Wednesday, September 22, 2021

OBI Blackout

Last year I made it my mission to pick up a Japanese pressing of a Scorpions album. I grabbed a copy of Taken By Force, and quickly followed it up with Virgin Killer plus an early Best Of record. I was struck by how great those pink and purple OBI strips looked with that little scorpion, and suddenly I needed all of my Scorpions record to be Japanese pressings.
I'm only missing a few Scorpions albums from my collection, and I didn't want to let the year slip by me without picking up at least one more Japanese pressing. When I was recently buying Y & T's Earthshaker from a seller out of Japan on eBay, I decided to check out what else they had available. As soon as I saw this copy of Blackout, I immediately added it to my cart.
The Blackout album has been a favorite of mine from the band, and given how big the record was for them, I'm kind of surprised that I hadn't grabbed a cheap US pressing at a local shop over the years. This is straight up an early 80's classic. I'm happy to finally have this copy on my shelves.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Japan Shaker

Y & T are one of those bands where my focus has shifted over the years. Initially I was content to just pick up cheap US pressings, and it has been kind of cool to pick up the majority of my collection for the band locally in second hand stores. However, I really like this band, and for the few records that I was still missing, I wanted to make things a bit more interesting and I moved my sights over to Japanese pressings. I don't know, there is just something about adding a record from Japan to the collection that makes it much more interesting.
I've wanted to pick up the Earthshaker album from Y & T for a few years now, but for one reason or another I've just never pulled the trigger. Seeing how the record was celebrating it's 40th anniversary this year, it provided a bit more incentive for me to get my hands on a copy. I love how the OBI incorporates the cover artwork into it's design, and it was one of the selling points that had me targeting a Japanese pressing for this record. It just looks great.
I've been listening to this album quite a bit over the past couple of years, and it has climbed a few notches in my Y & T ranking. Front to back, Earthshaker is full of so many great classic early metal songs.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Currently In A Wrong War

One of my favorite bands from the first half of the 90's would have to be Current. I mean, if I'm honest, my list of favorite bands from that period is pretty long, so let's just say that during those years I really fucking liked Current. Goddamn. Their Coliseum album from '93 is perfection. Anyway... so when I saw over on noecho.net that the singer for Current had a new band going, I was kind of interested to see what they would sound like. I didn't expect much out of Wrong War, and kind of thought it might be some "mature" indie rock bullshit, but man, my expectations couldn't have been more wrong.
The nine songs on the Fixed Against Forever 12 inch hit hard and fast. The No Echo article mentions comparisons to Born Against, and over at Atomic Action Records they mention Articles Of Faith. Oh yeah, these songs have the AOF influence all over them. Damn, this was a nice surprise.
When the record went up for preorder, Council Records (another connection to those old Current records) had the exclusive red vinyl pressing, while Atomic Action was offering the clear vinyl exclusive from them. In the end, I opted for the clear vinyl option. Limited to 100.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Lins Says

A good friend would support you when your band releases a new record. However, when Lins mentioned that his band, Tied Down, was releasing a split 7 inch with some band called Warwound, I kind of struggled to get interested. Sure, I jumped in a couple years back and grabbed the colored vinyl when the band released their first record... and yeah, that ended up being a really cool 7 inch... but I did not have the same reaction to last years split, and I'm sure that makes me a shitty friend.
There were a list of reasons for my indifference. First of all, it was only available on black vinyl, and without the immediate satisfaction of quickly ordering to get some limited colored vinyl, I was in no rush to pick up a copy. Second, the cover art for the Warwound side kind of put me off and it had me make assumptions that they would sound like some terrible Hatebreed influenced band. This leads me to my final point which is that there would only be three Tied Down songs, and spending the money for overseas shipping for just one 7 inch that contains about five minutes of music out of the band I wanted to hear...well, it just seemed like it wasn't worth the investment. Not only was I a shitty friend, but I was a cheap one as well.
When I finally saw a copy of that split 7 inch a year later from a US seller on Discogs for $5, I picked it up out of guilt.

