Wednesday, June 30, 2021

One From 1993

Watermark Records seemed like a big deal back in the early 90's. The label was run by the Jordan brothers from Encounter, and those two guys just seemed to be involved with all kinds of good shit at the time (including one of my favorite straight edge records of all time, the Reveal 7 inch). My nostalgia had apparently built up Watermark as bigger and better than they actually were, because as I look back now, the label only realeased a small handful of records that I had any interest in... including the two Lincoln 7 inches, plus records from Flagman and Threadbare. Looking back, Watermark seems kind of inconsequential, but I swear at the time they seemed massive.
Another record that was on the Watermark label was from a band named One. The Remain 12 inch was released in 1993 and it came and went without much fanfare. At the time, a friend of mine had the CD and I just dubbed a copy to cassette. I liked it, but apparently not enough to run out and buy a copy for myself. It had probably been over 25 years since I'd even thought of that One EP, but when I was picking up a few records from a Discogs seller and I saw they had one available for cheap, I was excited to grab and revisit it. I mean, you can pick this thing up for under $4 so why not.
This One 12 inch is all about that melodic hardcore sound that was huge at the time. I've enjoyed discovering this thing again, and realized that Jay Demko was in the band which is kind of cool since he was also in Lincoln and Junction...and I loved those two bands. Today I just noticed on Discogs that the band also released a 7 inch back in '91 that I never knew existed, so I'm obviously going to have to add that to the Want List.

Monday, June 28, 2021

30 Years Down By Law

I was recently going through my list of records that came out in 1991. It is the 30th anniversary for records that were released then, and I've been drawn back repeatedly to that year to spin them again and again. In 1990 I was straddling the line between heavy metal and hardcore, but by '91 I had cut most of those metal ties and it was hardcore records all day everyday. Because of this, I have a lot of nostalgia for those records from Born Against, Billingsgate, 4 Walls Falling Mouthpiece, etc. That shit was the foundation for hardcore for me. Anyway...I was spending a lot of time in 1991 and really wanted to pull out my copy of the first Down By Law record...and I was kind of shocked to remember that I only owned it on CD. I needed to correct this and get it into my record collection as soon as possible.
I can't remember if I heard Dag Nasty or Down By Law first back in the day, but I'm leaning towards Down By Law. I mean, I loved this record when I heard it and I feel like if I was familiar with Dag's Can I Say at the time, I might have been a bit disappointed in the first DBL album...but I wasn't and I listened to this thing a lot. Revisiting the record 30 years later, it is still a ton of fun.
Pretty nice that even though this record hasn't seen any kind of reissue, and the only vinyl available is the original pressing from '91, that you can still pick this up for cheap.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Drug Test / R'N'R

Earlier this year I spent a short time obsessing over forgotten hardcore bands from the mid-2000's. At that time I felt compelled to pick up another copy of the Drug Test 7 inch for some reason, and in the process I realized that I'd never even heard their split with R'N'R. Time to fix that.
I probably skipped this record back in 2005 because the Drug Test side totals just over two minutes, and I've never been too excited over R'N'R. It seemed like I wouldn't be getting much in return at that time, so I passed on it. When I was picking up a few records from a Discogs seller recently, I saw that they had the split available for cheap, and 16 years later it seemed like a good time to finally pick it up...however, after checking the sales history for this record and seeing that it has sold for 75 cents a few years ago, I now feel like I may have overspent at $5.
This is a cool little record from a time in hardcore that it seems that most people overlook (I know that I tend to). The R'N'R songs are okay, and there are only two of them so they are finished before the vocals can start to get under my skin, and the Drug Test songs are a nice addition to the ones from their Needle In Your Neck 7 inch. 203 pressed on white vinyl.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Inhumane Harvest

I don't listen to a lot of death metal, but in those instances when I want something a bit more over the top and mean, Cannibal Corpse deliver. I really only listen the Corpsegringer era of Cannibal Corpse, and I own their last four albums. While I like them, they don't get a ton of playing time, so when the band announced that they had a new album coming out in 2021, I thought that I might skip it. As soon as I saw the cover art for Violence Unimagined I changed my mind and knew that I needed to own it.
The band released the album with two different covers, with one being more subdued than the other. For me, only the craziest, goriest option would do. This thing is so wild and over the top. I love it.
Musically, this is exactly what you'd expect from Cannibal Corpse. I've only listened to it a few times but I aleady think it might be better than their previous record, Red Before Black. In classic Cannibal Corpse fashion they released a gruesome video for the lead single off the album, Inhuman Harvest. Such a great introduction to the album.
The album comes with a great 28 page booklet.
The booklet is amazing, with each song getting it's own double page spread with lyrics and artwork.
The insert for the download code comes with the regular album artwork, and while not as great as the uncensored cover, it still looks pretty cool.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Three Penny Test

