch pressing with the Vertigo UFO labels. Nope. That was not going to cut it. It was pretty cheap, so I didn't make a fuss, and I just gave it to a friend that wasn't concerned with the pressing info...but it still left me without a copy in my collection.

The album is easy enough to track down, but I kept dragging my feet on actually grabbing one. I got tired of the procrastination and added the record to my Top Wants of 2018 list, hoping it would finally push me to make a move and buy one. No matter how great I think Born Again is, or how many moves I made to keep this on my radar, seven months into 2018, it was still sitting there on my Want List. I'd picked up the mission again, and started looking around for a copy recently...and then Marcus unexpectedly came to the rescue, and delivered one right into my hands.

Marcus was overcoming a serious fear of flying, and was making a trip from the UK to spend a couple weeks visiting the US. His first stop was Boston, and I was looking forward to finally meeting him in person. We've had this online/blog relationship for probably over eight years now, so it was great to finally connect face to face, meet his girlfriend, and spend some time hanging out and doing some records shopping.

We arranged to meet in Boston Common, and I had his copy of the new Battle Ruins LP that I'd picked up for him, and he surprised me with a small gift...the UK Vertigo pressing of Born Again. So happy to be able to finally cross this off the list, and to have it hand delivered from a friend in the UK made it even better.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Gruesome Prayers

Gruesome are a straight up tribute to Chuck Schuldiner and his band Death. They aren't trying to break new ground...they are just creating music that fits into the footprint left behind by Death...and they nail it. I loved the first three Death albums back in the late 80's, so what Gruesome offer here is just what I look for in a Death Metal band. I'm not sure how much longer the band can keep up with this routine, but I'm on board for another record.

That Repka art work looks amazing, and with the green camo labels that are an obvious nod to Combat Records, I had to go with the black vinyl pressing. Colored vinyl with those old school camo labels just didn't make sense in my head.

Twisted Prayers is another ripper that recalls those best early Death albums.

When I was ordering Twisted Prayers, I had the urge to pick up a Gruesome t-shirt as well...because you know, I can't have too many metal shirts that will make my wife cringe when I wear them in public.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Graveyard Peace

Graveyard had a solid run of albums with their self titled debut (2007), Hisingen Blues (2011), and Lights Out (2012), but I could never fully get on board with Innocence & Decadence (2015). The album wasn't terrible, but there were a couple of songs that just had too much R&B influence for my tastes, and it kind of ruined the album for me. When the band announced in 2016 that they were splitting up, I was glad. If Innocence & Decadence was the new direction, I'd rather they just split.

The band managed to stay broken up for almost a full three months before they announced their reunion. Shit. Now I was going to have to pay attention to them again...most likely getting my hopes up with a new album, only to deal with the disappointment of the new music not coming close to their classic albums.

Fast forward about six months, and Graveyard posted a video for their new single, Please Don't, and I was suddenly very interested in the new album. I don't know what it was, but I had a very good feeling about what they would deliver. All that hesitation and low expectations were washed away with that one song, and Peace was suddenly one of my most anticipated albums for the year.

I fucking love this record. It is pretty rare for me to listen to the same record more than once in a day, but with Peace, I can't help but queue it up for repeat spins.

I am loving that splatter vinyl look for this pressing. Limited to 350 for the US pressing.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Line Of Sight

When I first heard the Line Of Sight demo back in 2015, it didn't really hold my attention, and I was quickly moving on to other things. Give me a break, man. Iron Maiden and Slayer had just released new albums, so I already had my plate full.

When Youngblood announced earlier this year that they were releasing a new Line Of Sight 7 inch, I figured that maybe I'd give the band another try. I mean, that demo from a couple years ago had a lot of hype, so maybe I just needed to revisit it with a fresh frame of mind.

I've been very happy with some of the new Hardcore records that have been released this year, so with that mindset, I found that the Line Of Sight demo fit right in with what I've been listening to lately. I loved it and quickly placed my order with Youngblood for the new 7 inch.

Oh hell yes. This record is great. Youngblood delivers again.

100 pressed on purple vinyl. 200 pressed on clear, and 250 on black vinyl.

When I was placing my order with Youngblood, the purple vinyl option was sold out. If I wanted it, I would need to spring for the pre-order package which included all three pressings, plus a t-shirt. All I really wanted was the two colored vinyl options, but instead I walked away with the full package...just so I could get the limited purple. What's an extra $24 just so that I could get what I wanted?

