Monday, June 29, 2020

Snapcase Starburst

I really loved Snapcase back in the 90's, but at some point I shoved them aside and forgot all about them. I've been in a mood to listen to a bunch of 90's hardcore bands lately, and there have been a number of records that I've dusted off and have been surprised with how much I still love them in 2020. One of those bands has been Snapcase.

Not only was I surprised with how much I was digging Snapcase, I was amazed at how much I was enjoying the band's third album, Designs For Automotion. I mean, Lookinglasself and Progression Through Unlearning are obviously gold standard for 90's hardcore, but I'd completely forgotten that Designs For Automotion easily measures up to those first two records. It has been a blast rediscovering this album over recent months.

I only owned this album on CD, and was desperate to add a vinyl copy to my collection...however, I was torn on which copy I should chase down. I was tempted to go for an original colored vinyl pressing on either blue, orange or white vinyl...and they seem relatively easy to pick up at a decent price...but I was seriously tempted by the "starburst" colored vinyl that was an exclusive pressing for Newbury Comics last year.

The colored vinyl for that pressing looks insane, and I wanted to see one in real life, so that was the one that I grabbed off eBay. Stupidly, it actually cost more than an original pressing, but damnit, I wanted this starburst color...and don't get me started on how badly I'm tempted to rush out and buy other pressings for all the Snapcase stuff.

Must. Resist. Temptation.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Freeways Bearings

That demo that Freeways released back in 2017 blew me away with how great it was, so when I saw that the band was finally releasing their first album this year, I was stoked.

Out of the Great White North of Canada, Freeways play an excellent style of 70's rock, and that first demo sounded heavily influenced by Thin Lizzy. That inspiration isn't as obvious on the new album, True Bearings, but this record still hooks me hard.

True Bearings was one of my more anticipated releases this year, and it does not disappoint in the least. The riffs are heavy and the melodies smooth...I've been giving this album repeat spins since it has arrived.

When I preordered the record back in February, I went for the Die Hard pressing that included a patch and keychain because I love little collectibles like this.

150 pressed for the Die Hard edition on beige colored vinyl.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Kill The Pain

Earlier this year, Night Demon released the Empires Fall single. I loved that 7 inch, I hoped that it was a preview of what was to come. When the band announced they had a second 7 inch single on the way, I jumped on it.

Once again, the Night Demon 7 inch single gives us one new song and a b-side cover.

The track for this single, Kill The Pain, is another great one from the band. They got to record in the same studio where Metallica did Master Of Puppets, and work with the same producer, Flemming Rasmussen, so all the ingredients are here for a spectacular song, and Night Demon just nail it. I hope the band keeps delivering new songs, because they are on fire with these singles.

The b-side cover is just killer as Night Demon tackle Cirith Ungol's 100 MPH. They enlist Tim Baker from Cirith Ungol to help with some guest vocals, and they make this one of the rare instances where I'll be revisiting this cover song repeatedly.

One of the cool things that Night Demon has done with these singles is they have been capturing the recording experience on video and posting them up to YouTube. It is a great behind the scenes view into the songs, and it makes me appreciate the band all the more because of it. Like the video Night Demon did for Empire Falls, the one posted for Kill The Pain is a good time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Back Against City Walls

War Records love their limited pressings. I'm not really in the game to collect everything I see these days, but some of the things this label releases is tempting as fuck...seriously, I'm so bummed that I missed out on those Strife gold editions.

While I was extremely hesitant to check out Berthold City when I started to see their name pop up a couple years ago, I've since grown to put my preconceived notions aside and after checking out the band, I found that I really enjoy them. War Records have released a number of different limited pressings for the Berthold City 7 inches, and that shit seems to sell out quick. When it was announced that they were releasing a lathe cut 7 inch of a cover of Circle Jerks Back Against The Wall, I knew that I had to make sure that I jumped when they went on sale. There were only 50 pressed, so if you took your eye off the prize, you missed out.

Overall, this record seems kind of pointless. I mean, I'm sure the band had a blast recording this song, and it sounds okay, but really, I'm not going to need to listen to this very often. Still, since it is so limited, and I really like this band, this record is kind of cool to own.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Harder Faster

I don't generally get too excited about live albums, and to be honest I'd kind of forgotten all about W.A.S.P.'s Live...In The Raw album. However, when I came across the record from a Discogs seller that I was recently shopping from, and I started looking at the songs on it, I suddenly needed to have it.

