Montag, 24. April 2017

darkest hour - deliver us

i had this record on my wantlist for quite some time and even held a copy in my hands once but due to a wrong listing on discogs, i sent the piece of plastic back to sender. i rather wanted to get the blue marble vinyl version of the victory first press but said to myself if the opportunity was right, i would pick up a white copy out of the latest re-pressing. so when i ordered the dead to fall record the opportunity was there.
musically this is unrelenting metalcore the way darkest hour shaped it. tons of melodic death metal riffs from the swedish school combined with a bit of american groove and a big chunk of great melodies. "deliver us" is a rager from the first to the last tune and is another progress from the predecessor "undoing ruin". this 2007 output serves as a great reminder of how good the band was during the 00's and that i need to make progress in my mission to get all darkest hour full length releases.
the presentation is solid victory records modus operandi. simple slip sleeve, 10" insert with double-sided print and lovely coloured vinyl. love it that way. the artwork of "deliver us" is amazing and no less a figure than john baizley of baroness fame was responsible for it. one of his greatest works in my eyes. this white vinyl copy is part of the second press and most limited out of 100 copies. victory records. 2007/2016.

victory records let a little mistake creep into the production of this record. the spine shows the album title "undoing ruin" instead of "deliver us".

Freitag, 21. April 2017

dead to fall - villainy & virtue

i am definitely a fan of victory records' policy of re-pressing classic title of their back catalogue on vinyl. i don't really give a damn about their new releases, almost everything post 2010 is stuff i don't care for at all. but every once in a while they crank out a gem from their strong nineties phase or some 00's metalcore like scars of tomorrow or bury your dead that accompanied me through that decade. this was the case with the vinyl release of dead to fall's first full length "everything i touch falls to pieces" which i enjoyed a lot.
the more happy i was when i saw the re-press of "villainy & virtue" being available at the victory merch store. back in the day when the album was released, it was one of those i listened to because the band was on victory records. i was rarely disappointed by victory stuff at the time and so, beside the good music, it is always some kind of time journey to buy those re-presses.
i ordered a little batch of records from this chicago based company at the first april weekend three weeks ago. the label had a sale going on with 20% off on their whole stuff. so among two other vinyl discs i added "villainy & virtue" to the cart without a moment's hestitation. finally i hold the product in my hands and i have got to say it looks pretty neat. although the record doesn't come in a proper sleeve but in a folded piece of card, the artwork looks just amazing.
the orange vinyl doesn't really tie in with the artwork but looks nice along the colourful visuals anyway. the band, which got together recently to play shows again and is working on new material at the moment, has some limited starburst colour-way as a tour exclusive that looks even better. but hey, you cannot have it all. by the way, check out that rager in its full glory here. originally released in 2004. victory records. 2017.

Montag, 17. April 2017

the dillinger escape plan - ire works

this band and me had a long time coming. this release in particular, but from the beginning of the story. of course i heard the name the dillinger escape plan been thrown around several times, not for nothing they have been one of the most influential bands of the genre and beyond. when they dropped their latest and final full length "dissociation" i checked out a few songs but had a problem with the singer's rather high pitched screams and so i walked away for other stuff. somewhere along the way i got to talk to a good friend of mine who asked me about the dillinger escape plan and my thoughts on them. he found them very creative and highly enjoyable. with this recommendation i re-visited their music.
i chose "ire works" to check out, probably because of the somewhat cool artwork. i listened to this album in one go and was pretty impressed. there were still a few parts that i found to be difficult but the overall impression was very good. ok, then i searched for vinyl options. "ire works" had been generously re-pressed by relapse in 2015 and 2016, so it wasn't an issue to get a coloured copy. the problem was to obtain the colour i wanted, which was the pink and dark red merge variant. it was pressed on a shit load of 1500 copies but only my third order was successful.
the first copy i ordered had a sleeve damage and the second had a mistake in the description and was actually the aqua blue re-press from 2016. in the end i bought my desired copy from a seller on discogs. the colour-way looks lovely and goes nicely with the cool minimalistic artwork. musically this a wild journey through punk, hardcore, jazz and metal. an outstanding release of that genre people call mathcore and one of their most critically acclaimed. listen to pearls like "black bubblegum" and my favourite "horse hunter" (feat. brent hinds from mastodon). congratulations to ten years of "ire works". relapse records. party smasher inc. 2007/2015.

