Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Gold Chain Whip

I've been stoked on hardcore recently, and these past few months have found me actively searching out new bands to check out. At some point, the name Chain Whip came across my Instagram stories, and I figured that I'd check them out for the hell of it. I found their 7 inch on Spotify, and after running through it one time I knew that I needed to get my preorder in for the band's newest record.

14 Lashes is 20 minutes of unrelenting frantic punk energy. Chain Whip do not slow things down...they are a tornado that keeps pushing as the songs threaten to fall apart. This shit is manic and catchy as hell. It sounds really familiar, but I'll be damned if I can put my finger on who it is...I keep thinking of Career Suicide, but I'm not sure if that's it...either way, this record is a lot of fun.

I'm glad that I jumped on this when I did. 150 pressed on orange vinyl.

I don't know why bands include posters with their records these days. Are we supposed to still put these on our walls?

Monday, November 25, 2019

War To End All Wars

Back in 2016, I discovered Sabaton, and the band was huge for me that year. I downloaded a number of albums from their back catalog, and became obsessed with them...then when they released The Last Stand that year, it quickly became one of my favorite new metal releases.

I still love Sabaton, but my obsession has cooled a bit over the years. Still, I was excited when I heard they were releasing a new album. I've been focused on different music this year, and because of that, I didn't rush out to get my hands on a copy as soon as it was released. I knew that I was going to pick one up sooner or later, and when I was placing an order with Nuclear Blast a couple months ago, I finally added The Great War to the cart. It was on a simple black vinyl, but honestly, I thought that it looked better than the eight different colored vinyl options.

Sabaton records tend to be a slow burn for me. I seem to usually be less than impressed after the initial listen, but with repeat spins it grows on me more and it was no surprise that some of The Great War fell a little flat for me. Some of these songs are killer, and I can see are going to get better as I get become more familiar with them, but there are a few clunkers on here that disrupt the flow. I don't know...maybe I'll get used to them as time goes on, but I know that I'll be skipping that Flanders Fields song forever.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Wave Of Waste

A couple years ago, I caught Municipal Waste live for the first time. Holy shit. I hadn't been to a show with so much stagediving in a long time. It was amazing, and it made me appreciate the band so much more. It has been a couple of years since the Waste have released anything, but anything they do is an instant-buy, so as soon as preorders were up for their latest EP, The Last Rager, I was placing an order.

Nothing new here, so if you don't already enjoy Municipal Waste, this isn't going to convert you...however, if you are a fan, these four songs will not disappoint. Typical Municipal Waste lyrics, and topics don't get very deep, but if you are here to just thrash, you'll be fine.

Good looking green and black swirl vinyl. 200 pressed.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Gypsy Test

Back in 2012, I was introduced to the Giant's Despair album from Gypsy. I really didn't expect much from it, but man, it really got to me. The more that I listened to it, the more I wanted to listen to it. In a year that had some of my favorite hardcore records post-2010, Gypsy still made a case to climb into my top 10 of the year.

At the time that the album was released, was released, I was still getting down with multiple pressings for my favorite new releases...except I made a conscious effort to not play that game with the Gypsy record. I bought one copy, and committed to stick with only buying that one. It took seven years to break that promise.

Given the dark pink colored vinyl, and the special cover, I've always been drawn to the test pressing for this record. I never expected to get the opportunity to get my hands on one at a fair price, but I'd always told myself that if I was going to buy additional copies of Giant's Despair, it was going to be the test pressing. Discogs had one for sale from the record label with a $130 price tag, and I wasn't going to get involved for that money. Fuck that.

Then back in September, Marcus gave me a heads up that there was a test pressing on eBay with a low starting bid. I had hopes that no one had this in their sights, and maybe I'd get the chance to pick it up at a reasonable price.

The tip paid off, and I was happy to scoop this up at a fraction of the Discogs price.

Limited to 16 for the test press.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Not For The Innocent

My friend, Doug, is over in Japan right now, and he is killing me with all the photos of records that he keeps texting me. I'm jealous over all the cool shit that he is finding. Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath on vinyl, Japanese singles from Dokken, and Venom 7 inches...fuck me...I'm so envious.

I can't get over to Japan, so I had to order some Japan to be delivered to my door.