Back in the 80's, W.A.S.P. were known for their wild and entertaining live shows. I saw them open for Black Sabbath on Easter Sunday in 1987, but I remember being disappointed since W.A.S.P. didn't play the song Fuck Like A Beast. Besides that one live experience, I did remember that Live...In The Raw delivered the goods as a live album. I originally owned it as a cassette, and listening to it again 30+ years later, this thing still holds up. Not only does it give us classic W.A.S.P. songs from the Electric Circus tour, but there are two live songs, Harder Faster and The Manimal, that I don't think the band recorded studio versions for, plus there is the song Scream Until You Like It from the Ghoulies II soundtrack.

I'd forgotten all about about this record, but revisiting it now, I'd say that this is a crucial 80's metal record.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

It's An Election Year

I'm not the biggest Gameface fan, but I do really love their early records. I was really having a good time giving their first album, Good, a spin recently, and I figured that maybe I should look into finally buying a vinyl copy.

I listened to both this album and Three To Get Ready so many times through the mid-90's, that I wore them out and put them on a shelf for years. Man, I'd forgotten just how great this stuff is.

I was tempted to chase down an original pressing on Network Sound, but the more that I looked at the reissue that Smartpunk did a few years back, the more I wanted one of those instead...and finding a copy on Discogs for just over $10 helped make it an easy decision as well.

There were four art prints from from frontman Jeff Caudill with the reissue, with two of them being included with the red vinyl, and the other two included with the black vinyl pressing. I love the look of the red vinyl to match the Radio Flyer from the front cover.

200 pressed on red.

The whole packaging is top notch, from the gatefold cover featuring photos and flyers from that era, to the lyric sheet. Everything looks amazing.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Double Rust

As Friends Rust have a new record due out soon. It has been nearly 20 years since the band's last record, so while I am approaching their new 7 inch with caution, I've been having a blast going back and dusting off their back catalog.

As I was revisiting the older As Friends Rust material, it dawned on me that I didn't own a single piece of vinyl from the band. Seeing how much I was currently enjoying them, I knew that I needed to fix this situation as soon as possible.

As much as I was enjoying revisiting As Friends Rust, I didn't expect that their records would be too difficult to track down. I assumed that I could jump on Discogs and grab their entire collection at dirt cheap prices...I assumed wrong. Their records aren't going to break the bank, but it was tougher than I thought it would be as there just aren't a lot of sellers with As Friends Rust records available...and if they are available, they are from overseas sellers.

It isn't an immediate crisis to pick up these records right now, so it looks like I will have to play the waiting game for most of them, however I did find one US seller with a copy of the God Hour double 7 inch available. God Hour? What the fuck is God Hour? I'd never heard of this before...but upon closer inspection, I can see that it is just a repackaged Euro pressing of the self titled EP on Doghouse.

I have no idea why this is titled God Hour, as those words don't show up anywhere printed on the record or the packaging...either way, I love these songs. This record is probably tied with the Young Trophy Band record as my favorite As Friends Rust release. Both of them have been seeing a lot of time on my daily playlists lately, so I'm looking forward to the new 7 inch from the band, to see if they can still deliver.

500 pressed on the blue and green colored vinyl.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Call Of The Master

No doubt, 2020 has been the year of Savage Master for me. I was introduced to the band at the the very end of 2019 with their Myth, Magic And Steel album, and at the time I said that it "may not be the "best" metal record of 2019, but it is certainly the one that I keep reaching for"...well fuck that noise because I've become so obsessed with the record that at this point, I'm calling it my favorite metal release of 2019.

I haven't been able to get enough Savage Master, and before we were too deep into 2020 I'd picked up both the band's debut album, Mask Of The Devil, and their 12 inch EP, Creature Of The Flames, plus their Black Hooves 7 inch. That left only the With Whips And Chains album left for me to pick up to complete the collection, so without delaying it any further, I grabbed that one too.

I don't know what it is about this band, but I love them so fucking much. Every album is metal perfection, and a fantastic throwback to the early 80's when straight forward heavy metal was king. With Whips And Chains is Savage Master's second album, and I can't get enough of it. Man, I'm really bummed that their show with Midnight in Boston was cancelled due to COVID-19 earlier this year...that shit would have been a blast.

