Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jailbreak Vertigo

A glimpse into my train of thought while record collecting:

"Must focus and get a complete collection of the original Megaforce silver label pressings on vinyl. Nothing else is important. My full attention is spent searching for these records, and I will not be diverted from my the task at hand. Oh wait, those UK Vertigo pressings of Thin Lizzy look fucking ace..."

Back in 2007, I picked up my first piece of Thin Lizzy vinyl. I'd just started to really like the band, and in my haste I grabbed a US pressing on Mercury when I was shopping in Boston. I was pretty happy with my purchase until I discovered that the first pressing on Vertigo came in a gatefold sleeve, while the US pressing did not. I didn't really do a lot of homework on pressing info for Rock and Metal albums back then, and I just bought whatever was convenient and available. Amateur hour. 7 years later, I've corrected the failure of my original purchase.

When a UK Vertigo pressing is an option, that is really the only way to go. You can't lose with a Vertigo swirl or Vertigo UFO label. It doesn't get much cooler than that.

Full sleeve artwork for inside of the diecut gatefold cover. Tonight there's going to be a jailbreak...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Scream For A Dischord Reissue

For some reason, there is something less offensive about a Dischord reissue, compared to a Revelation reissue. Maybe it is because there is a large portion of the Dischord library that I don't give a shit about, so I don't have to worry about falling into a bottomless hole, like I do with REV. Whatever the reason is, when I saw this new pressing of the first Scream LP, I had no problems buying myself a copy.

I've never owned Still Screaming on vinyl, and with this new reissue staring me in the face, it just seemed logical to finally grab a copy for the collection.

Honestly, I've never really cared about Scream. I bought the Still Screaming/This Side Up CD about 10 years ago, and probably only listened to it a handful of times. It never clicked with me, and I think it was because the disc closes with the This Side Up songs...and they kind of bore me. By the time the CD would end, I'd just toss it back on the shelf to be ignored for another couple of years.

Earlier this year, I decided to take smaller bites, and I just added the Still Screaming songs to my ipod, and I was surprised at how great they were. Just what you'd expect from Dischord in 1982.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Gigantic Fu Manchu

I hadn't even heard Fu Manchu until last year. Doug made the proper introductions, and after catching them live in Boston it elevated them to a whole other level.

I pretty much limited my exposure to what I consider "the big three"...The Action Is Go, King Of The Road, and California Crossing. These three made the biggest impact on me, and were in constant rotation all last summer. When it was announced that Fu Manchu were releasing a new album this year, I was looking forward to checking out what they had to offer.

Once I saw the cover art, my expectations were increased. How could this 70's-era Land of the Lost/California stoner hybrid looking cover art fail to deliver the goods?

For a band that seemed to be at their peak 15 years ago, and haven't released an album in 5, Gigantoid is surprisingly solid. More of that fuzzed out guitar stoner sound that Fu Manchu excel at. This album really hits the spot for some Summertime listening. Hop in the car, roll the windows down, turn up the volume, and let's head to the beach.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

REV Reissues: Black And White Cover Edition

There was a time when REV reissue posts were fun and exciting. These days, who gives a shit? Really. Does anyone get a charge out of these anymore?

I don't even pay much attention to the reissues anymore. I'll pick something up if the mood strikes me, but I'm not going out of my way for this shit anymore. It just so happens that the latest order of reissues all had black and white covers...

There are a handful of reissues that I can't walk away from. Youth of Today are one of them. I'm missing so many of the YOT original pressings, yet, I step up every time and order the reissues.

550 pressed on white vinyl.

This marks my fifth copy of Can't Close My Eyes since REV started pumping these out in 2011...and yet, these reissues are the only copies in my collection. Sigh.

549 pressed on blue vinyl.

Well, this was a nice surprise. Good to see the No For An Answer finally get a vinyl repress. Judging from the REV pressing info, it looks like it hasn't seen a vinyl pressing since the youth crew revival of '97. I don't own a single copy of this on vinyl, so buying this was a no brainer.

548 pressed on yellow vinyl.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Don't Wait Up

Five years ago, Bane released a couple of 7 inches that revitalized my love for the band. I'd forgotten how great they were, and those records served as a nice reminder.

There was a lot hype when it was announced that Bane was releasing a new album this year. I'm still confused if this actually a "final album" or not.

When the vinyl went up for pre-order, I was like, "Yeah, I'll just wait until release day, and order it then."...then it sold out. Fuck. I was scrambling to find it anywhere, searching every online distro trying to get my hands on a copy, but I came up empty at every turn. Release day came, and I vowed that I wasn't going to sink to the level of buying the CD. I also didn't want to find a free download. When I heard it for the first time, I wanted it to be when I dropped the needle on my turntable. So I waited.