I never liked Kiss as a kid, and then when I started to finally check them out around 2005, I had a hard and fast rule that I was only going to bother with the first six. I knew that shit started to go downhill with I Was Made For Loving You from the Dynasty album in '79, so I stopped short of that record, and spent the next 10+ years pretending that anything after Love Gun didn't exist.

As I was digging deeper and deeper into hair metal earlier this year, I decided to give some of the Kiss albums from that era a shot, and I downloaded the songs from Lick It Up.

I remember really hating Kiss back in the day, but considering where I was musically when Lick It Up was released in '83, I'm surprised that I resisted this band like I did. I mean, Def Leppard, Quiet Riot and Motley Crue were some of my favorite bands at the time, so this album should have been right in that mix...but I guess that I couldn't get past the stink of the Beth single from the mid-70's. What a terrible oversight on my part, because this album is too much fucking fun. I became obsessed with it, and since downloading it back in February, I've already listened to it more than any of those first six records.

When I started looking at Discogs to figure out which pressing I should buy, I absolutely fell in love with the Japanese pressing. I've never been a big Kiss collector, and I haven't paid any attention to getting their older records with all the cool bonus inserts, but with that unique OBI cover sheet that was only for the Japan release, I knew that this was the only way for me to go.

To make things a bit more difficult, I was also going to need to pick up the Japanese pressing with the bonus sticker sheet included. Prices for copies without the sticker sheet were manageable, but I was all-in for Lick It Up, and I wasn't cutting any corners, so I put up the big bucks to get the full package.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Throne Within

If you are looking for a true throwback to 80's metal, RAM can deliver the goods. Their last three albums have been solid slabs of metal, so when I discovered that they had a new album due to be released in 2019, it quickly became one of my more anticipated metal records.

The Throne Within was an instant buy. I didn't need to hear any songs from the album, but if you wanted to sneak a peak, the video for Blades Of Betrayal was a good preview.

RAM continues to stick with that 80's metal style that they do best. They are missing some of the hooks that the 80's greats had, but man, they sure have the attitude and conviction to make them stand above most of the newer metal bands today. These guys just want to get you headbanging, and they manage to do that without fail.

The Throne Within was limited to only 100 in the US, and the ochre/brown marble vinyl looks great. All other pressings were out of Europe, so I was happy to get in and get a copy that avoided overseas shipping fees.

The record also comes with a huge poster, which was nice to pull out to check out, and then immediately tuck back into the sleeve never to see the light of day again.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Back In Business

I love my AC/DC collection. I've still got a long way to go, and there are still a number of big ticket items on my want list, but it still feels like I'm making big moves whenever I fill another hole.

Back in '85, I was a hungry young metalhead. I had been digging into all the big bands, and discovering their back catalog over the past couple of years. Between my brother and I, we were able to attack those older albums from bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and AC/DC...putting together a pretty good cassette collection between the two of us. None of those bands could do wrong in my eyes, and while most people were losing interest in the newer AC/DC records at that time, I was still madly in love. I don't think that Fly On The Wall received much attention, and there were certainly no hits from the album that the band carried in their live setlist beyond that '85/'86 tour...hell, I saw them on this tour and they only had three songs from the album in their set...but damn, I still loved everything about this album.

For the Bon Scott records, I need to get the Australian pressings....that era of AC/DC never fails to give me a thrill, so I've got to go big for it...and while I still love the Brian Johnson era, I'm content with the regular US version for those. When I discovered Fly On The Wall in the used bins at one of the local record stores, I was happy to scoop it up for ten bucks.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Start Of A Long Cold Winter

Even as a young thrasher, I still had to admit that the first Cinderella album, Night Songs, was pretty fucking good. While I was making broad generalizations about hair metal being for posers, that album still had enough grit to it so that I considered it acceptable.

No matter how much I enjoyed Night Songs, by the time Long Cold Winter was released in '88 I had such an elitist attitude that I wasn't going to even give it chance. Thrash or die.

While I was neck deep in my hair metal obsession earlier this year, I decided that I should finally check out that second Cinderella album. I honestly didn't think that I knew a single song off this album...but then I heard Gypsy Road, and remembered that I always enjoyed this video when it played on MTV's Headbangers Ball. There were a couple other songs on there that I recognized as I worked my way through this record, so maybe I did hear some of this album back in the day...I don't know, but either way, I am really digging this record now.

