Monday, April 30, 2018

Let In Life

I remember the first time that I saw Sam Black Church live. It was kind of a "what the fuck?" moment. The band was a blur of distortion, and the singer was an absolute fucking maniac on the stage. I didn't know what to make of them at the time, and for a while my friends and I wrote them off as a joke...but the more I saw them absolutely destroy live when they would open for Slapshot, and the more I heard their songs, the more I started to appreciate the band.

I feel like if you didn't see Sam Black Church at The Channel in Boston around 1990, then you will never really appreciate them. I don't think that you could be a part of the Boston scene at that time and not be mesmerized by the presence of this band.

I bought the Unincorporated 7 inch as a new kid to the scene, and was stoked to get the three song Infernal Machine cassette when it was released in 1991...but by the time the Let In Life LP was released in 1993, I was starting to immerse myself in the more emo stuff like Current and Junction, or the 90's Hardcore stuff like Snapcase and Unbroken. Sam Black Church was old news by that time, and I was feeling a bit too pretentious to really spend much time with the CD when I bought it, so it soon was just collecting dust on my shelf.

A few years ago, I found myself surprised when I took the CD for a spin. Those songs were a blast, and I got a real kick out of hearing them again. While shopping in Boston recently, I discovered this copy of Let In Life in the bins...still sealed, and goddamn cheap. Oh, hell yes.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Your Kid's An Asshole

Back in 2014, Iron Reagan released a new EP that was only available on a 7 inch flexi that was included with Decibel magazine. I'm not necessarily interested in Decibel or flexi releases, but I was a big fan of Iron Reagan, so I bought one.

It took until the following year for the Spoiled Identity EP to get a proper vinyl release.

I remember being excited when A389 Recordings announced preorders for the EP, but I'm not sure why I didn't order one. I want to say that the shipping was ridiculously high, so I passed on it at the time. Either way, it has eluded me until I was shopping in Boston last month, and I spotted a copy in the record bins. Instant buy.

Thirteen songs in 5 minutes, this thing rips through songs like an early D.R.I. record.

Metallic gold is the shittiest looking colored vinyl, but that's the one that I ended up with...silkscreened design on the b-side.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Damage Inc.

I've got a lot of classic albums that are still on my Want List...favorites from my teenage years, that are still holes in my collection. Near the top of that list for the past few years has been the early Metallica albums. I'd consider their first four to be solid gold classics, and after slowly picking them off one by one over the past few years, the only one that I was still missing the original vinyl pressing for was Master Of Puppets.

Master Of Puppets was the album that got me into Metallica. I checked them out when Ride The Lightning was released, but it was too overwhelming for me at the time...especially with the over the top thrasher Fight Fire With Fire kicking things off. I'd never heard anything like it at the time, and it was too much for me. By the time Master Of Puppets came out in '86, something clicked, and suddenly I'd found my new favorite band.

I've been after a copy of Master Of Puppets for a while now, but I couldn't seem to find a copy that was what I was looking for. Sellers were either pricing the original vinyl pressing too high, or they were too beat up for me to bother with.

Last month, I had the opportunity to meet long time record blogger friend, Mark Sandwell, in Boston for the day. We had known each other for around 7 years or so through our record collecting blogs, so it was cool to meet up with him for some record shopping while he was over from the UK on vacation for a few days.

It has been years since I'd spent any time in Boston, but it was a trip to check out the neighborhood where The Channel used to be, and reminisce about the number of trips that I'd taken to that area around 1990. Mark and I had a good day, hitting a couple of stores, and while at Armageddon Shop I finally found a copy of Master Of Puppets. Priced at $30, I glad to finally grab a copy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be

When I finished up my Black Sabbath UK Vertigo collection a couple of years ago, I thought that I had probably completed the biggest quest that I'd ever take on. I threw a lot of money at those four records, and when that collection was complete, I was happy that I wouldn't have to get that crazy chasing another band whose first press records command such a high price tag. How naive of me. I didn't get much of a break before AC/DC came onto my radar.

AC/DC was one of my first loves, when 12 year old me discovered For Those About To Rock. For a while, AC/DC were my favorite band, and before I discovered Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, their cassettes dominated my Walkman.

