Sonntag, 9. Dezember 2018

at the gates - slaughter of the soul

earache records from the u.k. released some real classic metal albums in the late eighties and early nineties. therefore original copies always go for quite a penny. i am after some of those splatter re-issue series from 1992 and made the step already for some gems like a bolt thrower "realm of chaos" first press or an entombed splatter "left hand path" copy. at the moment i am too busy buying recent re-issues and new releases, there is just no money left in the budget for such heavy hitters.
at the gates "slaughter of the soul" is such a metal classic released by earache. first press copies changed owners for over one hundred bucks over at discogs. i definitely did not want to go into these financial spheres with that record. fortunately earache shapes an aggressive re-issue policy and also fortunately i had a good amount of bonus points at my nuclear blast member account waiting to be burned. when i bought the new unearth and deathrite records, i joyfully added this new pressing to my cart for free.
musically there is nothing to say which hadn't been said before. "slaughter of the soul" is a flawless milestone in the melodic death metal genre of the swedish school. check it out for yourself if you shamefully missed out on it until now. seventh press coming on clear red vinyl and is out of 1.500 copies. the overall presentation is basic but looking sharp. slip cover sleeve, printed dust sleeve and a promotional flyer which will be cool to look at in twenty years. earache records. 1995/2018.

Mittwoch, 5. Dezember 2018

deathrite - nightmares reign

the fourth full length of deathrite. i have all the previous ones and they evolved from complete grindcore massacre on "deathrite" and "into extinction" into a more death metal orientated monster on "revelation of chaos". but to be honest, i had a hard time to find any songs of that records in my long time memory. i do enjoy them but nothing really stucks in my head. so i made this new album my make-it-or-break-it release. burn down the house or forget about them.
well, the first thing that hits one like a sledge hammer when listening to "nightmares reign" is the production. wow, pretty low-fi. it's rumbling at all ends and sounds very unpolished and raw. next thing is the song-writing. it is like a different band. loads of black metal parts, a bit grindcore and less death metal. but everything smoothly balanced and with a distinctive design. i still don't know if it is my taste but the band definitely took a bold step with that record without losing their integrity.
usually i love band evolution like that and i think, "nightmares reign" will be a grower. what is my taste without a doubt is the presentation of the album. wonderful artwork throughout the gatefold sleeve by wæik, i love the colour combinations. furthermore there is an insert with all the lyrics, a cd of the album and a folded poster with the cover art. to round out the set, century media pressed a lovely mint green 180g vinyl platter out of 200 copies. ordered through nuclear blast. century media. 2018.

Montag, 3. Dezember 2018

unearth - extinction(s)

it is already four years since unearth released their last and very good record "watchers of rule" (wow, really?) and here we are with their newest opus going by the name "extinction(s)". it seems like this american powerhouse is stuck in the year 2004 forever. and you know what? that is just the right thing. when i dropped the needle on "extinction(s)" for the first time, i sat in awe as to how relevant this musical style can still sound in 2018.
there is a lot of reminisence of their classic "the oncoming storm" but still i do not get bored with every new album because the unearth guys simply know how to write great metalcore songs. "extinction(s)" bursts with energy, dynamic, precision and heaviness. those sweet overtunes in "incinerate" alone. i bought this record without listening to any song before, confident in unearth not going to let me down and the album pays back in equal measures.
i pre-ordered my copy at nuclear blast, even though i could have ordered the version limited to 100 copies from century media directly. i did so firstly because i had the chance to order a few more records from nb in one go and secondly because this lesser limited version looks so sweet. semi-translucent orange vinyl out of 200 copies as the perfect match to the artwork. seventh full length and this time completely released via century media. 2018.

Dienstag, 27. November 2018

arkaik - nemethia

the sheer flood of talented technical death metal bands from the united states is overwhelming at times and it is hard to filter the good from the mediocre. arkaik is part of the massive unique leader records roster and the label is known for releasing quality extreme metal but always with one or two bad eggs among the stack. arkaik was on my radar for quite some time but never first priority. when commercial seller dodax on ebay dropped the price tag for this record from over twenty to only eleven euros, it was time to pull the trigger.
"nemethia" is an very ambitioned release. the guys know how to play their instruments and they know it well. the furious virtuosity is breath-taking at times. only the song writing feels sometimes a bit over elaborate, like they wanted too much. songs like "the order of the heirogon", "nexion stargate" and "the eupnean relic" click immediately but then there are one or two rather complicated songs where it's hard to not lose focus. great record all around but it won't invent the tech death wheel anew. lovely blue and gold merge vinyl of unknown quantity. unique leader records. 2017.