Refused Records out of Europe took the new Dissent EP, combined it with the demo songs, and released them together as a 12 inch. Line Of Sight received a number of copies, and in an effort to avoid overseas shipping costs, I ordered one direct from the band.

The sleeve on this is glossy as fuck, and really captures every one of my greasy fingerprints.

Cool just to have those demo songs on vinyl. 314 pressed on black vinyl.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Youngblood Final Pressing

The past couple of years have seen me cutting way back on buying multiple pressings for new Hardcore records. This year though...those old habits are sneaking back in every now and then. One of the labels that I'm still a sucker for is Youngblood, and when they posted some "final pressings" for a couple of their releases, I was adding them to my cart like an addict having a relapse.

The 7 inch that Youngblood released a few years ago from Disengage is great. The damn thing is only 5 minutes long, but it is still pure Hardcore fury. I had no problem adding another copy to the collection.

120 pressed on black vinyl with this special cover.

On paper, I absolutely love No Tolerance. They play fast and angry, and are unapologetically straight edge...everything that I look for in a Hardcore band as I celebrate my 48th birthday. Still, I find that I just never really reach for their records, and I'm not sure why that is. Someone needs to reach out to me weekly with a reminder that says "Listen To More No Tolerance".

150 pressed on clear vinyl with hand stamped labels.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Thoughts Are Things

I was slow to check out Discrepancy, and ended up missing out on the colored vinyl for their demo 7 inch. I was surprised with how good that record was, and was kicking myself for missing out on the more limited vinyl. I was not going to make the same mistake when Youngblood posted preorders for the band's newest release.

Discrepancy fly the flag of Orange County Hardcore, and man, they sound like they came from that scene circa 1988. These songs bring to mind the days of No For An Answer, Uniform Choice, and a few times I was thinking that a couple of these songs would fit on the Words To Live by comp from New Age. Great stuff.

100 pressed on red vinyl, and 200 pressed on clear.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Rebirth Of Slick

It is a pretty rare occasion for me to listen to hip hop these days. At one point, I enjoyed the style, but it all got old rather quick, and at the end of the day, I just prefer guitar riffs over sampled beats. However, it seems that once a year, when the weather is warming up, and we move from Spring to Summer, I'm hit with the urge to dust off some old hip hop CDs that I have on the shelf and chill.

Earlier this year, I was heading out for a 10 mile training run, and I wanted something fresh for my playlist...something to take my mind off the miles, and I could just lose myself in the music. It was going to be a great Spring morning, and I thought that hip hop would fit the mood and do the job. I added an album from Digable Planets and A Tribe Called Quest to my phone, popped in my earbuds, and started running.

Those albums, with their jazzy beats and old school flows were perfect for what I was looking for, and set the pace for a nice relaxing run. I loved it so much that I was soon checking what vinyl options were available.The original 1993 vinyl pressing for the Digable Planets album, Reachin' (A New Refutation Of Time And Space), was averaging in the $100 range, and I wasn't interested in going that deep, but I found that preorders were up for a reissue on colored vinyl, and I quickly placed my order.

I was riding a hip hop high when I placed the order, and had ideas that it was going to be my music of choice for my runs...but that only lasted a few days before I got bored, and I was back to a punk rock playlist. Still I'm glad to have this record in the collection, as it is probably in my top five favorite hip hop albums of all time.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Taurus Slain

It has been five goddamn years since the release of the debut Age Of Taurus LP. As the years ticked by, I was starting to become certain that it was going to be the only testament to this killer Doom band out of the UK.

That first Age Of Taurus album was so damn good, and it grew on me like crazy. The only reason that it didn't make my Top 10 for 2013 was because there was so much great Metal being released that year...so it was with high expectations that I jumped in to check out the new song that was released back in April.

I don't know if it was because I was listening to lots of newer Hardcore at the time, but the new Age Of Taurus just didn't really excite me. Still, when Rise Above posted the album for preorder, I went for the most expensive and most limited option. The gamble paid off, because this album has really grown on me with each listen. Definitely one of my favorites of the year thus far.

100 pressed on clear vinyl for the Die Hard edition.