200 pressed on transparent purple vinyl with a giant poster for the second pressing.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Legions Arise

Cirith Ungol were a metal band out of California in the 80's. They truly had a unique sound, and one that I didn't full appreciate when I picked up their One Foot In Hell cassette back in '86/'87. I liked it well enough at the time, but it definitely takes some time to get used to the singer's voice. I love the band these days, and I keep telling myself that I've got to get to work on collecting their 80's output, but the job just keeps getting pushed out. While I am procrastinating on those original Metal Blade pressings, I didn't hesitate to jump and order the new Cirith Ungol album when preorders opened up earlier this year.

Cirith Ungol released their last album back in 1991, so the band has been out of the game for nearly three decades. We got a teaser of things to come back in 2018, when the band released the Witch's Game single. Man, that one song was brilliant, and it left me wanting more. Thankfully the band deliver a full length album in 2020, and it does not disappoint.

Forever Black nails that doomy traditional metal sound. I am loving this record right now, so it will be interesting to see how it stacks up with some of the other heavy hitters for my Top 10 list at the end of the year.

Limited to 500 for this grey/black marbled colored vinyl pressing.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Orange Vinyl 9mm

I completely missed out on Orange 9mm when they were around in the mid-90's. It is strange because when I look back at what I was listening to during '94 and '95, Orange 9mm would have fit perfectly into what I was into. Yet, for some reason I avoided them. I remember being aware of the Burn connection, but I think that I just didn't trust Revelation Records at the time. They were releasing stuff like Iceburn, Engine Kid, Whirlpool and the Mike Judge record, and none of that stuff interested me. When Rev released the Orange 9mm EP in '94, I just skipped it.

It was recently announced that Rev was reissuing that first Orange 9mm EP, and I was feeling surprisingly open minded and figured that I'd check it out.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that I not only loved that first EP, but I also checked out their first full length, Driver Not Included, and found that I loved that one as well. I can't believe that I've gone the past 25 years without somehow hearing this band.

I've got my order in for the Orange 9mm EP reissue with Revelation, but I also wanted to get my hands on the Driver Not Included album. I was torn if I should get the original pressing from 1995, which was available only on black vinyl, or if I should go for the colored vinyl option that Music On Vinyl did last year. Colored vinyl wins!

Man, I can't get over how much I am enjoying this record. There are some solid grooves here that have me bouncing, just like I did to those Shift and Sparkmarker records back in the day. Great stuff.

Numbered out of 1,000 pressed on "flame" colored vinyl.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Touch Too Much

Last year I picked up a grip of AC/DC singles, and it was a lot of fun to chase them down and add them to my collection. I still have a lot of holes in the record collection when it comes to AC/DC studio albums, so it feels weird to prioritize singles, but I've been obsessing over these 12 and 7 inches lately and I just let my heart lead the way when record shopping.

I've been itching to pick up some more singles lately, and with AC/DC on my mind, I dove into the Discogs marketplace to see what I could dig up.

Of course all the best looking singles came out of Europe and Japan, and usually all we got here in the US was the 7 inch packaged in a boring dust sleeve. Other countries packaged this shit right, with a nice looking picture sleeve. I mean look at the cover for this French pressing of the Touch Too Much single. That live shot on the front is fire.

Even the back cover photo is cool!

Thankfully I found a US seller that had this 12 inch available, and I scooped it up at a decent price.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Say Cheese

Earlier this year, there was a lot of hype around the newest Big Cheese record, Punishment Park. Triple B was pushing them hard and it seemed that everyone was onboard. I wasn't feeling it. I picked up their Don't Forget To Tell The World record at the end of 2019, but it failed to move me. I could see the potential, and Big Cheese played a style of hardcore that I love, but something about that first record just didn't click with me.

I had hopes that Punishment Park would be the record to sell me on the band. The album cover looked incredible, and I really wanted to like them, but I'm still up in the air on them. The songs are fast and powerful, but there just aren't any hooks that make me want to come back to it. Maybe it will take some repeat listens, and I'll appreciate it more as the year continues. We'll have wait and see.

300 pressed on orange vinyl.