Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Revealed

Each year, I frantically spend the last couple of months trying to clean up my backlog of records I've received, and post as many of them as I can before we ring in the new year. Because of this, I tend to leave my year end summary until January 1st. Marcus gives me shit for it each year, telling me that it belongs on December 31st...and I guess that logically makes sense...so you win, Marcus...here is my End Of The Year post.

I love stats, and comparing my buying habits year to year, so let's get nerdy.

381 new records and CDs purchased for 2013. Of those, 169 of them were for music that I previously didn't own...so that means 56% of my purchases this year were for music that I already owned in one form or another. I can't decide if it was crazier to buy so many records that I already owned, or that I still managed to buy so much new music. Add in the 88 albums, EPs and demos that I downloaded for free, and that is a shit ton of new music.

Shit got out of control in 2012. I bought anything that I desired, and it stretched my savings account way too thin. I vowed that 2013 was going to be different. I was going to slow things down, and make better choices on what I was buying. Yeah, that appears to have lasted for three months, and then once we got to April, all forms of restraint were lost.

2013 wasn't as strong as the year before, but it was still no slouch.

I still picked up some killer records, and here is a list of my top 5 from this year.

1. Black Sabbath 'Vol. 4' UK Vertigo swirl labels - I never really expected to own any Vertigo swirl labels for Sabbath. Now that I have one, I want the other three.

2. Mindset test pressings for Leave No Doubt and the EP Collection. It would be unfair to pick one over the other, so they both tie for second place.

3. Chain Of Strength 'What Holds Us Apart' clear vinyl - I've got a small Chain collection, but I'm picking them off one at a time. Felt good to grab this copy.

4. Brotherhood 'No Tolerance For Ignorance' on red vinyl - Another classic that felt good to knock off the want list...plus Ron Brotherhood commented on my blog post, which was pretty cool as well.

5. Reveal 'Descent' number 1 - It may seem a bit silly to most people, that this record would make this list...sitting side by side with Chain and Brotherhood. I already had 5 copies of the numbered cover, but collecting this record is an obsession, and getting number one from Marcus was like a cool "I've got your back, bro" moment for record nerds.

I love making Top 10 lists. They are entirely pointless, and in most cases the only one that really cares about them is the one that put it together. I love looking back as the years pass, and checking out what was blowing my mind at the time.

Hardcore got off to a slow start this year, and I struggled to find anything new to listen to. As the months ticked by, I slowly started to find some strong releases that rejuvenated my faith in Hardcore.

As soon as it was released, a lot of people were talking about The Rival Mob album as the record of the year. While I toyed with giving the Red Hare LP the top spot, in the end, I had to go with the record that said the word "fuck" the most.

While Hardcore got off to a slow start, Metal dominated for the early part of 2013. New releases or old staples...it didn't matter, this year belonged to Metal. I bought more new releases on vinyl than I ever have, and I started buying some original pressings for those old thrash albums I listened to as a kid.

While I rarely get out to shows these days, I did find the time to check out Clutch live...twice. Great band and I never got tired of their new album this year...therefore, they get the top spot.

Because I love stats, I like to end each year by looking at what I spent the last 12 months listening to. No surprises, as the list reflects a few older bands, like Clutch, Fu Manchu, Grand Magus, and Orange Goblin, that I discovered, plus some of the new bands that I spent a lot of time with. Funny that not one Hardcore band made the top 5 this year.

So there you have it. My year end post. Thanks for hanging out for another year and watching how stupid I can get over records. Keep stopping by, and check out what gems 2014 brings to my collection.

Monday, December 30, 2013

No Hot Water Music Division

Trying to collect No Idea vinyl has got to be an exercise in patience. If you thought that there were too many pressings and variations for Have Heart, try making a run at a collection for anything on the No Idea label. Looking at the pressing info for the No Division LP from Hot Water Music, I count a total of 41 different pieces of colored vinyl. Of course some of those variations are incredibly low numbers, and would be impossible to obtain, but still...that would be a lot of vinyl to have to chase.

