Sunday, April 30, 2017

Gruesome Psyche

The entire motivation behind Gruesome is to pay tribute to the memory of Chuck Schuldiner and his band, Death. The first two Gruesome records were an amazing homage to those early Death records. Since I'm a disciple of the trinity of Scream Bloody Gore, Leprosy, and Spiritual Healing, I couldn't have been happier. The later Death records are good, but for me, they don't come close to the punch of those first three. When Gruesome announced that their new material was more in the vein of Death's Human album, I was starting to wonder if it was time for me to exit.

The latest from Gruesome is only a two song 7 new one in the form of Fragments Of Psyche, and a cover of Death's Choke On It. While Human isn't a go-to Death album for me, this new song hits all the right buttons. Gruesome nail the Death sound perfectly once again.

900 pressed on oxblood colored vinyl.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Record Store Day 2017 - Part 3: Get Your Rocks Off

When I set out for Record Store Day this year, there was one or two new releases that I wouldn't mind picking up. Nothing earth shaking...just a "nice to have". After things were a bust at the first Bull Moose store that I stopped at, and I walked out empty handed, I resigned myself to not picking up anything new. I called it a day, and headed home.

I was kind of surprised to not find the reissue of the first Def Leppard EP while I was making my rounds that morning. When I got home, and was going through my haul, on a whim, I decided to check the Bull Moose online store to see if they had any in stock. Much to my surprise, their location just a couple miles up the road from me had a few available. Oh hell, I might as well go out and grab it.

I've dreamed of grabbing an original 7 inch pressing of the first Def Leppard EP, but with a price tag around $200, it always put me off the chase. Grabbing this 12 inch reissue for under $15, felt like a much smarter move right now.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Record Store Day 2017 - Part 2: Love Gun

I had high hopes as I headed to the second used record shop of the day. Moody Lords has provided some great Metal records in their bins in the past, and I was looking forward to seeing what treasures awaited me this time around.

The Metal section at Moody Lords didn't have much to offer on this visit, but I was happy to grab a couple of early Riot albums.

Quite honestly, these Riot covers are just embarrassing. When I got home from record shopping, and was showing my wife what I'd purchases, even her reaction was "What the hell is that?", when she saw the Narita cover. Oh you know...just the head of a seal on the body of a sumo a field of skulls. Nothing wrong with this picture. Ha! Weird.

Honestly, I wasn't too familiar with these Riot albums. I liked them, but in the ten years or so since I'd downloaded them, I'd only listened to them an average of once a year. Outside of Swords And Tequila off Fire Down Under, I couldn't have told you a single song off either of these albums, but listening to them today...this is some ripping late 70's/early 80's Metal. I need to listen to these records more often.

I've been holding out on buying Love Gun from Kiss because I kind of wanted a copy with the merch insert and the love gun. The painful truth is that if I was going keep holding out for this, chances are that I wouldn't end up pulling the trigger on it (see what I did there?), for probably another five years. Hey, I'm a busy collector, and don't have the time or finances to get everything I want immediately. Seeing this copy in the used bin for under $10, and even though it was incomplete, I figured that this was a good enough opportunity to add it to the collection. I can worry about upgrades at a later date.

It is an extremely rare occasion for me to buy an album these days without actually having heard at least a couple of songs from it. I was torn when I saw the Leslie West record in the used bins. While I hadn't heard this album, finding it still in the shrinkwrap, and looking like it was still near mint...and for under $10...I figured that I'd roll the dice and take a chance on it.

Released back in 1969, this could be considered the first Mountain record. Raw and bluesy with Leslie West's gritty vocals. Mountain isn't my favorite, but it is still cool stuff for when I'm in the mood for those older sounds.

The Punk section at Moody Lords usually sucks. It's typically full of New Wave bullshit that I couldn't care less about...but I still take the time to flip through just in case. This time the cover of M.I.A.'s Murder In A Foreign Place record jumped out at me. I'd never heard of the band before, but flipping to the back cover, I noticed they were on Alternative Tentacles. Released in 1984...this held some promise.

This record was a cool find. It is pretty much what you would expect from this label in '84.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Record Store Day 2017 - Part 1: Lovehunter

I expected the 10 year anniversary of Record Store Day to be a huge event that was going to suck the life out of my savings account. I was prepared for a goddamn vinyl love fest, with tons of cool shit and events that was going to tie up my entire day. Instead, it was a quagmire of "who gives a fuck", with maybe one or two things that kind of caught my interest, but truth be told, I wouldn't have cared if they didn't show up at the store. With no list of things I wanted, I was a liberated to head out after the crowds had come and gone, and avoid the nerds looking to get their hands on the newest Elton John reissue.

