Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bats In The Belfry

After Christmas, it seemed like eBay was a ghost town. All the records that I was watching with the thought of "I'll take it if I can get it for a good price", were just falling into my lap. No one else was bidding, and the deals were too good to pass up. I'd already spent a lot more money than I'd wanted to this month, but then I saw Overkill's ReliXIV album on vinyl with a low starting bid...once again, I'd found myself as the only bidder.

Overkill are one of my favorite Metal bands of all time. They first released their Power In Black demo in 1983, and here they are, over thirty years later, still putting out consistently impressive albums. How many bands can you name that have that strong of a track record? Impressive as fuck.

As much as I love Overkill, my record collection for them is pathetic. I hope to remedy this over the coming year, and the first step is with their 2005 album, ReliXIV. While this album did get the vinyl reissue treatment in 2013, I made sure that I grabbed the original first press that was on some label out of Sweden. Vinyl obviously wasn't a hot commodity back in 2005, but I'm impressed to see that someone still cared enough to release it on wax.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Siren Song

It was probably about 9 or 10 years ago, when I first started going to my friend Jeff's house, and checking out his record collection. Up until that point, I'd only been familiar with the Combat Records pressing of the Sirens album from Savatage...yeah, the one with the little kids creeping towards you brandishing weapons. When Jeff pulled out the first pressing on Par Records with the blue cover, my jaw hit the floor. What was this?!?

I desperately wanted a copy, but when I checked the regular going rate on eBay, I was immediately dismayed as the price was way to rich for my blood. At the time, I had no idea that there was a market for Metal vinyl, and was surprised to find that the record was typically selling around the $100 dollar mark, and if you wanted the colored vinyl press, you could expect to pay three times that. Disappointed, I resigned to the fact that it was unlikely that I was ever going to own a Par Records pressing.

Fast forward to this month, and while I did a decent job at limiting my spending for the past month or so, I quickly lost control once the Christmas and New Year holidays were behind us. It started with a couple of really cheap records, and it just snowballed from there. When I found the Sirens LP on eBay with a reasonable starting price, I couldn't resist the urge to throw in a bid. Everyone else had their eyes on another copy of the album that was listed at a lower starting price from a different seller, and I ended up winning with the only bid...and while I still paid a very fair price for mine, that other recorded ended in a bidding war and sold for a higher price. Good deal.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Armored Saint EP

The first Armored Saint EP is another record that I've been after for a while now. I'd find myself hot to chase it, but then for one reason or another, I'd let the eBay auction end without bidding. It's not like these are hard to come by, and I've always figured that I could pick one up at any time. With no one bothering to fight with me over this eBay auction, I figured that now was a good time to pick it up for cheap.

Metal Blade reissued this EP back in 2012 with a couple of bonus songs from the original recording session. While it was tempting to grab a copy on the great looking red vinyl, there was no doubt that I needed the original 12 inch pressing. Three songs here...with Lesson Well Learned showing up on the Metal Massacre II comp, False Alarm ended up on the March Of The Saint LP, and On The Way, which only shows up here. I'd never heard this exclusive track before, so it made my day to discover this hidden gem. I do love me some early Armored Saint.

To top things off, I just found out that Armored Saint will be playing in Massachusetts with Saxon this May. You are goddamn right, I want to go.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Eternal Champion For Metal

A while back, Marcus was asking about bands that have a sound similar to Stone Dagger. While he isn't a Metalhead, even he couldn't resist how good that 7 inch most of us, those two songs weren't nearly enough, and he was craving more. In an effort to steer him in the right direction, Doug made a few suggestions. One of those bands was Eternal Champion.

Doug has mentioned Eternal Champion to me in the past, but other than a quick listen on bandcamp, I didn't pay much attention. Still, the guy would not stop talking about them, and I finally broke down under his never ending praise, and sat down to really see what they were about. Damn. I don't know why I drag my feet on some of his Metal recommendations, because he always ends up being right. Eternal Champion are straight up old school Metal, and I was surprised to find that Jason Tarpey of Far From Breaking/Iron Age sings for this band. Man, he has come a long way from those youth crew Straight Edge days. He grabbed one of the Iron Age guitarists, threw in a few other musicians, and deliver these two great songs. Give me more.

