Wednesday, April 30, 2014

High Volture

Shortly after watching Living Fast, Ryan Waste became one of my favorite dudes in the current Metal scene. He seems like a real down to earth guy, and his Metal record collection is second to none. Between the Living Fast show, and talking with Doug, I was soon on a big New Wave Of British Heavy Metal kick. The obsession was so overpowering that I even told Doug that given the choice of a Chung King or an original Diamond Head LP with the white sleeve, I would have gone with Diamond Head. That's how deep I was.

While Ryan Waste's band, Volture, can't be considered NWOBHM, the influence is definitely there. Follow up your early 80's Metal playlist, featuring Angel Witch and Satan, with Volture, and the transition between bands would be seamless.

While I picked up a free download from the Volture bandcamp page, it wasn't long before I was ordering the vinyl from War On Music. I thought that I got my order in for the clear vinyl pressing, but I received black vinyl instead. Oh well...I'm not going to sweat it.

I couldn't get enough of Volture's On The Edge album, so I grabbed the Rulebreaker single from Tankcrimes. Even with a different singer for the earlier stuff, this still sounds great.

The 7 inch is pressed on florecent yellow vinyl and comes with a giant poster. Looking good.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Worn Thin And Cheap

Last month I won a few Worn Thin records and was feeling pretty good about my 7 inch collection for the band. I really wasn't sure what I was missing for these 7 inches, and Marcus was good enough to point out that I needed a solid orange copy of the first record. Not only did he provide this information, but he also followed it up a week or so later with a link for an eBay auction for this very piece of vinyl that I needed.

The thing was, I'd just dropped a huge chunk of change on a UK Vertigo swirl pressing for Sabbath's Paranoid album. The wallet was feeling thin, and I'd vowed to stay away from eBay for a while...but then Marcus said that the record probably would top out at $5.00. While he didn't say it outright, I could tell from the tone of his email that he was basically calling me a pussy if I didn't buy this. Not to have my manhood challenged, I stepped up and won the record for a dollar. Saved face, and got a great record at a sweet price. Win/win.

Time to focus on the Worn Thin 12 inch, and work to complete this collection.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Record Store Day 2014 Part 2: Smokin' O.P.'s

After my spending spree for Record Store Day releases, I drove into Portland to check out the used vinyl at Enterprise Records. The store had recently moved, and the selection seemed smaller, but it still felt good to get out and support this record store.

I'm always game to check out some new Bob Seger. By "new" of course I mean, stuff that I haven't heard from the 70's, and not really new material. I've been wanting to check out the Smokin' O.P.'s record for a while now, and didn't hesitate to grab it when I saw this German pressing for $4.50.

The majority of the songs on this album are covers, hence the name Smoking Other People's.

I've been hesitant to venture into the Seger stuff with the Silver Bullet Band. This was the era that spawned those radio hits that you feel like you never need to hear again. Thankfully, Live Bullet was recorded before the band exploded, and this record is just some great live rock and roll...and while there are a bunch of strong songs missing from this set (what!?! nothing from Mongrel!??), but it does have some fantastic stuff like Ramblin' Gamblin' Man, U.M.C., and Get Out Of Denver. For someone that doesn't pay much attention to live albums, I'm really digging this one.

My last find of the day was a still sealed copy of Motörhead's Orgasmatron. I think this was my first Motörhead album, bought on cassette when I was a kid. It's good to finally have this on vinyl.

Solid day out buying records.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Record Store Day 2014 Part 1: Learn To Obey

Somewhere along the way, I stopped caring about Record Store Day releases. It used to be that I would pour over the list each year, memorizing all those new records that I had to have. Then at some point it hit me...a lot of this was just part of the RSD hype machine, and at the end of the day, I didn't need another armful of vinyl repressings that I probably wouldn't care about if it wasn't Record Store Day.

For this year, I gave a passing glance at the list of RSD releases, and decided that there were only a couple of releases that I really wanted to get my hands on. This was the first year that I didn't bother with the lines, and showed up an hour after the doors opened. It was a pretty laid back affair, but as I started flipping through the vinyl, I ended up walking out of the store with much more than I had anticipated.

At the top of my Record Store Day list was the new OFF! 7 inch. Two exclusive songs that aren't on the new was one of the few things that I would have been bummed if I didn't get it. I let out a sigh of relief when I found a copy.