I breezed into the store a couple hours after they had opened, flipped through the stacks of RSD releases...shrugged my shoulders, and walked out the door empty handed. Record Store Day was a bust, and I was more interested in hitting the used record bins at some shops in town...starting at Electric Buddhas.

My favorite pick-up of the day is easily the UK pressing of Whitesnake's Lovehunter that I grabbed at my first stop. I've flirted with the idea of buying a copy of this Whitesnake album for years now. I despised this band throughout my teenage years, but with age, I seem to have grown a deep appreciation of 70's Rock...and that includes Whitesnake...only through 1984's Slide It In. That self titled record from '87 can still get throat punched as far as I'm concerned.

I may have paid a bit too much for this copy of Lovehunter...especially since it is a later pressing...but the call of a naked girl riding a snake was too much to resist.

Speaking of David Coverdale, after grabbing the Whitesnake album, Deep Purple's Come Taste The Band caught my eye. Hey, I was in a 70's frame of mind, so I just went with it.

Like the Whitesnake record, this Deep Purple one is in excellent condition. Of all the Deep Purple albums that I listen to, Come Taste The Band is probably my least favorite, so I felt a little foolish spending the money that I did on this, but it was still good to cross this one off the list. Just need to get a copy of Stormbringer, and I can probably be done buying Deep Purple records.

Bloodrock were another band out of the early 70's. I've been really wanting their first album for a while now, but I just haven't made it happen. My OCD was kicking in pretty hard, and it was difficult to buy Bloodrock 2 before I owned the first album...because a part of me insists on buying the first record first...but I fought through it, and bought it anyway.

While Bloodrock 2 isn't as great as the debut, there are still some really good rock songs here, and it was well worth picking up.

The last record I picked up while at Electric Buddhas was UFO's Lights Out. Outside of their Force It album, I find that I rarely listen to this band. They have some great songs, but for one reason or another, I just don't dive into their albums. When I was checking out with the Whitesnake, Deep Purple and Bloodrock albums, the guy at the register mentioned that it was "buy 3 get the 4th free", so I grabbed the UFO record.

The day is still young...let's hit another record store...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Immortal Weapon

It feels like it has been a long time since I've been really fired up over a new Hardcore release. Sure there have been plenty of records from the past few years that have been good...but I'm hard pressed to recall anything that has really gotten me excited since 2013 with the Rival Mob and Red Hare albums. I just haven't really been interested, and have been more focused on Metal and Punk. I'm not sure if it is a change in my mindset, or if bands are just stepping up lately, but so far my 2017 has been filled with some really cool new Hardcore bands.

At some point over the last month or so, I started seeing the name Ecostrike pop up on social media. Initially, I wasn't paying much attention, and ignored all the praise of this band doing that early 90's Straight Edge sound. However, as I was getting deeper and deeper into some newer Hardcore bands, I figured that maybe I'd look into what all this Ecostrike hype was about.

What really captured my attention, and got me to finally check them out was when I saw a photo of the lyrics for the song Immortal Weapon when Nico posted about the record on his blog at Do Not Consider Yourself Free. Those Straight Edge lyrics ignited a spark in me, and brought me back to those angry Straight Edge days of the early 90's. Right then and there, I knew that I needed to hear this shit.

This entire record is great...and is everything that I want from a Hardcore band in 2017. Uncompromising Straight Edge. Easily one of my favorite new records of this year. This one is going to be hard to top.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I'd Rather Be An Outcast

Damn. It was five years ago that Boston Strangler had everyone scrambling to get their hands on their first record. Five fucking years. Seems like it was just the other day.

That album was a nightmare to get. It sold out within minutes for every disto that it would show up in. It was the hottest Hardcore record of 2012, and kids were in a panic and paying outrageous prices on eBay. The experience scarred me for life, and I have a bit of a panic attack whenever a new piece of Boston Strangler vinyl becomes available.

As I was picking up the second press of the Search record at REVHQ, I happened to notice that they also had a vinyl pressing available of the 2010 Outcast demo. I had no idea this was available, and without thinking twice, I added one to the cart.

Nothing really new here, as this was the first Boston Strangler demo, but it was still nice to get a vinyl pressing.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Search Party

When I posted about the new Search 7 inch last month, I mentioned that it could possibly be one of my favorite records of 2017. So imagine my good fortune when a fellow blogger and amazing dude managed to score me a copy of the record release pressing.

