Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Scorpion Child

While picking up the latest Grand Magus album from Nuclear Blast, I figured that I'd check for something else to add to the cart. My god...it is like a curse...that unshakable need to avoid buying just one record while checking out.

This time through the Nuclear Blast store, I noticed the 2013 debut album from Scorpion Child. I remember really enjoying this album when I downloaded it at the time, but for one reason or another, I never followed through and picked up the vinyl. This is a quality Hard Rock record, and the sale price of only $15 made it an easy decision to drop it into my cart.

Bronze colored vinyl, with an etched D-side.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Sword Songs

A couple years ago, Grand Magus released my favorite Metal album of 2014 with Triumph And Power. Needless to say, I was excited to hear they were releasing their follow up LP this year with Sword Songs.

Even with the preview track, Varangian, released back in March, it was kind of pointless, because I knew that this album was a blind buy for me. No need to waste time checking it out...I headed straight to Nuclear Blast to preorder the most limited vinyl option.

Metallic gold may be one of the worst looking vinyl colors. It always looks like shit. Still, since it was limited to 300, it meant that I had to buy it, and lie to myself that it was the best option for coordinating with the front cover artwork.

No matter the vinyl color, this record hits hard. Traditional Heavy Metal that Grand Magus does best. Another winner.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Dag With Shawn 2016

With Red Hare back on the map with a new 7 inch earlier this year, and a new LP in the works, it was kind of surprising to see a new record from Shawn Brown and his old bandmates from Dag Nasty.

I typically approach these one-off reunion recordings with some trepidation. These guys haven't been in the studio together for almost 30 years, so you've got to wonder if they have still got it, or if it will come off as some uninspired Dad (Punk) Rock bullshit that we can all ignore. Fear not. Shawn Brown ain't going out like that. These two songs are excellent.

It's a rare feeling when it comes to reunion records, but this 7 inch leaves me wanting more.

As someone that is approaching 46 years old, these pictures on the inside sleeve of "current self" next to "1985 self" kind of freak me out. "I'm looking at pictures, and I'm thinking of those times. Those times have changed, and so have I.".

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Undead Gamma Ray

Despite having been around since 1989, Gamma Ray and I sat down for the first time and got to know each other last summer.

I'd never paid the band any attention before, but remembering that Doug once told me that Gamma Ray was basically the same as early Helloween, I figured that I'd take the plunge and check them out when I was looking for something new.

Sometimes music hits you when you least expect it, and when I sat down to check out Gamma Ray, I had no idea how quickly I was going to become obsessed with them. I'd always kind of kept Power Metal at arms length, preferring the all out attack of Thrash instead, but man, they soon sank their hooks in deep, and didn't let go. The band have eleven studio albums, and I currently have five of them sitting on my iPod.

When it came time to start adding some vinyl to the collection, it was a tough call on where to begin. While Land Of The Free from 1995 can command a price tag easily over $100, I figured that maybe I'd start by setting my sights a little lower, and aimed for 2014's Empire Of The Undead. A search of the discogs marketplace quickly revealed a still sealed copy that some seller was looking to unload for only $14. Sold.

Man, I'm eating this stuff up lately. How long will it take for me to break the bank, and make a run at Land Of The Free?

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Playing Rough

Sometimes, new bands come along at just the right time. Lately, I've been obsessed with late 70's punk. It has been dominating my daily playlists, and I've been on the hunt, discovering some great albums from that time period that I'd never heard until now. I haven't been able to get enough of that classic punk sound, and I need more and more.

Then with the creep factor in full swing over on Facebook, I noticed a "sponsored" post on my timeline from Sorry State Records, advertising the new Rough Kids album. With a description mentioning the words "'77 Punk", I just had to check it out. A quick preview of the album from the bandcamp page, and I was hooked.

Man, this album checks all the right boxes...fast and infectious punk rock. Put me on the dance floor and let me bounce around like a nut. This fits in perfectly with everything that I've been listening to lately, and may currently be my favorite punk release from 2016.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Admiral Sir Beastmaker

When you are paying the ridiculous shipping prices from Rise Above, you might as well go all in and buy one of everything while you are shopping in their webstore. Finished off my recent shopping spree with two new 7 inches.

Rise Above actually had these two records posted in their webstore a while ago, but since they were unavailable to purchase, I assumed that I'd missed the preorder, and they had sold out. While I was picking up the new Blood Ceremony and Beastmaker albums, I figured that I'd check again, and was surprised to find they were available. I didn't hesitate to add them to the cart before checking out.

I've always enjoyed Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, so I was looking forward to this latest two song single. No need to hunt for a preview song to check it out first...this was an automatic buy.

Two songs in that same rowdy rock n roll vein that the Shovell do best.

150 pressed on crystal clear vinyl. I love those labels with the rainbow Rise Above logo. Looking good.

Unlike the Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell record, the Beastmaker record doesn't offer anything new. I believe these were just two songs taken off the band's self released demo, but they both ended up on the album, so after a couple of spins, I'll probably just be shelving this one.

Still, I'm not going to turn my back at a Rise Above clear vinyl pressing. 150 pressed.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Beast Of Doom

While I was picking up the new Blood Ceremony album from Rise Above, it obviously made sense to buy as many records as I possibly could, so I set out to see what else I could add to my cart. While looking around, I saw they also had a new album available from a band named Beastmaker. I had no idea who this band was, but I absolutely loved the album cover, and probably would have bought the record based on the cover art alone.

