Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I.O.U. Nothing

I really enjoy buying cheap records from older 90's and 00's hardcore bands that no one seems to care about anymore, but after my string of recent posts, I was itching to pick up something a bit more substantial. I wanted to add a record to my collection that felt more crucial to the collection, and something that had a bit more history to it.

I love the early Broken Bones stuff. I had the Bonecrusher and F.O.A.D. tapes as a kid and I've been looking to pick up their earlier records for years, but I've never followed through and actually bought something. As I was looking through my Discogs want list, I noticed that there was a US seller that had the Crucifix 7 inch available. The price was reasonable, and I didn't have to cough up extra cash for overseas shipping, so I jumped on it.

That cover art is amazing, and the condition is great. The seller was the drummer from Septic Death, and apparently the dude knew how to take care of his records.

Three songs clocking in just over five minutes. This is punk history, and I'm happy to finally have a copy in the collection. Now I want more Broken Bones records!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Vault Of The Metal Church

When Metal Church reunited with Mike Howe back in 2015, I couldn't have anticipated how productive the band would be. I kind of expected them to release an album of new material, do a quick tour and that would be the last we'd hear from them. I'm so happy to have been proven wrong. The band has released two fantastic albums, a live record, and have plans for a third studio album in late 2020/early 2021...and on top of that they have just delivered a new collection of previously unreleased songs.

From The Vault is a double album that features a few new songs, and I can't get over how great they sound. Damn, these are great and are worth the price of admission alone! They also throw in a re-recording of Conductor from 1993's Hanging In The Balance, and the band prove they still have the chops as the new version easily measures up to the original.

To close out the first record we get five songs that were left over from the Damned If You Do sessions, and while a couple of them are instrumentals, it doesn't feel like you are getting some cheap throw away songs...every one of these deliver a solid punch, and I'm glad that the band didn't let these fall to the wayside.

Over on the second record, Metal Church deliver a few cover songs, as well as two songs that were recorded live in Japan. These are fun to have, but not crucial by any means. For me, this collection is all about the first piece of vinyl...the rest of it is just nice to have, but not something that I'll need to spin too often.

The packaging on this is top notch. With the gatefold sleeve, OBI style stip, dust sleeves, and the album cover print with lyrics, Rat Pack Records did a great job pulling this together.

Number 118 out of an unknown number.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Intro Combust

I discovered so many great new hardcore bands in 2019. All the stars must have been aligned because I was open to checking out some new bands, and it seemed like I was stumbling on a great new find every other day. I felt like I couldn't miss, and if I had a good feeling about a band, I'd check them out and immediately fall in love with what I was hearing. I'd seen the name Combust thrown around a few times last year, but made assumptions and lumped them in with some tough-guy shit, so I avoided them.

Combust kept showing up as a recommendation on Spotify for other new bands that I was spinning daily, so in a moment of curiosity, I finally broke down recently and I checked them out. Wow. This is great. There are some great NYHC vibes on this record, but in a great Killing Time and Cro-Mags fact one of the songs strongly reminds me of Seekers Of The Truth from I've been spinning Best Wishes a lot recently, so this Combust record hit me at the right time.

I'd ordered the more limited green/yellow pressing for The Void, but Edgewood Records sent me the black with yellow splatter instead. Maybe the green/yellow had sold out, or maybe they sent be the splatter by mistake, either way, this record is damn good.

300 pressed on this black/yellow splatter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Testament Of Creation

Since Skolnick's return to Testament on guitar, the band have released an amazing string of albums. Over 30 years into it and Testament are still releasing uncompromising thrash albums that can stand up next to their 80's classics.

While I really enjoyed Testament's last album, Brotherhood Of The Snake, there were a couple of songs that were duds, so I was hoping that the band would crush from start to finish with the new one, Titans Of Creation.

Zero disappointments here. Some of these song jump out and grab me immediately, while I can tell that I am just going to appreciate this more and more with repeat listens. It will be interesting to see where this is going to land in my Top 10 list for the year.

The colored vinyl for this pressing is called "water element" and it looks fucking amazing. The pictures don't do the vinyl justice. I'm so glad that I picked up this version. 500 pressed.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Mindwar / Evolve

I've mentioned numerous times on this blog about my obsession with issue number nine of the No Answers fanzine. I studied that fucking thing, and had each record review as my roadmap for which bands I should be checking out as I started getting into the more underground side of hardcore. In the review section there was a photo of a band called Mindwar. No review for them...just a photo from Spanky's Cafe taken in July of 1990. I'd always been curious about the band, so when I was adding a bunch of cheap records to an order with a discogs seller, and I saw a split between Mindwar and a band named Evolve, I took a gamble and bought it with hopes that I'd finally found something from this old hardcore band.