I was glad to see that the wait wasn't too long before REVHQ started taking orders for the second pressing. 700 pressed on white vinyl.

So how is the album? Man, it starts off with a bang. The first two songs really deliver, and I can't believe how incredible this sounds...then comes Calling Hours, and everything comes to a screeching halt. Look, I love David Wood and Down To Nothing, and Pat Flynn and Have Heart...I can even hang with Rotting Out every once in a while...but when you throw those three as guest vocals on one song, everything sounds so disjointed. Then by the time the female vocals come in at the end, I'm like "Get me the fuck out of here". Sorry, but I don't dig it at all. I won't dwell on the negativity though, because right after that song, we get back to what Bane do best. Solid album from dudes that have been doing this for a long time. Well done.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Clear Praise For React

Hey, remember when I used to post about Hardcore records? Those were good times, weren't they? While I may be in the middle of my biggest Metal kicks since I was 19 years old, my one Hardcore constant is React! Records. I still love that label, and they consistently put out the best shit. Such is the case with the new Praise album.

Praise started out a decent Hardcore band a few years ago when Aram released their first 7 inch back in 2010. I dug it, but it didn't really blow me, I figured that they were going to end up being a short lived deal, allowing front man, Andy Norton the chance to get some stuff off his chest. I was surprised, and really impressed with the 2 song follow up a year later, but again, I didn't expect to hear much more from the band. Three years later, Praise gives us Lights Went Out, and I'm goddamned impressed.

There are times when the songs have a strong Embrace feel, and other times when I'll listen to Andy's voice, and think "Damn, he reminds me of Hoodrack from Stick Together". Such a great blend of styles.

Great layout and design.

150 on green, 350 on blue, and 435 on black. My preorder package also came with a giant poster and cool little zine called Wig Out At Kinkos, that kind of documents the Praise history.

Keep It Clear were a Straight Edge band out of Vancouver a few years ago. They released a great demo and a 7 inch, and then disappeared. Apparently the band is back together, so React! decided to press their past recorded material onto a 12 inch, to remind people how great this band is.

I'm not sure what it is about this back cover, but it really reminds me of No For An Answer. Very cool.

100 on "smoke" colored vinyl, 350 on maroon (although mine looks more like a brownish red), and 500 black.

The promo sticker on the plastic sleeve is a new addition from React!, and looks nice with the stark black and white design of the Keep It Clear cover.

As I started pulling the vinyl out to examine the packaging for this latest React! preorder, I was disappointed to find that the corner on every single one of these was crushed. Heartbreaking. Got to see if I can get these replaced.

React! Records is cursed. They saw delay after delay from the pressing plants for these new albums, and preorders from February finally saw the light of day four months later. Some people get really uptight about this kind of, not so much. Ev and the React! crew are solid, and I know they are doing all they can, and that I'll get 'em when I get 'em. Much respect.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Giving Praise At The Metal Church

I regularly get distracted on my quest to collect certain records. My latest passion has been to chase the silver label Megaforce pressings, but somewhere along the way I decided that I'd pull off the road and and spend some time at the Metal Church.

An obsession within an obsession. I have been listening to a lot of 80's much so, that I can almost feel my mullet growing back in. In cruising through my 1985 playlist, I stumbled upon the first Metal Church album. It had been a while since I'd given it a spin, so I figured that I'd check it out. Hot damn! I'd forgotten how great this album was.

After giving it a listen, I soon found myself queuing it up everyday. Fuck. Metal Church was never better than when David Wayne was at the mic. I could not get enough, and soon I was checking eBay for vinyl.

Before signing to Elektra, Metal Church released their first LP on the short lived Ground Zero Records. When I started searching eBay for a copy of the Metal Church LP, I knew that there was no way an Elektra pressing was going to cut it. I needed the original first pressing...and I needed it in excellent condition. When I found what I was looking for, I didn't hesitate to spend a few extra dollars to get what I wanted.

First pressings came with a merchandise insert. Dude, I would totally rock that muscle shirt right now.

Warning: ordering the Metal Church neck brace is only for serious bangers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Column Of Clarity

Back in January, I grabbed a free download of the Column demo. It was really good, with a nice Mouthpiece sound to the songs.

I hadn't really given it much more thought until I saw Chris over at Unwavering Spirit post about the 7 inch. Damn, I hadn't heard that the demo had seen a vinyl release. I quickly headed over to Negative Split to grab myself a copy.

100 pressed on clear vinyl.

While I was in the Negative Split store, I saw that they also had released a 7 inch for a band called Clarity. I've seen this record at various distros, and had been curious about what they sounded like. Since the description mentioned that the band included former members of Not Sorry and The Answer, and drew their influence from bands like Carry On, I figured that I'd give it a shot. Great stuff, that reminds me of early Go It Alone. I'm glad that I took a chance on this one.