Let's clear something up first. I was totally fucking wrong on Warwound. The two songs from them on this split are absolutely killer. Granted, one of them is a Sacrilege cover from '85 and the other was actually from a Warwound demo back in '83, but both of these songs rip. I had no idea that the Warwound history went back that far, and once again I'm proven wrong on my jaded judgements cast on a band that I don't know. I'm an idiot, and I obviously need to check out more from this band. Combine those Warwound songs with three vicious attacks from Tied Down, and this 7 inch is definitely worth the time. Such a great surprise.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Clutch Collector's Series #1

Clutch is one of those rare bands that I find got better with age. While I enjoy thier early records, they don't come close to comparing to anything they released from the mid-00's on. There are plenty of people that don't like the band's change of direction to a more varied rock style, but for me, those records have stayed fresh and I still visit them on a regular basis.
Earlier this year, Clutch announced that they were going to be doing a collector's series of vinyl reissues for their albums. The series will cover several Clutch albums, remastered and packaged with reimagined artwork. The first one in the series is Blast Tyrant from 2004, and is really my starting point in the band's discography. I didn't own this album on vinyl yet, so I decided that I might as well grab this pressing. Man, I'm glad that I did because the packaging on this this fucking fantastic. It is so well done that I'm obviously going to have to keep up with the series and buy each one that is released.
A lot of care and thought went into this pressing. The pictures really don't do it justice, but the gatefold jacket is printed on metalized polyester paper that looks amazing, and the embossed seal that states “Clutch Collector’s Series Small Batch Pressings” on the front is a nice touch. Damn, even the colored vinyl complements the entire packaging.
Inside the gatefold is a full spread that expands the cover art, with the entire thing done on that reflective metallic print. Quality.
To cap it off, this special pressing comes with an art print that is signed by the band and numbered. While Clutch consider this a "small batch" pressing, there are still 5,000 of these things. I don't know...maybe that is a small number for a bigger band, but it still seems like a lot to me. I'm still stoked that I was able to get one though. Looking forward to the next one in the series!

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Neglect / Obey

It may seem strange to some, but for me, the most anticipated record in 2021 was actually recorded back in 1992. Similar to when those old unreleased Kingpin songs were finally pressed to 7 inch a few years ago, when I heard that Encounter were releasing a record of unreleased songs, I was beyond excited. It is so great to see these songs get a proper release.
These two Encounter songs are great. I've had the mp3s for them for years, but I rarely would play them as I tend to overlook songs that only saw a digital release. Hearing them now has been a great reminder of how much I loved this band, and after digging out thier first 7 inch again I can't get enough of it. 90's hardcore was the best.
When I ordered this thing back in December 2020, little did I realized that it was going to take seven months for the record to arrive. Oh well, at least I got a Watermark enamel pin for the wait.
When my order from Watermark arrived, I was disappointed to receive the black vinyl pressing. I knew there was a clear vinyl version, and suddenly I was worried that I was going to struggle to track one down. Given the long and painful process it took to get my original order from Watermark, I thought for sure that getting my hands on the clear vinyl was going to be a difficult task. Thankfully Discogs delivered, and at a great price too.

Monday, September 06, 2021

Half Past Human

Cirith Ungol surprised me last year with their new album, Forever Black. That thing came out of nowhere, and can easily go toe to toe against what is considered their classic output from the 80's. Almost 30 years since their last album, it was amazing to hear the band deliver something that good. When it was announced that the band had a few more songs being released as an EP, I didn't hesitate to get in there for the preorders.
Half Past Human contains four songs from the band's demo days, dating back to the mid-70's. The songs contained here are kind of obscure, so they still feel like new songs to me. Even if they were written back in '76, they fit in with the Forever Black songs so perfectly that you'd have no idea the songs were that old. Pretty cool that they have had Michael Whelan doing the cover art for them for every record since their first album, Frost And Fire, back in 1981. Consistency is key.
500 pressed on a dark red marbled vinyl.

