Thursday, May 30, 2013

Free Admission To The Gates Of Slumber

While on my Doom Metal kick earlier this year, I found myself continually reaching for The Gates Of Slumber. I love an underdog, and TGOS don't seem to get the love that the other Rise Above bands get. Hell, the Die Hard pressing of The Wretch, from 2011, is still available in the Rise Above store. Meanwhile, Die Hard pressings for other bands sell out within minutes. I'm not sure why The Gates Of Slumber get ignored...maybe it's because they are from the States, and you have to be from Europe to get love in the Doom Metal circles. I don't know. Either way, their new five song EP has been at the top of my playlist for the past few months.

One of the coolest things about the Stormcrow EP is that it is completely free. You can download it for with the purchase of a tshirt or hat, the band will send you the CD or vinyl as a free bonus. It's a pretty sweet deal.

Of course there is a price to be paid in the end, and that comes in the form of the shitty looking "Scion AV Presents" at the top of the front cover artwork. Such a shame, because that logo really detracts from the cover art.

Like all of The Gates of Slumber stuff, I wasn't too excited with the songs with the first couple of listens, but this grew on me something fierce. Pure Doom perfection.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Envision 'Changing Times'

Envision are a Straight Edge band out of Canada, and have been around in some form or another since 1998. I've downloaded a few songs from them over the years, but since they were just free downloads, I never really paid much attention. Here we are, fifteen years since the band came together, and they finally release their first 7 inch.

Actually the band released these songs back in 2009, but I believe it was a CD only release, so no one was really paying attention. When I noticed that REV was carrying the Changing Times 7 inch, I added a copy to my recent order, eager to finally check them out with this proper release.

This is pretty good by-the-numbers Straight Edge Hardcore, but there isn't much here that really excites me. Decent, but not amazing. Their follow up, scheduled to be released in 2025 should blow peoples minds though.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Uncle Acid's Mind Control

As the story goes, a holy man claimed that God and enlightenment could be found at the top of the tallest mountain. He took seven of his disciples on a long trek, struggling through snow and sickness to reach the summit. Once there, they discovered only the silence of nothingness. There was no God. The holy man then proceeded to slaughter each of his followers, convinced that he was the chosen one. The son of God.

He retreated from the mountain with the vision of a supercult. On a stolen motorcycle, he rode around picking up runaways and forgotten children to join his new cult. Through a steady diet of drugs, fear, and repetitive mantra, he taught them love and violence. There, in their desert home, the disciples awaited the final plan of their holy man.

That is the story woven through the nine songs of Uncle Acid's new album, Mind Control. The band's sound is a mixture of Doom, the early creepy stuff from Alice Cooper (think Halo of Flies and Black Juju), as well as a healthy dose of The Beatles...and used as the backdrop to Uncle Acid's lyrical story, the tale is truly haunting.

The album's packaging helps reinforce the concept and story. To fully grasp the greatness of this album, one really needs to sit and immerse oneself in the packaging, sounds and lyrics. Rise Above did such a great job with this. Amazing.

After missing out on the most limited pressing from Rise Above, I decided to just grab a copy from Last Rights in the States. 600 pressed on solid orange vinyl.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Late To The Hunt

I'd downloaded the Grand Magus album Iron Will a couple of years ago, but it pretty much just sat on my iPod collecting digital dust. It was good, but it just wasn't something that I was in the mood to spend a lot of time with. When the band released their new album, The Hunt, last year, I read a couple of reviews that weren't very flattering, so I planned on ignoring it. Then Sandwell posted about it on his blog, and absolutely loved the album. Fuck. Now I was going to have to check it out.

After downloading it, I found that it didn't really do much for me. Still, fuckin' Sandwell liked it, and because I trust his opinion on all things Metal, I stuck with it. I loaded it onto my iPod playlist, and would give it some playing time while I would go out for a six to eight mile runs. I put on a lot of miles last Fall, and over time, The Hunt started to grow on me.

As we worked our way into 2013, I found myself consumed with Metal, and listening to a lot of Grand Magus. I knew it was time to finally buy myself a copy.

Even though I was late to the party, I was still able to grab the same limited pressing that Sandwell got last year. I found a US distributor that still had one copy left in stock, and gladly bought it. Number 231 out of 250 on red vinyl.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Leave No Doubt Complete

I remember Marcus once making the statement "If you don't ask, you don't get". Sound advice, and one that I've put to practice a few times since I heard it from him.

After I'd managed to grab all the regular pressings of Mindset's new album, Leave No Doubt, I was feeling incomplete without the Record Release pressing. I saw one up on eBay, but I felt that I'd rather give the cash to the band, instead of some random dude looking to score an easy buck, so I fired off an email to Ev from Mindset/REACT to see if he had any available.

Two weeks later, Ev wrote me back, saying that he could help me out.

The Record Release pressing comes in a slick plain red cover, with the Leave No Doubt title applied to the front.

