Monday, April 29, 2019

Handle With Care

I am loving this 30th anniversary goal of picking up 1989 albums this year. There were some amazing albums released that year, and it has been a lot of fun to revisit these classics. I've picked up amazing records from Sepultura and Annihilator so far this year, and I still have a long way to go, but let's cross another banger from the list with Nuclear Assault.

Nuclear Assault were hugely influential to me at that time. I was an angry young metalhead that was down with all the satanic and violent imagery that came along with the music, and then suddenly there were bands that were tackling environmental issues, police brutality and vivisection. The message was important and vital, and suddenly I was starting to stand for something. Given the heavy topics of the Handle With Care album, it's no surprise that a year later, I was really starting to cross over to hardcore, and getting more and more into music with a stronger message.

I'm not sure why, but I've been struggling to find US sellers with these records from 1989, and I keep dealing with sellers from overseas to get these into the collection...even for records that were pressed in the US. I guess that by '89, vinyl was breathing it's last breath over here in the States because once again, I found myself tapping the German marketplace for this Nuclear Assault album.

Friday, April 26, 2019

At The End Of My Daze

I've been struggling to pay any attention to my Top Wants list this year. I crossed off that Scorpions album early, and then I started to obsess over albums from 1989 and New Wave Of British Heavy Metal records, and that 2019 Top Wants list got pushed aside quick. That's okay though. It is there to be a reminder, and since I'm here posting for the self titled Trouble record, I guess it is going it's job.

I've been wanting to pick up the self titled Trouble album for fact, it was one of the records that prompted me to start putting together a list of the top 10 records that I was hopeful to pick up each year. Year after year, I'd keep my eyes open for a copy, but it never worked out. Either the seller was asking too much, or the condition wasn't too beat up, or I just had other records that were more important to me at the after four years of that bullshit, it feel really fucking good to finally cross this bitch off the list.

Trouble were at the top of their game when this record was released in 1990. This doom masterpiece is flawless.

Two of the guys from Trouble, singer Eric Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner, are now in the band The Skull. It was a perfect coincidence when I picked up the copy of the Trouble record just a few days before The Skull came through town, and I got to see them live. Before the show, the band was hanging out in the lobby of the club, and my friend Jeff and I were lucky enough to grab them both for a quick picture and to talk with them a bit.

The show was great. The Skull were opening up the show, so they only played for an hour or so, but as it was Eric's birthday, the headliner, Weedeater, let the band play a couple Trouble songs for the encore. The Skull songs were so good, but to be able to hear The Tempter and At The End Of My Daze again, made the show that much better. Good times.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Formation Of Damnation

Back in 2008, the Death Angel album wasn't the only one that I was too lazy to chase on vinyl. I was having a great time getting back into metal after a 15 year hiatus, but I was still very much a hardcore kid, and wasn't wasting much time or money with heavy metal records. It would take another few years before I finally let go of the CD dependence, and moved strictly to vinyl, and because of that, I'm still slowly adding records to the collection that I missed the first time around.

One of the big metal albums to come out in 2008 was the new Testament record, A Formation Of Damnation...and this was a big deal because it featured the return of guitarist Alex Skolnick, who had been out of the band since '92. This was also the first new Testament album since I'd gotten back into metal in the 2000's, so I was excited for it, and it totally delivered the kind of thrash that I was looking for.

Like the Death Angel album from 2008, the Testament album was also originally released on colored vinyl, and I'd entertained thoughts of chasing one...but with the 2019 reissue, it was just easier to order it direct from Nuclear Blast, and be done with it. I went with the black vinyl option because silver vinyl looks like shit.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sonic Beatdown

When Death Angel released Killing Season back in 2008, I was still taking the easy way out, and buying most new metal releases on CD. At the time, the local record stores weren't really stocking a lot of new metal albums on vinyl, and it was just easier for me to grab the CD. It was the cheap and lazy way out, and these days, I regret not putting in the effort to track down the vinyl.

Killing Season was originally pressed as a double LP on clear vinyl back in 2008, and that shit goes for crazy prices these days. While I've recently been tempted to pick up that original pressing, cooler heads prevailed when I saw that Nuclear Blast was reissuing the album as a single album this year. The 2019 pressing options were either silver colored vinyl, or black vinyl. I'm surprised that Nuclear Blast didn't push this out on 6 different colors, and since I'm not a fan of silver colored vinyl, I went with the standard black vinyl option. Hey, I've been buying lots of original 80's pressings lately, so colored vinyl options don't excite me like they used gets the job done these days.

