Montag, 15. Oktober 2018

devildriver - s/t

devildriver again. this time with their self-titled debut and its first vinyl edition. i remember when i was listening to bands such as korn, system of a down or deftones there was another band on heavy rotation in my discman. coal chamber and their three records got a lot of playtime and i was pretty disappointed when they called it a day in 2003. almost in the same breath vocalist dez fafara intorduced his new band - devildriver.
back in 2003 social media wasn't big at all. if one was lucky, record labels offered mp3 downloads of one or two singles. so i was eagerly waiting for my favourite metal show on music television to watch the video for "i could care less", the first single of the album. when the album finally dropped, a friend of mine bought it and i got a burned cd copy. i was playing it a lot and bought my own original cd copy years later. therefore it was really a no-brainer for me to pick up this vinyl version.
after i listened to the record from start to finish, my impression was not too overwhelming. i mean, still i could sing along and knew the breaks and solos but the album didn't age that well. it's still a solid debut with one or two real hits but in comparison to "the fury of our maker's hand", one feels that the band needed this first album to find their own identity. a must have for any remote sympathiser of devildriver, anyway. nice vinyl edition that comes with single sleeve, printed dust sleeve and slick white with brown splatter vinyl. 1500 copies made. bmg. 2018.

Sonntag, 14. Oktober 2018

zaum - oracles

ah man, i couldn't resist. if you read this blog regularly, you may have noticed that i bought this album on tape a few weeks back. when i started out buying tapes i actually swore to myself to not buy multiple copies on different formats, because cassettes seemed like a convenient way to save cash on pricey vinyl versions.
after i listened to "oracles" pretty often in the bygone weeks, i felt more and more tempted to get the vinyl version because of the fantastic cover art. to have that in vinyl format felt way cooler than to look at the cassette. a recent repress on yellow vinyl was steadily available at ebay and i was fighting with the voice of reason and the voice of temptation. in the end temptation's voice screamed louder and again i found myself being unable to resist.
on the one hand i am annoyed that i gave in and that self-restraint isn't my specialty, but on the other hand that sweet vinyl edition makes me smile everytime i pulled it from the racks. the cover art by carter doody looks just so good and the nice opaque yellow vinyl looks very nice in the whole context. (my camera had problems to actually capture the vinyl colour properly - well, nevermind)
i can only repeat myself when i say that zaum's debut is one of the best doom metal records i came across this year. the album was released in 2014, so i am a bit late here. the fact that with this yellow vinyl edition "oracles" is in its third pressing already, stands for the quality of the album. don't know how many of this scorcher have been pressed. i hate records. 2014/2017.

Donnerstag, 11. Oktober 2018

devildriver - beast

the next album i bought from the devildriver re-issue catalogue was their fifth full length called "beast". it was the last of theirs which i obtained when it came out. never listened to any tunes after "beast". maybe i will have to rethink this. anyway, i always thought that this album from 2011 was a splendid one. again, devildriver could not make a record without one or two fillers but the overall quality of "beast" is remarkable.
as much as i like to hear the band's recorded material, their three live performances i saw so far (club and festival shows) have always had a very bad sound. they were a complete blur and dez fafara's voice sounded so weak. maybe this was all due to a drunk soundman or something but i rather spin one of their records than attend a devildriver live gig again. just like with "the fury of our maker's hand" the re-mastered album is a pleasure for the ears.
back in the day i bought the digipak cd version which came with a black and red coloured cover. i am delighted to see that bmg went for the regular cd version cover with the lovely purple and green colour theme. they went above and beyond with the vinyl colour-way and came up with a sugar sweet merge pattern. what beauties those two discs are, aren't they? the gatefold is made in a different fashion from the cargo/roadrunner first pressing. the lyrics are printed onto the inner gatefold and not on printed dust sleeves. 1500 copies made. bmg. 2018.

