Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Innocence Is No Excuse

Innocence Is No Excuse was my introduction to Saxon back in 1985. My world in metal was really starting to take off at the time, and there were lots of bands that I was discovering...and this Saxon album fell a bit flat for me at the time.

This probably wasn't the best starting point for Saxon, and I wonder if I'd grabbed Strong Arm Of The Law or Denim And Leather instead, it probably wouldn't have taken me another twenty years before I would finally recognize how great Saxon were in the early 80's.

Given my recent obsession with early 80's band like Dokken and Ratt, I've been thinking that it might be time to download a copy of Innocence Is No Excuse and see how I feel about it these days. When I was flipping through the used bins at one of the local record stores, and I saw the eyes of the girl on the album cover, begging for me to take her home, well, how could I say no?

Holy shit. I'm absolutely loving this album right now. I don't know why it didn't stand out more when I heard it in 1985...maybe it was just too close to my discovery of Savatage and Accept, and it got pushed to the end of the line for the heavier stuff, but today, this album is exactly what I'm looking for.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Tygers Twelve Inch

Lately, I've been really surprised with the Portland record stores. It seems that I can't just stop in and look around these days, without walking out with another haul of records. Some of what I find is just "nice to have", like the latest UFO album I grabbed, but other stuff, I'm absolutely shocked to find, and I'm pretty damn excited to pick it up in a local shop.

On it's own, this 12 inch single from Tygers Of Pan Tang, isn't that much to get excited about, but I've been itching to get back into chasing some New Wave Of British Heavy Metal records, so finding this locally for $12 was a nice find.

The a-side, Don't Stop By, was from their second album, Spellbound. It isn't my favorite song by Tygers Of Pan Tang, and the two b-side tracks are live recordings, so nothing new is really offered here, but I'm still happy to add it to the collection.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

UFO Sighting

I really enjoy UFO, but outside of their Force It album, I find that I rarely visit their records. I don't know why that is, and given how much time I spend in my 70's playlists, you would think that I would be more familiar with their albums than I am.

Still, when I do happen to spin those classic UFO records, I quite enjoy it, and I think that I really need to reach for their albums more often. Case in point...their 1978 release, Obsession.

When I was flipping through the used bins at one of the local record stores this past Fall, I found this copy of Obsession in the racks. It was one of the few albums from that classic Schenker-era that I was missing, and with the $7 price tag, I figured it was a good time to grab a copy. I wasn't terribly familiar with the album, but I figured that I needed it just the same.

Spinning this record the other day, I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed it. I need to keep this in the daily playlist for a while.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Another Dimension

Back in 2017, I found myself on a mission to pick up a bunch of records that were hitting their 30th anniversary that year, and I went on a 1987 shopping spree. During that time, I knocked off some big time records from my Want List, and it was a ton of fun immersing myself in the playlist from that year.

As Summer was winding down last year, it dawned on me that I'd forgotten all about carrying that theme over to 2018, and chasing records from 1988.

In September, I tried to kick start things for a 1988 obsession, and I grabbed a copy of Voivod's Dimension Hatross record. Unfortunately, I couldn't get that mindset to stick, and this ended up being the only album I was able to cross off the list. Overall, I just couldn't stay focused, and my attention kept getting pulled towards the '83 and '84 years when I really first started to get into metal. Sorry 1988, you got a bad deal...I'm hoping that 1989 has better luck this year.

I've been wanting to finally grab this record for years, and there have been times that I'd get hooked on just listening to these songs on repeat. This is easily my favorite Voivod album, so if I had to pick one record from 1988, I'm glad that this was the one that I picked up.

Original German Noise pressing, with the insert for The Voivod Story.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Thunder And Lizzy

Since picking up my first Thin Lizzy record on Vertigo, back in 2014, I've been dragging my feet on building the collection any further. After recently making a move and finally adding another one to the collection with Fighting, it feels good to add another so quickly on the heels of that one.

