Friday, May 31, 2019

Times Of Obscene Evil

Last year, Smoulder showed up on the doom scene and impressed the hell out of me with their Sword Woman demo. I really enjoyed those songs, and was hopeful that the band would stick around and give us more, so I was very happy to discover that Smoulder had a full length album due to be released this year.

The Times Of Obscene Evil And Wild Daring album was released on Cruz Del Sur label out of Italy, but the band was selling some copies through their bandcamp page, which helped me avoid those high overseas shipping fees. I opted for the black vinyl option, mainly because the metallic gold colored vinyl always looks terrible.

The album includes two songs from the Sword Woman EP, so there are really only four new songs here, but this album is solid through and through. An album of some solid epic doom...this is some truly impressive stuff.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Die For The Devil

Next to the new Magic Circle record, I was damn excited for the new Enforcer. Enforcer are probably my favorite new metal band from the past 10 years, so I was beyond excited for a new record.

Just like the Magic Circle record, I had some high expectations with the new Enforcer album...and also like the Magic Circle album, I was underwhelmed when I first heard the new Enforcer. It wasn't terrible, but there were a few songs that really seemed to suck the energy and life out of it. Still, I loved the band so much, I wasn't going to give up on it that easily, and I kept going back to it. With repeat listens, there are some really great songs that stand out on this record, and while there are still a couple of clunkers on here, it isn't nearly as bad as I initially thought.

300 pressed on blue vinyl, which is obviously the way to go here, instead of that shitty looking silver vinyl.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Refuse To Be Tied Down

I'm not going to lie, I've had zero fucks to give when it comes to new hardcore records this year. I just haven't cared. I've been hanging out with a bunch of 80's metal records, and that's kind of all that I've wanted to listen to. Everything else can fuck off.

I met Lins years ago when he was doing his record collecting blog, and even though he stopped blogging about seven years ago, we still keep in touch. When he mentioned that he had started a new band and they were going to release a 7 inch, I knew that I was going to have to play the part of "the good friend" and buy a copy. I wasn't too excited to spend the money, and buying from Refused Records is a bit of a pain in the ass since you have to place your order and then wait for an invoice before paying...still, I can trust Lins' judgement, and he isn't a total plum, so I felt safe that his band wouldn't be complete shite, and I ordered the record.

Tied Down obviously lifted their name from Negative Approach, but holy shit, they sound a lot like that band as well. These six songs absolutely rip and rage with that Negative Approach power and aggression. This is seriously good, and for a hot minute it has me interested in hardcore again.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Blessing In 1989

One of my favorite things to do this year has been to dive into those albums celebrating their 30th anniversary, and chasing down those records from 1989. Man, so many great albums were released that year, and it has been a blast immersing myself into that time period and reminiscing about those days when I was 18/19 years old.

I've been looking to pick up a copy of Metal Church's first album with Mike Howe, Blessing In Disguise, for a long time. Seems like I spend some time each year trying to hunt one down, but it never works out, and then I forget about it and move on to something else. I've been after this record for so long, I've come close to adding it to my Top Wants list for the year, just to keep front and center on my radar, but once I started chasing those 30th anniversary albums this year, I was bound and determined to finally get the job done.

Blessing In Disguise was the first Metal Church record since their departure with vocalist David Wayne. Those first two albums with David Wayne as the singer are kind of a big deal, and they are straight up classics. When he left, they were some big shoes to fill... but then Mike Howe came into the band and brought the band to another level. It is like trying to compare DiAnno and Dickinson era Iron Maiden, with Wayne and Howe, I'm torn between which one I prefer...both are just so good.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

White Magic Circle

There are a number of new records being released this year that have me a bit excited. One of those new records that tops my list in terms of anticipation is the new Magic Circle. Given the number of Brendan Radigan bands that have come and gone, each new Magic Circle album feels an event to be I had some high expectations with Departed Souls.

Not wanting to miss out on the most limited pressing, I made sure that I was available to place my order as soon as the album went up for preorder over at 20 Buck Spin. 110 pressed on white vinyl.

The first couple of listens of the new album had me kind of underwhelmed...although to be honest, my mindset was more in line with Badlands, or the Lick It Up album from Kiss...dude, I wanted the rock and roll party, and I'm not sure that I was prepared for the hard and heavy sounds of Magic Circle.

I've been listening to Departed Souls a bit more over the past couple of weeks, and it is starting to grow on me. It isn't as immediate as their second album, Journey Blind, but it has been worming it's way into my brain, and repeat listens have me enjoying it more and more.

