Friday, January 31, 2014

If You Have Ghost

Ghost always choose the strangest songs to cover. With the first album, they recorded Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles, as a bonus track. For the Secular Haze single, they had ABBA's I'm A Marionette as the B side. I enjoyed both songs, but how do I feel about an EP of covers?

The first album was epic, and the second one was a worthy follow up. This EP fails to excite me. I've been a huge fan of Ghost's satanic gospel, and their covers are great when they are tacked on to the end of an album, but five of them in a row is a bit too much. I don't want to say that they have jumped the shark, but while I do enjoy these songs, I'm not entirely comfortable with them. I don't just seems like a cheesy joke.

Still this isn't terrible, and I find the packaging to be well done...even if it does kind of compliment the whole record as tongue in cheek. Strange that the record includes a live version of Secular Haze, but not Here Comes The Sun, which hasn't seen a proper release outside of Japan.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Peace Of Gold

Back when REACT! released the Peace 7 inch a couple years ago, I remember seeing a picture of a gold vinyl pressing. I'm not sure what the deal was with them, but at the time, REACT! was known for pressing a limited run of 100 for the band to do with as they pleased. For the Peace 7 inch, gold was the color that was unavailable to the buying public.

So, back when I had seen the picture of that gold vinyl, I desperately wanted one. I would have spent big bucks to get one at the time. But you know how it goes, time moves on...some records move up the Want List, while you forget about others.

When I saw the gold vinyl show up on eBay recently, it reminded me that I never did get my hands on one. I knew that it was time to finally make my move.

I'm a big fan of most things that REACT! has done over the last six years, but this Peace record has to be in my top 5 from the label. To score this gold vinyl copy for about $10, makes it all the more sweet.

All this picture does is remind me that I'm missing the Record Store Day cover and the test pressing. When it comes to collecting, I'm never at peace.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Undiscovered Vision

2013 was winding down, and looking at the recent records that I had piling up, I realized that I'd gone a little overboard with the Metal. What can I say? I go where the mood strikes me. Still, things seemed out of balance. A perfectly timed, cheap eBay win helped change the tide. Bringin' back the 'core.

Vision may not seem like an amazing Hardcore band to most people. However, hearing In The Blink Of An Eye when I first started getting into hardcore secured it as one of the underrated Hardcore greats alongside Billingsgate, early Endpoint, and early Majority Of One. Classics.

My Vision vinyl collection is pretty much non-existent, so when I realized that their second 7 inch sells rather cheaply, I made my move to pick one up. It may not be the most exciting record, but I'm glad that I've finally got one.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Based On Thrash

Early last year, I'd heard good things about a new Thrash band out of Norway called Tantara. Since I'm always up for checking out some good Thrash, I found a download for their newest album, Based On Evil. Sometimes though, there are times when I just have too much new music to check out, and some albums don't get the attention they deserve. Such was the case with Tantara.

After downloading the album, I gave it a quick listen. Yeah, it was okay, but it didn't immediately grab me, so I moved on to one of the ten other new albums that I'd added to my iPod.

By the end of 2013, I was checking out some of the new music I'd added to the iPod over the past year, and in checking out Tantara's Based On Evil album, I was suddenly floored by how great it was. Funny how sometimes music just clicks like that.

Since I like to own a physical copy, and not just download albums for my iPod, I had to hunt down the vinyl. I was placing an order with Nuclear Blast Germany at the end of the year, and decided that it was finally time to grab a copy of this LP. Awesome Bay Area influenced Thrash.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Seasons In Black Or Red

I recently made the concious decision to try and avoid some vinyl reissues. This mainly affects my buying habits for Metal records, because, trust me, there will be a ton of Hardcore reissues that I will buy time and time again. My point being that if I don't really collect records for the band, I'm trying to ignore the reissue and aim to own the original pressing instead.

There have been a flood of Slayer reissues lately. Back On Black handled the early records, and I couldn't resist picking up another copy of Hell Awaits. Then both American Recordings and Nuclear Blast decide to reissue their own pressings for rest of the Slayer catalog...that's ten albums for each label. Twenty new pieces of vinyl...yeah, I need to stay away from this.

While Nuclear Blast just did 666 copies on clear vinyl, American did 500 on red vinyl. To make it more interesting, American randomly mixed the red vinyl in with the regular black vinyl press. Buying a copy, you didn't know if you would end up with red or black. What kind of amateur record collector would get sucked into this kind of foolish game? Oh fuck.

So there I was, standing in the record store, holding the only piece of Slayer vinyl that they had in stock. I didn't own a copy of Seasons In The Abyss, and even though I kept telling myself that the chances were slim that I'd get the red vinyl, the temptation was too strong to resist, and I took the gamble. Of vinyl. Goddamn record stores and their physical product. It is too hard to walk away when the record is there in my hands.