Friday, September 03, 2021

Ekulu Unscrewed

A couple year ago I checked out the two 7 inches from Ekulu and I got hooked on them pretty hard. The EP format was the perfect way to get introduced to the band, and it left me wanting more. When I heard they were releasing an album this year, I wondered if they could sustain that level of excitment across a full LP.
To be honest, Unscrew My Head fell a little flat for me on the first listen. I'm not sure why, because with repeat listens I'm liking this record more and more. With the drum and bass intro on the opening track, Becoming/New Life Jam, it sets the tone with some serious Cro-Mags Best Wishes vibes and it carries across the entire album. Fuck, this is great. Such a nice surprise, and depending on how the year shapes up it could be one of my favorites for the year.
Ekulu released the album on Cash Only Records and I was completely in the dark on it. I don't think that I was aware that it was available until Triple B announced that they had some copies in their store, and by then black vinyl was the only option left. At the time, I wasn't happy about it, but I took it. In the end, I'm glad that I grabbed it when I did as the record is now sold out everywhere and asshole hardcore kids are looking to beef up their corporate america resumes by showing everyone that they only care about the dollar signs and listing them up on Discogs for $80 or more (colored vinyl is going to cost you triple digits though, with one new seller listing a red vinyl pressing at $600). Good luck with your bitcoin and Wall Street trades you fucks. Die.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Denim And Leather

Back in 2015 I made my first move to start adding the first UK pressings of the Saxon albums to the collection. Those things are always available to pick up somewhere, and they carry a pretty low price tag...but it still managed to take me about six years to get my hands on the first four records. I guess that is a statement on how unfocused and random my record buying can be. Even an easy task of picking up the classic Saxon albums still takes me fucking forever.
Denim And Leather, released in 1981, was Saxon's fourth album, and is another New Wave Of British Heavy Metal classic. The band was on fire at the time and while they continued to put out some quality stuff after this, for me, nothing ever measured up to that run of Wheels Of Steel, Strong Arm Of The Law and Denim And Leather.
As I was picking up a couple of other records from a seller in Japan, I saw that they had Denim And Leather available as well, and I couldn't resist adding one more to the cart. It feels good to finally cross this one off the list.
I'm very happy to grab this copy with the merch insert. Love that image of them on the bikes with the logo behind them.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Loose 'N Lethal NWOBHM

I always dream that someday I'll have a killer New Wave Of British Heavy Metal collection. I felt like it had been a while since I've gone down the NWOBHM road, and after chasing a few early 80's American Heavy Metal records, I figured it was time to show some appreciation for those bands that were doing their thing overseas.
The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal scene produced a ton of bands that were so damn good, yet they went nowhere. Metallica put a huge spotlight on bands like Diamond Head and Blitzkreig, but they also gave some love to bands like Savage and were known in those early days to kick around a cover Let It Loose. I mean, when you listen to the original Savage song, you can hear the influence that Metallica took from that band. While Savage may not be the most proficient or tightest of bands, they have that youthful energy that I can't resist.
This album is almost 40 years old, and when the seller listed this in "near mint" condition, they weren't fucking around. This this is gorgeous and was well worth the price tag. Very happy to have this beautiful copy in my collection.

Monday, August 30, 2021

One Foot In American Heavy Metal

AFter watching a youtube video about early 80's American heavy metal at the start of 2021, I got it into my head that I wanted to chase some of those bands and improve my record collection for those bands. I haven't been as productive as I would have liked over the first half of the year, but I was still feeling good about the Lizzy Borden, Manowar and Omen records I'd picked up. Still, three records still felt short of where I wanted this mission to be, so I started looking around to see what other damage I could do.
One of the bands that was brought up on that youtube video was Cirith Ungol. My man, Doug, picked up their early albums a few years ago, and I was instantly jealous that he was getting the jump on collecting this band before me. Those album covers are epic, and the music that was pressed on the wax is some straight up traditional metal that still manages to sound unique. Love 'em or hate 'em, but no one sounds like Cirith Ungol. I've got a long way to go to catch up to Doug, but I'm very excited to grab my favorite out of the first three Cirith albums, One Foot In Hell.
When I found a seller on Discogs that listed One Foot In Hell in such amazing condition, I couldn't resist and had to take the opportunity to buy it. This thing looks beautiful.
You know I'm a sucker for records that come with the original merch insert.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Speak Of The Live Bootleg

