Saturday, December 29, 2007

Music, Sweet Music

This Christmas holiday came and went, I pulled in a pretty good amount of gift cards for Newbury Comics. I lose all track of time when I go into this store, browsing through all the CD's, agonizing over which ones I will buy. I'm not sure if it is a case of Newbury's not carrying a lot of hardcore and punk CD's that I'm interested in, or maybe it is just that I have been interested more and more in metal, and I've really been looking to replace those old burned CD's with the real deal. Either way, when I walk through the doors, I head straight to the Metal section.
The first thing that I knew I wanted was a Witchfinder General double live album. It was a bit expensive for $27, but the packaging on this was worth it....nice thick packaging including a big book that covers the history of the band and has some nice big photos of their early days. The band was around when the New Wave of British Heavy Metal started to take off at the start of the 80's, and really captured a great Black Sabbath sound. Sure the band is a little immature lyrically, and don't forget those album covers that showcased plenty of bare chested women. But you know what, that is all just a part of their charm.
For the next half hour, I wandered the store...pulling out CD's and then putting them back...trying to make decision on what two CD's I was going to buy. I had the new Soul Control in my hands, but ended up putting that back since I already have it on vinyl (maybe I'll pick it up some time when I see them live), and debated in my head over about 5 other CD's and ended up buying new CD's from Evile and Fueled by Fire...both newer thrash bands that really draw their influence from the mid-80's thrash sound. Cool stuff and now I can toss out those CDR's that I had for each of them.
Still have one more gift card, that I'm already planning on spending on Monday. So much music, so little money.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Possessed and Bonded By Metal

I was really surprised when Reflections Records started an offshoot of their hardcore record label to release some metal vinyl. I wasn't interested in their first record, but I was excited for releases two and three. Back in June, they sent out a newsletter saying that they were re-releasing two classic thrash albums with Bonded By Blood from Exodus and Seven Churches from Possessed, each one limited to 500 each. It took the label forever to finally get this vinyl out. By August, I was getting so impatient that I emailed them, and got a note back saying that they were hoping to have the pre-orders up in October, and then they still didn't get them up until the end of November. Wow, the wait was worth it for both of these classics. Nice thick vinyl, and awesome looking gatefold packaging. Exodus were the real of the original leaders of the Bay Area thrash movement...unfortunately they never really pulled it all together and were left in the dust as Metallica and Slayer moved on to conquer the world. But, man, that first album still overflows with such thrash intensity, and raw power, it is easily recognized as a classic. This was a movement set out to push Metal music to extreme limits for extreme speed and shocking lyrical content, with Exodus covering all the bases with songs like A Lesson in Violence, Bonded By Blood, and Strike of the Beast, with original singer Paul Baloff snarls and spits out such vocals as "If you got something to say, then come my way, I'm guarded by Satan.". Totally over the top for the 1984 release date. Possessed push the envelope even further come 1985 with their first release, as they portray a more Satanic image. Definitely not for the faint of heart with their extreme sound of thrashing guitars and growling vocals. Larry Lalonde plays guitar on this record, well before moving on to the more quirky stylings of Primus.