Limited to 80.

Along with the Record Release pressing, Ev also made me an offer for the Leave No Doubt test pressing. I wasn't actually looking to grab a test press for this album right now, as I'm trying desperately to control my record spending, but with an offer from Ev sitting on the table...the temptation was too much to resist.

The test press comes packaged in a yellow DJ cover, with the dust sleeve and record label stamped like crazy with the Mindset name.

The back cover of the test press is numbered with the same kind of stickers that are used for the Leave No Doubt name on the front.

Number 11 out of 20.

After I picked up the Record Release version and the test press, I felt like I had the Leave No Doubt collection complete...and then came the announcement that Mindset was releasing a special pressing of the album for Record Store Day. Damn. The quest continues.

Like Mindset's Record Store Day release for Time and Pressure in 2011, Leave No Doubt was only going to be available at the Celebrated Summer record store in Baltimore. Thankfully, this year Mindset made 20 of these available in their webstore for those of us that aren't in the Baltimore area. The trick was to just be quick on the draw if you wanted to get one.

The records were due to be available in the Mindset store around noon on a Tuesday, so there I sat at work, continually hitting refresh for the next 20 minutes, until they were available. So glad that I was one of the few to grab one, as they sold out in under a minute.

Another great packaging job by Mindset/REACT for this release. I love the CSR/XXX design on the front cover, along with the Record Store Day text on the back. Purple vinyl exclusive to this release. Number 63 of 100.

Leave No Doubt collection complete!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

REV25: Chicago Style

The first two Revelation 25th anniversary shows, first in CA and then in NYC, they gave us a shitty live compilation record for each as a souvenir. A nice keepsake, but pretty pointless and not something to really get excited about. I had friend hook me up with the Cali record, and then I went to the NYC and grabbed a copy of that one while I was there. When REV25 takes place in Chicago, they create a 7 inch package with unique pressings of the Gorilla Biscuits, Youth Of Today, Into Another, and Texas Is The Reason records. Figures that the one release I was excited about was also the one that was the most difficult for me to acquire.

I didn't know anyone going to the REV25 Chicago show, so this meant that I was going to have to hope the label sold the extras in their webstore if I wanted to score a set. Doug was good enough to send me an alert when REV added them to the store, but I was unplugged at the time. By the time I got the message an hour or so later, they were all sold out. When REV put the second round of records in the webstore, they again sold out before I was able to grab one. Third times a charm though, and when REV bundled the 7 inch set along with other REV25 odds and ends, and stuck a $60 price tag on it...that was when I was finally able to get my hands on a set.

I love the look of these records, as each on gets a start black cover with each band's logo on the front, and is pressed on clear vinyl.

The Chicago skyline b-side labels, along with the REV25 logo on the back cover, is a nice touch.

As I was going through my set of vinyl for this blog post, and was taking pictures, I noticed that my copy of the Texas Is The Reason 7 inch had Youth Of Today labels, with the YOT name crossed out and TITR's name hand written. What the hell? I checked Doug's post...nope, his had the right labels. How many were made like this?

Overall it was a pretty good package deal. I already have the NYC LP, and I'm not too bothered with the posters, but the REV mug and the shirts are nice...especially the NYC once, since I was there.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Orange Splatter Goblin

Where has the Hardcore been in 2013? Here we are nearing the middle of May and I've only got five new Hardcore releases loaded on to my iPod. I'll admit it, part of it has been my fault as I haven't actively been searching out new Hardcore music. For the most part, I've been consumed by Metal/Doom lately. In addition to an incredibly strong start to 2013 for Metal, I've also been finally discovering and appreciating some older bands. Enter Orange Goblin...

When I first heard Orange Goblin's new album, A Eulogy For The Damned, last year, I didn't think too much of it. Yeah, it was okay, but my musical attention was focused elsewhere. As the year came to a close, it grew on me greatly, and as we rolled into 2013, I downloaded the band's first five albums and could not get enough of them. Perfect timing on my part as Rise Above has started reissuing the back catalog on vinyl again.

When preorders first went up, I was right there on the Rise Above site, prepared to grab the clear vinyl pressing that was limited to 100. I had second thoughts, however, when I thought about my bank account and the recent car repairs I had just done. I hung my head, and with a tear in the corner of my eye, I turned and left the Rise Above webstore empty handed.

A couple months later, I figured that it was time to finally grab the first Orange Goblin album...and with the perfect color combo of orange splatter on clear vinyl. Yet another splatter vinyl pressing that I surprisingly really like. Limited to 300.

The first Orange Goblin album, also comes with a bonus 7 inch that contains demo recordings of two songs.

Nice job, Rise Above, with the matching colors for the LP and 7 inch.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Devil's Blood

After falling in love with Blood Ceremony back in 2011, I decided to give The Devil's Blood a try. They both had female singers, and had this 70's rock/occult band thing going on. Since I was loving the hell out of Blood Ceremony, I thought I'd try my luck with The Devil's Blood, and downloaded their album The Time Of No Time Evermore album. After listening to a couple songs, it wasn't feeling it at all so I deleted it.