There was no way that I was going to be able to get to this show, so having Chris put forth the effort to grab an extra copy for me, really means a lot. To not have to chase one of these down, and fight over it on eBay with the rest of the nerds...well, there isn't a price tag that you can put on something like that.

It is amazing how much of an impact a simple color change on the cover can be. I love that they didn't use a rip off cover for this. Just a change from blue to red. Looks great!

Hand numbered and limited to 60, so having one of these is kind of a big deal.

Nice touch including the show flier and stamping the date of the show on the inside cover.

When I first posted about the new Search record, I joked about how long it was going to take for REV to do a second pressing for this new release. Here is our answer...just a couple of months, and we get a second press on green. Thanks...I'll take one. 400 pressed.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Killing The Vinyl Dead

Just barely over three months into this year, and I've probably crossed off more high price records from my Want List than the last three years combined. Between some extra money coming in from work, and loading up my Paypal account from selling some records that I no longer wanted, I've been on a fucking tear. After blowing my load on that Gorilla Biscuits album recently, I managed to go a full three days before pulling the trigger on another expensive record. I could get used to living like this.

I'm a huge fanboy for anything Dio, and when I pulled out all of his albums for one of the challenges during the January Record A Day thing over on Instagram, it got me thinking about the holes in the collection. The Night Of The Vinyl Dead pressing of Killing The Dragon has been another record that I figured was out of my price range...but when it comes down to it, I guess it really just depends on how badly you want it.

Night Of The Vinyl Dead always puts a lot of creative thought into their packaging, and with the dragon pop up from the center of the gatefold sleeve, this album is no exception. A really cool touch.

Considering that the NOTVD pressing is the only real vinyl option, it feels great to finally add this to the collection. I mean, sure there is the Record Store Day picture disc pressing from 2011, but compared to the black vinyl, no one is really counting that as a serious option.

It wouldn't be a Night Of The Vinyl Dead pressing unless it was super limited. Only 500 pressed for a Dio record is crazy. No wonder this thing was no joke to chase.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Start Today

A few years ago, my record collecting game elevated to a new level when I started taking a nice piece of my annual bonus from work, and flipping that straight into a record that I might not have been able to afford otherwise. When I started this process, I had my sights set on crossing a Black Sabbath UK Vertigo swirl pressing from my Want List each year. Chasing those Sabbath records really pushed the envelope on what I was willing to spend on a record, and having completed that Vertigo collection last year, it meant that my options were wide open for 2017.

I was really looking forward to adding another big ticket item to the collection, but honestly, there were so many options, I had no idea where to start. As I was sweating my decision, I got an offer to buy Bringin' It Down on green. In all the years that I've been collecting records, I never thought this was a serious possibility...until now. Now I had a very real chance of making it happen...and then I fucked it up. I knew I was coming in low with my offer, and the dude said he'd consider it, but wanted to give it a week. My offer was fair, and I was counting on the recent REV reissues to drive down the price a bit, but I shouldn't have been surprised when someone else came in and took it with a better offer.

After having the Judge record pulled out from under me, I was lost. I had my heart set on getting it, and I was kicking myself for not offering a bit more to seal the deal. With no other copies in sight, I committed to hunting down another REV treasure. When I found Gorilla Biscuits' Start Today on purple on discogs, I jumped on it. With over 1,000 pressed on this color, it still manages to command a "don't fuck with me" price.

Given that the only copy of Start Today that I'd owned was the anniversary pressing on glow-in-the-dark vinyl, it felt great to finally add a legit piece of Hardcore history to the collection with this purple vinyl pressing.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Coat Of Arms

A little over a year ago, I finally moved on Doug's recommendation and checked out Sabaton, and I was really surprised at how hard this band hit me. It was a great internal struggle. I felt like I should hate them, yet at the same time, I couldn't resist them. I'd downloaded their Art Of War album, and surprisingly found myself listening to it damn near daily. Much to my surprise, Sabaton became one of my favorite finds of last year.

I'll be seeing Sabaton live for the first time in a couple of weeks, and in anticipation of the show, I decided to add another piece of vinyl to the collection from them...this time going back to 2010's Coat Of Arms. While The Art Of War is quite possibly the best Sabaton album, Coat Of Arms is a strong number two, with Midway making a great case to be one of my favorite Sabaton songs at the moment.