Funny enough, given my obsession over 80's hair metal bands this year, I'm not sure if I was more excited over the arrival of the new Magic Circle record, or the card of Jeff Labar from Cinderella. Seriously...I need more of these Rockcards.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Home Sweet Home

I've been running through 2019 with an open mind, and checking out some hair metal bands that I wouldn't go anywhere near back in the 80's. I've been pleasantly surprised, and have discovered a bunch of fun the trip has totally been worth it.

While Motley Crue was one of my favorite bands when I discovered them in 1983, but by the time they released their Theater Of Pain album in '85, I was done with them. I was all about Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Dio, and when Motley Crue released the video for Home Sweet Home, I figured that the Crue had gone soft and I wrote them off as posers. Given my obsession with hair metal this year, and the release of the Motley Crue movie, The Dirt, I figured that I'd finally give Theater Of Pain a shot...and I'm really glad that I did, because this record is a lot of fun. I mean, it isn't going to stack up next to the first two Crue records, but it is still a good time.

While I was recently flipping through the used bins at a local record store and came across this copy of Theater Of Pain. I didn't feel like spending the money at the time, so I put it back in the bin, and left the store...and then as soon as I got home I regretted it and I couldn't get it out my mind. I thought about that record for the entire week, and the next weekend I found myself back in the city grabbing lunch with my wife. I don't usually drag her along to the record stores, because the less that she knows, the better...but I had to scratch that itch, so I pulled her into the store. The record was still in there, and since she is a big Motley Crue fan, it was an easy sell to convince her that I needed this record.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Strong Arm Of The NWOBHM

I've been riding high on the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal this year. I've downloaded a ton of stuff that I've never heard before, and I've been eating it up. I've been itching to buy a bunch of old NWOBHM singles, but since I have so many full length albums that I'm still missing from the collection, I'm trying to focus on the bigger records from that time.

A few years ago, I picked off the first two Saxon albums, and I was ready to chase the other records from their classic period...and then I got sidetracked for a few years. It's taken me a while to get back to it, but it felt great to finally grab Saxon's third album, Strong Arm Of The Law.

Strong Arm Of The Law may be my favorite Saxon record. Heavy Metal Thunder, Dallas 1pm, Sixth Form Girls, 20,000 Feet, the title track...damn...every song fucking rules.

When it came time to buy this record, I wanted to go for the first UK pressing...the one that came with the "free patch". Turns out it was more of a giant iron-on, instead of a sew-on patch, but it was still cool to get one.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Sacred Reagan

Sacred Reich were a hugely important band for me as a kid. Their first three albums, Ignorance, Surf Nicaragua and The American Way, all left a big impression on me at the time. For people that thought that metal bands only sang about killing your parents and worshiping Satan, they obviously never heard Sacred Reich.

In Trump's America, we need bands like Sacred Reich more than ever...bands that are pissed off and vocal about the shitty things going on right I was stoked to learn that the band was back together and recording a new album that is due out this summer. We get a preview of what's to come with this split with Iron Reagan, and it does not disappoint with this fast and furious attack that leaves me wanting more. Bring on that full length album.

Over on the b-side, Iron Reagan offer up a scorcher as well. The band is the king of split releases, and it cool to see them partner up with Sacred Reich this time around.

Only 1,000 pressed...all on black vinyl.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Hand Of Dio

When I saw the list of Record Store Day exclusive releases this year, I wasn't very excited about anything on there, and for the couple of records that did catch my eye, I told myself that I wouldn't sweat it if I wasn't able to grab one. Yet, when the latest Dio picture disc didn't show up at the local record stores around here, suddenly I found myself desperate to find one, and I had to rely on Discogs to finally track one down.

There isn't anything new or special with this newest Dio single. The two songs have already shown up on other albums, but you know that I had to buy it for the Dio collection, it will sit nicely next to the Dio picture disc single that was released for the Black Friday RSD last year.

Just like that Holy Diver - Live at 35 single from last year, this one looks nice, but with some serious cupping, the record is kind of shitty quality. This one is definitely for serious collector nerds only.

3,000 pressed.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Caress Of Steel

Record Store Day 2019 was kind of a bust. Sure I dropped over $60 on records, but overall, it felt like it came up short. Before calling it a day, I found one more record to add to the collection.

I love the early Rush records, but my collection is pretty thin...I mean, the Farewell To Kings album is really the only one that I've bothered to chase down. I'm not sure why my Rush collection has been so slow to come together, but when I saw Caress Of Steel in the used bins for $7, I knew it was time to make a move.

