Saturday, November 18, 2017

Keeper Of 1987

Last month, I got a little obsessive when it came to 1987. I had a pretty solid 7 post streak here on the blog for some absolute classic Metal and Crossover albums from that year. It was a good run, but eventually I moved on and started chasing other records on my Want List. Then, as I was picking up a piece of vinyl for a German seller on Discogs, I saw he also had Helloween album from '87 available, and I easily fell back into the train of thought of "just one more".

Earlier in the year, I read the Damn The Machine book, and of course it triggered a minor obsession with the bands from the Noise label. I'd picked up a couple records, but didn't nearly get in as deep as I'd wanted, so with the fire for '87 still burning, I figured that I'd scratch the itch for both with this pressing for Keeper Of The Seven Keys, Part I.

Get out of here with your lame US pressing...I had to go for the European pressing with the gatefold sleeve.

Oddly enough, I completely skipped this record as a kid...even though I did buy Part II on CD. I'm not sure how I missed this one...although I can see it getting lost in the noise that the US thrash bands were making that year...but still, this album has aged very well for me (or maybe I've just been on a Power Metal kick the last couple of years), but either way, this album is all kinds of great.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Radio Free Vinyl

At the start of Summer 2016, my mother's boyfriend of 15 years passed away due to a massive heart attack. It was a pretty big blow for the family, and for some us, it was the first time we had to deal with death of someone that was close to us.

In helping my mother clean out Steve's stuff, we came across a couple of crates that consisted of his old record collection. She offered them to me, and I took them off her hands. I expected that about 95% of it was of no interest to me, but I held out some hope that there may be small handful of records that were worth holding on to.

Back in the early 90's I was listening to more and more emo stuff out of the Hardcore/Punk scene, and along with that came an interest in REM. Hey, don't fucking judge me...even Endpoint and Doghouse Records were sliding into that Indie/College Rock sound at the time, and it seemed like REM was required listening for the socially aware feminist vegan that I was.

By 1996 or so, everything seemed so damn pretentious and uptight. I couldn't take it anymore, and I walked away to follow Ten Yard Fight and Floorpunch to something that seemed more sincere, and something that I could connect with.

I've had no desire to listen to REM for the past 20 years, but seeing their 1983 album, Murmur, in Steve's not only shocked me to see it in there, but kind of made me want to give it a spin.

I had only listened to Murmur a couple of times previously, and it didn't really move me when I initially heard it. But this time was different. I don't know if it was because I was listening to it on vinyl, or if just happened to fit my mood this time around (maybe that Molly album from earlier this year had something to do with it)...but as soon as Radio Free Europe started playing, I was immediately interested. I mean, I figured that I never needed to hear this band again, and here I was giving the album multiple no one was more surprised that I was at this change of heart.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Strength Of The Mind

I don't always do the best job of keeping up with new bands, but thankfully I'm on Instagram about 10 times a day and if something hot is going down, I might pick up on it...just hit me in the head with it a dozen times, and maybe it will start to sink in and pull me out of the 80's long enough for me to pay attention.

I'd seen Mindforce photos peppered through my Instagram feed through the summer, but usually just scrolled passed them. A photo recently caught my eye though, and comments from the poster seemed to mirror the same kind of excitement that I felt when I heard the Ecostrike record earlier this year. A few months late, but I finally decided to see what the Mindforce hype was all about.

Goddamn! The comparisons to Leeway are dead on, and the record rages with a kind of Crossover fury. Man, They Just Want War rips so hard and fast...I'm wondering how high this record is going to climb in my Best of 2017 list. Believe the hype!

278 pressed on blue vinyl.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Blue Roo Dynamite

A few weeks ago I posted about the vinyl I picked up for AC/DC's Blow Up Your Video album. I'd been tossing around the idea in my head of possibly chasing the Australian first pressings for the least for the Bon Scott era...and grabbing the oddball record of Blow Up Your Video felt kind of silly and spontaneous.

While buying that record felt like a step backward from where I wanted to take my AC/DC collection, it did kind of kick me in the ass and get me thinking more seriously about that goal. Soon after that, I ended up with a good chunk of cash in my Paypal account from selling stuff on Discogs, and I knew exactly what I was putting that money towards.

The early AC/DC Australian catalog is very different from what I grew up with here in the US. With different album covers and track listings...for instance, most of the songs on the Aussie pressing for T.N.T., ended up on the US pressing for High Voltage...while the Australian pressing of High Voltage was a completely different set of kind of stoked the flames on my interest in collecting the Australian pressing. It seemed to make for an interesting quest.