Released in 1983, Thunder And Lightning was the final Thin Lizzy album. Guitarist John Sykes was brought in from Tygers Of Pan Tang, and his presence injects a bit of true heavy metal to some of the songs. This is such a great record.

Vertigo had dropped the UFO labels by the time they were moving into the 80's, and instead started using the boring gold/yellow labels...but that's okay, UK Vertigo was still the only way for me to go with this one.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

To Live In Discontent

I'm still pounding my way through the backlog of records for this blog. Shit got out of control during the last half of 2018, and I got lazy when it came to staying on top of my posts. Now I'm trying to get caught up, and I still have a long way to go. Here is another one that I picked up last August.

At one point last year, I got hooked into some early 2000 punk records. I got pretty excited when I grabbed the first None More Black record, File Under Black, on colored vinyl, and it got me interested in chasing some other stuff that I loved during those years.

I was a huge fan of Inquisition in the late 90's, and when they broke up, and then the singer started up Strike Anywhere, I lost my shit all over that first album. I only had the CD for Chorus Of One at the time, and it got plenty of repeat spins. Digging back into those albums that I was into at that time, I was reminded how much I loved this record, I knew that I had get my hands on a vinyl copy.

Goddamn, this album is still as vibrant an urgent as it was back in 2000. I was only familiar with the green cover that was used on the CD, so seeing the red cover had me excited to see something "new". There were 550 pressed on both red and grey vinyl, but the red pressing is really the only way to go here. Man, this thing looks so good. Very happy to finally have a copy.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

In A 1975 Trance

Time to wrap up my shopping spree for records released in 1975 with one last entry. For most of these, I picked them up last summer, and I've been sitting on them for months...but as I was getting ready to start posting them to the blog, I decided to make a run at one more. I'd recently compiled my Top Wants for 2019, and with In Trance from the Scorpions sitting there on the list, I decided to make a run at it, and make it the first one to cross off for the year.

I've been wanting to pick up a copy of In Trance for a long ass time now. Scorpions were just starting to settle into their 70's sound with this 80's arena rock anthems here, just a killer 70's hard rock trip. Not to take anything away from the later-era Scorpions with classic albums like Lovedrive and Blackout, but their mid-70's output was a different beast.

Now, when I started looking to grab In Trance on vinyl, I had my target set on the original German pressing. Man, that uncensored "boob cover" is fine.

This album is going to be 45 years old next year, so I couldn't have been happier with the condition of this thing. Amazing.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Rock Angels Of 1975

I'm a big fan of the early Angel records, but for some reason, their first album never grabbed me. Both Helluva Band and On Earth As It Is In Heaven are fantastic, but I've often overlooked their self-titled debut...until my recent 1975 obsession. Suddenly everything clicked, and I couldn't get enough of it.

During my 1975 obsession, I may have given this Angel album more attention thatn anything else from that year...with maybe the possible exception of Queen's A Night At The Opera. It's not my top pick for that year, but it probably the one that reach for the most right now. 70's hard rock perfection.

Like some of the other albums from 1975 that I've picked up recently, this Angel record was tough to find without a bunch of ring wear ruining the front cover. I think that I made out okay with this copy, and for only $10, it was too good to pass up.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Opera From 1975

One of the biggest surprises of 1975 was Queen's A Night At The Opera.

I know that my interest in the Queen discography is going to fade and disappear as I move up through their albums. The first two albums are great, but I've been hesitant to go much further than that. I downloaded a copy of A Night At The Opera back in 2015, but over the next few years, I only listened to it three or four times at the most. There is a lot to take in with this album, and I struggled to latch on to what was going on. When I was stuck in my 1975 playlist last year, it all finally clicked. I was in awe of this record, and suddenly I couldn't get enough of it.