Caress Of Steel is Rush's third album, and their second one to be released in 1975...because bands in the 70's often would crank out two albums a year...and this record sees the band starting to really push the envelope with their two epics The Necromancer (over 12 minutes) and The Fountain Of Lamneth (around 20 minutes). Happy to finally have this in the collection.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Live Without A Net

When I was out hitting the used bins for Record Store Day, I found that there really wasn't very much that was grabbing my attention. I was hoping for a nice big haul, but I ended up with only a small handful. I saw the double live Angel album, and while it wasn't a very exciting find, I figured that I'd grab it just because it was there.

I like Angel. Their first three albums are really great, heavy slabs of 70's rock/metal...but I've never bothered with anything after On Earth As It Is In Heaven from '77...completely ignoring both White Hot and Sinful. I don't know...I've read some reviews that seem to draw the line at that On Earth As It Is In Heaven album, and that Angel got too commercial after that record, so I've stayed away. I saw this Live Without A Net album from 1980, and figured that I'd take the chance. I mean, if there was a place that the band might keep the newer songs energetic and a bit more heavy, I figured it would be in a live setting, so I rolled the dice.

If I'm going to be honest, my first time though this album, I struggled to pay attention, and by the last song, I figured that I'd wasted my money. The second time through the record was a different experience, and suddenly the songs were jumping off the vinyl at me. The songs were alive, and totally sucked me in. I loved it, and the new songs sounded good enough that I might have to finally check out those other Angel records.

One thing that bothers me about this double live album is how it was pressed. For some reason, the pressing plant pressed the record with side 1 and side 4 on one record and side 2 and side 3 on the other, so flipping the first record after side 1, puts you at the end of the show with side 4. So weird.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Boyz Are Gonna Rock

Last year, I had a great Record Store Day haul, full of 80's hair metal bands. I was looking for more of that kind of action this year, but overall, it was a big let down as the record store used bins failed to really deliver. My one and only big hair metal score this year was for the first Vinnie Vincent Invasion album.

I wasn't a fan back in '86 when the debut Vinnie Vincent Invasion album was released. I was really straddling the line that year...on one side, I was a fan of stuff like Raven's The Pack Is Back and W.A.S.P's Inside The Electric Circus...and on the other side I was thrashing it out with Slayer's Reign In Blood and Metallica's Master Of Puppets. Honestly, I don't know if there was a rhyme or reason to what I found acceptable and what I didn't...maybe it was based on the release date, and towards the tail end of the year, I wasn't messing around with big hair bands like Vinnie Vincent Invasion...but whatever the reason, I was never interested in this one as a kid.

Of course, I've been on a big hair metal kick this year, and I've been hungry to find some treasures that I ignored the first time around, and Vinnie Vincent Invasion fits that bill. They certainly had the look, with the hair teased up for miles, and I'm getting a kick out of the songs. Fun stuff!

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Dio County Ball

I'm damn proud of my Dio collection, but I know that there are a few big holes that need to be filled. A couple of those holes are for Dio's first major band, Elf.

I'm not a huge fan of Elf...I mean they are okay, and I enjoy listening to them from time to time, but overall they are too old-timey with that honky tonk piano, and I don't feel compelled to return to their albums very often. The songs are cool, but man, if they had ditched the piano, and gone with a hammond organ like Deep Purple, I think they would have held up much better.

While out for Record Store Day this year, my first stop uncovered this Elf record from 1974. The record was still sealed, so I quickly scooped it up. It ended up being my most expensive pick-up for the day, but for record that was still sealed, the price tag wasn't too high.

This pressing of Carolina County Ball is the reissue from 1984, but I'm cool with that because it matches my pressing for Trying To Burn The Sun, with the "featuring Ronnie James Dio" box in the corner of the cover.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

One Night Stand

I don't pay much attention to Record Store Day releases any more. I'll scan the list to see if anything jumps out at me, but for the most part there is rarely anything that I'll sweat if I don't happen to pick it up. This year there were two items on the list that I wanted to pick up if I happened to come across them...but as it would turn out, I only ended up with one of them, as the Dio single appears to have only been released in Europe. I'm still coming for you just may take some time.

Initially, I thought that the Youth Of Today 7 inch released for Record Store Day was goofy as hell, but that's only because I'd forgotten how much fun this One Night Stand cover is. Originally done by The Partridge Family, Youth Of Today completely make this song their own. Considering that I think it was only available on the REV100 CD, it is cool to finally see the song on vinyl.

As much as people grumble about how much they hate Record Store Day, it's funny to see the collector nerds scramble when Revelation poops out 6 different pressings of this single. I don't play that game anymore, and since this 7 inch carried a bullshit price tag of $11.00, I'm happy with just this one pressing. Kincaid labels on magenta colored vinyl is limited to 1,000 pressed.