AC/DC first Australian pressings don't come cheap, but this one was worth every penny. Great condition for an album that was released in 1975.

There are a number of different pressings on the Australian Albert labels, black labels, red labels...but for a true first press you gotta make sure that the blue label has the kangaroo logo on there.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Iron Chic III

I fell hard for Iron Chic when I first heard their debut album, Not Like This. That record was infectious as hell, and almost six years later, I still can't listen to it without turning the volume up and singing along whenever I hear it. I love that album so much that it will be Iron Chic's curse that no other record that they release will compare to that initial blast.

Regardless of if I think a new Iron Chic album would fail to measure up to their first one, I still got excited when I heard they would be releasing You Can't Stay Here this year.

Yeah, this album is fun...and the way it comes out of the gate with those first two songs, almost had me fooled into thinking that it was going to be as good as Not Like This. We lose a little steam after those songs, but man, this record is a good time.

800 pressed on clear with black, red and gold splatter. As far as splatter vinyl goes, this actually looks really good, and the gold accents on the cover are a nice touch.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Klear Kadavar

With Kadavar's 2015 release, Berlin, I worried that the band was going to go soft on us with their third album. There was no need for my apprehension, and while the album wasn't as doomy as their first two records, Berlin still brought some seriously great Heavy Rock.

If I was worried about Kadavar "selling out" with their last album, with Rough Times, they prove that I have nothing to fear. The first videos for Die Baby Die and Into The Wormhole, show that the band had really upped their doom game. Seems that a bunch of people are down on the album, but I'm loving this heavy sound.

Don't be fooled by the brightly colored clothes and silly hats...this is some dark shit.

300 pressed on clear vinyl.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Blackfinger Of Doom

I love the old Trouble records, and I was even a fan of that record from The Skull from a few years back...but for some reason, when I was told that vocalist Eric Wagner was also singing for a new band, Blackfinger, I kind of shrugged my shoulders and ignored the recommendation. I'm not sure why I was so indifferent to it...maybe because The Skull had already released an album that same year, and I didn't want to overplay Wagner's voice...or maybe I just thought the Blackfinger name was stupid. Either way, I steered clear of their self titled debut in 2014.

When I saw that Blackfinger were releasing a new album in 2017, I figured that maybe now was the time to check them out.

Given Wagner's distinct voice, hearing it here immediately brings Trouble and The Skull to mind...and while Blackfinger are still firmly entrenched in the Doom/Stoner sounds, there is something a bit more sparse and melancholic here. With the first couple of listens, I was disappointed that Wagner didn't give us another record from The Skull instead, but with each listen I appreciate this more and more...and as we work our way into Autumn, I'm finding that this album fits the season perfectly. I'm obviously going to have to go back and get my hands on the Blackfinger debut as well.

400 pressed on blue and black marbled vinyl.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Quality Control

There was a time in the early 2000's when I was listening to a lot of hip hop, and the blame lies squarely with my friend Rob. When we weren't killing each other in Unreal Tournament online, we were hanging out quite bit and playing Magic the Gathering for a few hours each week at his house. We were total nerds, and were having the best of times while doing it. While hanging out, we always had the stereo going, and working through a rotation of CDs. We weren't a perfect match musically, but we did share some common ground...and when we weren't listening to Overkill or Slayer, we were trying to convert each other to other music that we were loving at the moment.

While I kept pushing Cast Iron Hike and Boy Sets Fire, he would force feed me Beastie Boys and Wu-Tang Clan, and eventually we started to rub off on one another a little bit.

It eventually got to the point where I was actively searching out, and downloading a bunch of hip hop stuff. My interest only lasted a few years, and I eventually got bored with the genre...but during that five year period of interest, I did discover a handful of albums that really left a mark on me...and the first album from Jurassic 5 was one of those.

To me, J5 were the hip hop equivalent to 7 Seconds. They weren't looking to pose or be hard...they came across as positive and down to earth, and goddamn, it was fun to just chill with their flow.

These days, it is an extremely rare occasion for me to revisit any of those hip hop albums. For the most part, they just sit on my CD shelf and collect dust...but every once in a while, a warm summer day will inspire me to kick back and bob my head to those beats. A couple of months ago, I was hit by one of those inspirations. I hadn't heard some of this stuff for years, and it was a fun trip back in time, to when I cared about this shit.

When I saw that Newbury Comics had an exclusive pressing available for the first Jurassic 5 album, and they were having a 25% off sale on all vinyl, I couldn't resist adding it to the collection. I've never been overly interesting in buying vinyl for those rap records, but I suppose that every once in a while, I'll make an exception.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Vinyl Seeker

As soon as I finished up my 1987 obsession a couple months ago, I immediately moved straight into '88. It was fun getting stuck in '87, and wanting to follow the evolution of music through the years, 1988 was the next stop. Working my way alphabetically through the playlist, my first stop was AC/DC's Blow Up Your Video.