Just like when I bought The Art Of War, I had my sights set on the Swedish pressing from Black Lodge Records. The other vinyl options from Nuclear Blast were not going to cut it. Sabaton are from Sweden, so something about owning a Swedish pressing just seemed so much more cooler to me...well, as cool as you can get when you are talking about Sabaton.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Crusade For Sickness

I've been a huge fan of Crusades since Sandwell introduced me to their first album back in 2011. Even though their second album didn't nearly capture me like their debut, I still found myself in a panic to get my order in as soon as I discovered that album number three was available.

With This Is A Sickness And Sickness Will End, Crusades continue their theme of black and grey cover designs and ridiculously long album titles.

When I stopped in to check out the Anxious and Angry Records store, all the vinyl was already sold out, and the only options left was to pick up the vinyl and t shirt package deal. I wasn't excited about having to spend the extra money to get the shirt as well, but I didn't want to miss out on the vinyl, so I did what I had to do.

Purple and green splatter on black vinyl. Interesting choice.

The album itself definitely maintains that Crusades sound...great driving punk rock.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Stand Up With Jethro Tull

For a band that I never gave a shit about, this past year has seen me do a complete 180 in my opinion. Where I once would have laughed you out of the room for suggesting Jethro Tull to me, now I can't get enough, and their early albums are getting multiple spins any given week.

Initially, I was simply only obsessing over Aqualung. That album consumed me, and I could not get enough of it. It was getting repeat spins for a good portion of the summer last year. When I started to grow accustomed to the songs, and needed to regain my Tull high, I turned to the other early albums in their catalog.

The first album that I branched out to was Jethro Tull's third album, their 1970 release, Benefit.

Initially, Benefit failed to really grab me. It lacked that intense punch that I'd found with Aqualung, and it took some time for these songs to sink in. After about six months of giving these songs the occasional spin, they really started to capture my attention. Suddenly, I couldn't get enough of Benefit, and as the Tull obsession grew, it was time to find another album to add to the rotation.

I was already three albums deep into Jethro Tull by the time that I picked up their 1969 release, Stand Up. By this time I had grown comfortable with the band's style, and unlike my initial experience with Benefit, with this one, the hooks were immediately set. Man, everything about these songs absolutely captivate me. No other band sounds like this...they are something truly unique.

As with most of these Jethro Tull reissues, the packaging is excellent...even down to replicating the pop-up gatefold from the original release.

Unlike the reissue for Benefit, Stand Up includes an amazing 23 page, 12 x 12 booklet, which is full of pictures and written history of the band at this time. Seriously, this thing is amazing. So much great information, including some detail and a photo of when Tony Iommi was in the band prior to the release of Stand Up!

As fate would have it, just as I was peaking with my Jethro Tull obsession, it was announced that their guitarist, Martin Barre, was going to be coming through town and playing a bunch of Tull songs. Of course I jumped to secure my tickets. Here is a musician that was playing huge shows at Madison Square Garden through the 70's, and now he is touring, playing for a hundred or so people at an intimate show in a small city like Portland, Maine. Much respect for musicians that still play simply for the love of the music, regardless of the size of the crowd. Martin and his band played for over two hours, and while I didn't know many of the songs they played, it was still a great show.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Fight Fire With Fire

I've made some real progress with my Top 10 Wants this year...crossing some nice heavy hitters from the list. It is a nice contrast from last year, when I only picked up one. This year I'm focused, and making big moves. Once I checked off the DYS record, the floodgates opened and all restraint went out the window. Everything was fair game at that point, and I became a man on a mission.

When the end of February rolled around, and some dude bought almost $200 worth of records from my Discogs store, I knew that the time was right to turn around and roll that money back into another big record from my 2017 Want List.

I've lost some focus on my Megaforce silver label collection lately. I've just been pulled in other directions, and knowing that a big ticket item like Ride The Lightning was on there, kind of made it a bit intimidating to stick with. After getting sidetracked for a couple of years, it feels pretty damn good to add another silver label to the collection.

Who knows, maybe this will get moving on some of the other ones that I'm currently missing. If not, I might have to just add them to the Top Wants of 2018 list for motivation.

Because Metallica were picked up by Elektra shortly after the release of Ride The Lightning, only a limited amount were pressed by Megaforce Records. While the silver label Megaforce pressing isn't rare by any stretch, given the popularity of the album, they still command a serious price tag.

While on the hunt for the perfect copy, once I saw one listed on Discogs with the Metal Militia membership form, I knew that I had to grab it, even with the higher than normal price tag.