Turns out that this is most likely not the Mindwar that I was looking for. The Mindwar on this 7 inch is from Connecticut and formed in the fall of 1990, so it is unlikely that they were playing shows in California that summer. Kind of disappointing that it wasn't the band I was hoping for.

Oh well, they are still an early 90's hardcore band, so I'll give them a shot. The two songs here are okay...nothing mind blowing, but it is some cool melodic hardcore that definitely fits with what was going on at the time.

The songs from Evolve are a bit better, and they definitely fit that metallic hardcore sound that was popping up in '92/'93. I imagine they were listening to a lot of those early Chokehold and Earth Crisis records. This record is kind of cool to own if you enjoy obscure 90's hardcore bands. I dig it.

As it turns out, while trying to find some info on Evolve, I found that they showed up on a Connecticut comp that included Another Wall. I fucking love Another Wall, and have never heard their song on this comp, so I'm obviously going to have to get that at some point.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Steel Jaws

When I started getting into hardcore in 1990, I discovered a bunch of really cool underground record labels at the time. Revelation, Victory, Nemesis, New Age...those were high quality labels, and chances were that you would strike gold with any record they had their name on. There was one label that was kicking around at the time that seemed a bit more mysterious to me for some reason. Conversion Records. I saw their name around, and knew they were connected to New Age in some way, but for some reason most of their records didn't make it onto my radar. Sure, I had the Endpoint album and the Face Value 7 inch, but stuff like Die Hard, Blindspot, Borderline and Process, that stuff never seemed to come around and they stayed out of my reach.

When I was adding a bunch of cheap records to my cart from a discogs seller, I noticed they had the Steel Jaws 7 inch from Process. With a $3 price tag, I decided to take the chance on a blind buy, and finally check this band out.

While this didn't knock my socks off, and I wasn't losing my mind over finding some long lost treasure, this was still fun to check out. Process definitely have that late 80's/early 90's sound, and to be honest, I can hang with that style any day of the week, even when it is a bit generic sounding.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Red Rhythm

Rhythm Collision is one of those bands that I don't really listen to regularly, but when I do happen to spin one of their records, I find myself asking why I don't pull them out more often. There uptempo style of punk rock is infectious as hell, and never fails to get me moving.

When I was picking up a bunch of cheap records from a discogs seller, I couldn't resist the opportunity to add one of their singles to the collection.

I've never owned any of the Rhythm Collision singles, and instead I just had the Collision Course CD comp from '97 that collected all of those songs from their 7 inches, so I'm happy to finally pick up the vinyl for basically what it would have cost me brand new 27 years ago. This Holiday single contains two RC originals and a frantic version of the Cheers theme song...because punk bands in the 90's loved to record off the wall cover songs.

Red vinyl with the blue lettering on the cover.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Where Clear And Weapons Meet

I decided to pick up the Third Age 7 inch because it was so cheap, but it feels like a waste to place an order for only one $3 record, so I went through the seller's list for what else he had available, and I ended up beefing up the order with a bunch of other cheap finds.

1998 was a great fucking year for hardcore. The mid 90's were a weird time, and while there were still some cool shit coming out for those years, it was refreshing to see old school hardcore make a strong resurgence in '97 and '98.

I don't think that time has been kind to Where Fear And Weapons Meet, and they seem to have been pushed into the shadows of hardcore for that time period. I remember thinking that WFAWM was huge back then, and I know that their CDs got a lot of playing time in my car stereo...but still, these past ten years have seen them sitting on the shelf and collecting dust for the most part. While I don't think that the band has aged as well as other bands from that time, it has been fun to revisit them recently.

Of course I still had a preference to CDs at that time, so I never picked up their stuff on vinyl. When I saw how cheap the discogs seller had this copy available for, I didn't hesitate to finally grab it.

220 pressed on clear vinyl.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Third Age

While I've been working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, I figured that I'd take the opportunity to finish loading the last of my 7 inch records into Discogs. I've had all if my albums listed in there for a while now, and I'd been slowly adding my 7 inch records, so I basically just had "Supertouch" through "Youth Of Today" to finish adding to my Discogs collecition. While I was going through those remaining records, I came across The Furthest West 7 inch from Third Age. It had probably been 20 years since I'd listened to it, and I couldn't really remember anything about the band. I dropped it on the turntable and absolutely loved it.