When I started getting all nostalgic for those early AC/DC records, I got it into my head to collect the Australian first pressings for their albums. I didn't know what I was getting into, but I dived in and picked up a copy of TNT last year, and when my annual bonus from work came through last month, I knew it was time to chase down another one.

With the different cover art, and additional songs that didn't make it to the US pressings that I grew up with, it is easy to see how I got obsessed with those AC/DC Australian pressings.

For Let There Be Rock, Crabsody In Blue appears on the original Aussie pressing while everyone else got Problem Child.

Cool gatefold sleeve with lots of black and white photos.

First press with the blue roo labels.

This pressing of Let There Be Rock did not come cheap, but hopefully it will be most expensive of the bunch.

Monday, April 23, 2018


I probably first heard Judas Priest sometime around 1983. I was 13 years old, and my steady diet of AC/DC, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue and Def Leppard got a serious shake up with the introduction of Screaming For Vengeance (thank you MTV). Side by side with Iron Maiden's Piece of Mind, suddenly shit got serious.

Even now, 35 years later, and a new Priest album is a big event for me. Thankfully, I'm not alone in my excitement, and Banger TV did a series of Priest appreciation videos leading up to release day, and capped it off with a video to discuss those essential albums from Judas Priest. By the time, I was driving to the record store to pick up the vinyl, I was primed and ready.

It's been a tough few years for Priest. First K.K. Downing steps away from the band, and now Glenn Tipton is forced to retire due to Parkinson's disease. Tipton contributed one final time to the Firepower record, and it is still a scorcher. There has been a lot of talk about Priest hanging it up, but fuck that, if Richie Faulkner can keep contributing like he has the last couple of records, I say let Halford keep the band going, because this shit is still great.

Friday, April 20, 2018

They Played Rock And Roll

Back in 2011, I was still going nuts over hardcore records, but metal was really starting to worm it's way into my brain. Prior to that, I had been content to buy metal releases on CD because it was cheap and convenient...but in 2011, I began to really shift my focus, and started buying the majority of new metal albums on vinyl. That was the year that I bought my first Saxon new release, Call To Arms, on vinyl, and since then, I haven't missed a single one.

Thunderbolt is Saxon's 22nd studio album. Twenty two! How many bands can compete with that level of output? Frontman, Biff Byford, is 67 years old, and the band is still raging. By now, Saxon fall into that same mold as Motorhead and AC/DC...the band has a sound, and they do not stray far from that...and speaking of Motorhead, Saxon's new song, They Played Rock N Roll, is a great tribute to Lemmy and the band.

So yeah, you know what to expect with a new Saxon album, and while it isn't going to blow me away, I'm still happy to see them still writing solid Heavy Metal songs.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Green Times At The Jersey Shore

Lately, I've been in a hardcore headspace, and my record buying habits reflect that. I've been getting a charge out of revisiting that classic shit from the 90's and 00's, and I've fallen into the bad habit of saying "I'll buy just one more record, and then focus saving some money.", and then I turn around and do the same damn thing a couple of days later.

Sometimes, I find it fun to go through "anniversary playlists". You know, revisiting stuff that was released 10, 20, 30 years ago. Well, since it is 2018, I was time travelling back 20 years to 1998, and spinning a bunch of albums from that time. 20 fucking years. How is that possible? Doesn't seem that long ago that I was travelling down to Boston a couple times a month to see bands like Ten Yard Fight, In My Eyes and Fastbreak play shows. Christ, I'm old.

My Floorpunch collection is pathetic. Because I was stuck in a mindset of preferring CDs to records at the time, my Floorpunch record collection consisted of only the Division One Champs 7 inch...on black a few copies of that New Jersey discography that Six Feet Under did years ago. The thought of trying to build a collection for this band was overwhelming, so I've just avoided it.

Listening to the Fast Times At The Jersey Shore album recently, kind of reignited just how much I love this record. I was playing it repeatedly, along with with other hardcore classics from 1998, and I figured that I'd just take a look at Discogs to see what going rates were for the vinyl. There weren't any sellers with the white vinyl available, but there was a green vinyl pressing available at a very reasonable price. I didn't want to leave it, and then pay more for a different copy later, so I said "One more record, and then I'll focus on saving some money", and I hit the button to add it to my cart.