Samstag, 24. November 2018

ac/dc - the razors edge

the little record store i have in town has gone through a few changes. the first thing is pretty cool. when i went there for the first times they had almost new stuff only, now they added quite a big used record section. the other thing isn't that cool. the store must have faced some financial problems because the owner cut down the opening hours to four or five hours in the forenoon. so i can only go there on holidays or saturday morning, which means i go there pretty rarely.
but when i did find the time to take a little trip to hellion record store, i always came up with cool used records of yes, u2 or supertramp. nothing which i feature here but used metal wasn't among the stack. last time i actually found a bit to post here: ac/dc's eleventh studio album "the razors edge". it was in a fantastic condition and for six bucks there was really not a moment of hesitation. that baby had got to be mine.
musically it will rank pretty high in my personal ac/dc studio album list. of course "thunderstruck" is the perfect opener (as a kid i thought it was about a thunder truck, haha), "mistress for christmas" will be played a lot in the coming christmas season and the title track "the razors edge" is one of the strongest ac/dc songs at all. i think i have a european first press copy here. looks like it wasn't played an awful lot. good for me. great stuff! atco records. 1990.

post scriptum: sorry for the grainy pictures. in the moment i struggle with bad lighting at any time of day.

Freitag, 23. November 2018

psycroptic - as the kingdom drowns

i wasn't familiar with psycroptic at all before i got this prosthetic records e-mail newsletter with an advertisment for the band's new record "as the kingdom drowns". at first glance i just thought that the cover art was looking pretty sharp. then i read something like technical skilled deathmetal in the description - now i began to consider to get a physical copy. luckily prosthetic presses almost all their vinyl releases to one colour-way for the whole pressing.
so there is usually no problem with getting a coloured copy via a german distro. for this release anyhow there are actually three colour-ways. a clear version, an orange with black splatter version and a white/orange swirl version. maybe this is because prosthetic teamed with evp records from australia and had to change their modus operandi. anyway, i ordered from impericon merchandise and the record arrived in perfect condition.
the album needed a few spins to fully sink in but now i am really in love with psycroptic's approach to technical death metal. they craft a fine balance between easy to grasp riffing and technical virtuosity. and a few of their melody lines are so godamn epic, check the opener "we are the keepers" for proof. the actual colour-way is more of an orange marble but looks lovely nevertheless. awesome artwork by mariusz lewandowsky. 200 copies pressed. prosthetic records. 2018.

Dienstag, 20. November 2018

fear factory - obsolete

"there is a fear factory in this division". finally, someone proved sense over at music on vinyl and brought this sucker to its long deserved vinyl treatment. while nu metal ruled my playlist, "obsolete" was one of the few metal albums that found their way into my collection in the late nineties. i bought a cd copy on a whim in an appliance store's media section because i liked the cover art. when i brought it home i listened to it over and over again and i still know every second of the album. i always loved the dense atmosphere and its beautiful melody lines.
"obsolete" from 1998 is a scorcher on all accounts and therefore i did not waste a single second of thinking whether to get the recent vinyl pressing or not. i bought my copy on ebay. the seller was media markt and as they have stores all over germany, it was no problem to get it sent to my local store, save on shipping and pick it up. man, that record aged pretty good. back in the day i always thought of "hi-tech hate" and "freedom or fire" as inferior songs but now, especially the latter one slowly becomes my favourite of the record. the lyrical concept of a dystopian police state and its underground resistance is brilliant too.
of course the idea isn't really new. books like fahrenheit 451, 1984, comic books like v for vendetta or movies like blade runner go in a similar direction and it feels like burton c. bell took the best of them all. nevertheless the short story "conception 5" is so well written and the lyrics so fantastically tied in, it gives me the goosebumps every time i read along. the presentation is pretty cool. the artwork works well in vinyl format and the gold vinyl itself is a pretty good match. hopefully the rest of fear factory's roadrunner back catalogue will also be re-issued on vinyl by mov. 2000 copies made. music on vinyl. 2018.

post scriptum: "obsolete" is, i think, the only album of which i own a copy on all common formats. that speaks for itself. which one i might take for a listen today?