Samstag, 15. April 2017

arch enemy - as the stages burn!

i am not much of an arch enemy fan. i don't own any album of them on a physical format and i never considered buying one. also i am not the biggest worshipper of live albums. i make an exception for bands i really hold dear, converge or between the buried and me for example, but even those records only get occasional spins. so why did i buy a live record of a band i don't really listen to? to put it in a nutshell: i was there.
in august of the bygone year of 2016 i attended the wacken festival right around the corner from where i live. like i already said in my festival pick-up post about the ion dissonance record, the arch enemy show was a pleasant surprise. even more, the stage show was awesome, lighting was great, the crowd was hanging on every word of vocalist alissa white-gluz and the set-list was killer too. the best show i have watched at wacken 2016.
during the set alissa white-gluz informed about the band's plan to release the recording of this show as a dvd set. the other day i re-watched the gig via a german television channel which broadcasted some selected shows and thought this was just the right material for a live release. it took eight months from the recording to the actual product and when pre-orders turned live i was unsure if i really should get a copy. but in the end my fond memories were the reason i pulled the trigger on it.
i opted for the solid red vinyl edition which is limited to 100 copies and coming direct from the label century media. the presentation is pretty nice. gloomy artwork in form of a triptych which matches the stage show very well, gatefold sleeve, printed dust sleeves with tons of live shots from the set, dvd with the show and bonus material like behind scenes footage and 180gr double opaque red vinyl. the vinyl sounds real good and the visuals from the dvd are a blast. i really enjoy this purchase. century media. 2017.

Donnerstag, 13. April 2017

death - human

and another classic death re-press by relapse records. i missed the boat on the first two, which had been "leprosy" and "spiritual healing", by now i managed to obtain the back on black re-presses of those albums. when "scream bloody gore" got a wider press with an european edition i jumped right at the chance and since then i am in a death fever. i eagerly await the relapse re-pressings and this time it was for the band's fourth full length called "human". after a few spins i feel like "human" will become my favourite album by death, even a bit better than "the sound of perseverance" in my eyes.
for this album schuldiner came up with a whole new death line-up. the touring in support of "spiritual healing" must have been quite chaotic. i read that for personal reasons schuldiner refused to make the european tour booked for dates with kreator. the other band members wanted to do it no matter what and simply took an ex-roadie for vocal duties. the tour was played and after the band returned home schulidner threw them all out and searched for new, more technical experienced musicians to acomplish his new vision of death. with steve digiorgio, sean reinert and paul masvidal he found just the right people.
the album sounds so fresh and up to date, it is hard to believe these recordings are over twenty five years old. reinert and masvidal were actually in cynic and were still to record a milestone called "focus" two years later. together with digiorgio's outstanding bass-play and schuldiner's song writing skills they brought a jazzy edge to the sound which makes "human" so strong. the relapse version i have is the second exclusive colour out of 500 copies. the first colour being clear with multi splatter out of 300 copies was already gone after two hours. i don't mind it in this case because this blood red and black merge looks sharp! this is the re-mastered version from the 2011 deluxe cd edition with great liner notes by paul masvidal. lovely package! relapse records. 2017.

Dienstag, 11. April 2017

code orange - forever

sometime last year i bought meself a ticket for gojira playing a gig in hamburg set for march 2017. at the time no support bands had been announced. over the months i forgot to check on this matter and only one day before the show, i remembered to take a look for the supporting acts. the first was car bomb from new york, a band i didn't know but was quite good after all and the second was code orange. also from the states.
of course still my main interest was to see gojira but with the chance to see another band i liked, i was pretty excited for the show. also this incident brought code orange back into my focus. i knew that the guys had a new record out. when the release was announced at the beginning of the year i didn't jump on the pre-order immediately and when i actually wanted to order, the limited coloured run was gone at the roadrunner uk store. so i more or less forgot about it.
with the opportunity to check the merch table of the band i hoped for some coloured tour vinyl. when i arrived at the venue i headed directly over to the merch but unfortunately the friendly guy at the table wasn't able to hand me over what i requested. he said they had some clear vinyl copies at the beginning of the tour but they sold pretty quickly. a shame.'s set was a blast this night but code orange were almost equally as breathtaking. the band delivered unfiltered and raw energy all the way through - amazing.
back home i searched for some opprtunities to get a coloured copy nevertheless. out of a gut feeling i checked the roadrunner store again and strangely they had some red copies back in stock. don't know if they got re-stock or if i just confused things a few months back. anyway, know i own a lovely copy of "forever" and what a beauty it is. love the embossed cover and the spot gloss print all throughout the sleeve. musically this one's a beast. not as surprising as "i am king" was but still as disturbing, heavy and melodic. a worthy successor for sure. code orange is a force to be reckoned with. roadrunner records. 2017.

Sonntag, 9. April 2017

animals as leaders - s/t (prosthetic silver series)

it not that long ago that i bought the first animals as leaders record on clear blue vinyl from a seller from the states. i got the clear blue double vinyl set which prosthetic records pressed two years ago as an exclusive retail version for independent record stores. the sad thing was that this edition came in a slip sleeve instead of a gatefold sleeve with 3d-imagery which all previous pressings had. despite the comparatively low amount of copies pressed - 250 copies made - i wasn't completely satisfied with it.
as chance would have it only some time later i saw prosthetic records announce a silver series pressing for a bunch of classic albums they put out. among them the debut of animals as leaders. i was a little torn as to what to do. the description of this new pressing was a bit vague. it didn't say anything about the sleeve - gatefold or slip sleeve - or if it was musically equal to the encore edition for black friday rsd 2015. because of these obscurities i passed on buying this new version with increased shipping rates from the states.
another some time later i found my usual record dealers offering this silver version and by then i thought the gamble was reasonable and i ordered a copy. in the best case i would get the encore edition with gatefold sleeve and in the worst case i would get the same version as i already have only with a cooler colour-way. i ordered from jpc.de because they offer free shipping for domestic vinyl orders and they simply know how to pack records. again no disappointment.
what arrived at my doorstep was a mix of the two scenarios. unfortunately it is not the gatefold but a slip sleeve instead. fortunately it is the encore edition with another two bonus tracks ("kalimba" and "orea") and the 3d-imagery which graced the inside of the gatefold sleeve comes now printed on a two-sided insert. so all in all i am pretty happy with my decision to grab this version for a reasonable price. 500 copies pressed on double silver vinyl. prosthetic records. 2017.