Oh well, if the worst case scenario was that I'd finally have a copy of this Slayer classic on the shelf, I guess I can't complain.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

70's Seger > 80's Seger

I've got a soft spot for early Seger. I never expected it to happen, but there are some things that you shouldn't fight. Guilty pleasures be damned.

A couple of months back, I found myself in an early 70's state of mind. I happened to give Seger's Mongrel album a spin on the iPod, and I was reminded how amazing that album is. I've wanted to own a copy of this, with the original Capitol labels, for a while now, but I've never been inspired enough to put forth the effort to hunt one down. After blowing my load over the Vertigo swirl pressing of Sabbath's Vol 4, I was hot to cross another first pressing off my Want List.

It was tough trying to find a copy that wasn't a cutout, but I won't tolerate saw cuts or holes. I found one with a cover that was a little more beat up than I would have liked, but for a record that can sometimes go for over $50, I was happy to grab this for just over $10.

I didn't put a lot of effort into my search for the Ramblin' Gamblin' Man LP that I bought a few years ago, but for Mongrel, first press with the gatefold cover was a must.

Check out those strong 70's mustaches.

I love everything about this album. The songs have got a great raw edge to them. I'm even captivated by the live photo on the back cover. I'm not sure what it is...rock concerts from the 70's just looked cooler. Look at that crowd pressed right up to the stage! Fuck today's 15 foot barriers.

Admittedly, I was on a bit of a Seger high after buying Mongrel. I'd never ventured outside of his early 70's work, but when I saw The Distance LP in the dollar bin of my local record store, I figured that I'd take the risk.

This record from 1982 is just okay. It isn't nearly as strong as Seger's earlier work, but it isn't terrible...just not something that I'll be reaching for very often.

Holy shit. Those dudes from the 70's should kick the shit out of you for looking like this.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ocean Of Mercy

Back in '91, Smorgasbord Records released the Voice Of The Voiceless comp. It was filled with a bunch of my favorite bands of the time, including Endpoint, Majority of One, Encounter, Split Lip, and Outspoken, all doing songs dedicated to vegetarianism. I listened to the shit out of that record.

One of the bands on that comp was Discipline. They were pretty good, but were a bit overshadowed by the other bands on there. They soon changed their name to Ocean Of Mercy, and the following year they released a great 7 inch on Doghouse's offshoot label, Oasis Records. I'm not really sure why Doghouse felt the need to create Oasis...probably just emulating what Revelation was doing with Crisis. Either way, Ocean Of Mercy was a great step up from Discipline. Classic early 90's Hardcore.

I'm not sure, but this may be only available on dark burgundy colored vinyl.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Heavy Metal Original Pressing Maniac

My quest for original pressings for Metal albums continues. This time around, my obsession was Exciter.

I'm not sure how I got it stuck in my head, but I found myself desperate to get my hands on the first couple of Exciter albums. The only version that I owned was a CD that combined both albums...and because of the lack of space on the CD, a couple of tracks were omitted.

Once I started looking into the pressing details, it was obvious that I needed Heavy Metal Maniac on the original vinyl from Shrapnel Records. Fuck those imports from Roadrunner, as well as those Megaforce re-issues from a few years ago.

For the second album, Violence & Force, I needed the silver Megaforce labels. In fact, in addition to the Vertigo Swirl labels for Sabbath, I'm giving serious thought to tracking down the entire silver Megaforce label pressings, with the heavy hitters being Kill 'Em All and Ride The Lightning.

Fortunately, I was able to grab both of these Exciter LPs from the same seller on eBay, and picked off both of them as the only bidder. When they arrived in the mail, I was in awe over the amazing condition they were in. No ring wear...nice sharp edges...other than some finger prints, there was not a mark on them. For Metal albums that were 30 years old, I couldn't have asked for better copies.

Friday, January 17, 2014

On A Verbal Assault

I love Verbal Assault. Every time I hear them, I think to myself, "why don't I listen to this band more often?". When I look at my record collection, I think to myself, "Why don't I own more Verbal Assault vinyl?".

The band's final record, Exit, is a little anti-climactic, but really, Verbal Assault were simply amazing from start to finish. While I was record shopping on my recent vacation in South Carolina, I took the opportunity to rescue the On 12 inch from the used vinyl bin.

Now, I just need to get my hands on a copy of Trial on vinyl to feel respectable.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Will Run For Trouble

I tend to move in and out of listening habits. Some days I'll only want to listen to new Metal albums, other days maybe I get stuck listening to only Hardcore from 1981, or maybe I just want to listen to Black Sabbath...lots and lots of Sabbath. Over the past couple of years, I've spent a fair amount of time listening to the heavy, crushing sounds of Doom Metal.