Since I was already on the Third Age page in Discogs, I noticed that in addition to that debut 7 inch from 1993, they also released a second one in '94. Information wasn't as easily available back then, so I wasn't even aware that this thing existed. I was having so much fun with The Furthest West record, that I immediately placed an order for their second 7 inch...I mean, it was only $3, so why the fuck not.

Third Age play a style of early 90's hardcore that has a definite nostalgia factor for me. When I was first really starting to dig into hardcore back in the day, bands like Kingpin and Temperance were local up and coming heroes in the Boston/New England scene, and Third Age have that same sound. Great driving melodic hardcore.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Steamrock OBI Fever

While Coronavirus was really heating up across the world at the end of February, the US was still relatively relaxed and feeling invincible. We could see that things were escalating in other countries, but it was tough to envision how fucked up everything would get here at home. Well, back in those carefree days when I was still going into the office and dinning out whenever the urge hit me, I could still see the impact COVID-19 was making in other countries. It felt like things were on the verge of spiraling out of control, so before it all went insane, I figured that I'd quickly do some last minute record shopping from Japan.

Each year I set up a list of ten records that I'd like to pick up over the following twelve months. It is more of a reminder to pick up some heavy hitters, and not really something that I work to complete before the years end...just something fun to chase. Well, last year I did a shitty job of staying focused on that list, and I only crossed off three of them in 2019. When I wanted to make a big purchase prior to the world pandemic shutting everything down, I consulted my list for 2020 and set my sights on the Japanese pressing of Taken By Force by Scorpions.

I've still got a number of holes in my Scorpions collection, but after picking up the German boob pressing of In Trance last year, I wanted to grab another crucial pressing from the band, so I added Taken By Force to the list for 2020. The original cover shows a couple of kids playing guns in a graveyard, and for some reason, that offended people, so soon after its release the record company changed it over to a much more generic cover showing the band. I needed that original "graveyard" cover, and the OBI looked cool as well, so I set my sights on the Japanese pressing. Now that I have this record though, I wish that all my Scorpions records were Japanese pressings. Shit just looks cool with that OBI. I've got a few other Scorpions records to pick up, and it is obvious which pressing I'm going to need to buy going forward.

As a bonus, the seller sent me a packet of Japanese tea and a little kitty note. Positive feedback is guaranteed!

Saturday, April 04, 2020

One Pressing Closer

Triple B recently did the third pressing of the One Step Closer record. I picked up a copy of this record last summer after catching the band live at the Have Heart reunion, and was quite content with that one pressing. This is a great record, but I didn't feel compelled to purchase multiple copies...until I saw that Triple B changed the color combo for the cover.

I'm a sucker for cover variations, and when Triple B changed the original colorway from the blue/purple over to this green/brown for the third pressing, I couldn't resist grabbing a copy.

I've seen One Step Closer play live three times over the past year...which is basically every hardcore show that I've seen during that time...and they have been a blast to watch each time. Really looking forward to seeing what this band does next.

Here is a quick shot to show the two covers side by side.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Orange Anxious

It feels funny to be chasing multiple copies of records again. It was about five years ago when I got fed up with that game and took myself out of the cycle of buying every single pressing, but I won't deny, that shit can be fun to do.

When I first saw Anxious play at the Have Heart reunion last summer, I did not really like them. I found the style to be a bit annoying to listen to, and I quickly decided that I didn't need to pay any attention to the band. When it turned out that they were playing the AHC 2019 matinee show, I figured that maybe I'd give their songs a quick listen on Spotify the day before the show. I was quite surprised with how much I loved what I was hearing, and decided to pick up the bands 7 inch at the show. That record turned out to be black vinyl, and since I couldn't stop spinning it I found that I desperately wanted a colored vinyl pressing, and I hunted down the pink vinyl.

Having two copies of the record felt a bit silly, since I only needed the orange vinyl to complete the set. When the Field Agent EP went up for preorder, I decided to grab that orange vinyl I was missing.

So here I sit with three copies of the Anxious 7 inch. It isn't really my favorite record from last year, but it sure is a lot of fun to listen to. I can't wait to see where the band goes from here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Reflections Of A Field Agent

Triple B was killing it last year. It seemed like every time I turned around they were releasing another killer record. Rolling though the start of 2020, I was still feeling the love and when they put up preorders for the Field Agent EP, I figured that I'd check it out.

Field Agent opened up the Triple B fest back in December, and while I really wasn't expecting much from this unknown band, I had a great time watching these kids live. When preorders went up, I was also really digging that cover art, so I didn't hesitate to grab one.

This is a cool six song 12", and similar to the One Step Closer vinyl, the b side is blank. Good stuff for when I want to spin some newer hardcore.

161 pressed on a nice looking purple swirl colored vinyl.