Blow Up Your Video was the last AC/DC album that I bought as a kid, and by the time the follow up, The Razors Edge, was released in 1990, AC/DC no longer cut it for me. By then, they were no longer loud enough...they weren't as heavy and fast as thrash...and they weren't as real as the punk and hardcore bands I was starting to get into...but in 1988, Blow Up Your Video was my last attempt to hold on to the band that had at one point been a favorite when I started getting into heavier music.

I enjoyed Blow Up Your Video at the time...even though it was a quite a bit weaker than previous albums. Hell, I vividly recall going nuts and stage diving like crazy onto my couch to album closer, This Means War. That song ruled. I even managed to catch AC/DC live for the third time on this tour...but I soon started to get tired of them, and put them on the shelf for about 10 years.

Over the past few years, I've been loving AC/DC again, and have even toyed with the idea of chasing the Australian first pressings for their early albums. You know shit is getting serious when I start thinking about going down that path. So why am I here, dicking around with some late-era album that didn't leave much of an impression on me when I initially bought the CD the first time around? What can I say? When nostalgia hits, you just go with it...and dusting off these songs, with an '88 mindset, I found they were a ton of fun to listen to again. With a price tag under $10, it was too easy to grab a copy.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Accept The Chaos

Accept came blazing out of the gate with their new singer, Mark Tornillo, back in 2010 with Blood Of The Nations. Follow up albums, Stalingrad and Blind Rage proved that the band wasn't just a brief flash of brilliance...nope...Accept were something special, and were in it for the long haul.

Accept have a formula with Tornillo, and on their fourth album together, the band don't stray from the path they have tread. While some people might want the band to push some boundaries, and show some growth, I'm perfectly happy that the band stay consistent, and The Rise Of Chaos keeps up pumping out those solid Metal tunes. No surprises here...just fist banging Metal the way that I like it.

Nuclear Blast offers up about nine different vinyl options for The Rise Of Chaos. Given the number of gross looking splatter and swirl colored vinyl options, I went with a nice solid red wax. 300 pressed.

Friday, October 13, 2017

'87 Talks, And I Listen

My final post from the fallout of my 1987 obsession.

For a straight month, I did nothing buy listen to albums from 1987. Very little else mattered to me, as I worked through everything in my collection from that year. I made lists, ranking everything...and then I'd go back and spin my favorites again and again...tweaking my list like some crazy science experiment where I needed everything measured and mixed in the proper order. This shit was serious business.

Along the way, I committed myself to making a decent run at my Top 10 Metal and Crossover albums from '87. My collection was pitiful, and I wanted to take this opportunity to fill some big holes. As I was winding down in my spending spree, I knew that I had to make one last move to knock off one of my big targets.

Cryptic Slaughter's Money Talks album was hugely influential to me when I bought the CD as an angry and awkward teen. I didn't even know what Straight Edge was at the time, but already songs like Wake Up ("Smoke and drink just to be cool, Can't you see you're just another fool") were planting seeds that would take root for lifetime mindset. Cryptic Slaughter nailed it lyrically...from politics to positivity...and Money Talks really made me think about who I wanted to be, and what I wanted to stand against.

Buying this album to cap off this obsession was a must. I was hoping for a copy with the hype sticker still attached, but I'll settle for this one in excellent condition.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Possessed By 1987

During my time travelling back to 1987, I obsessed over a lot of different albums, but one of them received more plays than any other...The Eyes Of Horror by Possessed.

This 19 minute EP absolutely destroys with it's all out Thrash attack. From start to finish, this record does not let up. Even now, after some time has passed since my 1987 spending spree, I still can't stop spinning this.

Combat had stopped using the green labels sometime in '86, so by the time The Eyes Of Horror was released, they had switched over to the camo ones. While I really want to focus on collecting those green label pressings, it still feels good to cross an original Combat pressing off the list.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Storming Through 1987 With Menace

Even though I was on a strong Crossover kick while revisiting my 1987 playlist, let's not forget that Thrash was a fucking force to be reckoned with as well. So many great albums were released that year that it was easy to get caught up in my obsession to buy one after another.

Over the Summer, I read the Damn The Machine book, which documents the detailed history of Noise Records...and it should be of no surprise to anyone that this fueled a minor obsession with the label. Noise released a lot of classic Thrash albums, and I spent a lot of my Summer playing those over and over again.