The one other piece of vinyl that I was on the hunt for was the Clutch/Lionize split 7 inch. I couldn't have cared less about the Lionize side, but a new Clutch song for their side of the record? Fuck yes.

Truth be told, I had completely forgotten that there was going to be a new pressing of Up Front's Spirit LP for Record Store Day. I was happily surprised when I saw it in the vinyl bin. Probably the best thing released on this day. This record completes the trifecta of vinyl that I NEEDED to have. Every new release beyond this point was a bonus, and was something that wouldn't have broken my heart if I didn't buy one.

Let start off the remainder of my RSD haul with the Revelation stuff. I love Farside, and someday I'd like to make a run at building a decent collection. Until then, I'll grab this copy of the band's first 7 inch on blue vinyl.

I skipped REV's RSD pressing of the first Sense Field LP last year. I've always though of it as a bit of a turd, but I do really enjoy Killed For Less and Building. I'm not out to collect multiple copies, but since I didn't already own Building on vinyl, I figured that this was a good opportunity to finally buy that red vinyl looks great!

Another band that I'd like to get around to collecting someday is Battery. I think that the only piece of vinyl I had for them was the copy of the 7 inch I got a couple years ago. Embarrassing. I happily took this opportunity to grab my first piece of vinyl for Whatever It Takes.

Quick story...I remember sitting outside a show talking to Lacroix from Ten Yard Fight, and he was telling me that Ken Olden was bragging about how easy it was to write a Youth Crew Hardcore record. Apparently, Ken said he could crank one out in 5 minutes. When I first heard Whatever It Takes, I was disappointed with how uninspired it sounded...kind of like the band rushed through it in 5 minutes. The record is okay, and I probably enjoy it more today than when it was released, but let's not kid ourselves...Until The End crushes this one.

At one point, I was a huge fan of Strife. I saw them a few times in Boston back in the day, and they always were great live. In This Defiance hasn't aged that well, and I rarely even bother with it these days, but I never owned it on vinyl, so I figured "what the Hell", and bought one on Record Store Day.

Scott Vogel has done a lot of bands. I liked Despair, and while it has been many years since I've bothered with Terror, I remember digging those first two records. I've never really spent a lot of time with Buried Alive, and figured that the Record Store Day provided a good opportunity to dig into them beyond a casual listen.

Once I had all the Hardcore vinyl that I wanted, it was time to decide what else I wanted to pick up. It seems that each year, there is some "limited" release from Jimi Hendrix. Typically it is some throw away 7 inch that I can't imagine anyone really needs, but this year we got a vinyl pressing of Live At Monterey. I love most of the Hendrix stuff and this is a solid live set. I was in the mood for spending that cover is too bad ass to I grabbed myself a copy.

Speaking of spending money...I had an internal debate over purchasing the reissue of The Doors compilation, Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine. While not really a Greatest Hits record, there is nothing new here, but it does have a couple of B-sides that I don't own on vinyl. These songs, in addition with how great the vinyl looks, convinced me to spend the money and buy a copy.

Now that I had plenty of new RSD vinyl, it was time to hit the used be continued...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Golden Shrine

I get weekly emails from a few distros, and every once in a while, I actually skim through them. While scrolling through a list of what was new over at All That Is Heavy, I saw a listing for a band I'd never heard of called The Shrine.

While the listing for the band's new album, Bless Off, dropped names like Fu Manchu and Kadavar to catch my attention, I'm more inclined to lean towards the skate punk rock style of Annihilation Time to help define their sound. This LP just overflows with a snotty fuck off attitude.

Pressed on a great looking gold colored vinyl.

While in the All That Is Heavy store, I noticed that they also had a 7 inch that was available on The Shrine's tour with Graveyard. There were only a couple left in stock, and it was a limited tour pressing? Okay, I'm sold.

Nothing really new for songs, as they both ended up on the Bless Off LP, but it was still cool to grab one of these.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sacrificed For Saxon

One of the tools that has been feeding my Metal appetite is my discovery of Iron Fist. This UK Metal mag quickly sucked me in, seduced me into signing up for a subscription, and had me on the hunt for back issues shortly after checking out my first issue.

Issue number three featured Saxon on the front cover. The black, white and red Saxon logo with Biff rocking the mic...I love the look and feel of it. Soon I was jamming those early albums on my ipod and dreaming of adding original UK Carrere vinyl pressings to my record collection.