One of the reasons that I keep doing this blog, is because it is fun for me to go back and look at my record buying history. When I pulled up the 2008 recap post, I was surprised to not find Killing Season listed in my Top 10 for the year. Oof...what was I thinking? That list would look a lot different if I put one together now.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Death Magic Doom

I've been quite obsessed with my 1989 in 2019 goal this year, and it has been a blast celebrating the 30th anniversary for those albums. When I was recently listening to the Death Magic Doom album from Candlemass recently, I noticed that it was originally released in 2009...okay, it was only a 10 year anniversary, but it still was enough of an excuse for me to track down the vinyl for it.

While I'm a big fan of doom, there are some classic bands of the genre that I've been slow to check out...and Candlemass has been one of them. When I finally did get hooked on Candlemass, it wasn't with their classic first album, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, nor was it the popular Messiah Marcolin era...nope, it wasn't until I stumbled upon the song If I Ever Die, that I really sat up and took notice. That song really grabbed my attention, and I quickly downloaded the songs from the Death Magic Doom album.

This album is so good...the perfect doom style that I was looking for. Over the years, I've made a few half hearted attempts to grab the record, but I never followed through. Celebrating the ten year anniversary of the release seemed like a good time to finally get it done.

Death Magic Doom has only seen one pressing...the original 2009 release on black vinyl with a bonus 7 inch.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Hold On To 18

I've spent quite a bit of time obsessing over early 80's metal, especially those bands that were coming up in the L.A. scene at the time, and helped shape hair metal for the coming years...and opening my mind to some of this stuff has lead to some amazing discoveries. Seriously, the top five albums that I've listened to the most this year, have all been records from the 80's that I've really only just heard over these past few months. It has been a blast finding these hidden gems, and the best discovery, so far, has been the first Black 'N Blue album.

I remember seeing the Black 'N Blue name around back in the 80's, and I was familiar with their track, Chains Around Heaven, from the first Metal Massacre comp...but still, I kind of wrote them off as a weak hair metal band, and never really bothered with them. My mistake. Being in a hair metal mood, I downloaded a copy of the self titled Black 'N Blue album, and was quickly taught a lesson on how fucking good this band was. Holy shit, this record is so much fun. Pure early 80's heavy metal, and I can't get enough of these songs.

While this album was blowing my socks off, apparently the vinyl is readily available for cheap. Spent big bucks on this near mint copy that was still in the shrink wrap...twelve dollars!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Annihilator In Hell

I've been having a great time immersing myself into those albums that I was listening to back in 1989. Thrash ruled my world at that time, and it was such an exciting time to be buying albums. '89 was the year that I finally got out of Portland, and hit the road with some friends to go to our first concert in Boston. Testament, Wrathchild America and Annihilator were playing at The Channel, and so we decided to head down for an adventure. We had no fucking idea where we were going...we just knew that if we took interstate 95 south, it would go right through Boston. I bought a street map of the city, and we drove around for hours, trying to figure out how to find the club. Thankfully we gave ourselves plenty of time, and we still managed to get to The Channel hours before the show started. It was my first club show, and it changed my life. This was no arena show...this was electric and felt dangerous. After watching the bands play, I knew that I was going to have to come back, and soon I was making trips to Boston and Providence a couple times a month for shows.

I haven't really given Annihilator much thought over recent years, but in going through my 1989 playlist, Alice In Hell has really blown me away. I'd completely forgotten just how amazing this record is. After giving it a listen and kind of getting reacquainted with these songs, I immediately wanted to listen to them again. This shit was so good, that I had to keep returning to it, and of all the 1989 albums that I've been spinning lately, I've probably listened to Alice In Hell more than any of them. I knew that it was time to track down the record.

I ended up buying the Euro pressing from overseas, because it was just easier than trying to track down a US pressing in great shape.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Blood Willows

It has been a few years since we've had a new record from Blood Ceremony, so I was excited to hear that Rise Above Records was going to be releasing another single from the band.

Blood Ceremony have not let me down yet. They have been around for 10 years, released four albums, and Lolly Willows is their second single...and everything they have done has been great. The band has consistently blown me away with each record, and this new single meets all expectations. One new song, and a cover of Heaven & Hell from The Who...I just hope this is a preview for a new album soon.