Freitag, 7. April 2017

pallbearer - heartless

my expectations for the new pallbearer album were pretty high. the guys put out two absolute flawless full length records and another two nice demo/e.p. releases, so they had no other chance but to come up with another milestone of doom metal. i waited eagerly for pre-orders to go live and was ready to put some extra cash towards a nice u.s. edition from their north american label profound lore. when i stepped into the game the pre-orders went live for about two hours.
in that time frame all the sweet colour editions were fucking gone. two starburst colour-ways were among them and i screamed to the heavens for being too slow. the band signed a european record deal with nuclear blast and so i settled with a european version. i opted for the white vinyl. not really satisfying when i knew that there were much cooler stuff around but still better than the gold version (the second colour-way from nuclear blast) and much cheaper indeed, considering shipping rates.
when my copy arrived together with the emmure record and i opened the seal, i was surprised and quite puzzled as to what was staring back at me. through the centre holes of the dust sleeves i could see a somewhat off-white colour peeking through. i pulled the record from the sleeve and a very light blue marble version saw the light of day. wow, this looked amazing. the pictures doesn't really do the real look justice but believe me, it's pretty cool. when i saw a picture of the u.s. editions via the profound lore instagram page the other day, suddenly i felt like i had one of the coolest versions because they don't really look quite as cool as their descriptions implied.
so enough of all this colour gibberish talk. what does the actual album sound like? - you might ask. well, it's a damn good album from these american doomsters. the only thing which halts me from going through the roof with praise, is the first side of the double lp set. two of three songs are a bit of lame, not particularly bad but not really gripping. we'll see, maybe they will grow on me. the rest is pure doom gold. pallbearer knows how to combine epic metal melodies with lovely leads and crushing, slow heaviness. stunning artwork on top. lovely! 300 copies made. nuclear blast. 2017.

Mittwoch, 5. April 2017

emmure - look at yourself

back from the dead. this applies to emmure as well as to my humble self. i have a bunch of new records waiting to be blogged about and emmure has this new record out. "look at yourself" is the title of the seventh full length and is most likely to be understood as a potshot at frankie palmeri's former band collegues. i don't know why he fell out with them and i am not too interested in checking out internet rumours but i do understand that he is quite a complicated personality not easy to get along with.
anyway, he is back on track with a new emmure line-up and musically he is a very prolific and gifted artist. together with ex-tony tap dance extravaganza guitarist joshua travis, he wrote this new album and it is absolutely emmure with some fresh approaches to their trademark sound. the new element is the use of nine-string guitars with the outcome of the material getting a bit of a mathcore tinge to it. i love it. intense, exciting and heavy all the way through.
check out "iceman confessions" and "call me ninib", my favourites of this bad boy. for the new album the band left victory records, therefore "look at yourself" is the first emmure full length to appear on a different label. the band teamed up with sharp tone records. the label focuses on modern metal bands and is a recently founded division of nuclear blast records. i pre-ordered the european version through the nuclear blast shop. the u.s. version on red and white merge vinyl looks better but the white vinyl is absolutely in keeping with the minimalistic artwork. looks nice all around. 1000 copies made. sharp tone records. nuclear blast. 2017.

Sonntag, 26. März 2017

hatesphere - the sickness within

hatesphere's "the sickness within" is one of that albums i had on my cd shelves since it came out. the album was released in 2005 and at the time i was eagerly awaiting for my cd copy to arrive. i loved the two predecessors "bloodred hatred" and "ballet of the brute" and couldn't get enough of their material. i remember when i listened to "the sickness within" for the first time i was blown away by songs like "the fallen shall rise in a river of blood" or the title track.
unfortunately the album cannot maintain the hit quality of the first half throughout the whole duration and to me, this album marks the beginning of the decline of hatesphere. i have a few albums the band released after "the sickness within" but they cannot come close to past deeds, especially without jacob bredahl on vocals who left in 2007. anyway, ten years after its initial release "the sickness within" got the vinyl treatment for the first time by danish label heartburn music.
i heard about the vinyl release two years ago but somehow never made an attempt to get a copy. when i was browsing the napalm records web shop to buy a birthday present for a friend, i found the limited splatter variant on sale and finally had no more excuses. since it was on clearance it was definitely a no-brainer to add it to the cart. the presentation is solid, slip sleeve with a printed dust sleeve, whereas the splatter is pretty pathetic. whatever, nice to listen to it again after such a long period of time. 100 copies made. heartburn music. 2015.