After buying a couple of records from Chris, it took him a little while for him to mail them out. It's cool...I was in no rush, but he mentioned dropping in an extra record as a gift. I wasn't expecting too much, so I was quite surprised when the package arrived and it included an additional test press. This one was for Troubleman Unlimited #34, the self titled Three Penny Opera album.
When Chris announced that he was selling some records to help pay off some bills due to financial issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, I took a quick look at what he had listed in his collection on Discogs. One of the records that caught my eye was the Three Penny Opera test pressing. I almost asked him about it and made an offer, but at the end of the day, I figured that I'd already spent too much on records it was a nice surprise to find that he tossed it in for nothing.
The funny thing was that I didn't even own a regular pressing of Three Penny Opera's second album. It felt wrong to only own the test press in a simple dust sleeve, so I set out to correct the issue right quick and I scooped one off eBay.
Three Penny Opera were from the late 90's and was Matt Deline's band after Shotmaker broke up. With Matt's vocals and the band's quirky 90's emo sound, there are obvious comparisons to his previous band, but I don't know...Three Penny Opera is less chaotic and has a bit of a smoother sound that I like a bit more at times. Both bands were just so damn good.
Test press and regular press!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Shot Tester

I don't typically bother with old school test pressings. You know, the ones where the only packaging is a simple dust sleeve. No, I like my test pressings packaged in a special sleeve. For me, it is all about the presentation. It has to catch my eye, and plain test pressings don't really interest me. There are exceptions of course, and when Chris from Unwavering Spirit reached out to me about selling his copy of one of my favorite mid 90's hardcore emo records, I couldn't resist and had to take him up on it.
I just loved those Shotmaker records from the 90's. The band fell into the hardcore emo tag before it became a dirty word. Their songs were wild and at times it sounded like the singer was on the verge of blowing out his vocal chords...there was chaos and melody, and it completely defined the sound of the time. I was lucky enough to catch them play live in a small backroom of a Harvest health food co-op around Boston, and it felt like I witnessed something special. Man, I'm very happy to own a test press for The Crayon Club. I'm sorry that you had to let it go Chris, but know that it is in good hands.
I'm taking lessons from the master of test press posts, and posting a picture of the test press with the regular cover to make the photo a bit more interesting.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Record Release On The James

The month of March had already proven to be an expensive one for me when it came to buying records. I'd already picked up a heavy hitter from my Want List, and it seemed like I was buying something through Discogs every other day. It was getting to the point where I needed to hit the brakes and let things cool down for a while...but then Chris from the old Unwavering Spirit blog hit me up to say that he was stuggling with bills due to the impact of COVID-19 and had to sell some records to help make ends meet. Wanting to be a good friend, I dug a little deeper into the savings account.
One of the first records that he was looking to sell was the record release pressing of the Down To Nothing album, Life On The James. I already had the record release version for The Most, so it seemed only logical for me to jump on this one too.
I've kind of rekindled my love for Down To Nothing this year. When I agreed to buy this version of Life On The James, I thought it would be nice for the collection, but I wasn't exactly stoked on it. I remembered being a bit underwhelmed with the album when it was released, so even though I was was happy to buy this record release copy, I didn't find it terribly exciting. Hell, I'd barely given this album much of listen since 2013/2014. Listening to the record today, I'm absolutely stunned by how much I'm enjoying it. This album is a blast, and as we move into warmer weather, I feel that this record is going to be my soundtrack for the summer. So happy to have grabbed this when I had the chance.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Ravening Champion

One of the releases from 2020 that was looking forward to the most was the new album from Eternal Champion. I was so stoked for this record that I was prepared to buy the new novel that Jason Tarpey was having published as well. By the time I got in for the preorders, I'd completely missed out on the colored vinyl options that the band was selling, and I was so disappointed that I had to settle for the black vinyl pressing that I didn't bother with Tarpey's fantasy novel. I just grabbed the black vinyl and checked out.
I ordered the new Eternal Champion record back in October, and after multiple delays my copy finally arrived 6+ months later. You can say one thing for sure, EC definitely deliver some great traditional metal, but they also serve it up with some dragons and boobs. That cover is epic...although I'm not sure what happened to the arms of that woman in the foreground.
While Ravening Iron was pressed by No Remorse in Europe, the band self released this in the States on their new label, Sword Worship. I obviously decided to order from the band and save on overseas shipping,
Nice touch with the personal thank you note from the band on the cardboard packaging.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Generation Aliens

Earlier this year, I ended up watching some youtube video of a few guys discussing American heavy metal bands of the early 80's. Talking about bands like Manowar, Armored Saint, Omen, and Lizzy Borden had me obsessing over this time period and wanting to add some of those records to the collection.
With their over the top image, plus being on Metal Blade, I was totally drawn to Lizzy Borden as a kid. The front man looked like a lunatic as he was wielding an axe on stage and hacking up scantily clad women and spitting their blood. The band was basically Alice Cooper on stage for us 80's kids that missed out on those theatrics from the 70's. Plus, the band had the heavy metal chops to back it up.
I've been lusting after some Lizzy Borden vinyl for a while now, and while I figured that I'd be starting with their first album, Love You To Pieces, when I saw the Menace To Society record for a good price on eBay, I figured that I'd go in that direction instead. Man, I'd forgotten how much I love this record, and I got ridiculously excited when it arrived in the mail. I got a serious wave of nostalgia holding this record, and I had a moment when 80's metal records became a top priority for collecting.
Got to love it when records come with the original merch insert.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