Mittwoch, 10. Oktober 2018

devildriver - the fury of our maker's hand

another record, another re-issue. well, not quite. devildriver's sophomore album "the fury of our maker's hand" was released in 2005 on roadrunner records as a cd only edition. to this point it was never pressed to vinyl, so actually one could call this first press. but let's not get too technical. back then i bought the cd and while their debut blew me away, "the fury..." left a deeper impression on me. there are a few songs on the album that i consider as the best melodic death metal pieces, i have ever listened to.
therefore it was out of the question that i was going to buy the re-issue as soon as they were announced. i pre-ordered my copy at jpc.de and the order went down as smooth as can be. my copy arrived in perfect condition. when i dropped the needle on it for the first time, it was the first spin of the album in years and i was suprised at how good i still knew all the details of the songs. to me it aged pretty well. still, not every song is pure gold but i don't recall a single devildriver album without a few weak spots.
nevertheless, "hold back the day", "sin & sacrfice" or the title track are unbelievably strong efforts and justification enough to buy the record. the re-master sounds awesome, i was pleasantly surprised at the thick sound of the vinyl - real good job. i loved the artwork in cd format already but in vinyl size the colour gradient is even sweeter. the vinyl colour itself is the perfect match. semi-translucent orange with black and blue splatter out of 1500 copies. lovely album and vinyl edition. bmg. 2018.

Montag, 8. Oktober 2018

obituary - ten thousand ways to die

when the pre-orders for the new pressing of the obituary self-titled record went live, relapse also offered another bit of obituary vinyl. in 2016 the band released an e.p. with two new songs and a selection of live songs played throughout a north american tour. back then it was pressed to cd and to black vinyl only. now the label decided to give the release the colour vinyl treatment. usually i don't care for such e.p.'s but i got caught up in the excitement and ordered a copy of the most limited colour-way.
a few things went wrong from there on. first one wasn't my fault. after a few weeks i got an e-mail from relapse telling me that they had european warehouse problems and couldn't deliver me the most limited edition anymore. great! what's the use of being quick to the pre-order when the label fucks up your order? they offered me a copy of the lesser limited version and of course i said "yes". the release date came and no shipping notification. i waited a week or so and still no info. i fired off a mail and they answered with a new shipping date, which faced another uninformed delay. man, i don't have a problem with waiting, just keep me informed. that is all i ask for.
the last thing that went wrong was well my fault. i did not know that the two studio songs were not part of the vinyl edition but the live songs only. oh boy, after all this hassle with the colour-way fuck up and the shipping delay, i didn't even get the two studio songs i was actually interested in (ok, the title track is also on the self-titled record). i don't think i will play the record much and will most likely end up selling it at some point. all in all a dissatisfying order with relapse. not the first one. i will stick to my strategy of avoiding to order directly from them where possible. relapse records. 2016/2018.

Sonntag, 7. Oktober 2018

obituary - s/t

i am pretty busy at the moment. my wife, the kid and i are in the process of moving into a new house and a bit of refurbishing is necessary. therefore i won't have too much of spare time this month. enough of that for now. the first post of the month is reserved for the latest obituary full length released a year ago on relapse records. i missed out on the first coloured run and so i sat and waited for a further pressing. this came a few months ago and i pre-ordered quickly.
thanks to social media in the form of instagram i was fast enough to grab a limited colour edition, which i most likely would have missed out on if i relied on the newsletter only. for this pressing relapse changed the cover colours a bit and gave the lettering plus dragon a green tinge. furthermore there are two bonus tracks included and the vinyl comes on semi-translucent green with splatter vinyl. all this limited to 100 copies only. so far, so good.
this sounds like a pretty sweet obituary vinyl package, if there wasn't a minor problem. musically this is the weakest obituary effort i came across so far. i played it a few times and there are just a few songs from the b-side that really can keep my attention up for their whole duration. the rest is like lift background music. to be fair, i just listened to it a handful of times so maybe it will grow on me but for now i am quite underwhelmed. relapse records. 2017/2018.