Thankfully, I'm not a huge Hot Water Music fan, and don't have to worry about such things. The band is okay, but they have never really excited me. The one exception is the No Division album. I don't know what it is, but that one Hot Water Music record is the only one that I can really get into. Nothing else really grabs me...but, man, that album is so much fun to listen to.

It had been a while since I'd listened to it, so I decided to give it a spin a few months back. Shortly after that, I found myself in the No Idea webstore picking up the new Black God record, and since I only owned that Hot Water Music album on CD, I decide to finally grab the vinyl for it as well.

I assume this is part of the 7th pressing from No Idea on pale green colored vinyl.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Through The Never

Sometimes, I don't even know why I do the things that I do. I'm not a huge fan of live albums, and rarely listen to them, but when Metallica announced that they were releasing a triple LP live recording to support their Through The Never movie, I found myself rushing to pick one up when they were made available. Why? I like everything Metallica has done...from Kill Em All through Death Magnetic...but the only live stuff that I really care about would be from the first few albums. Give me a shitty sounding Metallica bootleg from '84 over a nice new professional live recording any day.

So what would possess me to rush out to grab this new live album? It's got to be the packaging. Even though I'll probably listen to this no more than 10 times in my entire lifetime, this triple LP box set looked too good to pass up.

With the spot varnish finishing on the cover, it looks like the ink is still wet...plus the entire package gives the illusion that each one was individually painted and unique, even though they were most likely mass produced.

Each record comes packed in a white cardboard sleeve, that looks like it had been individually tagged with the stencil as well. Nice touch.

Red, white, and black vinyl completes the look.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Black Holes and Bleach

Over the summer, Fat Sandwich Records put up preorders for the new Enough record. I'd never heard of the label before, and didn't recognize any of the bands on their roster, so I grabbed my Enough records and got out.

When I received my Enough records, I found that Fat Sandwich had thrown in a free record from Cannomen. Nope...never heard of them, and I didn't care. The record didn't fit the look of what I would be interested in, so I promptly tossed it aside and ignored it.

A couple months later, I was getting ready to write up the blog post for Enough, and I decided to throw on the Cannomen record...fully prepared to toss it out, but willing to give it one listen to confirm that I didn't like it as much as I expected. The needle catches that groove and a manic bass line starts thumping out of the speakers, and then things erupt into punk rock chaos. Holy shit. At times I'm reminded of The Yah Mos, and sometimes I hear Agent Orange. By the time we hit the dead wax of the B side, I've decided that this thing fucking rules, and I need to head back to Fat Sandwich to pick up the second 7 inch from Cannomen.

The second 7 inch from Cannomen, follows the same formula as the first, but there is something about this one that makes me appreciate it more. I can't quite put my finger on what it is though.

300 pressed on this mixed purple vinyl.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Armoured Saints

I think I've cleared out the backlog of new releases that I've had piled up here, so now that we've got that out of the way, let's dig into some old eBay wins.

Over the past couple of months, I've touched upon the subjects of original vinyl pressing and Metal. Back in September I started the chase, and one of my first wins was a copy of my favorite Armored Saint album.

I've read that the band prefer their previous album, Delirious Nomad, and look to that as the high point in their career, but for me, Armored Saint's peak has always been Raising Fear. Raising Fear, Chemical Euphoria, Terror, Underdogs...some of my favorite Saint songs. This thing is solid from start to finish.

I was able to score this record for about four dollars. One of the things that probably helped keep the price low was that the seller listed it as a record from "Armoured Saints". Too bad he wasn't selling any "coloured vinyls" as well. I would have added it to my order.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Number One For New Jersey Straight Edge

A month ago, Marcus and I were exchanging some blogger related messages, and he mentioned that he was currently looking at a list of records that someone was selling. On the list was the Reveal 7 inch with the numbered cover, and he said that if it was available, he was buying it for me. I laughed it off, thinking that he was making a joke of my Reveal obsession, but I would have certainly welcomed another copy to my collection.

