Friday, July 30, 2021

Hell To Pay

In the early 2000's I was starting to make a return to heavy metal after stepping away from those bands throughout the 90's. It was great to return to those bands that I'd loved throughout the 80's, and it was cool to see bands like Dio and Maiden kind of catch some attention again. For me, it seemed that metal was starting to make a resurgence and I was excited for it. One of the 80's bands that was supposedly going back to their roots at the time was Dokken.
There was a bit of hype for the 2004 release of Hell To Pay from Dokken. I hadn't paid attention to the band since 1987 when they released the excellent Back For The Attack, so I had missed out on all of their stumbles through the 90's, but Hell To Pay was being touted as a return to form for Don Dokken and company so I grabbed a download off of WinMX or Soulseek or whatever file sharing program I was using at the time. I thought it was a decent album at the time, not too terribly exciting but okay enough that I would pull it out once every couple of years for a spin.
When it was announced earlier this year that Hell To Pay was going to be released on vinyl for the first time, I got a bit excited and quickly ordered a copy...even though I hadn't bothered to listen to the album over the past 10 years. Revisiting this record now, it falls a bit flat. Sure it starts out with a few good songs on side a, and it is just enough to get you excited that this album might be worth it, but by the time we are halfway through side b I'm checking to see if this thing is almost finished. There are just too many slower and mid-paced songs and it starts be a slog. So while I was initially excited to rush out and buy this record, now I'm kind of shrugging my shoulders and thinking "meh".
Only 1,000 pressed of Hell To Pay, with 500 on red and 500 on green colored vinyl.

Monday, July 26, 2021

What's Your Problem

Back when I was heavily attracted to the idea of collecting multiple copies of every record, I thought it would be fun to build a ridiculous collection for one of the best hardcore albums of all time...Group Sex by Circle Jerks. There are a gajillion different colored vinyl pressings of this thing, and it seemed like a good idea to chase as many of them as I could. I changed my collecting priorities shortly after picking up a few different colored vinyl options, and it had been years since I'd been tempted to pick up any more...then I saw the deluxe 40th anniversary pressing that Trust Records was doing and it turns out there was still a spark left of that old collecting flame.
I ignored the initial 40th anniversary pressing from 2020 as I was still standing strong in avoiding reissues, but that shit seemed to sell out quick and when it was announced that the label was doing another pressing in 2021, I could no longer resist.
The packaging on this thing is outstanding. It kind of makes me want to collect more of them, and when I realized that this was the label that released the recent reissue of The Crew from 7 Seconds, I was kicking myself for letting that one pass me by too. Of course the punk rock opportunists are coming out of the woodwork now, and if I want one I can find them posted on Discogs for $150. Thanks, but no thanks.
But yeah, the packaging for this reissue is great. With a nice big booklet that is packed with quotes, photos and flyers, plus there is a reproduction of an old Circle Jerks promo fanzine with info on the band, and a sticker to slap onto the back of your car.
So much great history here.
When I placed my order, I went with the deluxe option that included a signed poster. I don't know why I thought that I needed this, but it seemed like a good idea to spend the highest amount that I could when I was grabbing a copy of this. I guess I thought that this would be great framed on my wall, but the reality is that this poster will most likely stay rolled up and in a corner collecting dust.
Fuck it. I might as well get a group photo for the six versions that I own of Group Sex.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Merciless Death

A couple months back I watched a video over on the Chromium Dioxide youtube channel. He had a couple of guests on, and they were going through their list of 5 Thrash Albums You'd Bring With You To Hell. The episode was a lot of fun and since some of their selections were a bit questionable, it got me thinking about making my own list.
I've been listening to the Darkness Descends album from Dark Angel a lot this year, so I had to include it in my list. This record is so dark and raw...just unrelenting speed that pummels you from start to finish. I mean if I'm taking a record with me for an eternity in hell, I don't want to pick something for wimps.
The price on this record was no joke, but for the incredible condition this thing is in, I'll gladly pay it. This thing looks flawless, and while I'm tempted to remove the plastic wrap, I also kind of want to leave it for the original Record Exchange pricetag on the front...$8 in cash...I wish.
Got to love it when the record comes with the mailorder and Combat Army inserts.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Stand Up Split

Stand Up were a melodic hardcore band out of Pennsylvania in the early 90's. I don't think that they got much attention but they definitely fit in with what other bands like Billingsgate and Up Front were doing at that time. The majority of their records were released on the singers label, CI Records, but I wonder if they would have made more of an impact if they'd ended up on New Age or the early Victory years. Tragically, Stand Up came to an early end when their two guitar players were killed in a car accident on Thanksgiving morning in '93. I hadn't really thought of the band too much over the past 20 years or so, but when I was picking up a Sinking Ships record on Discogs, I noticed that the seller also had a split 7 inch that Stand Up did with some band named On Life. I didn't know this record existed and so I didn't hesitate to add it to my cart.
The Stand Up songs are pretty good, although Prepare To Die ended up also being recorded for their album Words In Motion, and I was already familiar with Come Alive from their live 7 inch. I'm just happy to be reminded of this band again. I've been listening to a lot of early 90's hardcore lately, and this band fits in perfectly. The cover design on this record, however, is pretty bad even for early 90's DIY hardcore standards.
The On Life songs aren't really that good. The singer, Joe Onlife, apparently co-founded Youngblood Records, so I had higher hopes for these three songs, but they are a bit awkward and fall kind of flat. Meh, I'll probably still spin the On Life side of this record from time, but it isn't too exciting.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Blue Meridian