300 pressed on green vinyl, and I couldn't be more happier to have this in the collection.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

All Chrome

I was recently reading an interview with Pat Flynn over at No Echo. I don't normally care about interviews with hardcore bands, but Pat Flynn is such an interesting and eloquent dude, that I figured that I'd check it out. No surprise...the interview was great. What did kind of surprise me was the mention of a hardcore band from the late 90's that I'd never checked out before.
One of my all time favorite hardcore bands is All Chrome from New Bedford, Massachusetts. A pretty much unknown band that fused the sound of Verbal Assault with the likes of Quicksand and Supertouch. What is important to me about that band is the community it fostered. Had they not formed, I know I would not have fell in love with the hardcore scene and perceived as a real community of creativity. I would have drifted off in search of something else. They never toured extensively or put out an LP. But if Have Heart or anything I’ve offered to the hardcore scene had any positive impact, then All Chrome sure as hell played a major role in the hardcore scene.
Suddenly, I was very interested in tracking down some songs from All Chrome and giving them a listen.

While I don't have the same level of appreciation that Pat Flynn has for this band, this is still a pretty good record. I mean, 1999 was an odd time for hardcore as it was, and All Chrome definitely fit the time when some hardcore bands didn't fit into a defined style.

According to Discogs, this was only pressed on black vinyl, so for $4, I grabbed a copy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Voice Of Ecostrike

About a year ago, a was introduced to Ecostrike. It had been a long time since a Hardcore band had me as excited as I was when I first checked out their Time Is Now 7 inch. That record, with its 90's Straight Edge Hardcore sound, grabbed my attention and would not let go. Easily my favorite record of last year.

When I heard that Triple B was going to be releasing an album from Ecostrike in 2018, it immediately jumped to the top of the list of most anticipated releases for the year.

The album certainly delivers on its promises and lives up to the hype. While the 7 inch had me drawing comparisons to the first couple of Earth Crisis 7 inches, the sound on this album reminds me more of One Truth-era Strife. Earth can't lose with either one. It will be interesting to see if Ecostrike can make the top of my list two years running. Right now, I think they have a pretty good shot.

When preorders went up, I went with the simple black vinyl option. Both the black and colored splatter vinyl were limited to 200 each, but I was counting on the splatter looking like shit, so I went black instead. Now I kind of want that splatter vinyl as well...and maybe the pink colored vinyl as well...oh fuck, might as well add the record release to the want list as well.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

The More They Stay The Same

Back when I was obsessing over records from 2005, and I was picking up vinyl from Mental and Lion Of Judah, I uncovered a number of forgotten treasures. Man, I had forgotten just how much fun some of this stuff is, and it was a charge getting back into it.

While I already had a copy of the last One Up single, my copy was on green vinyl...and since the blue vinyl was available on Discogs for only a fiver, it was a cheap way to burn some of the energy that had been building up with this obsession. "Hey, I really like listening to this record right now, so I might as well buy another copy of it". Solid logic.

I absolutely love this record. The a-side is great, but man, that Texas Is The Reason cover on the b-side really gets me moving. I really like Texas Is The Reason, but man, if there was ever an instance where the cover beats the original...this is it. This has a total latter-day Turning Point vibe. Damn...if only the band stuck it out for one more record. I would have loved to have seen what they could have put together.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Steel And Silver

The 2018 new releases are starting to roll in! Three months into the new year, and I've only posted one new release, but checking my backlog of records that need to posted up here on the blog, and things are starting to pick up steam.

A couple of years ago, Visigoth came out of nowhere with their debut LP, and that thing kicked my ass. Their traditional metal sound really hit all of my buttons back in 2015, and that album rocketed up my Top 10 list. When I heard that Visigoth had a new album coming out this year, I preordered a copy without hesitation. Rather quickly, it made my short list of most anticipated releases for the year.

Man, this album is a solid follow up to The Revenant King. It starts off hella strong, and initially makes a case for being as good as the debut, but then things get a little shaky with Salt City, and even though they are trying for another Iron Brotherhood type anthem, it misses the mark for me, and therefore puts the album just a notch below their debut.

Limited to 300 on the clear with smokey blue colored vinyl. Damn, that vinyl color looks great!