While I was filling holes in my 1975 collection, I knew that I needed to get a copy of A Night At The Opera. My friend, Jeff, is a huge Queen fan, and hurting a bit financially right now, so I figured that I'd check with him to see if he wanted to sell one of the many reissues that he owns. Instead of tracking one down online, I figured that maybe I could just buy one from him. Even though he needs the extra cash, he still didn't seem to want to part with any of those reissues in his collection, but instead he just gave me one of his original pressings. Good deal!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Fight For '75

I love Thin Lizzy, and everything from Nightlife through Thunder And Lightning is always in constant rotation in my daily playlists. This band does it for me, and I want to pick up all their stuff on the original UK Vertigo pressing with the UFO labels. Despite being one of my favorite 70's bands, I've made terrible progress in working towards my goal. The records don't command the kind of prices that you'd see for Black Sabbath UK Vertigo pressings, or what I've had to face for original Albert pressings for AC/DC, so it is pretty pathetic that I'd only bought one Thin Lizzy album...and that was over four fucking years ago.

Going through my 1975 playlist, pushed me to finally make another move.

Fighting is my favorite Thin Lizzy album, and one of my favorite records for all of 1975...taking second place under Sabbath's Sabotage album, so it feels great to finally add this one to the collection. Every song on here is a killer.

Other than the library sticker in the corner, this thing is in amazing condition. Such a classic.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

1975 Motor City Madhouse

This past summer, I went through a serious 1975 obsession. When I initially sat down with my playlist for that year, I found myself surprised with just how strong those albums were. I mean, I obviously love all of that 70's hard rocking stuff, but when it came to ranking each year as a whole, I just don't think that I ever gave 1975 much credit...but man, once I sat down with that playlist, I became stuck in it, and it was weeks before I wanted to step outside of it. During this time, I realized that there were a number of great records that were still missing from my collection, so I set out to fill some holes from that year.

Make no mistake, Ted Nugent is a tool of epic proportions, and one of the reasons that I avoided checking out his music for so long. When I finally broke down and gave his debut album a first listen, I couldn't deny just how great it was. Man, I listened to that thing repeatedly, and could not believe how much I loved it. I mean, that opening riff for Stranglehold...come on!

So, ten years after I first fell in love with it, I'm finally picking up the vinyl. I'm not happy about the ring wear on the cover, but damn, it was tough finding a copy that wasn't beat up and a little ragged, so I made the move to finally cross it off the want list.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Wall Of Dolls

As a kid, I had a Golden Earring album...mainly because of the single at the time for the song Twilight Zone. I hadn't really discovered Heavy Metal yet, and as a 12 year old kid, this was a pretty bad ass song...and fed into that need to find music that was a bit heavier than what everyone else around me was listening to. It was cool at the time, but I was quickly leaving it in my rearview mirror, and was soon walking the path of AC/DC, Twisted Sister and Quiet Riot.

Because of that brief introduction in the early 80's, I never paid any attention to Golden Earring after it was a complete surprise when I discovered that the band has an extensive back catalog through the 70's and late 60's. Now, I've grown quite the appetite for that era of hard rock and metal, so as I was killing time a work a while back, I decided to see what Golden Earring had to offer back in their early days. I really had no idea where to begin here, so on a whim, I started with their self titled album, also referred to as Wall Of Dolls, from 1970.

This record is one that leaves me completely fucking baffled as to how I've gone this long without it getting on my radar at some point. This is some solid rock, and I was hooked with the first listen. There are so many layers here, that I listened to this every day for a couple of weeks, and didn't come close to getting bored. Such an amazing guitar tone, and the inclusion of the flute plays right into my Jethro Tull obsession. Perfect!

I was loving this record so much, that I decided to put in the extra work...and since Golden Earring are a Dutch band, I had to get the Netherlands pressing for this record with the laminated sleeve.

Man, that gatefold cover with the band in front of the wall of dolls is cool and creepy at the same time, and the black and white band photo on the inside is killer. Excellent packaging for such a great record.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Final Flight

It was fun picking up a couple of cheap hardcore records recently, and then before I knew it, dollar bin records weren't cutting it, and I had to make a move for something a bit bigger.