When it came time to preorder, it was tough to resist the urge to buy the clear vinyl Die Hard Edition that was only available direct from Rise Above. I'm sure that I could have saved a bunch of money and just picked this up locally when the purple vinyl pressing was released in the US...but really, who the fuck wants a purple record with a red cover...gross. The clear vinyl looks great, and was limited to 100.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Play NWOBHM Loud

Back in January, I found myself sinking into a deep obsession over the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. I was reading Martin Popoff's book This Means War...which is book number two on the subject, covering the NWOBHM scene from 1981 through 1984...and I got it in my head that I wanted to make some progress adding these records to my collection in 2019. There are still a bunch of albums from Tygers Of Pan Tang, Witchfynde, Samson and Grim Reaper that I still need to add to the collection...and I really should be focusing on that, but I can't help that my focus has been stuck on those NWOBHM singles instead.

I love the early Diamond Head songs, and it was such a great feeling to add the Streets Of Gold 7 inch to the collection earlier this year, that I figured that I'd also make a run at the single for Waited Too Long b/w Play It Loud.

These songs aren't as strong as the Lightning To The Nations album, but still, this single is still a good time.

I'm surprised at how relatively inexpensive these Diamond Head singles were to grab. This single can be picked up off Discogs for six or seven dollars, which is incredibly cheap given how much a new 7 inch goes for these days. Granted, I bought this copy for $15, but that was only because it was a US seller, and it saved me shipping fees in the long run.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

No Sleep At Al

I've been thinking lately about adding to my Motorhead collection. There are still a number of classic Motorhead albums that I'm missing, and I really want to address when I saw that Al Quint from Suburban Voice posted on Instagram that he was selling his copy of the live album from 1988, No Sleep At All, I took him up on it.

The No Sleep At All album was my stopping point for Motorhead as a kid. By the time the 1916 album was released in '91, I had cut most of my ties with metal, and was fully immersed in it would be another eighteen years before I bothered to check out another new Motorhead release. Still, when this live album was released, I loved it...especially for the new song Just 'Cos You Got The Power. I listened the shit out of this live CD back in the day. Man, I haven't listened to this in years, and grabbing this record served as a nice reminder of how much fun this is.

Some people mark the end of the classic Motorhead period with the live No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith album, but I always push it out to No Sleep At All. Orgasmatron and Rock 'N' Roll were crucial to me as a kid, so I'm including that period as well.

One of the big selling points for me to pick this up from Al, was the promo photo and press kit. I love these cool extras.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Green Combat Labels Are Calling

I love those green label pressings for Combat Records, and while I've been slow to hunt them down, it is still very exciting when I finally add another one to the collection.

The first couple of Savatage records are some of my favorite metal albums of all time, so it is crazy that it has take me this long to finally get my hands on a copy of The Dungeons Are Calling. This six song EP is fucking perfect from start to finish, and with the record 35 years old, it is amazing how much I still get a charge when listening to this.

Picked this up off Discogs, and after seeing a bunch of copies listed with ringwear or a promo cut, once I saw this one listed with the cover described as "near perfect" I didn't hesitate to grab it for myself.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019


2019 has been a weird fucking year. I got my hands on Martin Popoff's Big Book Of Hair Metal, and suddenly I was very interested in these bands and albums that I spent my teenage years absolutely despising. I was a thrasher, and as a kid, I wanted nothing to do with this poppier and prettier side of metal. So, it was strange to find myself really wanting to dig in and check out those albums that I let pass me by in the 80's.

I was having a good time listening to bands and albums that I had never expected to have any interest in. Motley Crue's Theater Of Pain? Let's do it. Lick It Up from Kiss? Oh, fuck yes. How about some Vinny Vincent Invasion? You're goddamn right. I don't know why the sudden change of heart, but this shit was a blast.

I've got a small handful of records that I inherited from Steve after he died, and I just had them set aside. It was stuff that I wasn't really interested in, but for one reason or another, I just couldn't send it to Goodwill or sell it off to the local record shop. One of those records was a great looking copy of Van Halen's 5150. I've never had any desire to listen to Hagar-era Van Halen, but hey, I was listening to a bunch of stuff that I never expected to like, so on a whim, I threw that copy of 5150 on the turntable. Oh shit. I can't believe that I was actually having a good time listening to it. What the fuck has happened to me?

Let's not lose perspective here, okay? The David Lee Roth stuff is still far superior to the Sammy Hagar albums, but I'm surprised with how much fun I'm having listening to 5150. Do I dare check out the other Sammy albums?