While checking Saxon vinyl on eBay, I stumbled across a listing of the new album with a $10 Buy It Now price tag. The last few Saxon albums have been great, and at this price, I didn't hesitate to finally pick up the newest one, Sacrifice.

I wasn't thrilled that the album was only pressed as a picture disc for the vinyl release, but I wasn't going to let something like that stop me from buying a copy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

No More Second Chances

Without a doubt, I've been in a Metal mood lately. Doom, Thrash, Rock...old has consumed me, and it is all I've been listening to. I've made no time for Hardcore recently. I still loved it. I just wasn't interested in listening to it. Today that all changed.

I have a rule with this blog...I've got to listen to the vinyl before I write up my post. Regardless of my Metal mood, I dropped the needle to my new Stick Together LP and started to brainstorm on what I would write about. As soon as the record starts playing, I'm reminded why I love this style of music so much. The power, the energy, the lyrics, no bullshit...Straight Edge Hardcore is the real deal. Suddenly, all that Metal that I'd been obsessing about was pushed aside as I queued up bands like Turning Point, Unbroken, True Colors, and even some G.B.H.. Oh man, I have missed this stuff, and didn't even realize it. Welcome back.

There isn't really anything new with No More Second Chances from Triple B. Okay, so there is a Cold World cover, but this is basically just both of the Stick Together 7 inches combined to the LP format. Solid.

300 on green vinyl, and 700 on black.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Iron Man Lives Again

I first heard of Iron Man late last year when Rise Above released their South Of The Earth LP. I could not get enough of that album, and before too long, Iron Man were one of my favorite new bands. Those riffs...that guitar tone...doom perfection.

I was surprised to find out that the band had been around in one form or another, and had a string of four albums already under their belts. One of the reasons that the band has struggled to receive any recognition has to be because of the continual rotation of band members, with the guitarist, being the only constant. With the changing line ups, I was hesitant to check out their earlier records. South Of The Earth was so good that I worried that changing that band chemistry wouldn't have the same strength and power. Still I was desperate for something more than that new album, so I took a tentative step back to 2009 and tried I Have Returned.

Oh damn! Even with a different singer, this Iron Man album rules just as much as their new one.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vertigo Swirl Paranoid

After picking up a copy of Vol. 4 last year, it was only a matter of time before I expanded my Black Sabbath Vertigo swirl collection. With an upcoming bonus from work coming my way, the timing was right for me to start the search.

There were a stream of distractions that were trying to keep me from my prize, including a tempting offer for a No Tolerance test press, but I held firm to my mission...Vertigo swirl at any cost.

I spent a few weeks refreshing myself on the different pressing info, and following eBay listings...scouring over pictures to find records in the best of condition. This was a big deal, and I didn't want to cut any corners. I dropped decent bids on the first Black Sabbath record, as well as Master Of Reality, but I came up short on each of them. In the end, I probably paid more than I should have, but there was no sweeter win than grabbing this first press of Paranoid.

When I was looking for a copy of Paranoid, I was really hoping to grab a legit first pressing with the Jim Simpson/Big Bear credit on the inside of the gatefold sleeve. As soon as the album was issued, this line was immediately removed due to contractual disputes between Sabbath and Big Bear Management. This one line can cause the price to jump dramatically, and I've seen some of them sell on eBay for well over a grand. Thankfully, my copy was much cheaper than that.

How does a record that is 40 plus years old still manage to be in such great condition? Not a speck of ring wear to be found. Amazing.

It is always a tough call for me when picking my favorite Black Sabbath I go with Paranoid or Master Of Reality? Right now, I'd have to go with Paranoid. Yeah, everyone gets tired of hearing "the hits", and Paranoid has three of them on Side A of this record...still, within the context of the full album War Pigs, Paranoid, and Iron Man are still amazing songs...and then to flip the vinyl over to find songs like Electric Funeral, Hand Of Doom, and Fairies Wear Boots....F U C K...absolute perfection.

Two down, two to go.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Survival Of The Splittest

A month or so ago, Lins posted a picture of an Outspoken 7 inch on instagram. What was this? A pressing of Survival on a transparent clear and orange split vinyl? Damn! I'd never seen that before!