While there were 800 pieces of black vinyl pressed for this 7 inch, I was surprised to find it was sold out at each distro that I checked. I started to panic, but was relieved to find a seller had one available over at discogs.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Don't Want No Rich Fat Daddy

I never really set out to collect Raven. The albums were obviously essential, but the early singles were never on my radar. When I bought the Crash Bang Wallop 12 inch, all that changed.

I was first made aware of Raven's first 7 inch, Don't Need Your Money, through the Living Fast debut, where Ryan Waste interviews John Gallagher. During their conversation, they mention these early recordings, and Ryan flashes a copy of the record cover. I'd never done any homework on the early Raven vinyl releases, and this was the first time I'd known this record existed. That record cover looked so cool, and primitive with it's black and white photo and white lettering. It seemed almost...ummm...Hardcore, and I knew then that I wanted a copy. The problem was that since it was an early Neat Records release, and carried huge historical significance from those early days of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, well, I just assumed that it was rare and an expensive record, and I didn't pursue it.

Fast forward to this month, when I'm digging around on Discogs for pressing info on the Crash Bang Wallop record, and I discover that those early Raven singles actually sell for dirt cheap. At that point, I'm all in, and I go on a buying spree grabbing whatever is available.

Unlike the Don't Need Your Money 7 inch, the Hard Ride single is boring as fuck to look at. Damn, someone didn't want to put much effort into the design of this one. Oh well, for five dollars, I'm not going to let it pass me by, and I added it to the collection.

My final impulse buy was the Break The Chain 7 inch from 1983. I don't know man, Metal 7 inches are fucking cool. I've always just focused on the band's albums, and never given much thought to the singles, but owning these three records shines a whole new light on everything.

NEAT06, NEAT11, and NEAT28.

Okay Neat, what other trouble can we get up to.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Streets Run Red

Apparently the first pressing for the new Battle Ruins LP came and went without me knowing. By the time I was aware that the album was out, the record was already commanding big money, and the label was putting up preorders for the "second and final pressing".

To be honest, I wasn't that excited for the record when I first heard it. didn't do much for me, and I wasn't too concerned about settling for the second press. As we moved into January this year, I finally started to really pay attention to this album...the more I listened to it, the more I liked it. Now I'm at the point where I want to listen to this everyday.

RnR Disgrace Records do not mess around. When preorders were posted for the red vinyl they posted a disclaimer that if you wanted to be a cunt, and complain about how long it takes you to get your record, they would gladly refund your money and ban you from ever buying from them again. Damn!

500 pressed on red vinyl.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mark Of The Squealer

A few years ago, I started keeping a mental list of records that I was hoping to score each year. It was pretty loose, and was basically just a handful of records that were important, but for one reason or another, I'd just never buckled down and seriously chased one. You know me...I get distracted easily, so I hoped that making this "list" would help me focus and get serious about adding certain records to the collection. This year, I decided to make that list a bit more solid, and publish it here in the sidebar of this blog. Now, the goal isn't to purchase all of these by the years end, but to at least hopefully keep me focused on crossing off some big records from my list.

Leeway's Born To Expire has been on that list since I first started mentally putting it fact, it was one of the major reasons that I started making this list in the first place. For the past few years, each January would come around and I'd set a resolution for myself...this year I'm committed to finally buying a copy...and then before I'd know it, we be in December, and I'd still be sitting there without one.

With the start of 2015, and reviewing my Want List, once again I found myself committing to acquire a copy of Born To Expire. Enough of this shit. I immediately hit eBay and I found a copy that wasn't beat to shit, or with cut corners. Unbelievably, I was the only bidder with a $30 starting price. Mission finally accomplished.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Non-Stop Feeling

There was a lot of hype for the new Turnstile album. While I was initially disappointed with the band's last record, Step 2 Rhythm, it eventually grew on me in a big way. Would I experience that same kind of disappointment with the new record? Would Turnstile be able to carry that energy level across an entire LP? While I was looking forward to Non-Stop Feeling, I was still hesitant to set expectations very high.