Sonntag, 18. November 2018

sick of it all - wake the sleeping dragon!

and they did it again. another full length of new york's finest. just another proof why my favourite among the flood of important new york hardcore bands, is still ahead of their game. i don't get too excited anymore for hardcore releases these days, therefore i didn't actually lose my shit over pre-orders for "wake the sleeping dragon!". excitement came when i listened to sick of it all's eleventh full length for the first time.
wow, what a godamn rager this record is. i love the hefty punk edge in sick of it all's hardcore sound and it feels like they lay greater emphasis on that part of their musical direction this time. not one single song over the three minute mark. all short blasts of heavy relevance. it is simply a pleasure for the ears to listen to that intensity and joy of play of your favourite hardcore grandpas. thirty two years and no sign of slowing down.
i pre-ordered this fantastic piece of nyhc from emp mailorder. century media pressed a few colour-ways for first vinyl pressing and just like for "last act of defiance" and "when the smoke clears", emp had their exclusive colour. a wonderful opaque yellow version limited to 200 copies. can't say that i am much of a fan of the album artwork but the musical content makes up for this big time. to say it with the words of krs one: sick of it all. fresh for 2018, you suckas! century media. 2018.

Donnerstag, 15. November 2018

inanimate existence - underneath a melting sky

i listen to a lot technical death metal as of late. i am really in the mood for fast picking, proggy bass play and exessive drumming. when i checked my collection to re-visit a few tech death pearls i came across the first two inanimate existence records. when i listened to them again, i was reminded of how fond i actually am of their music. furthermore their latest full length was brought back into my focus. "underneath a melting sky" was not released through their long-time label unique leader records but through the artisan era.
when the record came out in 2017 only u.s. stores carried vinyl versions for the band's fourth full length. thus shipping prices were mean and i didn't want to bite the bullet. i wanted to wait it out for some european distro to have it in stock. fast forward a few months and i was browsing the metal vinyl section. i stumbled upon a copy on clearance and in no time i clicked the add-to-cart button. excitement grew because there was no indication of the colour of the vinyl.
the first copy arrived unsealed in a loose mailer with the vinyl inside the cover sleeve. thus a big top seam-split stared back at me. thankfully hhv sent me a new one without problems. what does "underneath a melting sky" sound like? well, it's a thirty minutes long banger without any flaws. they dropped the female vocals, which is a shame in my eyes but they still have this medieval occult, alchemical touch to their sound which gives them a hint of uniqueness. still, i think this is more for fans of the genre. i am really happy with my blue and green merge vinyl out of 100 copies. the artisan era. 2017.

Dienstag, 13. November 2018

high on fire - electric messiah

high on fire is an institution. since my love for this band evolved four years or so ago, i can't think of a bad album of matt pike and his two companions. so of course when i heard news of an upcoming new album, i was all over it. at first only pre-orders for north america appeared. no big deal. high on fire is on e-one entertainment since "snakes for the divine" and since they have no european distribution, century media released an eu version for each record. usually a bit later than e-one.
so i waited. release date came nearer and nothing over at century media. i couldn't find any info on the net and started to panic a bit. i was close to order from the states when emp came to my rescue. they offered a black and a red vinyl edition both labled as spv records releases and the red one limited to 100 copies. when i tried to gather information at the spv page i couldn't find anything. i ordered the sketchy red vinyl anyway but the suspicion arose that i actually ordered the red e-one edition.
when the record arrived i unwrapped the opaque red u.s. version of "electric messiah" of which emp had 100 copies available for europe. spv simply slept on a coloured e.u. version. now they corrected that error and some green marble lp is available for pre-order, set to be released in december. anyway, musically "electric messiah" is just another great stoner metal/punk n' roll record of hof. they just cannot disappoint. one of my favourites of the band for sure. go for "sanctioned annihilation"! really nice shade of red marbled vinyl. i am not sure how many were pressed. e-one. 2018.