The Dividing Line

Digging into the New Age Records releases from the past few years, I think that the record from The Dividing Line is my favorite.
Again, I had been caught up in the mindset that New Age no longer released records that I was interested in, so I was ignoring anything that the label did. This was a stupid mistake, as I definitely missed out on some cool shit. The Turn My Back On The World 7 inch from The Dividing Line is some rippin' straight ahead hardcore. Probably every song on here is about the straight edge, plus they use the word "fuck" in every song as well...combining these two elements makes for a winner in my book. Seriously, this record is great and if I was going to put in the work to collect multiple copies of a New Age release, this would be the one I would chase.
200 pressed on white vinyl.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Dear Furious

I've had a weird relationship with A18. When they were putting out records in the early 2000's, I really liked what the band was doing, but as time moved on I grew tired of them. Issac's vocals were quite grating and it got to the point where they were really rubbing me the wrong way, and I figured that I never needed to listen to the band again. I got to this point 10+ years after the last A18 record, and right around that time a couple the those dudes decided to get together with some Mean Season guys to form Dear Furious (named after the last A18 record).
I obviously ignored that Dear Furious record, but when Marcus posted about it earlier this year, I thought that maybe I'd give it a chance. Upon my first listen, I struggled with Issac's vocals during the first song...however, by the end of the record I had gotten used to it and was kind of enjoying it. After spinning those songs a few times, I was excited over discovering this record and knew I needed to track down the vinyl. Somehow the '77 pressing was still available at New Age Records so I jumped in and grabbed one.
I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying this thing. The packaging is outstanding and I love the look of the cover art, and these songs are killer...I've even gone back to the A18 stuff and find that I appreciate it again. This 7 inch was released back in 2017, but hopefully the band has more to give.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Cutting Through Empathy

I first heard Cutting Through when I downloaded their demo a few years ago. Given that it had ex-members of bands like Get The Most and Fired Up, I had really high expectations for the band, but unfortunately that demo fell a bit flat and failed to grab me right out of the gate. After that demo in 2016, the band followed up with a couple of records with New Age, and I promptly ignored both of them.
When Marcus was catching up with some New Age Records releases earlier this year, I was desperate to listen to some newer hardcore bands so I followed his lead and started checking out a few records that I'd missed out on the first time around. One of the records that he'd posted about was the Empathy 7 inch from Cutting Through and it seems like a good time for me to revisit the band.
While this still doesn't deliver the hooks that we saw with Get The Most and Fired Up, this is still a good straight forward hardcore record. I'm about three years late for this 7 inch, but the timing was perfect for me to dig into it this year as it delivers exactly what I was looking for.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Tales Of Hallows Eve

I've obsessed over those mid-80's Metal Blade albums since I was a kid and studying thier ads in the metal mags that I was buying at the time. Even to this day, there are some of those records that I have still never heard, and they have almost taken upon a mythical status in my mind. At this point the legend of bands like Predator, Bloodlust and Savage Grace has grown so much in my imagination, it almost feels like I would ruin it by actually listening to their records. Part of the reason for the high expectations is because of bands like Hallows Eve.
I had the Tales Of Terror cassette from Hallows Eve as a kid, and I absolutely loved that thing. Songs like Metal Merchants were as much of an anthem to me at that time as anything from Maiden or Priest. Even today, I break out that album for a spin a couple times a year, but last year I could not get enough of it. I listened to that thing repeatedly throughout 2020 and I was itching to finally grab a copy on vinyl. The record doesn't come cheap and looking for one in mint condition only increased the difficulty of the hunt. As I was obsessing over the album again recently, I decided to finally stop dicking about and just buy the fucking thing. I found a great looking copy on Discogs and just pulled the trigger.
Man, this thing is absolutely killer. The condition is top notch, and it is one of my favorite underground metal albums ever. Very happy to finally have a copy in the collection.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021


I downloaded a copy of the first Starfighters album a couple years ago. I was on a huge New Wave Of British Heavy Metal kick at the time, and was checking out a bunch of stuff from that era that I'd never heard before. I gave that Starfighters album a few listens and then quickly moved on to chase other records that were having more of an impact on me. Since it is the 40th anniversary for albums released in 1981, I've been hanging out in my playlist for that year, and I decided to give Starfighters another shot.
Checking out the Starfighters album this time around hooked me from the start. The songs have a loose and rockin' AC/DC vibe to them...and after digging into the details on the band I discovered that Stevie Young (Angus and Malcolm's nephew) plays guitar here, so it is understandable that Starfighters draws from that influence. This record is just a great time.
Even with the Young family connection, the Starfighters stuff doesn't seem too difficult to collect, and I was able to scoop the UK pressing of their first album from a Discogs seller for under $10.