While on one of these Doom kicks, I realized that I'd never heard the third Trouble album, Run To The Light. After downloading the songs, I realized that I didn't own any Trouble vinyl. Since I was still caught up in buying original vinyl pressings, I hit up eBay to see what was available. Fuck those overpriced Buy It Now options. I was able to pick up this copy with a solid bid for $15.

I've been nervous to venture any further than the first three Trouble albums, as Run To The Light was the last release with Metal Blade, and they jumped ship to bigger labels...but damn, these albums are just so strong, I may have to find and download the self titled follow up.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Part Animal, Part Machine

A year or so ago, Rollins Band was brought back from the dead in my music collection. I was looking at some of my CDs, and realized that it had been awhile since I'd heard them, so I loaded the songs to my iPod. Soon, I found that I could not get enough, and in addition to the first three albums, I had downloaded End Of Silence and Weight as well. I'd done a few searches on eBay for some Rollins vinyl, but nothing ever panned out.

While record shopping in South Carolina a few months ago, I found the first LP, Hot Animal Machine, in the used bin. In addition to the Venom vinyl that I desperately needed, there was no doubt that I needed this Rollins record as well.

Man, these songs are such a blast to listen to. Not a bad song on here.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

When Your Only Option Is A Test Press

Back in 2010, Dead End Records put up preorders for the new split 7 inch between Outlast and Reveal The Truth. Both of them were up and coming Straight Edge bands...each had released a demo the year before and were starting to make some noise in the Hardcore scene. I was looking forward to this split, and I ordered 3 or 4 different pressings from the label. The guy that was running Dead End, then proceeded to not send any of the records out, and he fucked over everyone that ordered a copy. Those records are probably still sitting in a closet at his parents house. Douche.

Apparently some of the vinyl did make it out, as I was able to score this test pressing off eBay. Since this may be the only way to ever obtain this record, I'll gladly take it. I wish that I had thought to ask the seller how he came to get his hands on this record when I won it three months ago.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Venom's American Assault

A few months ago, the wife and I took a weeks vacation to hang out in South Carolina and celebrate our 20th anniversary. We left the kids behind, and took off for some much needed relaxation in Charleston. Being in a new city, I was itching to find a local record store, and on our last day there I was able to scratch it with Earshot Records. There is nothing like finding a new record store, I was hot to check out what they had to offer.

I've mentioned here, that I've been on a mission to collect original pressings of Metal records, and when I walked into the store, I immediately headed to the used vinyl bin. They had a few things that caught my eye, but as soon as I saw Venom's American Assault, I knew that it was coming home with me.

The album itself offered nothing new when it was released in 1985...three previous released studio tracks on one side, and on the other, three live songs recorded from a gig in Hammersmith. Still, I've been wanting to build up my Venom collection, so I took the opportunity to do so.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Blue Eye For An Eye

I have a soft spot for early 90's era Boston Hardcore. Kingpin, Said & Done, Third Degree...back when I started travelling to Boston for shows, I must have seen those bands play a handful of times during 1991.

Eye For An Eye were huge in Boston at the time. Whether they were opening up for Insted or Fugazi, while they were on stage, they owned that crowd. If any band could pack them in at The Channel, it was Eye For An Eye. They were probably one of my favorites from that time period, and their records have held up amazingly well over the years.

I've been looking to complete my collection for their Omega Drone 7 inch for a few years, and when I saw the blue vinyl on eBay a few months ago, I knew it was time to make it happen. No matter what the cost, I knew that I was going to win that auction. Thankfully, no one else was really too interested, and I was able grab it for relatively cheap.

It is no hassle to pull out three records for a shot of the complete collection. Boom! This one is done.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Dollar Bin Pick Ups

I'm sure that no one is too excited to see a dollar bin post. Too bad. Suck it up, better stuff is on the way. By "better stuff", I simply mean something more exciting, because these two records are no slouches.

I don't generally like flipping through the used records at my local record store. I mean, it's not like I live in Boston or New York. When you are looking through stacks upon stacks of vinyl from John Denver and The Carpenters, you kind of get an idea that you aren't going to find anything of substance. Still, I was out late one night with my friend, Jeff, and he wanted to stop at the record store around the corner from us. I didn't have any money to spend, so I decided to just look through the dollar bin. Much to my surprise, I found a couple of cheap records to pick up.

I'd never heard Blackfoot before, but seeing the album cover in the bin, it caught my attention. It certainly had that 70's hard rock look, and knowing that Jeff is the expert on this stuff, I asked him about the band. Of course, he had heard of them and he recommended it, even if it was just for the song Every Man Should Know. Trusting his tastes, I bought it. The band has a nice Ted Nugent vibe going on. I'm digging it.