I have a couple records for Time Flies in the collection, but it isn't really anything that I've seriously been working fact, it has been over 8 years since I'd received that Misfits rip off cover from Marcus, and that was the last move I'd made. I've often thought about starting a Time Flies collection, but it obviously isn't something that I've put much effort into. Still, I got caught up in buying hardcore records, and suddenly, my Time Flies collection increases by one. Maybe I'll scoop another one by 2027. Stay tuned.

This copy of the Time Flies 7 inch is from their last show, with the special cover. Limited to 200, it isn't terribly rare, but this copy still looks damn cool.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

90's Hardcore Backlash

Back in the mid-90's, I picked up a CD from a band called Backlash. If you were around at that time, you'd know that straight forward hardcore was a rare thing, and emo/Ebullition style bands were what was hot at the time. If you were a regular hardcore band at the time, it just wasn't fashionable, and a lot of kids in the scene were going to look down their noses at you. So when I picked up that No Reason Why Not CD from Backlash around '95, it was refreshing to hear.

Backlash play pretty generic hardcore, but when I get into a mood for that 90's hardcore sound, I still enjoy adding this band to the playlist. Even though I've had that Backlash CD for over 20 years, I've still not made any moves to pick up the vinyl. It is pretty cheap to grab off Discogs, and when I was buying that Secret People 7 inch from Kyle, I noticed that he was selling the Backlash LP, Inside, for five bucks, and it seemed like a good time to finally add it to the collection.

Funny to see the Break Even Point label on here. Having released the first Groundwork 7 inch and an EP from Endpoint, it always made me wonder how this Italian label was releasing stuff from US bands back in the 90's.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Clear Secrets

Back in September, I was itching to do a record challenge on Instagram. I had an urge to dive in deep to my 7 inch collection, which sometimes gets neglected, and was looking to represent in a September Seven Inch challenge...however, I didn't see that there was any organized challenge happening. Well fuck it...I decided to just do my own thing and do a kind of "thirty years of seven inches" challenge and post a record from each year...starting with 2018 for day one, and then work my way back 30 years to the end of the month.

When I got to day 9, and was posting for 2010, I pulled my copy of the Secret People 7 inch. I'd forgotten about how much I liked that record, and it was a blast to spin it again...but posting the common black vinyl pressing, felt kind of weak, so immediately after posting it, I was on Discogs checking the pressing info.

At one point in the history of record collecting blogs, there was a dude named Kyle that I followed for a while. When I was looking for the clear vinyl pressing of the Secret People record, I discovered Kyle on Discogs, and since he had a copy available for cheap, I figured that I'd drop him a line to see if he was down to make some kind of deal direct, cutting Discogs out of it. It all worked out, and soon I was sending him a payment for a few records he was looking to sell for cheap.

150 pressed on clear vinyl.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Mama Weer All Slayed Now

A couple years ago, I was kicked in the ass by Slade's live album from '72. Man, that thing is wild, and could quite possibly be one of my favorite live records ever. I love that record, and I eventually made the move to check out their studio work, starting with Slayed? from the same year as Slade Alive.

Obviously, the studio recordings for Slade's second album aren't as loose and wild as the songs from that live performance, but goddamn, Noddy Holder's voice still has that grit that I love. It is amazing that it has taken me this long to finally check out this band...I think that the connection to Quiet Riot (the original version of Mama Weer All Crazee Now is on this record), and the fact that Slade are often referred to as a "glam band"...well, combined, those two things were enough to steer me away from the band, even as I went deeper and deeper into a 70's rock hole. I'm glad that I finally took the chance on the band, because this is some good shit.

I'm not sure why it was important for me to get the UK pressing for this one, but that was the way that I had to go. I picked up the Slade Alive on the original UK pressing, so I had to do the same for Slayed. Don't ask me to justify it. It is what it is. When I was picking up a couple of other records from a UK seller last August, and saw they had a copy of Slayed in amazing condition, it seemed like the right time to add it to the cart as well.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Bob Dylan's 115th Dream

I recently watched the Beatles documentary, Eight Days A Week. While those early years, aren't my favorite period of The Beatles, I still enjoy it, and after watching the documentary, I decided to throw their Help album into my playlist, along with some stuff from that time period like Out Of Our Heads by The Rolling Stones, the first records from Cream and Jethro Tull, and on a whim, I threw Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home into the mix.