As a part of my hair metal shopping spree in town earlier this year, I was very happy to get this album so that I can finally really appreciate it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Come Out And Play

When I discovered Twisted Sister in 1984, they quickly became my favorite band. Stay Hungry had just come out, and it quickly became my soundtrack to teenage rebellion. I loved that band and their middle-finger attitude. By the time we were nearing the end of '85, I was starting to discover bands that were a little harder and heavier, and I was pushing aside those bands that initially turned me on to heavy metal. I no longer had time for Quiet Riot, Helix and Kick Axe, as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Dio were commanding most of my attention.

When I heard that Twisted Sister were going to be releasing a new album, I was interested to see what they would deliver. I tuned in to MTV to catch their newest video, and they served up a turd called Leader Of The Pack. I was horrified. How could these heavy metal heroes serve up a lame cover song that my parents liked from when they were in school? While I had a couple of friends that stuck by Twisted Sister, I felt betrayed and wanted nothing to do with them...and their follow up single of Be Chrool To Your Scuel, fell flat as well and was the final nail in the coffin.

2019 was shaping up to be my year for hair metal, and I decided to give Come Out And Play a second chance. Listening to it now, it makes me wonder if things would have turned out differently if the band had released Lookin' Out For #1 or the title track as the single instead. If I ignore Leader Of The Pack, this album is a worthy follow up to Stay Hungry.

I obviously need a copy with the original pop up cover.

Shame that the band got so screwed on poor decisions back in '85, because if they had come out harder than they did, this album may have been huge for me at the time.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Hair Metal Contagion

This year I've really been drawn to a bunch of hair metal bands that I've previously never had any interest in. In addition, this obsession has pushed me to check out some albums from bands that followed the hair metal trend in the late 80's, and changed their sound to try and stay relevant. While I've loved the early Y&T albums, I always kind of drew a line in the sand at 1984's In Rock We Trust. The band had already started to change by that album, but it had always been my stopping point, however, obsessing over hair metal earlier this year, had me feeling a little adventurous, and I was ready to give those late 80's Y&T albums a chance.

Earlier this year, I'd downloaded the songs from Y&T's 1987 album, Contagious, and I was having a good time giving it the occasional spin. It wasn't kicking my ass like some of the other surprises I'd uncovered this year, but since I'd seen the band live this past Spring, and a couple of Contagious songs were in the setlist, this was still a fun listen.

While this is by no means rare, I don't think that I'd ever stumbled upon this record in the used bins at the stores in town, so I was excited to see a copy while I was on a recent shopping trip.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Young & Wreckless

Like Krokus, Helix were one of the first metal bands that I stumbled upon in the early 80's. In the time before MTV, there were stations that would have late night programming exclusively for music videos. As a pre-teen that was hungry for more music, I hunted it out wherever I could, and that included catching shows like Night Flight and Friday Night Videos, hoping to catch something that was new and captured my attention.

I remember catching the Rock You video from Helix on one of those shows, and immediately needed to hear more from the band, so ran out to buy Walkin' The Razor's Edge to add it to my very small cassette collection of Heavy Metal.

Back in '84, this album was huge for me, but after a couple of years, and digging deeper and deeper into harder and heavier music, I eventually just sent it to the trash bin. Thirty five years later, I've rediscovered this record, and I'm having a complete blast listening to it again.

When I found this copy of the record in the store, the price tag was a bit more than I had planned to spend for this one, but it was still sealed and I couldn't resist. Still blows my mind to find these older records unopened...and then I immediately rip the cellophane wrapper off and put the record on my turntable.

As I was digging through the used bins in the local record stores, I was hoping to walk away with a handful of old Helix records, but unfortunately, I only found one other one that was in the condition that I was willing to buy...Wild In The Streets from 1987.