With the new album, Turnstile continue their tradition of having the worst covers art in recent Hardcore history. Ugh...I'm not feeling it at all. No pun intended. Once we get past the cover though, all is forgiven, as Turnstile deliver the goods. The songs jump off the vinyl, and soon I'm bouncing along. As I'm listening, I can't help but draw vocal comparisons to Zach de La Rocha from Inside Out...hell, even the opening riff to Fazed Out kind of reminds me of a Rage Against The Machine song. Considering how hesitant I was going into this, I'm surprised at how much I'm loving it. Record of the year so far.

While I'm not impressed with the front cover, I do dig everything else about the packaging for this LP. The back cover looks great, the poster conveys the energy that band brings to the stage, and the lyric booklet is pretty sweet.

There was a time when I would have ordered every available vinyl option for this record, but for this LP, I only ordered the one copy. I limited myself this time around for a couple of reasons. First of all, I didn't want to repeat the experience I had with the Take Offense record from the year before, when I spent a ton of money on multiple copies, and then album ended up being a disappointment. One copy of that record would have been sufficient.

The main reason that I only ordered one copy was that I was fed up and disgusted. Record collecting is fun, but I've started to feel taken advantage of when labels churn out an endless supply of limited colored vinyl pressings. Reaper gave us three new pressing each of the two Turnstile 7 inches at the start of 2014, and I bought one of each...six new pieces of vinyl. Then as we approached the end of the year, the label was back with four more pressings of each EP...throw in shipping and I'm looking at another $50 to try and keep up...and then on top of that, we get five different pressing for the Non-Stop Feeling LP? Fuck off. It isn't fun anymore. If the reason that labels like Reaper keep flooding the market with different pressings is because people keep buying them, then I'm not participating.

300 pressed on black vinyl.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Trouble's A Brewin'

For as long as I can remember, I've struggled to keep up to date with this blog. For the most part, I was getting records in the mail faster than I could write about them, and a twenty post backlog became the norm. This is no longer the case. As of right now, beyond this post, I have nothing waiting in the wings. Sure, I still have outstanding orders with a few labels, and a couple records on the way from recent eBay wins, but as of now, I'm all caught up. Worst. Feeling. Ever.

Not many people are going to be too enthusiastic when a band brings in a new singer, and without Wagner behind the mic, a new Trouble album didn't have the same level of excitement around it. For one reason or another, I still downloaded The Distortion Field, and while I wasn't expecting much, I was surprised at how much I ended up enjoying it. Don't compare it to those classic Trouble albums, and this is actually quite a strong release. I don't know...I can't help but draw comparisons to those first couple of Black Sabbath albums when they brought in Tony isn't what you expect to hear, but if you go in with a fresh outlook, you are going to be surprised at how good it really is.

A month or so ago, when I was posting about the new Skull album, it dawned on me that I'd never picked up that last Trouble record. I kind of felt bad about rushing out to buy the new album from Wager, when I'd still never bothered to pick up the last Trouble album. Damn, it still has guitarists Wartell and Franklin, so what the hell was I waiting for? Once I found the double LP Euro import, on eBay, from a US seller, for $15, the deal was done.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Crash Bang Wallop

When I first started this blog almost nine years ago, I wrote about some Raven odds and ends that most people wouldn't care about. The records were pretty far removed from what would be considered Raven's classic period...well beyond those early years with Neat Records. Since falling into a cycle of early 80's Metal this past year, I started digging back into the Raven catalog, and it dawned on me that I was missing some of their more crucial records.

When I started researching the pressing info for those early Raven records, I was surprised to find colored vinyl options for the Crash Bang Wallop EP...and once I made this discovery, I needed to own a copy. There were options of purple vinyl, yellow vinyl, black vinyl, and a few different labels for each...and because of my love for pressing variations, and I couldn't get enough of Raven, I wanted them all. Cooler heads prevailed though, and since I still didn't own Raven's Wiped Out LP, I figured it was foolish to buy multiple copies of Crash Bang Wallop.

A copy on purple marble colored vinyl will have to do...for now.