Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tensions On High

Man, with those first two Take Offense records, I was absolutely loving the band. Their Suicidal/Join The Army sound sucked me in, and I could not get enough of it. I was so high on the band that when they dropped their United States Of Mind album in 2013, I had no control and bought every single pressing and bonus record that I could get my hands on...which then turned into the biggest disappointment, and was probably the catalyst for me ending my run of buying every pressing for albums.

When I heard that Take Offense were releasing an EP earlier this year, I approached it with a bit of caution. While I was still interested to see if the band could rebound, I was not rushing in blindly, and I refused to buy a copy until I'd heard the entire record.

Yes! This was everything that I'd hoped for, and the band completely redeemed themselves from the lackluster sound of their last album. I am loving this record, and it remains to be seen how high it will go for my Best of 2018 list.

Originally, this EP seemed to only be available on cassette through REV. I could not find a vinyl release anywhere, and it was driving me mad to find a copy. At some point I had seen an Instagram post the 7 inch pressing for Tensions On High, so I knew it existed, and I was doing weekly searches online trying to find a place that was selling them. Finally, I discovered that Upstate Records was distributing the record in the US, and I quickly bought a copy. Happy to finally have this!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Cum On Feel The Nostalgia

No doubt about it, I'm a nostalgic motherfucker. Maybe it is because time is racing through my 40's, and I can feel that half a century mark closing in, but I've really had my head stuck in those early days of the 80's, when I was really starting to get into music. I want to go back to those days of discovery, and relive those times of hearing, for the first time, those initial albums that caught my attention and pushed me down the path of heavy metal.

At 10 and 11 years old, I thought that my music selection was on point with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and The J. Geils Band, but 1983 was a huge turning point for me when MTV introduced me to AC/DC's For Those About To Rock. Suddenly, I was made aware of this music that was heavier and dirtier than I'd previously known, and I ate it up.

Shortly after discovering that AC/DC record, I believe that the next band to get my attention was Quiet Riot. There was a lot of buzz for this band at the time, and I found the album cover with the dude in a straight jacket and mask to be dangerously ominous...plus Metal Health and Cum On Feel The Noize were all over MTV and quickly became anthems for this thirteen year old kid.

I've been spending a lot of time in my '83 and '84 playlists, revisiting those first albums that I'd bought and was influenced by...and while I didn't think that I'd ever need to listen to Quiet Riot again, surprisingly, I've been having a blast dusting off these songs and giving them multiple listens. So I was very excited to find a copy in the used bins at one of the local record stores in town.

Take me back to those early days. I want to relive those moments when my friends and I were discovering this music.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

This Was Jethro Tull

In the Spring of last year, I caught a live show of Martin Barre here in Portland. As Martin was the guitar player for Jethro Tull, the set was packed full of those old Tull songs, and I absolutely loved it. I had just discovered and was obsessing about Jethro Tull at the time, and that live set did not disappoint. When it was announced that Martin was bringing the band back through town again this October, I was eagerly looking forward to the chance to catch them again.

Before the show, and before I met my friend Jeff for dinner, I hit up a couple record stores to flip through the used bins and kill some time. Seeing the first Jethro Tull record, in amazing condition, and with a $7.00 price tag...well, of course I had to add it to the collection.

The This Was album were the first tentative steps of Jethro Tull, and they didn't fully start to really come into their sound until the following album, Stand Up. While not my favorite of the early Tull stuff, this album has more of a bluesy sound to it, and is still a fun listen.

Once again, Martin Barre and his band delivered for the live show, and I think that the setlist was even stronger this year...I mean, they included Back To The Family, which is one of my favorite Jethro Tull songs (in a long list of favorite Tull songs), so that is hard to top. Goddamn, what a great show.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Limited Drug

Last year, I picked up the Miracle Drug EP for How Much Is Enough, and while I really liked that record, it still didn't entice me to go back and pick up the vinyl release for their 2015 demo. That's not a knock on it, I've just got more exciting records to chase.

When Marcus gave me a heads up that the label had a limited cover version available in their store, it seemed like the right time to finally grab one.

Seems that Trip Machine Labs did a second pressing of the Miracle Drug demo on gold vinyl, and then decided to print up some special covers for 25 of them.

Hand numbered on the back cover and the dust sleeve.

This is a cool little record. I'm not sure if I would have ever bought a copy, had this extremely limited cover not been there to grab my interest, but I'm glad to have one in my collection.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Thieving From The House Of Goblin

When Rise Above started the Orange Goblin reissues back in 2012, I was slow to move, and I'm still missing one of my favorites from them, Time Travelling Blues. When the next three albums were made available this year, I wasn't going to make the same mistake and I ordered one of each, so I can cross them off the list and move on.