I've been known to occasionally chase live bootlegs every now and then. I love the raw and unpolished live sound of these unofficial releases. They typically sound like shit, but for me, that is part of the charm. For the most part, I usually just focus on Iron Maiden, but when the mood strikes, and I'm not opposed to throwing money out the window, I'll jump on live boots for other bands as well.
I'm not too interested in live bootlegs for Ozzy, but I would like to get my hands on one from The Ultimate Sin tour. As I was searching the internets to see what was available, I stumbled upon this nice looking boot from Ozzy's performace at the US Festival in '83. Honestly, as soon as I saw that cover, I needed to own it. That black and white cover design with the bat and the gold OBI is cool as hell.
The Speak Of The Devil live album only consisted of Black Sabbath songs, however the tour to promote that record had a setlist that, for the most part, was filled with songs from the first two records that Ozzy recorded with Randy Rhodes. Jake E Lee is on guitar for this live show, and shortly after this, the band was in the studio to record Bark At The Moon which would be released later in the year.
Along with the poster, this record comes with multiple inserts to promote other live bootlegs that Rock Brigade has recently released. Honestly wouldn't mind owning all of these.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Beast Of Bourbon

Back in the early 2000's I was starting to get interested in metal after taking a ten year hiatus. I was digging back into those old albums that I loved in 80's, and I was interested in checking out new bands as well and oddly enough I found myself digging a bunch of Nu Metal bands for a few years as well. Linkin Park. Slipknot. Limp Bizkit. Powerman 5000. Man, that was a strange fucking time. Anyway, as we worked our way into the mid-2000's, I left that Nu Metal stuff behind and discovered that bands were still kicking around and doing straight up metal and thrash.
Tankard were an 80's German thrash band, and I loved their first few albums that Noise Records released. I hadn't thought about that band for years, and since I was starting to get interested in checking out newer metal releases again, I figured that I'd grab a copy of the lastest Tankard album at the time, Beast Of Bourbon, and give it a shot. That album blew me away and helped to reinvigorate my love for metal and checking out new shit. Tankard hadn't changed at all from the Alien EP that they had released 15 years earlier. Straight up thrash.
Of course back in 2004/2005 I wasn't buying a lot of new metal albums...but I was certainly downloading a bunch of them. I had stacks of CDRs of stuff that I'd grabbed off of Soulseek or WinMX or whatever sharing tool I was using at the time. Here we are 15+ years later, and I'm finally buying myself a proper version of that Beast Of Bourbon album. It has seen a couple different pressings since it's original release, but I grabbed this nice looking magenta vinyl version from 2019. 100 pressed.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Red Blood In The Water

Flotsam And Jetsam surprised the hell out of me back when I checked out their self titled album in 2016. I hadn't paid any attention to the band in about 25 years, and suddenly they were blowing me the fuck away. I'd kept up with a lot of other older thrash bands from the 80's, like Overkill, Testament and Death Angel, but for some reason Flots fell off the radar and I was surprised to find that they were still going strong and packing a hell of a punch.
Blood In The Water is the third album from Flotsam And Jetsam since I've rediscovered them, and it does not disappoint. The opening track, Blood In The Water, sets the tone that this band can still bring the heat, and I'm in awe that bands can still release such strong material this late into their career.
I didn't have a convenient option for a US seller with this album, and I had to order from overseas. 500 pressed on red vinyl.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Dead Heat At War

I was a little late to the Dead Heat party, but when I discovered their Certain Death album at the end of 2020 they became one of my favorite finds for the year. I love that old school crossover sound, and Dead Heat nail that style. When it was announced that Triple B was going to be releasing the band's new album, I was excited to check it out.
I can't keep up with the Triple B preorders and their midnight drops don't help, so of course I missed out on the more limited pressing for the World At War album, but that's okay because the red inside yellow vinyl looks better (even if it looks nothing like the mock up that Triple B was posting on Instagram).
Initially, I was a bit disappointed with this new record. I'm not sure why, but it seemed to fall a bit flat compared to the first album. I've been spinning it a bit more recently, and it is clicking much better with me now. This is some solid crossover that still maintains that Suicidal vibe they had on the first album, but also isn't afraid to try new things.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Locked Inside The White And Pink

Earlier this year, Marcus made a post over on his blog that introduced me to Locked Inside. The band features Ed McKirdy from Hands Tied, Triple Threat andSearch on vocals, and he sounds so much like Dan O from No For An Answer that I immediately liked it. I did not hesitate to jump over to Discogs and grab the red vinyl pressing of their 7 inch.
A couple weeks after posting about the record here, Marcus brought to my attention that the label was doing another pressing of the record. It seems that the original pressing plates broke, so they had the record remastered and had it pressed to white vinyl.
For some reason, the label ended up with a single remastered 7 inch on red vinyl...and that led to 15 copies on pink as the pressing plant transitioned over to white. The only way to get a pink copy was to message the label on Instagram. There was no clue as to how much this thing was going to cost, but I sent them a message and said that I was DTF.
I love how this pink vinyl looks, and the hand numbered back cover is a nice touch. Definitely worth the price of admission for me.