While reviewing my 1987 playlist recently, Kreator's Terrible Certainty shot right to the top of the list. In my effort to cross those top records off my Want List, I set my sights on finally picking up the vinyl.

When I started checking Discogs for a copy, and I discovered that Noise did a red vinyl pressing, I knew that was the way to go.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

More 1987? You Got It!

While I was reviewing my '87 playlist, Excel quickly shot to the top of my list with Split Image, but let's not overlook that the entire fucking year was amazing for Crossover albums. Right in the middle of it all, Gang Green had an album that was connecting with some solid punches of their own.

You Got It ended up being another long lost treasure. Outside of their early Hardcore stuff, I'd pretty much written Gang Green off...forgetting all about how great their Crossover shit was. Revisiting it during my '87 obsession, and suddenly I'm thinking that You Got It might be my favorite Gang Green record.

Sure some of the lyrics can get goofy and cheesy...but you'll still find this Straight Edge kid singing along to Let's Drink Some Beer.

One of the big selling points for this copy was that the seller listed it with two green promo sheets, and the glossy promo shot. I love the extras!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Your Life, My Life In '87

As I was working my way through my '87 playlist, I rediscovered a few forgotten treasures. At the top of the list was the Split Image album from Excel.

I was already familiar with the album, having owned it originally on cassette as a kid, and then on CD when it was reissued in 2000...but still, I'm not sure if I really appreciated it as much as I should have. Queuing up the songs for my drive to work, I was quickly amazed at how great this record truly is. With it's hooks firmly in place, I couldn't resist playing the album day after day after day.

With the album quickly becoming one of my favorites for 1987, it was obvious that I needed to track down the original vinyl pressing.

Sometimes I'm a sucker for the merch insert, and will gladly pay more than the going rate to get my hands on a record that includes one. The Split Image insert looks sick, and there was no way that I was going to walk away without one.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Don't Panic, I'm Still In 1987

There were a lot of great albums released in '87, but as I was going through the process of listening to everything that was released that year, I found a few gems that I'd forgotten just how good they were.

No Need To Panic might not be on the same level as the first few G.B.H. records, but I was all about this album when I picked it up as a seventeen year old kid. I was heavily into metal and thrash at the time, but punk was starting to work its way into my world bit by bit. The songs were still fast and catchy as hell, but it was somehow even more stripped down and raw when compared to my thrash records. To me, the two genres fit together perfectly, and it made perfect sense to place my G.B.H. cassette right alongside the latest from Grim Reaper. There were no lines drawn...for me, they both just fell under the umbrella of "good shit".

I listened to this album so many times over the summer, I knew that I had to track down a copy on vinyl. I wasn't fussed to track down a UK copy for this one, and the Combat pressing was good enough for me.

Monday, October 02, 2017

1987 Is Taking Over

I love making lists. Putting together my annual Top 10 is something that I look forward to all year. Ranking records, and adjusting their placement brings out the obsessive nerd in me.

For a while now, I've been tossing around the idea of taking a trip back in time, and ranking the albums from years long gone. With so many holes in my record collection, my thought was that if I can rank them all in a given year, it would help me prioritize and focus on picking up those classics that I still don't own.

With this year marking the 30th anniversary for a lot of my favorite albums as a kid, I decided to kick off my list making with 1987.

As soon as I started putting the list together, two things became clear very, with so many classics from my teenage years, 1987 may just be one of my favorite years for music ever...and two, I was missing an embarrassing amount of these albums on vinyl.

With the facts laid out in front of me, I got to work on my latest obsession...filling holes from '87.

For the longest time, I've held the opinion that Overkill stand as one of my favorite Thrash bands of all time. Sure, other bands have released albums superior to Overkill, but with their recent output, and their classic run from 1985 through at least 1989's The Years Of Decay, I have no problem giving the crown to them.

Yet, even as a total Overkill fanboy, my collection for the band is quite thin. I've made some false starts in picking some of those classic records, but I have never stuck with it, and after quick searches of Discogs and eBay, I typically push them to the side, with the promise that I'll get them next month.

Step one in my 1987 mission...quit fucking around with that Overkill collection.

After procrastinating on this record for so many years, it feels great to finally add it to the collection.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

I Saw Jesus At McDonalds

As the history of this blog has shown, I'm a Metal and Hardcore kid through and through...but every once in a while, my resolve will slip, and you'll see some cracks in that foundation, and it will reveal some weird shit.

As a teenager, I wasn't too concerned with genre labels...if it was loud, obnoxious, and had the possibility to offend, I'd probably be down. Case in point, Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper.