I didn't want to go bankrupt buying these three records, so I only put the extra money for The Big Black. All the others just get the regular orange vinyl pressing that were available direct from the band.

Coup De Grace, from 2002, was Orange Goblin's forth album. While John Garcia from Kyuss sings on a couple songs here, keeping things firmly rooted in the Orange Goblin stoner roots, I still think this album has a bit of a punk vibe with songs like Your World Will Hate This and the Misfits cover of We Bite. Kind of an odd mix.

The layout for this album is amazing with the comic book art.

Thieving From The House Of God is another solid Orange Goblin album, although truth be told, I think the band makes a great move forward with their sound and move to a more straight forward metal sound starting with their next album. Still there are some amazing songs here that can't be overlooked.

200 pressed on orange vinyl available only from the band.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Big Black Orange Goblin

Back in 2012, Rise Above started a vinyl reissue campaign for Orange Goblin. They rolled out the vinyl for the band's first two albums, and then just stopped. The label promised to get back to it when they had the time, and it took them six years, but they finally delivered.

While Rise Above had a number of different colored vinyl and deluxe pressings available, the orange vinyl option was only available through the band. When Orange Goblin announced that they were putting up their copies in their online store, I figured that I'd buy direct from the band an possibly get out a little cheaper on shipping given Rise Above's notorious high rates.

When I saw that Orange Goblin were offering a limited edition version that was hand numbered and signed by the band, I couldn't resist to grab this option for one of the three albums that were being reissued.

Hand numbered out of 50.

I don't generally care about autographs, and will always avoid them when a seller has one available on eBay or Discogs...but this time around, getting one direct from the band seemed like kind of a cool option. The signed edition cost a bit more than the regular orange vinyl option, but since the extra money was going direct into the band's pocket, I considered it money well spent.

In the end, The Big Black was the only record that I grabbed for the limited signed and numbered option. This is solid Orange Goblin record, so I figured that I'd spend the extra money just for this one.

The hype sticker on the plastic sleeve gives all the details.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Change Of Ideas

As a kid growing up in the 80's, I didn't have a lot of resources at my fingertips to help guide me when it came to checking out new music. We didn't have the internet. I didn't have an older brother to point me in the right direction. Most of my friends weren't into heavy music, and if they were, they weren't really taking any lead to discover new bands unless I put the cassette in their hands. And on top of that, I was in the musical wasteland of Maine, so I was basically alone out there as I'd stumble my way around record stores at the mall, desperate to find the heaviest and fastest music there was. Initially, I was left to gamble on album covers that looked cool..."Hey, who is this band Savatage? I don't know, but the album cover is a picture of some fist smashing through glass, and there are songs named Necrophilia and Skull Session, so let's check it out."...and then a couple years later, it was offensive and obnoxious band names like Dead Kennedys, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles or Dayglo Abortions that were drawing me to check out new stuff...so when I saw the CD for a band named Bad Religion at the mall back in '89, I figured that I'd roll the dice.

When I first heard the No Control album, I didn't know what to make of it. Sure it was fast and aggressive, but there was so much melody that I was thrown off, and I couldn't get my thrash metal head around it. Lyrically, it kept pulling me back in, and with repeat listens it finally sank it's hooks in me.

I've been wanting to pick up an original pressing for a long time now. I figured that it would be pretty easy to cross off the list, but for some reason, there aren't a lot of US sellers that have one available through Discogs. Sure, I could grab a copy from some dude in Italy, but it seemed like a waste to pay for overseas shipping on a record that I expected to be readily available in the US. After watching them come and go in my Discogs alerts for a couple years, I decided to finally just make a move and get the job done.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Strange Highways

One of my prouder blogging moments was my string of "Dio-cember" posts last year, where I filled a couple major holes in the collection, and picked up a few oddball promo records. That string of records was so much fun to chase, and taking the group photo of my Dio collection laid out on display felt like a major accomplishment...even though it was still incomplete.

I was only missing a few big ticket records from the Dio collection...Strange Highways, Magica, and Heaven & Hell Live From Radio City Music Hall. There are a few others that I need, like some early singles, but those three command higher price tags...and it feels great to cross one of them off the list.

Some people only hang with Dio through the Sacred Heart album, or maybe stick it out through Dream Evil from 1987...I know that was my position for the longest time...but you are missing out if you are still stuck in that mindset. Dio had some amazing albums when metal started to fall apart in the 90's, and Strange Highways is one of my favorites.