150 on white vinyl.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Megaforce Oddities

I have a long list of metal/rock stuff that I want to collect. Black Sabbath with the Vertigo swirl labels. The first few Motorhead albums on Bronze. Thin Lizzy on Vertigo. UK pressings for Budgie. But at the top of my list lately has been the original silver label Megaforce pressings. I've been obsessed with them, and most of my time on eBay lately has been spent searching for them...checking prices and weeding out those that are too badly beat up. I've come up short on a few that I've been chasing recently, but I have managed to pick up a couple of oddities from the Megaforce catalog.

So I went to a Chain of Strength show, and the only thing I bought was a Metal Rap record. I know, it sounds like the set up to a bad joke, but it is the truth. When my brother and I went to see the Chain/Mindset show a few weeks ago, I needed to check out the metal section at Welfare Records. As soon as I saw the Lone Rager record, I knew that I was making it mine.

Lone Rager won't stand up against any of the Megaforce heavy hitters like Metallica, Raven, and Anthrax, but released in 1984 alongside the Whiplash and Armed & Dangerous EPs, it is still a must for a collector. Before Anthrax was doing I'm The Man and playing with Public Enemy, Johnny Z from Megaforce did this Lone Rager record...a rap tribute to metal. The front cover, with Johnny Z in a sweaty pillowcase, reminds me of either The Mentors or that hilarious Klan scene from Django you know this is just a fun little project, and not to be taken too seriously.

In addition to the Lone Rager 12 inch, I also recently picked up the From The Megavault compilation from eBay.

At first glance, I wasn't that excited about this comp from 1985. I already had the Overkill, S.O.D., and Anthrax songs on other formats, and figured that the other songs on here were just outtakes. This was not the case, and I was surprised to find I'd never heard the Exciter and T.T. Quick songs on the live Raven song wasn't on their Live At The Inferno LP either. Suddenly, this comp LP wasn't the throw away purchase that I'd expected.

As the sticker on the front cover indicates, this album comes with a "historic" Megaforce poster.

The highlight of the poster, was the back which shows all the Megaforce releases to date. A great checklist to check what I need to chase next.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Stone Dagger

I'd never heard of Stone Dagger until a few weeks ago, when Marcus happened to mention their name. He spoke of them like I should know who he was talking about. In an attempt to not look as out of touch as I felt, I quickly hunted down some info on the band.

I was caught unaware when Doug tipped me off to Magic Circle, and I'll be damned if the same thing didn't happen again with Stone Dagger. How are people hearing about this shit before me?!?

Apparently Magic Circle wasn't enough Metal for one man, and Brendan Radigan grabbed a microphone and guitar to give us Stone Dagger. The promo from Electric Assault Records listed this "for fans of Dio". Goddamn...that is some pretty big talk, but hey, I'm a huge fan of Dio, and I'm loving the shit out of these two songs, so the label must know what they are talking about.

I don't know if I can include a two song 7 inch in my top Metal releases for the year, but I may not have a choice with this one. This thing is so good...please give me a follow up full length.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Clean Break

Some people just "get" hardcore. They understand the purity of it's values, and don't compromise them for their own gain. David at Salad Days Records is one of these people. He is a genuine dude...positive...straight edge...hardcore. Every time I've spoken with him, I walk away with a smile on my face. The integrity he carries with him, flows over to his record label and bands that he plays with. I have nothing but respect for everything he has done.

David's newest band, Clean Break, has knocked me off my feet. If you follow this blog regularly, you know that I've been pretty much doing nothing but listening to a steady stream of Heavy Metal for the past six months. The one big exception has been the new Clean Break record.

Man, this thing is a blast. Straight Edge Hardcore.

105 pressed on black vinyl. 155 on "double mint" green, and 260 on "Halloween" orange.

Clean Break recently did a small tour around Europe. You know what that means, don't you? Special tour press cover!

Number 50 out of 50. It doesn't get much better than that.

In addition to the new record from Clean Break, we also get their 2013 demo pressed to vinyl. I love the raw sound of these songs.

50 were pressed on red vinyl, and 50 were pressed on green.

In addition to the regular pressings, there were 50 green vinyl with a red cover.

...and 50 red vinyl with a green cover.

When these records first went up for sale, David said that he was going to hold some aside for me and get me a price. I waited and waited...I asked him how much I could pay him, and he kept putting me off saying that he was going to get to it. The band went on tour, and still I waited. I stopped asking about them, knowing that when he was ready, he would give me the price to ship them out to me. Quite by surprise, a package finally showed up at my door. Inside were all the Clean Break records and a couple of charge. Damn, David is one of the good dudes. Thanks, man.