Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Monumental Magus

I've slowly been picking up the Grand Magus reissues that Rise Above did back at the end of 2014. Over a year since their release, and I'm finally picking up the final piece with the band's second LP, Monument.

When it comes to Grand Magus, the popular consensus is that the band's earlier, Doom influenced albums are the best...and I am clearly in the minority, as I prefer their more recent string of records where they take more of a traditional Metal approach. Because of this, I've not really spent much time with the first few Grand Magus albums, and without really spending much time with Monument, I've kind of considered it the band's weakest outing.

After spinning this piece of plastic the past couple of days, I may need to rethink it's place in the Grand Magus rankings. This record is much stronger than I gave it credit for...even if I still don't know what the fuck is going on with that album cover.

100 pressed on clear vinyl.

First four albums, all on clear vinyl. Lookin' good!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Death Of A Dream

It has been a long time since I've ordered direct from Rise Above Records. It has probably been about a year since I bought that diehard edition of the sHeavy album, and since then every Rise Above release, I've purchased locally and saved a shit-ton on shipping costs.

Dream Death were a Metal band from the mid to late 80's. I'd never heard them until a couple years ago, when I downloaded their Journey Into Mystery album...but truth be told, I probably only listened to it twice, before I moved on. I either had a bunch of other stuff I was listening to at the time, or it didn't leave much of an impression on me...either way, I didn't think about the band again until Rise Above announced they were releasing a new album from the band.

I was kind of excited at the prospect of buying another diehard edition from Rise Above, and after quickly previewing their new song, Cold Hard Light, I quickly jumped to place an order once pre-orders were available.

My quick and dirty preview left me thinking that this was going to be a great Doom Metal album. Well, I kind of rushed to judgement on that. This album is decent, but honestly, I don't think that I'm going to return to it very often. Maybe it just needs some time in my daily playlist, and for me to get used to the vocals...I don't know, the whole thing is a little underwhelming right now.

150 pressed on clear vinyl.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Like A Mother Fucker

I've kind of been obsessed with early punk lately...consuming a steady diet of late 70's/early 80's bands. As I was stuck in this musical time warp, I recalled a conversation that I'd had with Doug recently regarding The Heartbreakers.

I'd never heard of The Heartbreakers before...and while I'd heard the name Johnny Thunders tossed around here and there over the years, I guess I'd never cared enough to bother checking out who he was. Doug had recently discovered their 1977 album, L.A.M.F., and was raving about it, and given my current state of mind, I figured that I'd give it a shot as well.

I found the album on youtube, and two songs deep, I knew I was going to have a buy a copy. After putting the album in constant rotation for a couple of weeks, I knew that I was going to have to put up the cash for an original UK pressing on Track Record.

Discovering this 1977 gem, 38 years after it's initial release has made this one of my favorite finds of the year so far...and it's got me thinking...what else have I missed out on?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Twelve Inches Of Hardcore For Hardcore

The final piece in my REVHQ shopping spree, and another piece of black vinyl because I couldn't be bothered to get off my ass when initial pre-orders were announced.

When Sandwell let me know that Quality Control HQ, I couldn't be bothered. I was in a Heavy Metal state of mind, and I had no desire to purchase a 12 inch repress of a Hardcore record that I already owned 5 different pressings for as a 7 inch.

It was far too easy for me to just add another $11 record to the cart when I was shopping at REVHQ, and now I wish that I'd just grabbed the color vinyl pre-order when I had the opportunity. Either way, these songs still hold up, and Quality Control did a great job packaging this.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Final Foundation

Late last year, news was posted that Foundation were breaking up, and releasing one final 12 inch record. By the time I'd heard the pre-orders were up over at Jawk Records, the limited color vinyl was sold out. I was so disappointed in missing out on the pre-order pressing, that I just walked away and didn't order a damn thing.

As I was hanging out in the REVHQ store, and looking to increase the size of my order, I tossed the new Foundation record in my cart on a whim. Why not? I've always enjoyed Foundation, and since I was buying a bunch of Hardcore records, it seemed like the easiest way to finally grab a copy.