Earlier this year, I was spending a bit of time with hardcore bands from the 2000's. A lot of this stuff had fallen off my radar for a while and it was fun to go back and revisit this era. One of the bands that I never paid much attention to in those days was Sinking Ships. It seemed like they were a big deal at the time, but for one reason or another they never made much of an impression on me. When I picked up a copy of the REV comp Generations a few months ago, I found myself really enjoying the Sinking Ships song on there, and I thought that maybe I should revisit the band.
The Sinking Ships 7 inch for Meridian was released the same year as the Generations comp, so I figured that would be a good place for me to dive back into the band. Those songs hit me immediately with thier youthful hardcore energy played with passion. Happy to finally "discover" this band 15 years later.
Given their popularity in the past, I was kind of surprised to pick up this first press on blue for only $7. 200 pressed.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Metallica Vinyl Club #3

The third 7 inch from Metallica'a vinyl club saw more delays. What started out as a year long subscription has seen this thing stretch out to a two year process as they struggle with issues for each record that is released. At this point, I'll consider it a win if we receive the forth and final record in the series before the end of 2021.
Record number three is an interesting one for sure. Records one and two were for some live recordings, but with this latest one Metallica deliver an unreleased studio track. I Disappear was originally released for the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack which was released in 2000, and was during the time that I didn't give a fuck about what Metallica was doing. I actually didn't even know this song existed until I received this 7 inch. It was recorded a few years after Reload, but it still has that Load/Reload vibe. In the right mood, I enjoy those albums, so it is kind of cool to find this song 20 years after it was released.
I Disappear is probably best known for two things...first, it was the last Metallica song that Jason Newsted appeared on, and second, it was the song that triggered the downfall of Napster when Lars Ulrich discovered that a demo version of I Disappear was being shared and he called in his lawyers. A different version of the song ended up being released for the soundtrack, so it is cool to have them release the version that caused so much controversy here.
Metallica make the most of the packaging for this 7 inch and include a cool booklet showing the storyboard art for the video that was shot for this song.
Once again, Metallica release something special for the fans that have subscribed for this vinyl club. Worth the money spent.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Still Burning

I don't usually expect Spotify to really hit the mark when it recommends music to me, but it certainly caught me off guard the other day and it surprised me. I was spending the morning listening to some newer hardcore bands (i.e. from that past 15 years) and I was absolutely loving it. Robot Whales, Foundation, Modern Life Is, it had been a while since I'd given that stuff a spin and I was having a blast diving into those bands again. That was when Spotify threw me a curve ball when it tossed a song by Incendiary into the mix before I was able to queue up the next album I wanted to listen to.
I'd never heard of Incendiary before, but I think that when I saw the name I got them confused with Inclination and Judiciary...and Spotify had been pushing those two bands on me whenever they could, so I reached for my phone to skip the song. Before I could hit play on the next album I had queued up, the Incendiary song caught my attention. Wait. This wasn't what I was expecting. They reminded me of the recent wave of crossover bands like Mindforce and Dead Heat, and the vocals kind of had this Rage Against The Machine rhythm to them. I was shocked at how much I was digging the song, and I immediately dove in to check out the entire Thousand Mile Stare album. Fuck me. This shit was tight. I listened to that album three times that day, and knew that I was going to have to track down the vinyl.
I was surprised to discover that this album came out four years ago, and I'd somehow never even heard of it. Sometimes it pays to pull my head out of my ass and not be so quick to write newer bands off.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Australian Powerage

Last year I made some great progress with my AC/DC collection. The band released a new album at the end of the year, and I spent a lot of time leading up to it grabbing pieces of their back catalog. Things haven't been as productive on the AC/DC front this year, but I've actively been on the hunt for the Australian pressing for Powerage for a while so it feels good to finally cross this big boy off my list.
Powerage was AC/DC's fifth album released in Australia, and the first to not carry the kangaroo logo on the record it was the first time the cover art was the same as all other international releases. Because of these things I assumed that I wouldn't have to sink as much money into this record as I had the first four. I was wrong. I guess that any first press Aussie pressing for AC/DC is going to hit the savings account hard.
I'll often cite Powerage as my favorite AC/DC record, so I was very excited to finally add this one to the collection.
Apparently the European pressing has an earlier mix than all others and has a slight variation in the tracklisting by adding Cold Hearted Man and dumping Rock 'n' Roll Damnation, so I'm obviously going to have to chase that one down as well...and let's not forget about the red vinyl Canadian pressing or the New Zealand one with the different color text on the cover. I need them all.