The other record that caught my eye was the first album from Kiss. While not a true first pressing, as it has the song Kissin' Time, that was added to the album after the initial is still an early press of the album, as it has the purple/blue Casablanca labels. Goddamn, this is such a solid album. Not a clunker in the bunch...well, with the possible exception of the forementioned Kissin' Time.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Out Crowd And Out Some Records

This one is long overdue. I took the pictures for this post back in March last year. At the time, I'd just placed an order with Six Feet Under for a charity pressing of the Out Crowd/Written Off split 7 inch, as well as the new Written Off record (plus the Agitator LP), and I thought that it was a good idea to wait and combine them all for one post.

By June, SFU sent me a message saying that my package had been destroyed in the mail. I was given a few options on what we could do to fix the of them being to wait until the label got in new vinyl for the Out Crowd/Written Off record, and he would put that together with an extra copy of the charity sleeve that he had. I told him that I had no problem waiting, so this was the option that I chose. Months pass, and Six Feet Under moves their mailorder distribution over to Deathwish...and I don't receive my order. I send an email asking about my records, and get no reply. I see SFU sell some of the new Out Crowd/Written Off vinyl on ebay...and I don't receive my order. I send another reply. I post on the label's Facebook reply. At this point, I'm pretty convinced that in the shuffle of moving the distribution over to Deathwish, my order was lost. I hold little hope at this point of ever getting those records.

Fuck. I might as well post that Out Crowd 7 inch now.

Truth be told, I originally didn't pay much attention to the Out Crowd side of their split with Written Off. When the Just Us 7 inch was released back in 2012, people seemed to be talking about it a lot, so I figured that I'd give it a chance. Yeah, this is some solid Hardcore. I'm digging it.

Nothing limited or rare here. I was content with the regular pressing on green vinyl. 1,600 pressed.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Getting Ignorant

When I set out to pick up some original pressings for Metal records, one of the ones that I really wanted to get my hands on was the first Sacred Reich LP.

Back in 1987, I was headed into my last year of High School, and my life revolved around Thrash. I lived on a steady diet of Venom, Kreator, Exciter, and Slayer. The faster and more obnoxious the better. The first Sacred Reich album certainly topped my list at the time. Damn, that thing is so aggressive...with lyrics that took a strong atheist stance, as well as as the Dead Kennedy's lyrically influenced Administrative Decisions...this album was certainly a favorite.

Original US press on Enigma/Metal Blade Records. A pretty good pick up at $10.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

P&T Test Pressings

I was thinking about posting up "just another record" for my first post of 2014, and then I saw what Chris put up on his blog, Unwavering Spirit. Damn. I'm not going to be able to complete with him on this, but it did make me rethink how I wanted to start the blog off for 2014.

Back in May of last year, Carlos from Police & Thieves dropped me a line, letting me know that the band was looking to record some new songs over the summer, and to help fund it, he was selling a bunch of records from his collection. I told him that if he had some P&T rarities, then I would definitely be interested. By June, we had worked out the details on what he was able to dig up, and I sent the payment over to him for what I could afford at the moment. There were a few false starts and delays in getting the records out, but I was in no rush, and I knew the dude was good for it. By the time we were saying goodbye to Summer, I finally had my records in hand.

First up, we have a test pressing of the Fracturing 12 inch that Police & Thieves did a couple years ago. It looks similar to the record release pressing that P&T did, except the test cover is on green cardstock instead of white. Such a great record, and a great, anytime you get a chance to grab a Youngblood test, you've got to take it.

One of the reasons for the delay in getting these records out to me was that Carlos was waiting on the test press covers from Youngblood. Yeah, I'm cool with waiting for stuff like this.

The other test that Carlos had available, was for the split 7 inch that Police & Thieves did with Remission. This one was put out on Amendment records, and comes in a nice envelope-type sleeve. The packaging looks great for this one.

Stamped labels and numbered out of 20. I've got number 7.

After everything was said and done, and I had these two tests in my hand, I was starting to feel the pinch of some reckless record spending. I knew that it was time to reign myself back and in and chill for a little while. Then Carlos lets me know that he has a third test press available if I want it. I was torn, and I dragged my feet on it for a month or so, but in the end, I couldn't pass it up.

This time around we have a test press for the Amor Y Guerra 7 inch that Police & Thieves released back in 2008 through Youngblood. Just a simple red sleeve with a glittery silver "P&T" painted in the corner. Nice.

The catalog number for this is YB25, so I'm not sure if the number on the label means that this is number 7 from the pressing, or what. Either way, I'll take it!

Week one of 2014 and my test press count is at three. I wonder if I'll be able to keep up this pace for the year.