Now that I have the vinyl, and have sat down to really listen to these songs, I'm disappointed that I chose to settle with the regular black vinyl pressing. This final goodbye from Foundation is so damn strong, I wish that I'd put forth more of an effort to get the colored vinyl...hell, even the coke bottle clear vinyl that is still available from Jawk would have looked great with the cover art.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Pressure's Always On

It's been a long time since I've had an itch to search out new Hardcore bands. If it wasn't Metal, it would have to be pretty special for me to stop headbanging like a fool, and pay attention. As I was shopping in the REVHQ store, triggered by my purchase of the new Red Hare 7 inch, I had a surprising urge to find another Hardcore record that might interest me.

Chris over at Unwavering Spirit is a good barometer for quality Hardcore bands, and I remembered him posting about Blood Pressure a few weeks back. I checked the song that the label had posted on Soundcloud, and was knocked on my ass. That song ruled, and I quickly added my second new Hardcore record to the REVHQ cart. I was on a roll!

Man, this this is fucking ugly and brutal. Caustic and angry...this band rages through 10 songs in 13 minutes. Good stuff.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Clear Hare

Each week, I get the email newsletter from Revelation Records. It has some REV news, a Hardcore fun fact, and a listing of all the new releases added to the REVHQ distro. To be honest, I've hardly paid these emails much attention for the longest time...just quick scroll through the list of new additions, to see if anything jumps out at me. Most days, it is a five second, skim, delete...but a couple weeks ago, I see a name that catches my eye. Red Hare.

The Nites Of Midnite album was one of my favorites from 2013, but I kind of figured that it was going to be a one-off kind of deal, and we wouldn't see anything else from the band. Apparently, Red Hare has been busy in the studio, recording a new LP, and Dischord is offering up a three song tease with the Lexicon Mist 7 inch. I've been dragging my feet lately on new Hardcore releases, but I didn't hesitate with this record.

The two originals on here do not fail to deliver the goods...the Lungfish cover on the b-side is okay, but I don't know shit about Lungfish, and this song doesn't really push for me to check them out. Bring on the new album!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Faith And Loyalty To React!

I've been dedicated to REACT! from the start. Hell, even through that awkward stretch of Damages, Fell To Low, and Tranzmitors records...I was buying every pressing that went up for pre-order. Lately though, my head has been in a different place musically. Even though I've still bought every pressing, there have been some newer bands, like Break Away and Not Afraid, that I've really only bothered to listen to a handful of times.

Lately, I've found myself narrowing the focus of my purchasing habits, and trying to buy smarter. There are so many great classic records that I do not own on vinyl, and looking through my collection, and seeing multiple copies of an album from 2013...well, I just think that maybe that money could have been spent more wisely.

When the new For Pete's Sake record was announced late last year, I checked the bandcamp page for a preview of what was to come. I made it through the first song on the record, and was feeling a bit underwhelmed. For the first time since the 2011 release of Skin Like Iron, I skipped a REACT! pre-order. I felt dirty. I felt guilty. I managed to hold out for around three months before I caved and bought a copy anyway.

On the whole, this is a really good Hardcore album. This thing gets off to a slow start, and I feel that if the lead off track was different, I think that I wouldn't have been so hesitant to grab a copy. Thankfully, the transparent blue vinyl was still available, and I didn't end up regretting my procrastination.

125 pressed on transparent blue vinyl.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Right Makes Might

Every great band inevitably ends. We can only hope that they call it quits before they overstay their welcome, and embarrass themselves. Mindset have been one of the best Hardcore bands from the last 10 years, and while I hate to see them go, at least you can remain confident that their entire output was solid as fuck.

To be honest, it has taken me a while to sit down and listen to this three song finale. I mean, this is it. These are Mindset's last songs. Once I'd listened to them, there would be nothing new from Mindset. Once I'd heard these songs, it would be like a final going back...and as strange as it might sound, it was kind of sad to think about only seeing the band in my rearview mirror. So I delayed playing this record for weeks...waiting for the perfect moment to pay my respects.