I expected to sit with those albums for a day, and then get back to my early 80's metal obsession, but those albums hooked me, and I listened to them everyday for a week. I could not get enough.

One of the biggest surprises for me was how deeply I got into that Bob Dylan album. Holy fuck. I like some of the Dylan stuff, but man, for some reason, this was hitting my sweet spot for 60's rock, and it was the first thing that I would spin each day. I can't explain it, but damn it, I was obviously going to need the vinyl for it.

I started to do some research on which pressing might have the best sound, and the audiophile forums seemed to be pointing to the original "two eye" pressings...which has the Columbia Records logo on each side of the label...and I made a couple half assed attempts to pick one up for cheap on eBay, but struck out. That following week, I had time off from work, and a friend and I were going to drive up the coast to check out a record store that he used to go to as a kid, 30 years ago. It was in a pretty small town, and I didn't have very high expectations, but somehow I still managed to walk out of there dropping over $50 on records. When I saw Bringing It All Back Home, and on the stereo "two eye" pressing, I figured that things were falling into place nicely, and I grabbed it.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

NWOBHM For Muthas

I'm not big on compilations, but some of them just seem mandatory. From those early Metal Massacre records, to The Way It Is from've sold yourself short if you're into that style of music and didn't get your hands on a copy.

Because of my aversion to comps, I've long overlooked the Metal For Muthas record. Given their importance in the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene, and that it basically seemed to be the first rallying cry for the movement, I was stubborn and stupid for having disregarded it for as long as I have. The big name on this comp is Iron Maiden, and since their two songs also showed up on their first album, I'd let the rest of the Metal For Muthas songs go ignored. Since I was heavily in a NWOBHM mindset to start off 2018, and looking to add some long lost bands to my playlist, I figured that I'd finally make a move to check out this comp.

While the Angel Witch song on here is probably the only thing that comes close to the Iron Maiden level of quality, I still really enjoy every song on this comp. The Nutz song is a blast, as is Ethel The Frog's offering, and the Praying Mantis song is probably the only song of theirs that I really like...and I like it a lot.

Surprisingly, this thing is super cheap to pick up, so it was an easy move to grab one off of Discogs.

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Streets Of NWOBHM Gold

I've spent the past two months under pressure to get all the 2018 new releases posted to the blog before we closed out the year, so it feels good to have that behind me, and to get back to those older records that get me fired up over collecting.

Last year, I started off my blog posts deep in a New Wave Of British Heavy Metal mindset. I was obsessing over it at the time, and I had big plans to chase a bunch of those records throughout 2018. I picked up some big time heavy hitters with Wichfinder General, Venom, and Blitzkrieg, but after a couple of months I got sidetracked and started focusing on other stuff. I've been itching to get back to immersing myself in the NWOBHM, and one of my goals for this year is fill some more crucial holes in the collection.

At some point this past summer, I stumbled upon a video of Diamond Head performing a song called Streets Of Gold on the BBC. All that I'm really familiar with when it comes to Diamond Head is their Lightning To The Nations album, and I thought that covered all their early material. Discovering Streets Of Gold proved that I'm still an amateur when it comes to the NWOBHM. Apparently I had completely missed a couple of the early Diamond Head singles, and downloading those songs instantly put them in heavy rotation for months. It triggered an itch to grab one of those early 7 inches, and I quickly hunted one down.

Adding the Sweet & Innocent 7 inch to the collection feels important. I don't know if it is because I've been spending so much time with new 2018 releases, or if it is because a few months prior, I didn't know that this even existed, but picking up this record feels like a preservation of forgotten history.