1993 was not a friendly time for vinyl, and many record companies were only releasing CDs, so Strange Highways only saw a European release on wax...therefore, it can cost you some good money to get your hands on a copy. Although, after I picked up this copy, there was a reissue campaign for Dio's catalog from Holy Diver through Strange Highways, so maybe that will drive the price down for the original pressings. Either way, I'm just happy to finally own a first press for this.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Remission To Believe

There was a time when I was all about Remission, and would get wild when it came to collecting every pressing that I could get my hands on. It has been over five years since they released the Pain Understood 7 inch, and I was surprised to see that they were still around when React Records announced preorders for a new album. Damn. I was initially underwhelmed with the last Remission 7 inch, and while I did grow to enjoy it, with so much time having passed, I wondered if the band could still deliver.

Without a doubt, this is a strong hardcore album. Remission have not missed a beat, and keep going with their Verbal Assault influenced sound...although this time around, I get a little Jon Bunch/Reason To Believe flavor here and there...even that screaming face on the cover is reminiscent of Reason To Believe.

Here I am buying Remisison records from React. It feels like it's 2010 all over again, and that put me in the mood to buy multiple copies.

150 pressed on white colored vinyl, and 350 on red.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Orange Goblin Bites Back

2018 has felt relatively strong when it comes to new releases. Across both metal and hardcore, there are records that I keep queuing up for repeat spins, so yeah, it has been a lot of fun buying new records this year. There have been a number of new albums that I've been really excited for, and the new Orange Goblin certainly was one of the top on that list.

First of all, the packaging of this album is fucking stellar, even though it is damn impossible to get a good photo with that UV spot print and the reflective foil wolfs head. Still it looks amazing. Second, this album is a rager. I love all the Orange Goblin records, and The Wolf Bites Back is no exception.

Another 2018 release to fit into the Top 10 for the year.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Doomsday Catacombs

When bands reunite after calling quits 30 years prior, I don't hold out much hope that they are going to rekindle any of the original magic, or release anything close to what they were doing previously. Surprisingly, Satan was able to do just that, and the two albums they released in 2013 (Life Sentence) and 2015 (Atom By Atom) were a couple of my favorite metal albums from the last five years.

When I heard that Satan was releasing their third album since reuniting, you can bet that I was ready to jump and get my order in as soon as it was available. To prime the metalheads for what is to come, the band released a 7 inch single in advance of the album.

Man, these songs are great, with The Doomsday Clock coming from the new album, and the b-side, Catacombs, being exclusive to this 7 inch.

Of course this is 2018, so labels are required to flood the market with colored vinyl, and this single was released with four different color options. Red vinyl was available from Metal Blade, and hand numbered out of 200.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018


Four years ago, I first heard Mos Generator when they released their Electric Mountain Majesty album. That album was huge for me, and I spent the next couple of years obsessed with the band, and ate up every split and 7 inch they released until their next full length album, Abyssinia, dropped.

I've cooled off on the band since the Abyssinia album...I mean it was still a great record, but the band was getting overplayed in my playlist, so I put them on the back burner for a little bit.

Tony Reed has to be one of the hardest working dudes in Heavy Rock music. I mean, Mos Generator has basically had a new release every year since 2012, and he has no signs of slowing down...and he keeps the fire burning with the release of Shadowlands.

I was a bit underwhelmed with Shadowlands when I first gave it a spin, but I think that was because I was getting dragged down by the seven and a half minute album closer, The Wild And Gentle Dogs, which falls a little flat for me. However, with repeat listens, I'm really digging all the other songs here, and some of them are some nice heavy hitters. Great stuff.

One of my favorite things about the Mos Generator records is the story that is included for each song, explaining the song writing and recording process. I geek out over this cool behind the scenes insight.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Bootleg Fugitive

I love Iron Maiden bootlegs, so when I was recently in the Shadow Kingdom webstore, and scrolling through the list of Maiden records available, I hit the brakes hard when I came across a couple of record covers that weren't from their regular catalog. While these weren't the live bootlegs that I was hoping for, they still held my attention enough for me to drop one of the two into my cart before checking out.

The two albums were from the No Prayer For The Dying and Fear Of The Dark era. Nothing really special here, and they just capture the b-side to the singles from those albums. The first one, titled The Assassin, captured the cover songs that Iron Maiden released between 1990 and 1992, but I went for The Fugitive, which is a bunch of live b-sides...and I was itching for some live Maiden.

The majority of the songs on this record are live recordings from the No Prayer For The Dying and Fear Of The Dark albums, which just happen to be the two Iron Maiden albums that I pay the least amount of attention to. Seriously. I listen to the two Blaze Bayley albums more than these two. Which isn't to say that I don't like those records, I just really love Iron Maiden, and when things shake out, something has to end up on the bottom.

However, listening to these live versions of those songs has me all excited to reach into my collection and listen to those studio albums very soon.