A couple weeks later, and I get another message from Marcus, telling me that he had bought me a record as a way of saying thank you for helping him out recently. When I got home that night, the record was there in my mailbox, and it ended up being much cooler than I expected.

I wondered which cover Marcus managed to pick up for the Reveal record. Was it the yellow, blue or orange one? I pulled it out of the packaging, and...whoa...it's brown? Holy fuck. I didn't know there was a brown cover!

Not only did it have a brown cover, but it was number 1 of 100. Outside of the test press that Casali owns, this is the coolest Reveal record that I've seen. Thanks, Marcus!

I pity the fool that doesn't have a Reveal record with the Mr. T stamp!

This one makes the sixth numbered cover I own. When I bought my first copy of this cover from Brian Murphy back at Posi Numbers in 2005, I never guessed that it would blossom into an obsession like this.

Hell, I might as well pull them all out for a photo. Yeah, I challenge anyone to come up with a better collection than this. Ha!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Get A Septic Tank

Another Sandwell recommendation. When the Septic Tank 7 inch was made available in the Rise Above store, Mark suggested that I pick one up. I'd never heard of them before, and might have passed them by as it looked a little different than what I'd come to expect from Rise Above...but I trust Mark's recommendations, so when I was buying the Horisont and Iron Man pre-orders, I grabbed a copy of this as well.

The band features Lee Dorian from Cathedral and Napalm Death (as well as the man behind Rise Above), and while I don't really care for either of those bands, Septic Tank is surprisingly good. Crushing, raw and thrashing Hardcore that kind of reminds me of early Discharge.

I like the look of colored vinyl with a black and white cover, so I decided to grab the solid red wax for this. Damn, this has to be the thickest piece of 7 inch vinyl that I own. Heavy duty.

100 pressed on red vinyl.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Another Crusade

Back in 2011, Sandwell blindsided me with one of the biggest surprises of the year...Crusades. Two years later, the band was back with their follow up LP, and again it was Mark that let me know it was available. I had no idea this was on the way, so again, it was a nice surprise.

Much like the new Iron Chic record, I wasn't really feeling the new Crusades when I first heard it. I don't know what my problem is...maybe I've had too much Metal on my mind...but after giving it more than just a casual listen, damn, this album is really good. Great melodic punk with some strong anti-religion themes, and Perhaps You Deliver This Judgement With Greater Fear Than I Receive It has to be one of the longest album titles that I own.

The standard pressing for this LP is on both solid red and brown vinyl. However, when I was picking up a copy over at No Idea, I saw that they also had a special The Fest 12 edition available. I have no idea what the Fest 12 is, but with more limited colored vinyl options, it was an easy decision on which one I wanted. Around 30 pressed on clear red vinyl.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Horisont Time Warriors

Before you read this post, you'll need to answer one question. Have you watched the Writing On The Wall video from Horisont? If the answer is yes, you may continue reading. If the answer is no, please close your browser, and don't bother coming back until either I have a new post up, or you have watched it. I don't care if you like it or not...it just has to be seen. Completely over the top, senseless destruction. Oh yeah, the song is pretty good too.

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, how about that new Horisont album? Dudes in denim and long hair rockin' that 70's sound. Yeah, I can dig it.

Of course, I had to order the Die Hard edition from Rise Above. Limited to 100 on crystal clear vinyl.

The Die Hard edition came with a set of Horisont dog tags. Shit like this and patches are kind of useless and silly, but I absolutely love them. Cool little collectibles.

“We think of a time warrior as someone who digs really good rock’n'roll and fights all the bad music that’s on the air nowadays by coming to a bad ass show, rocking out and buying real music.” says Horisont's singer, Axel. Keep fighting the good fight.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cut The Chic

I've been looking forward to, as well as dreading, the release of the new Iron Chic LP. I knew it would be damn near impossible for the band to follow up the greatness of their last LP, Not Like This, so I was a bit pessimistic as to how this new album going to stack up?