Friday, July 09, 2021

Seized Up

I was listening to a lot of Good Riddance earlier this year, and when I saw an article over at No Echo for a new band that included one of their members, it had me curious.
With a roster that includes the vocalist from Bl'ast, the bass player from Good Riddance, and the drummer that used to play in The Nerve Agents, I was interested to see what Seized Up could deliver. Within 10 seconds of checking out their latest EP, I knew that I was going to be tracking down a copy of this 7 inch.
The three songs on this EP are great. At times I can hear the Bl'ast connection, but for the most part this record is just quick and catchy shots of hardcore. Apparently the band also released an album last year during the pandemic and didn't waste any time to follow it up with this 7 inch. I've been chasing down lots of newer hardcore bands this year, so I'm happy to add Seized Up to the list.
I ordered this record direct from Cursed Blessings and the number of stickers, patches and buttons they included in the package is impressive.
Cursed Blessings also wrote out the bandcamp link and download code on the invoice that was included. That must have been a pain in the ass if they had to do this for each order. Dedication to customer service!

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Echoes Of A Distant Time

It has been five years since I was first introduced to Seven Sisters. At the time they only had a 7 inch and a demo out, and that shit blew my mind. Those songs reminded me so much of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, and I absolutely loved it.
When it was originally released, The Warden demo was only available on cassette or by download on bandcamp. Earlier this year those songs were bundled with the two songs from the 7 inch and finally pressed to vinyl with the Echoes Of A Distant Time comp for the band. I don't know what my problem was, but I paid no attention to the record when it was available to buy. Thankfully, my friend Jeff had my back and he surprised me with a copy.
This record was a nice reminder of how much I enjoyed this band. Perfect timing as well as it looks like they have a new album due out later this year. I may have to jump on preordering that one.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Dead Heat With Mindforce

The Mindforce / Dead Heat split was originally released as a 7 inch back in 2018. I was unaware of the record when it was released and it took a year or so before it popped up on my radar. I wasn't familiar with Dead Heat at the time, and wasn't feeling their side of the split when I first heard it, so I ignored the entire record. It took me until 2020 to finally recognize how good Dead Heat were, but by that time the split 7 inch with Mindforce was dropping on Discogs for over $40. I wasn't paying that price for a newer record that was only pressed on black vinyl, so I figured that I'd wait until the hype died down and the price was more reasonable.
When Triple B announced that they were doing a reissue of the Mindforce and Dead Heat split, I figured that this beat waiting around for the original 7 inch to show up at a decent price. The reissue moves up to the 12 inch format and gives us a different look with the cover art. I dig it.
I like the look of the red and black split colored vinyl, so I'll happily take this one over the shitty looking splatter option. 500 pressed.
While I was picking up the split with Dead Heat, I figured that I might as well grab the new pressing of Excalibur. The 5th pressing changes things up again for the cover, and goes with a nice looking white and blue colorway. The vinyl on the other hand looks bland. It was supposed to be a tan and blue mix, and the mockup looked good...the actual record on the other hand misses the mark.
This pressing includes the Man Of Peace flexi, this time on white plastic.
This is the third copy of this record that I now own. I still love this record, so I have no problem owning multiple copies.

Monday, July 05, 2021

Seventh Bootleg Of A Seventh Tour

Iron Maiden have a ridiculous number of live albums. Since reuniting and releasing Brave New World in 2000, Maiden have basically released a live album after each tour. When I picked up their latest for the Legacy Of The Beast tour, I found myself wondering how many times I'll actually listen to it before I die. Based on the number of live albums that Maiden have, and combined with how little time I actually spend with live albums, I'm guessing that if I listen to that thing five times it will be a surprise...yet, I can help but buy them when the band releases them. As if the number of official live albums weren't enough, here I am still hunting down live bootlegs.
This latest live bootleg from the Seventh Son tour brings my count up to eight for Maiden (nine if you count the live CD from the Piece Of Mind tour). Bootlegs these days look amazing and even if they sounded like shit, I'd still feel compelled to buy them based on the album artwork alone. The last few that I've picked up have ended up getting framed to hang on the wall because I love the look of them so much. This latest one may end up framed as well.
The sound quality for this live show in Indianapolis from 1988 is great for a bootleg. Such a cool selection of songs. While this tour did get an official release with the Maiden England '88 album, and that setlist is stronger with the inclusion of Still Life and Killers, this is still a cool live set to own. The bootleg quality makes it sound raw, and Bruce's between song banter is always entertaining.

Friday, July 02, 2021

Desperate Measures Record Release

There was a time when I thought that I wanted to collect every pressing for every Youngblood release. The excitment for that chase has cooled considerably over the years. There are, however, still some cool records that I'm excited to pick up when the mood strikes me, and when I was recently grabbing a few records from a Discogs seller, I couldn't resist adding one more to the cart.
The record release pressing for the Desperate Measures album, Never Enough Time, has always caught my eye with that great looking cover. A gorilla hanging loose and crowd surfing? Hell yes. Give it to me.
This album is a lot of fun and I probably listen to it more now than when it came out. 300 pressed for this bad boy, so it is easy to pick up for a decent price.