I did a quick search, and found a video for the song Mask of Satan...I gave it a quick listen and was instantly sold on it. This is my kind of Doom. One of the best surprises this year.

The Die Hard pressing from Rise Above did not offer a clear vinyl option. If you wanted the most limited pressing, it was black vinyl or nothing. I don't know...given the state of record collecting today, where colored vinyl is king, it feels kind of rebellious for them to offer black vinyl as the limited pressing. I love it.

Die Hard edition comes with a bonus 7 inch, and an embroidered patch. Limited to 150 copies.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Lord Of The Blood Ceremony

Since discovering Blood Ceremony in 2011, with their sophomore album, Living With The Ancients, the band just absolutely blow me away with every new release. Even with their last album, The Eldritch Dark, I was completely floored that they were releasing something that good.

With their fourth album, I figured that Blood Ceremony was going to start to get stale. They couldn't keep their streak of greatness going for this long, could they?

As soon as I heard the preview track, The Devil's Widow, all doubts were erased. The band still sounds incredibly powerful, and have hooks and melodies for days. As soon as I heard that song, I knew that I was going to have to make a run at the Die Hard pressing, no matter the cost.

Man, there is just something special about owning clear vinyl pressings from Rise Above.

Rise Above knocks it out of the park again with their Die Hard box set pressing for the new Blood Ceremony album. Great looking box, clear vinyl, silver printed turntable slipmat, screen printed poster, and a giant bookmark. Limited to 150. Quality.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pink and Purple Praise

Back in 2014, Praise released one of my favorite Hardcore albums of the year with Lights Went Out...and then we moved into 2015, and I promptly shelved it, and hadn't listened to it since.

So when it was announced that the band had a new record coming out, I was kind of excited for it...even though I couldn't really remember much about that last record that I apparently thought highly of at the time.

2016 finds me in a much different place than I was in a couple years ago. Back in 2014, all I wanted on my stereo was Metal, but these days my tastes are swinging back to early Punk and Hardcore, which puts me in a better frame of mind for this Praise record. Hell, these past few days have seen me revisiting Lights Went Out, and rediscovering that one as well.

I'm sure that some people are going to lose their mind over this record, and claim this new one as their favorite Praise album, and while I do really enjoy it, I'll still prefer their last one...mostly because the last couple of songs drag things down at the end of this new record.

You've got to give props to REACT!, because these vinyl colors look great.

150 on pink vinyl. 350 pressed on purple vinyl. 500 on black vinyl.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

A Philips Record Product

Back in 2013, I first got it in my head that I should chase the first four Black Sabbath albums on the original UK Vertigo swirl label. Doug had heavily influenced me with a Sabbath post on his blog, and it set me down the path of spending more money than I ever dreamed I would on a single record. I eased my way into things with the relatively "inexpensive" Vol. 4, and then set a goal of adding one more to the collection each year...kind of a treat to myself whenever I got my annual bonus from work.

Over the next two years, I managed to pick up both Paranoid and Master Of Reality...leaving only the debut Sabbath album as the last missing piece to the puzzle.

Paranoid and Master of Reality were not cheap to come by. No joke. The money I spent for them was easily the most I'd ever spent on a single record. I figured that those two were the pinnacle of Sabbath collecting, and that the self titled debut album should be a little easier on the wallet.

Of course nothing is as easy as I'd hope.

A true first press of the first Sabbath record has "A Philips Record Product" printed below the Vertigo name on the label. This one line of text can send the price spiraling well out of my range...and I watched a few listings end on eBay with bids over $1,000 dollars. My heart sank, thinking that I wasn't going to be able to afford one of these.

I could have cheaped out, and gone for a second pressing, with the Philips text missing, but damn it, I refused to give up so easily. When buying Paranoid, I stood firm that I needed the first press with the Jim Simpson credit in the liner notes, and for Master Of Reality, it had to come with the original poster. Backing down now for a second pressing, would have undone all the work I'd put into this so far. Thankfully, discogs came to my rescue. While I wasn't able to escape much cheaper than I had with Paranoid and Master Of Reality, I didn't come close to spending a grand either.

Like the other UK Vertigo pressings, this one sounds absolutely amazing. Truly, the best way to listen to these Sabbath albums.

Man, that gatefold sleeve is amazing. That upside down cross. That poem.

"Among the grasses, poppies bleed before a gesticulating death, and young rabbits, born dead in traps, stand motionless, as though guarding the silence that surrounds and threatens to engulf all those that would listen."

Heads must have exploded in 1970 over this.

The seller for this, also included a nice looking poster. While it wasn't a part of the packaging for the original pressing, it is still a nice addition.

It feels good to finally finish the Big 4 for Sabbath UK Vertigo pressings. I still have some holes to fill with Sabotage and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, but at least I can breathe easy knowing that they won't set me back as much as these Vertigo swirl pressings have.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Stand Off

Youngblood Records has a bit of a reputation on moving at their own pace. They release records for some of the best bands, and are honest and trustworthy...but they ain't in any kind of rush to get shit out the door. So when Chris from Unwavering Spirit contacted me about the pre-release of the new Stand Off 7 inch, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on a copy. Who knows? Preorders for this record may not go live until 2017.

Four songs, plus a cover from The Abused, this entire 7 inch is over in six minutes. Gruff, early NY Hardcore influence from this band. It doesn't blow my socks off, but it is pretty good for what it is. Considering these songs are from the band's 2014 demo, I'd be interested to hear what they are up to now.

Specially released for the Damage City Fest, and limited to 75.