While there is no denying that The Constant One is still a great album, it simply falls a bit short of the debut. While the first LP was infectious as hell from the start, this new one is a bit of a grower. I was somewhat disappointed after the initial spin, but after letting it sit for a couple of weeks, I'm loving it more and more. Great melodic punk that makes me think of Dillinger Four.

Half pink/half white colored vinyl is limited to 700, and just seemed like the best choice when I was picking up a copy from Bridge Nine.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Death Angel Calls For Blood

25 years after the release of their first album, and Death Angel can still deliver a solid Metal record.

Their newest, The Dream Calls For Blood, is another album in a list of strong releases for Death Angel. Damn, this band may be heavier and faster now, than they were back in the late 80's and early 90's. Shit...Act III ain't got nothing on this new album. Vicious.

I've been looking to pick up this album for a while now, and I've had my eye on the limited color vinyl from the different Euro pressings. Money has been super tight, so I've been hesitant to pull the trigger...and I kept putting it off.

I've recently been purchasing a bunch of old, original pressing, Metal records...which of course have all been on black vinyl. When I saw the US pressing of the new Death Angel in the bin at my local record store, I figured that if black vinyl was good enough back in the 80's, then it is good enough for me now.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

React To The Crowd

Dude, I love Hardcore. My passion for this music has not faded since I first started checking out Sick Of It All and Slapshot around 1990. Over 20 years later, and I still get a charge from checking out new Hardcore bands...and when it comes to new bands, REACT! still deliver. This started to get a little sketchy there for awhile with Damages, Tranzmitors, and Fell To Low. I appreciated what Aram was doing, but I wasn't going to be giving that stuff a lot of playing time. I love where Ev is taking the label, and the signing of Caught In A Crowd is a perfect fit for REACT!.

I remember first seeing Caught In A Crowd three years ago, and feeling excited for this up and coming Straight Edge band out of Massachusetts. It was a bit of a struggle getting their first 7 inch from Camp Records, so it was nice that CIAC found a home with REACT!. Solid band with a solid label.

I'm going to need to pony up for those special pressings that REACT! has at some point. This record is so good.

220 on purple vinyl, 300 on white, and 400 on black.

While I was picking up my CIAC preorder package, I decided to add the Remission 7 inch on white vinyl to the cart. I wasn't thrilled with this record when I picked it up on blue vinyl earlier this year, but I did eventually warm up to these two songs.

Friday, December 13, 2013

I Am Iron Man

I'm still working to clean up the backlog of new releases before the year's end. It seemed like a natural choice to follow up a Black Sabbath post with one from a band named Iron Man, so let's go with it.

Rise Above rarely disappoints, and when they announce a band that I've never heard before, I make sure to check them out. Iron Man have been around since the late 80's/early 90's, and released four albums and a few EPs...but somehow I've never even heard of this band until now. When Rise Above announced they were going to be putting up preorders for the new album, South Of The Earth, I hunted down a video from the band to see if it was going to be something that I'd be interested in. After I got a taste, and didn't hesitate to order.

I'm surprised at how much I'm liking this album. I can't get enough of it, and have to give it a spin every couple of days. Come on, with a name of Iron Man, you know there is going to be a huge Sabbath influence. Great doom metal.

100 pressed on clear vinyl, with a nice looking etching on Side D.

Of course, when I ordered from Rise Above, I couldn't settle on just the regular press...nope, I had to go with the limited Die Hard edition. The Die Hard pressing comes with a bonus 7 inch and a patch. I'm not going to do anything with the patch, but they are still cool additions to the packaging.

As I was checking out the back of the 7 inch, I noticed that the live song was recorded not far from where I live. Trust me, if Iron Man plays Portland again, you can bet that I'll be there.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Vertigo Swirlblind

Well, that escalated quickly. A few months ago, after some conversations with friends, I was hit with a strong desire to collect some original pressings for old Metal records. I immediately set out and bought a few relatively cheap ones through eBay. I was feeling pretty good about my recent purchases and was discussing them with Doug. Now, if you follow Doug's blog at all, you know that he does not fuck around. After talking with him, I was dreaming bigger, and had thoughts of original silver label Megaforce pressings of Kill Em All and UK Neat pressings of Black Metal dancing through my head. It didn't stop there though, as soon we were talking about the holy grail...original UK Vertigo swirl labels for Black Sabbath.