Friday, August 13, 2021

God Hates Record Store Day

Record Store Day has taken to releasing a Dio picture disc single with each drop. They are pretty pointless, other than being a nice looking collectible, but it is Dio so I'm basically required to buy it no matter how useless they are. Plus, at this point I was five releases deep so I couldn't back out now and needed to pick up the latest.
This time around, the RSD single is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Dio album Angry Machines. It seems like that album gets brushed aside by a lot of Dio fans, but I love the dark and heavy vibe from that record. It is a bit different for Dio, so I understand why some fans might not enjoy it, but I think it is great.
This single has the song God Hates Heavy Metal on the a-side, which is a rare track that was only available on the Japanese CD pressing of the album. Not the most creative song title, but I still dig it. Over on the b-side we get This Is Your Life from the Angry Machines album, plus a live version of Hunter Of The Heart (which is such a killer song).
Awww hell, might as well pull all six out for a photo. I wonder how long the Dio camp will keep this picture disc single series rolling.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Tied Down RSDemo

One of the few records that some of my old blogger friends had showed any interest in for Record Store Day was the colored vinyl pressing of the Tied Down demo from Negative Approach. I was planning on just ignoring it... I mean, spending $24 for demo versions of songs that I was already familiar with seemed a bit dumb. Then, while I was in the store with two other records in my hands, I figured "fuck it" and I grabbed the one from Negative Approach and headed to the counter to check out.
I'm not sure if I necessarily NEEDED this record in my collection, but it was certainly fun to drop the needle and give it a spin. Negative Approach just pummel you, and these songs are just vicious from start to finish. I feel like I haven't really spent much time with this band over recent years, but this record makes me want to bring them out more often.
This is a typical TAANG! release and they don't really offer much in the way of packaging. No insert with any additional photos or commentary from the band. Kind of weak for the price tag this carries.
The Record Store Day sticker is a nice touch, although I always remove mine from the cellophane wrapper and apply it to my poly sleeve. This one proved to be more difficult to remove than most and I ended up mangling it pretty good.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Through The Mists Of RSD

I've been obsessing over AC/DC records for the last few years, so when I saw that they were releasing a 12 inch single for Record Store Day this year, I knew that I'd at least be picking up that one record for the day. If it wasn't for this one single, I might not have even bothered to get out to the store.
I wasn't excited that this latest single was pressed as a picture disc, but I'm not too bothered about it. I mean, it isn't like I'll probably ever play this record again since both of these songs were on the Power Up album that was released last year. Still, as another record for the AC/DC collection, I'll gladly take it.
Packaging is pretty minimal here, with just an OBI style strip that lists the song names. 5,000 pressed.
I saw that someone posted the other day on Instagram, checking in to see if people are still spinning the Power Up album, or if the hype had died down and it had been shelved. Me? You bet that I'm still playing that thing regularly.

Monday, August 09, 2021

RSD Leppard

There really wasn't anything that I was excited about for this year's Record Store Day, but I still figured that I'd swing by the Bull Moose store around the corner from me to see what was shakin'. Due to COVID restrictions, only one person at a time was allowed to flip through the bins of RSD releases, so I had to stand in line as the clown in front of me took his time to pull out and examine every other record. From the sidelines I could see a live Def Leppard record in the bin so as soon as it was my turn that was the first one that I grabbed.
I can only hang with the first three Def Leppard albums, so when I saw the 1980 date of the show on the front cover, I figured that I'd take a chance and buy it. I'm so glad that I picked this one up, because this live album fucking rips.
The songs here only cover the first EP and the On Through The Night album, as well as early versions of a couple of other songs. The whole thing is electric as the songs jump off the vinyl. I could have easily passed on picking up this live record, but I'm so glad that I didn't. This record sounds great.
The look and layout of this package is fantastic.