The Die Hard pressing comes with a bonus one sided 7 inch that contains an exclusive song.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Seven Inch High

Five years ago, Painkiller released the Get High demos to vinyl. That shit hooked me as soon as I'd heard the first song, and I listened to that record repeatedly that year.

Shortly after that Painkiller release, I discovered that the band had also released a 7 inch back in 2000 that I'd never heard before. I repeatedly searched soulseek, in an attempt to find and listen to those songs. Soulseek very rarely lets me down, but in this case, it failed to deliver. It seemed that the only way I was going to be able to check out these songs was to just take the chance and buy the record. I hit up Discogs, only to find that there weren't any available, and one hadn't been sold through the marketplace in the last three years. Fuck. I threw it on my Discogs Want List, and had to wait.

About a year later, I finally got the notification that someone had a copy of the 7 inch for sale, and I jumped on it...notching the highest price the record had seen on the site...at a staggering $5.

Even though I was damn excited to get my hands on this, I will say that it does not live up to the expectations set by that demo LP from Painkiller. These songs are still pretty cool, and have the full spirit of a Hardcore band not interested in sounding like anyone else, and just doing their own thing. Still good, even though it was released in 2000, the sound sits firmly in the mid-90's.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Vantage Point

There has been some great new Hardcore released this year, and it was cool to see Boston's Vantage Point get in the game as well.

Over the past couple of years, Vantage Point have issued a demo and a promo cassette...and this 7 inch collects those five songs. Nothing new here from the band, but it is great to finally have these songs on vinyl.

100 pressed on blue vinyl with the preorder cover.

Musically, Vantage Point check all the right boxes for me. Youthful straight edge that is exactly what I'm looking for. The hype compares them to all kinds of classic bands, but I'm just going to say that they would have been a perfect fit with what REACT! was doing a few years ago.

120 on blue vinyl with the regular cover.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

UK Stranglehold

A couple of years ago, I was first introduced to the UK Subs, and immediately fell in love with their first album, Another Kind Of Blues. The blue vinyl looked amazing, and soon I was interested in their colored vinyl singles. I grabbed the single for Tomorrows Girls, and threw a couple on to my Discogs want list. Two years later, I'm finally pulling the trigger.

All of the songs on the Stranglehold single ended up on the band's first album, so there wasn't really anything new here, but I believe that these songs are from a different recording session. The song Stranglehold is such a great and catchy tune.

Looking good on red vinyl.

Another UK Subs single that I picked up was for She's Not There. A cover song from the The Zombies out of the 60's, the UK Subs inject it with a shot of punk attitude. The song Kicks is from the UK Subs second album, Brand New Age, but everything else here is exclusive to this 7 inch. Definitely worth grabbing.

Green vinyl. These colors look so good that I've got an itch to chase some more of them. Maybe I'll get around to that in two more years.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Army Life

I've got a lot of new 2018 releases waiting in the wings, and ready to blog about here, but before we get to all that, let's hit up a few older 7 inches that I've grabbed recently...and by "recently" I mean a couple months ago, because I've been slow as fuck in keeping this blog updated.

A few years ago, I picked up a few punk singles, and it ignited a spark to start chasing down some of those classics. I picked up a few of them over the following years, but it had been a while since I'd made any moves on my collection for The Exploited. I've been watching my Discogs want list for the Army Life 7 inch for a while now, and it got to the point where I just wanted to cross it off my list.

As those early punk bands have a reputation of not being able to play their instruments, these songs are catchy as fuck, and hook me every time I hear them. So good.

This single was another winner for me, as I'd never heard Fuck The Mods. I mean, it isn't that great of an Exploited song, but it was cool to finally discover it all these years later.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Delayed Aggression

Back in 2015 I took a chance on a band called Aggression Pact. I'd never heard of them before, but since they were on Painkiller Records, I figured that I'd roll the dice. The gamble paid off, and that 7 inch became one of the best surprises that year.

When I was in the Painkiller store picking up the Deadlock record, I noticed that they also had an Aggression Pact 7 inch that I wasn't familiar with. When was this released, and how did I not hear anything about it? Without hesitation, I grabbed a copy.

Apparently, back in early 2017, Aggression Pact released this second Hardcore attack, and it took me a year to notice. Shame that more people aren't losing their minds over this record.