I've bought a lot of Black Sabbath vinyl over the years, but I never really imagined myself stepping up to the Vertigo swirl level of collecting. That shit just seemed to be out of my league. Still, after talking with Doug, I couldn't stop thinking about them. They were the only records that I had on my mind. Nothing else seemed to matter. I needed a fix, and I needed it bad.

I spent a bunch of time talking with Doug, and reading stuff on the internet on how to identify the UK Vertigo pressing. I needed to make sure that I bought the pressing that I wanted. Can you imagine the embarrassment and shame to mistakenly end up with a French or Italian pressing? The horror!

After watching record after record come and go on eBay, I came across a copy of Sabbath's Vol. 4 album listed with a Buy It Now price. It was reasonable, but I was so stressed over this purchase as I checked and double checked all the info to verify it was the one that I wanted. Everything looked to be in great shape, but I was so nervous that there was some horrible flaw that I was not seeing in the photos. After sweating over it for a couple of days, I couldn't take the stress any longer and finally just pulled the trigger.

When it arrived, I could not have been happier. This thing is in amazing condition, with no sign of ring wear. And the sound? Holy shit. Typically Vol. 4 gets looked down on a bit because of the muddy production, but the audiophiles are right...UK Vertigo is the way to go for the best sound. This sounds great. It's funny because, I've probably listened to this album a hundred times, but as far as the last song, Under The Sun, goes, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. As I sat there listening to this pressing, it was like I was hearing this song for the first time. This song that I've probably overlooked many times over, sounded so powerful...so vital. It blew me away. Easily, one of my favorite Sabbath songs right now.

Even the attached booklet on the inside of the gatefold cover looks amazing. The paper pages are crisp and clean...damn near perfect.

When we finally get time machines, my first stop is going to be this Sabbath show. This picture from the inside booklet absolutely captivates my attention, and I can't tear my eyes from it. I can't even imagine how cool it would be to watch Sabbath play in such an intimate setting.

So yeah, I already had a few copies of Vol. 4, and of course they are now obsolete now that I have the first press Vertigo swirl copy. Still, there isn't any such thing as too much Black Sabbath, so I don't see myself getting rid of them any time soon.

I'm in no rush to try and keep up with Doug's original six, but I've started down that path. We'll see where it takes me, and how long until I get to the finish line.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Born With A Cruel Hand

I picked up the Vigilant Citizen 7 inch earlier this year from Cruel Hand. It was only two songs, but damn, it was so solid that it left me wanting more. I was recently at a local DNA show in Portland, and noticed that Nate from Cruel Hand was the drummer for them. There are only a couple of drummers that command my attention as they are playing live...DFJ from The Rival Mob is one of them, and Nate is another. Both of those dudes just attack that kit. Anyway, the other thing that caught my attention with Nate is that he was wearing a Savatage shirt. I love that band, and after the show I had to catch him and let him know how great I thought that his shirt was. The guy was all smiles as he told me that he picked up the shirt when Cruel Hand was touring Japan, and he engaged me in a 15 minute conversation about Savatage and collecting original pressing for Metal records. It was a great conversation, and somewhere along the line we got to talking about Cruel Hand...I was asking what else the band was working on, and he let me know about a 7 inch that was due to be released from Closed Casket.

The next morning, the first thing that I did when I turned on the computer was check for that new Cruel Hand record. Sure enough, they were available to order and I grabbed a couple copies.

250 pressed on blue with orange splatter.

While the vinyl itself isn't much to look at, the songs are great. Two originals, and one cover. Pretty bad ass.

500 pressed on "metallic gold with black haze".