My memory is hazy on this one. I want to say that I bought this one on cassette as well...and if I did, it would have been the last Helix album I would have bought...but other than the terrible album cover, I really don't remember anything about this one. If I did buy it when it was released, it did not get much attention on my stereo...which is funny, because in 2019 I absolutely love this fucking record. Man, what a good time. This one is going to be getting daily spins for a while.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Hot Shot Promo City

I've spent a fair amount of my time this year revisiting some of the bands that I was listening to when I first starting discovering Heavy Metal in the early 80's. Back in those days, I was really into Krokus and Helix, but as I started to find heavier bands in Maiden and Priest, those two bands were quickly forgotten for the next 30+ years. It has been a blast to rediscover these bands this year, and while I've already picked up a few Krokus albums this year, as I headed into the used record stores in Portland recently, I wanted to cross a couple more off the list.

By the time Change Of Address came out in '86, the band was definitely feeling the pressure to keep up with the hair bands of the day. Dokken, Motley Crue and Ratt were fire at that time, and Krokus obviously wanted some of that action and started to follow that path. While I remember this album hitting the stores, and the video for School's Out...really though, Krokus seemed to love putting those 70's hard rock covers on their albums...still, the band was basically off my radar at this point, and I'm pretty sure that I ignored this one.

I've been obsessing over Krokus this year, so I was game to try anything, and when I saw Change Of Address in the used bins for $6, I didn't hesitate.

The album definitely isn't as strong as their earlier albums like Headhunter, One Vice At A Time and Hardware, but these songs are still cool to me.

I was hoping to pick up some more late 80's Krokus albums, but came up short. Surprisingly, one of the stores in town had a couple of promo records for the band, and I quickly snatched them up to help feed the obsession.

Promo singles don't offer anything new, and like this Burning Up The Night 12 inch, the same song is on both sides. That's fine though, I'm just looking to fill the collection, and I think the unique promo covers are cool to have.

In addition to the Burning Up The Night promo, the store also had a copy of the Midnight Maniac promo from the Krokus album The Blitz. I love this song, and while the same art is used for the front and back cover, I'm still happy to own this.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Hardcore Crusade

I was on a hardcore record shopping spree, and I was coming out of this with four records for $10. The last one that I grabbed from the Discogs seller was the first 7 inch from Thought Crusade.

The Common Man record from Thought Crusade was released back in 2008...which is crazy, because it feels like it was just a few years ago that I was seeing them at the Triple B Showcase. Fuck. So much time has passed, and the memories of checking out all kinds of new hardcore bands back then makes me nostalgic to get out and catch a show.

This band is terribly overlooked, and the $2 price tag is a testament to that. Strangely enough, this copy of the Common Man record on red is the only one that has been sold on Discogs.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Serpico Is Not Dead

While I was picking up a few other records from a Discogs seller, I saw they had a Serpico 7 inch for sale that I'd never heard of before. I've got their two Equal Vision CDs from '95 and '96, and a couple other 7 inches, but I'd never heard of this I'm Not Dead record. I was in an adventurous mood, and with a $2 price tag, I figured that I'd grab it.

Even though I own the two Serpico CDs that were released from Equal Vision Records, I still haven't listened to them in around 15 years. No exaggeration. So I'm not sure why I felt the need to buy another Serpico record...just caught up in the moment, and looking for something new, I guess.

I'm Not Dead was released in '94, and definitely sounds of that time. Good enough to be enjoyable for a spin when you want to revisit that time period, but there isn't anything here to set it apart and above those bands that were doing it better at that time. Good stuff, but not too exciting.

Numbered and limited to 1,000 pressed...which I guess explains why this record goes for so cheap these days. I can see the band sitting around in the late 90's with half of these still sitting in their basement and bummed out that they took the effort to actually hand stamp and number all 1,000 of these.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Still Holding On

When I was recently picking up a Risky Business record from Discogs, I figured that I'd check to see what else the seller had available...and soon, I had my card loaded up with a few cheap 7 inch records.

The first Rancor 7 inch is one of my favorites from Youngblood, however, I only have two copies of it in my collection. I'm not sure why I never made a serious run to pick these up ten years ago when I was more obsessed with buying multiple pressings for my favorite hardcore bands...probably because I was wasting my time with Agnostic Front reissues from Bridge Nine and bullshit like that...either way, this Rancor record rules, and I'm excited to finally add my first piece of colored vinyl to the collection for it. Given how much I like this record, the $3 price tag was a steal.

500 pressed on green vinyl for the second pressing.