Mojo was goofy as hell and liked to take the occasional dig at Republicans, so teenage me thought those records were great...however, they had been largely forgotten about after I was out of college, just sitting on my CD shelves and collecting over 20 years of dust. After digging out some other off-the-wall stuff, like Big Black and Butthole Surfers, last year, it got me thinking about what other oddball albums I was listening to back in those days. That brought me those old Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper CDs.

I wasn't sure if I was going to still enjoy them, but man, revisiting that first album was a blast. Jesus At McDonalds, I'm In Love With Your Girlfriend, Moanin' With Your Mama...while they might not be classics, it sure notched up my nostalgia for those younger, more innocent times...and since I was able to pick it up on vinyl for under $10, I decided to just roll with it and grab a copy.

While I was in a Mojo mood, and checking out those albums on Discogs, I noticed a listing for the Frenzy album. While I was familiar with a few Mojo Nixon albums, I realized that I'd never heard their second album. With this discovery, it was time to fire up Soulseek and download a copy.

I thought that I might get bored after one listen, but man, there is something about singing along to the lyrics to I Hate Banks that just puts a smile on my face and puts me in a good mood..and for that reason alone, I picked up another cheap Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper record.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Splatter Vinyl Or Die

Burn released a new 7 inch last year, and even though I was hesitant about checking it out, I bought into the hype, and grabbed a copy. Surprisingly, the record wasn't terrible...I mean, it was a far cry from their debut, but for Burn in 2016, I kind of enjoyed it.

Fast forward to this year, and when Deathwish announce preorders for a new Burn album, I found myself struggling with those familiar feelings of doubt. I mean, how much was I going to care about this record down the road? A year from now would I have any desire to listen to it, or would it just take up space on my shelf? Still, not wanting to miss out, I took a chance and ordered a copy as soon as they were available.

Opinions on this new record are pretty divided. Some people are delusional and are treating this as the record of the year, totally losing their shit over how great they think it is...while others find it completely unlistenable.

I've only given the record a couple of spins, so time will tell how this holds up, but my initially impression is kind of "meh". Some parts of this record are straight up awkward...that chorus for Do Or Die makes me cringe a little bit...but to be honest, it is these weird moments that make the whole record kind of stand out, and not just sound like another Hardcore record. I'm torn on the whole thing at this point.

One thing is for certain though...Deathwish pulled out all the stops when it came the packaging for Do Or Die. With the thick insert booklet, the poster, the extra stickers...everything looks amazing..even the splatter vinyl looks great.

300 pressed on clear with orange and red splatter.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Iron Maiden Remasters: Live

I don't know if there is another band that releases as many live albums as Iron Maiden. Since reuniting with Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith, they have followed up every studio album with a live one documenting their latest tour. For a while, I was kind of tired with the live album cycle and felt it was unnecessary. Lately though, I've been more like, "Fuck yeah! More Iron Maiden live!"

I'd initially missed out on the Rock In Rio vinyl when it was released back in 2002. Iron Maiden came back with a vengeance, touring for Brave New World, and refusing to just play the hits. Playing a full six new songs from their last album, plus as an extra treat, we get Bruce singing two songs from the Blaze-era with Sign Of The Cross and The Clansman...this live album shows that Iron Maiden aren't just fucking around.

I initially passed on the initial picture disc pressing, because at the time the price for a triple LP seemed ridiculous to me, as I had grown accustomed to $15 CDs. Over the years, prices jumped up well over $100, and I was left with regret for passing on it the first time around. Just when I started to entertain the idea of putting up the cash to finally own the vinyl, Maiden pull through with these vinyl remasters, saving me a lot of money and from having to own another stupid picture disc.

Death On The Road was another live Iron Maiden that I didn't bother with on vinyl at the time, and resigned myself to only buying the CD when it was released in 2005.

Once again, Maiden include six new tracks from their latest studio album in their set, and throw in a bonus song from the Blaze-era with Lord Of The Flies, making this another live album you can't miss.

Flight 666 captures Maiden on their Somewhere Back In Time tour, which was one of their nostalgia tours that basically only covered their career up to the Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son album. No new songs here, just a setlist full of songs from Maiden's classic era.

The En Vivo album finds Iron Maiden out on the road, supporting their Final Frontier album. Sadly, Iron Maiden did not bring this tour through Massachusetts, as I would have loved to have seen this setlist full of their "reunion era" songs. The band still squeeze in enough "hits" for the fans, but for me, this was all about the five songs from the new album, Dance Of Death and Wicker Man.

These albums are a perfect time capsule for what Iron Maiden were doing out on the road at the time, and I can't get enough.