200 pressed on coke bottle clear vinyl, and somehow still available at Painkiller.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Locked In

Life moves fast. Work is busy...the kids are stressing me out...I'm trying to find time to squeeze in a run to keep up my training and don't crash and burn during some of the big races that I have coming up...plus I want to set aside some time to chill with a book and listen to records. There is so much going on every day, it can be difficult to keep up. At some point during a hectic day, I was tipped off to the new Deadlock record that Painkiller was releasing. I can't even fucking remember who brought them to my attention, and I had no idea who Deadlock was, but with 30 seconds to spare I checked out the bandcamp page to give it a preview.

Once I realized that Tom from Violent Reaction was involved, and I heard that familiar ripping Hardcore sound, I was adding a copy to my cart. This shit is the real deal.

500 pressed on black vinyl, with half of them getting red covers, and the other half getting yellow.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Live At Little Elephant

Little Elephant is a studio that a couple of dudes set up in their living room. Bands come in, play a few songs live, and the Little Elephant guys record them, and release the videos to youtube and do a short run on vinyl using their lathe cut machine.

Checking out the Little Elephant had me a little underwhelmed, with really nothing catching my attention...until Iron Chic recorded a session there.

While I don't generally have much interest in Hardcore/Punk bands live records, the premise of Little Elephant seemed unique and cool enough...and since I'm a huge fan of Iron Chic, I figured that I'd jump in for this one.

Each record is hand cut on their machine in real time, and the process seems to really be a labor of love. A total DIY project from guys that just enjoy what they are doing.

Each record is hand numbered, in sequential order, so it looks like I was the 14th person to order the Iron Chic record.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Glorious Dead Lay Under Blue Vinyl Waves

I'm starting to think that you have to belong to some kind of secret society to have access to preorders for Battle Ruins first pressings. Whenever this band releases a new record, I feel like I'm a few months late to the party, and the record label is already working on the second pressing. That's cool though, because I'm of the opinion that the colored vinyl second pressings look amazing, and I'd prefer them to the black vinyl first press.

The first LP for Battle Ruins knocked my socks off. I certainly wasn't expecting it, but that album became one of my favorites from 2014, so I was quite excited for their follow up this year. Glorious Dead does not disappoint. Anthemic and heavy...this album gets my head banding and fist pounding right out of the gates. Another winner.

Limited to 500 on blue vinyl for the second pressing, and just a few months after it's release, it is already averaging a price tag over $50 on Discogs. So glad that I was able to grab one from the label before they were gone!

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Clone Of The Universe

Earlier this year, I was pretty focused on Hardcore, and didn't really focus on much else. I was pretty excited with Fu Manchu a few years ago, but being stuck in a recent Hardcore obsession, I found it difficult to show much interest when it was announced that the band would have a new album out this year. I took a half-assed listen to the new song they posted from Clone Of The Universe, and I quickly moved on. Meh. It wasn't doing much for me.

Fast forward a few months, and grabbed a download of the album...just because I'd hoped things would click when I was finally in that mood. Sure enough, as I was catching up on the new shit from 2018, Fu Manchu hit the spot with those fuzzed out summertime vibes.

The first side on this record is amazing. Great songs, and exactly what I'm looking for from Fu Manchu...the second side though has me struggling a bit. The 18 minute song isn't bad, it just seems like a bit of a jam, and that's not really my thing and I lose some interest. Worth it for those six songs on the A side though.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Another Step

The plan was to stay on task, and knock out a bunch of posts for this month. I've got a good 30 records waiting in the wings, and I'm so far behind on the blog, it ain't funny...but I still managed to drag my feet, and had to scramble at the end of the month to barely get my post count to ten.

Okay...I'm going to get serious for July. I've got a ton of shit to post here, and I've got to try and get things under control.

My collection for The First Step is goddamn solid when it comes to the What We Know album and Connection EP...but for everything else, it is fucking pitiful. I made a move to correct this back in 2011 when I grabbed the blue vinyl pressing for the demo, and now seven years later, I'm finally taking another step.

As I was picking up another piece for the One Up collection, I noticed that the Discogs seller had a red vinyl copy of The First Step demo available as well. I'd been buying a string of cheap records lately, and made the impulse decision to step things up and finally cross this one off the Want List.

Second pressing on red vinyl. Limited to 200.