Freitag, 28. September 2018

rivers of nihil - monarchy

i bought the latest rivers of nihil record just a few month ago. "where owls know my name" must have been quite a commercial success. the limited vinyl versions were gone pretty fast and are already subject to insane second-hand prices. if discogs is to be believed a copy of the version i have already sold for ninety five bucks. jesus, crazy that someone gives that much cash for a record shortly after release date. it seems that in the wake of these events, metal blade decided to give the band's second full length "monarchy"the vinyl treatment to cash in.
this strategy worked with me again. when pre-orders went up at emp mailorder, i did not need much time for consideration and bought a copy of the most limited european colour-way right away. musically "monarchy" is less experimental than "where owls know my name" and thus less unique. but when it comes to quality and coherent atmosphere, "monarchy" takes the cake. all in all rivers of nihil's second full length will get more spins on my turntable than its successor. really good prog/tech death metal album all around.
the presentation by the label is very neat. the album comes in a gatefold sleeve graced with artwork of the infamous dan seagrave. i love the art he contributed to albums of bands like the black dahlia murder, entombed or xibalba and this one looks ominous and epic in a way, only seagrave can pull it off. the vinyl colour is a beauty as well. bone/bronze merge makes me think of a good latte macchiato. this version is limited to 100 hand-numbered copies. funnily i got #80 again. metal blade records. 2015/2018.

Mittwoch, 26. September 2018

ac/dc - powerage

this is another record from the daytrips with my son visiting some record stores. i mean, with a little over a year in age of course my son doesn't care for vinyl, but it was still cool to spend time with him and show him around. this time we headed for hamburg and took a look at rekord music store. it is quite a small shop and only used records on offer. there is no hardcore section and a pretty weak metal section but among some radio plays for my son and a birthday gift for a good friend, i still managed to grab something.
they had a few records on display boards up on the walls and there i spotted this copy of "powerage". i asked the seller if they also sell those records and a few seconds later he handed me the desired vinyl album. "powerage" was released in 1978 and wasn't as a big commercial success as the up-coming "highway to hell" was going to be. still, i read somewhere that the album is sort of a band favourite. i enjoy every minute of the record. very good all around. my copy is a re-press from the eighties, i guess. very nice copy. atlantic records. 1978.

Dienstag, 25. September 2018

manowar - battle hymns

"what should i pick up this time? mmhhh... manowar? yeah, why not." these or something similar were my thoughts when i flicked through the "new in stock" section at blitz records in kiel. my one year old son and me were record shopping and i didn't come across somthing i really wanted. in such cases i am bold to take chances because i hate to walk out of a store empty handed. i didn't know much of manowar at that point but the record's condition was pretty neat and the price reasonable, so i took the gamble.
after i listened to "battle hymns" for the first time, i was surprised to find that manowar did play some really catchy up-tempo heavy metal songs in 1982. side b of the record also offers the trademark slow and epic songs, the band is known for. that was more like the manowar i got to know. i like both styles here and maybe will pick up another album of them when given the chance to. another thing i was really surprised at, was the spoken words part in "dark avenger". this is orson welles speaking. how come a metal band gets citizen kane for collaboration? anyway, solid record! liberty records. 1982.

Freitag, 21. September 2018

conan - existential void guardian

2018 seems to become a very prolific year in terms of new releases. the year already saw excellent new records by ghost, obscura, bongripper, the faceless, between the buried and me - just to name a few. the last quarter of the year doesn't look too bad either. i am waiting for stuff of behemoth, sick of it all or beyond creation. and right here is the almighty conan. this british trio quickly worked its way into my personal league of most respected bands and thus a new full length is a no-brainer purchase.
i pre-ordered at napalm records from austria, conan's label since "blood eagle", and they had two colour vinyl options on offer. the obligatory solid gold edition limited to 200 copies and a dark green edition out of 300 copies. because i think solid gold vinyl looks extreme shite, i did not give a damn about limitations and opted for the green vinyl. holding the actual outcome in hands, i can sleep with the certainty of having made the right decision. the vinyl colour looks real nice against the centre labels. for the visuals conan worked with again with artist anthony roberts. dark, ominous and menacing - the perfect match to the tunes.
musically "existential void guardian" is a fantastic soundtrack to all the dark parts which have been visualised by the lord of the rings movies. i am not too much a fan of that fantasy stuff but this sort of imagery comes to my mind immediately listening to conan. the album is a bit faster at times, it even offers a fifty five second short grind metal song called "paincantation". but the slow tunes are what conan is best at and so the last songs on each side of vinyl are the peak moments of the album to me. "amidst the infinite" and "eternal silent legend" are the essence of conan in its purest form. don't really need the second disc with a few live songs, though. still, brilliant effort of conan. i hope to catch them live in two weeks. napalm records. 2018.