Now in 2013, I find myself excited for the new Purson and Blood Ceremony albums, and again I'm searching out other similar bands. I decided to give The Devil's Blood another chance and this time I downloaded their The Thousandfold Epicentre album.

Maybe I'm just used to this style more now than I was then, but I found myself enjoying it. While out on a shopping trip to one of the local record stores, I saw the vinyl and on a whim decided to pick it up.

One of the coolest things about this album is the incredible full color booklet. Within it, each song gets a full two page spread with some incredible art and lyrics. Devil boobs and little kids ripped apart by wild dogs. Absolutely stunning.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Magic The Gathering

What do you get when you take the singer for Rival Mob, the drummer from Boston Strangler/Mental, the guitar player from Mental, and add in another guitar player from Prisoner Abuse/No Tolerance? Who would have guessed that you get a killer Doom Metal band? Seriously. Where the fuck did this come from?

Doug was asking me about this band back in February, and honestly, I had no clue what he was talking about. Never heard of them. I've been on a huge Doom kick lately, so I was excited to check it out. He sent me a youtube link for the song Scream Evil...I checked it out...loved it...downloaded the album, and it has been getting regular spins since then.

As soon as Painkiller announced that they had copies of the LP, I was adding it to my cart and checking out.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Ten Inch Orchids

Yeah, shit got a little crazy with my last post, as I worked to grab every pressing of the first two Orchid releases, Through The Devil's Doorway and Capricorn. In collecting the bands two EP singles, Heretic and Wizard Of War, the insanity only intensified.

I already owned three copies of the Heretic ten inch single, and when Nuclear Blast Germany threw down the dreaded Triple Dog Dare with three more pieces of colored vinyl, I couldn't back down from the challenge.

I love the hand numbered stickers on each different pressing.

When Nuclear Blast USA upped the Orchid game with a North American pressing, there was no way the I was going to fold. I was all in at this point.

No individual sticker for the North American pressing. They all get the same one that announces that the record is limited 666...222 for each color.

I was hoping that there would be a bigger difference between the white Euro pressing, and the cream US pressing. The difference is only slight. I can tell them apart, but just barely.

Not to be forgotten, I also grabbed the last copy that I needed for the Wizard Of War ten inch single.

Add these new pieces of vinyl in with the copies that I already owned, and we are looking at a total of 12 ten inch records. The crazy thing is, I'm missing one. Before I was completely sucked into the madness of collecting Orchid, I let the black vinyl pressing of Heretic pass me by.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Orchid In Full Bloom

Orchid have a new album coming out this year, and as this post will clearly show, I'm kind of excited for it.

A year ago, I picked up the first two Orchid records, Capricorn and Through The Devil's Doorway, on vinyl. I quickly ordered as soon as they were available from Nuclear Blast, only to find that I should have waited and ordered the colored vinyl direct from the label, Church Within Records. The problem was that these records were only pressed overseas, and after spending the money on the black vinyl, I couldn't justify buying them again on colored vinyl...until now. As my excitement and anticipation grew over Orchid's upcoming 2103 release, I found that my desire had finally overshadowed any money concerns, and I decided to spring for the colored vinyl.

I was thankful that the label still had the first press on red vinyl available. Limited to 200.

Much to my surprise, the label had a second pressing available as well, with two new options for colored vinyl. Suddenly, I realized that this endeavor was going to get more expensive than I had initially thought. I was committed though, and ordered all three colors.

I'm not typically a fan of splatter vinyl, but I find that this black and white pattern looks really good. Limited to 300.

The third color option available was listed as "red white and blue". I was disappointed when this color did not arrive with my order, and instead the label sent me two copies of the black and white splatter vinyl. I emailed the label and they said that they would be willing to offer me a discount if I wanted to order another copy. Instead, I quickly sold my copy on ebay, and found that there was a U.S. distributor,, that had it in stock, so I ordered it from them instead.

I was hoping for a cool red, white and blue pattern like the Bridge Nine pressing of Agnostic Front's Live At CBGB album. Instead we get a mix of red, white and blue, which makes purple. Limited to 200.

With my original order, only the original first press of Through The Devil's Doorway was available. After I received my order, and was working through the issues with the label on the duplicate black and white splatter of Capricorn, I noticed that they had put up two more colored vinyl options in their store. Yup, I'm going to need those as well. I'll skip the overseas shipping this time around though, and just grab them through

First pressing on white vinyl. Limited to 200.

Clear orange/gold vinyl is part of the second pressing.

Lastly, we have the clear vinyl with red pressing...also part of the second pressing.

So while I don't typically buy multiple copies of records from Metal bands, there has been something about Orchid that has captured my attention and I haven't been able to resist the call to collect their vinyl. Much more to come very soon.