I figured that the New Age Records webstore would be a good place to grab one, but it seems like that entire site has been taken down. It never occurred to me to ask Lins where he might have gotten it, and instead I set out in a panic, desperate to find myself a copy. Not too long into my search, I was in the Irish Voodoo webstore, pulling some pressing info for my latest Done Dying post, and that's when I saw it...that mysterious clear/orange split pressing. It was listed that there was only one copy left in stock, so I scooped it up.

Irish Voodoo had it listed as a special pressing for Outspoken's European tour. Good lord, is this band still out touring without John Coyle?

I recently found out that this record is also available in the Outspoken bigcartel store, so go grab one there if you haven't done so yet.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Bl'ast Of Power

Last year, Southern Lord and Dave Grohl cooked up a mighty slab of Bl'ast! with the release of Blood!. While I've had copies of the three Bl'ast! albums since the late 80's, that piece of vinyl really woke me up to how good they really were.

When I heard that Southern Lord was releasing some new recordings of The Power Of Expression sessions, I was quick to jump in and buy one.

Apparently Bl'ast! had three recording sessions in their attempt to capture the songs on tape. Is it overkill to release all three sessions across this triple LP set? Die hard fans may disagree with me here, but in this case, yes, this is too much. In my opinion, the final session that was used for the original album is really the only one worth spinning. While the songs from this last session sound amazing, I will not spend any more time listening to the band's first two attempts at recording their album. They just aren't anything that I need.

Still, the packaging for this is amazing, and makes this release worth owning. Crystal clear vinyl...heavy cardboard packaging...a nice play on the album title with The Expression Of Power...and the artwork is vastly superior to the original. Like the cover for Blood!, I love the dark, Sabbathy vibe for this release.

Again, this release from Southern Lord helped me really appreciate Bl'ast!. I wonder if they will make an attempt to turn me on to Take The Manic Ride with another reissue at some point.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Thrashed And Violated

Around 2007, I started to make an active attempt to discover some new Metal bands. The Thrash revival was really picking up steam with bands like Bonded By Blood, Evile, Warbringer, and Gama Bomb, and of course, I gravitated to these new bands. I ate up anything related to that Thrash revival, and in my fit of downloading all that I could, I ended up checking out a great Brazilian band called Violator.

Last year, I was surprised to discover that they were still around, and had even released a brand new album, Scenes Of Brutality. One of the things that I really like about Violator, is that their lyrics aren't just the same old mindless violence and Satanic fare (not that there is anything wrong with that). Instead, they cover real world violence and oppression...the things they experience and see on the news each day. Lyrically they are a cool throwback to bands like Sacred Reich.

100 pressed on "cop carcass" blue vinyl from War On Music.

As a bonus, War On Music threw in a free copy of the Borrowed Time LP. This one has a bit more of a traditional Metal sound, but it fails to really grab me. I dig some of it, but either the songs just aren't terribly strong, or the rough production takes away from it. I probably won't spend a lot of time with this one, but I am interested to see if they can take this to the next level, because there is some potential here.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Ancient Chain Heads

There is something about young kids playing Straight Edge Hardcore that still gets my blood pumping. Some things never get old.

Ancient Heads are one of those bands keeping that spirit alive. They aren't breaking down any barriers, and they aren't reinventing the wheel. They are just playing solid, bare bones, youth crew inspired straight edge hardcore with passion and sincerity. That's all I need.

Only 50 pressed for both the black and green vinyl.

Ancient Heads wear their influences on their sleeves. With this second pressing of their demo 7 inch, they complete their tribute to Chain Of Strength, matching the pressing for True Till Death. Silver sleeve. Clear vinyl. Green vinyl. Black vinyl. Job well done!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Worst Test Press Post Ever

My attempt to follow in Marcus' footsteps for the Test Press Challenge, and ending the year with 52 test pressings, has always been a joke. Still, I have managed to pick up a fair amount this year, and while I really have no hope of getting to the end goal, I did get a bit of Test Press Fever. After scoring my sixth test last month, with the Winds Of Change comp, I found myself on the hunt for another. When I saw a chance to grab a cheap test from the Nemesis Records catalog, I quickly threw in my winning bid.

While a $5 test press from Nemesis might sound like a great deal, it really isn't that impressive when the band is Fishwife. Honestly, I'd never heard this band before, but since it was on Nemesis, I figured that I'd roll the dice and take the chance. Terrible idea. Nemesis, what were you thinking?

Test press count for 2014 is now at seven.