Let's face it, I'm an old dude...and while there are still newer Hardcore bands that I like, none of them have set me on fire like Mindset did. One of the most disappointing things about Mindset breaking up, is that I truly don't think that I will ever have that same connection to a band's passion and intensity like I did with them. I haven't had that same drive with newer bands, and maybe someone will come along and shake me up, but with Mindset moving on, it just seems like the end of an era for me.

So what about the Nothing Less record? No surprise, these last songs cement Mindset's legacy as being of of this decade's extension of Leave No Doubt, while still keeping it fresh and exciting. R.I.P. Mindset. You will be missed.

150 pressed on red. 500 pressed on clear. 1,000 on black vinyl.

Monday, March 07, 2016

The Eagle Has Landed

When I was picking up the Sammy Hagar Heavy Metal single a couple weeks back, my cart was a little light, so I hit up the list of vinyl that the discogs seller had available. You know...buying a $3.50 piece of vinyl from overseas feels a little pointless, unless you can pad your order with more records.

I was crazy over Saxon last year, and I started the hunt for original UK pressings of their early records. My intent was to collect them all in chronological order, but after seeing this seller with a copy of Power & The Glory available, I snatched it up...the $9 price tag helped sway my decision as well.

While it might be a little outside of what would be considered Saxon's classic period, Power & The Glory is no slouch, with the title track and The Eagle Has Landed being setlist staples to this day. It is funny, when I saw Saxon live for the first time early last year, they played The Eagle Has Landed, and I was kind of underwhelmed with the song. I really wasn't familiar with it at the time, so I kind of wrote it off. By the time I'd seen the band for the second time, later that year, I knew the song a bit better, and when they played it here in Maine, it became one of my favorite songs of the night. Truly epic.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Heavy Metal Hagar

Outside of the first Montrose album, I've never had any use for Sammy Hagar. maybe going to see Hagar on the VOA tour in '84 was my first concert, but honestly, all I knew from him at the time was that I Can't Drive 55 I was only 13/14 years old, and as a kid that grew up watching The A-Team and Chuck Norris films, you'll have to forgive me for thinking that Sammy was cool as shit in that video.

Months later, I recognized that mid-80's Hagar for the full on cheese that it was, and quickly moved on...writing him off as a jock rock joke. He wasn't serious Metal, and I had no time for the likes of him.

I was kicking around online recently, and ended up on Beastmaker's Facebook page. They had a new 7 inch due out on Rise Above Records, so I was looking to check them out. While I was there, I noticed that they posted a video for a Sammy Hagar song called Satisfied, mentioning that the father of one of the guys played with Hagar at the time. Being a little curious, I checked it out...and much to my surprise, I loved it. I played that song three or four times, astonished with how much I enjoyed it. Immediately, I knew that I needed to track down the vinyl.

As an exclusive b-side to Hagar's Heavy Metal single, and pressed only in the UK, I quickly hit up the discogs marketplace for a copy.

Goddamn it. I bought this for Satisfied, but I ended up really enjoying all three songs on this single. This has such an awesome summertime vibe. Don't tell me that I'm going to have to check out some of Sammy's earlier albums.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Mos Generator / Sower

After releasing their excellent full length Electric Mountain Majesty in 2014, Mos Generator cranked out three split 12 inches in 2015. Throw in a couple of 7 inch releases, and guitarist/singer Tony Reed's solo project of obscure 70's covers, and you've got to be impressed by the dude's work ethic.

The four songs on this newest split remind me why I lost my mind over the Electric Mountain Majesty album a couple years ago. The band continues to impress with their stoner/doom sound. One of the cooler things about this record is the Voivod cover of The Prow. It seems like kind of an oddball cover for Mos Generator to do, and while it is a bit of a different sound than the three other songs on the split, the band pull it off flawlessly. Well done.

For most Mos Generator splits, the band on the flip side rarely does anything for me, and that is the case with Sower. Not terrible, but nothing that I'd reach for on a regular basis.

Pressed on three different colors of, yellow and grey. 100 pressed of each.

Since there was a pressing error with the Mos Generator / Stubb split that I received last year, Tony made good on his promise and sent me a replacement copy of the record.