Samstag, 21. April 2018

amon amarth - deciever of the gods

another release in the huge re-issue campaign of all amon amarth full lengths so far (which makes them ten). "deciever of the gods" was the first amon record i bought upon release. it was more of an impulse buy and it wasn't the vinyl version but the cd box set instead. my local media market was selling them for cheap and so i grabbed a copy. i wasn't that much into the record though and so i never pursued the vinyl version.
when i started to jump on the metal blade re-issue train for amon's full length records, i knew that i would buy them all. there was no point in getting just my favourite ones. i mean, come on, we're talking about record collecting here, ok?! so when my vinyl copy of the limited european colour-way arrived and i dropped the needle on it, i was surprised at how good this record actually was. it may not be their strongest effort but it still rock solid with some real pearls among the ten songs.
"shape shifter" and especially "hel" featuring candlemass' vocalist messiah marcolin are so good. the vinyl edition metal blade came up with does the album justice. nice slip sleeve with matte finish, an insert with lyrics, a big poster with cover art and band pic on the flip side and lovely rusty marbled vinyl. this edition is numbered out of 300 copies. mine is #169. metal blade records. 2013/2018.

Mittwoch, 18. April 2018

kreator - outcast (noise re-master series)

the last part in this kreator re-issue series is about the band's eighth studio effort called "outcast" from 1997. again the record is marked by another few line up changes within the band. guitarist frank blackfire left the band after three full lengths and ex-coroner guitarist tommy vetterli stepped in. also did founding member jürgen ventor reil take over drumming duties again. this change was important especially for the chemistry among the band members.
for the first time since "terrible certainty" from 1987 the band recorded an album in germany again instead of in the united states. after "cause for conflict" was a thrash throwback, with "outcast" kreator tread more progressive paths again. there is a significant portion of midtempo songs on the record and many industrial-ish sound samples. i would call "outcast" a genuine crossover record, which has a lot to offer if one is willed to get into it.
there are fantastic songs like "phobia", "stronger than before" or "whatever it may take" which transport a great dark atmosphere. the whole thing breathes the nineties. although i think that the record is a bit too slow at times. a bit thrash ferocity would have done it good. therefore i can see why "outcast" isn't a fan favourite. like its predecessor, the album also appeared on gun records and because the late nineties were already a dark time for vinyl there was never a proper vinyl release (apart from a shitty picture disc).
a few unoffical pressings were the only way to get this baby on vinyl until fairly recently. noise records re-issued "outcast" in this nice edition with tons of liner notes and first-hand informations. additionally they threw in a bonus disc with the complete set of their dynamo open air gig from 1998. nice clear highlighter orange vinyl to round out the package. noise records. 2018.

Sonntag, 15. April 2018

kreator - cause for conflict (noise re-master series)

number three out of four. kreator's seventh full length appeared in 1995 and is marked by a time of change. after "renewal" the band quit most parts of their collaboration with noise records and found a new label in gun (great unlimited noise) records also from germany. gun records, which was shut down in 2009, was a sub label of sony music. noise records still took care of the international distribution of the album.
the band's personnel did also change. two of the three founding members called it a day. bassist rob fioretti and drummer jürgen "ventor" reil had to be replaced due to personal problems within the band. kreator toured extensively in support of "renewal", this took its toll on the members. a new rhythm section was found in drummer joe cangelosi and bassist speesy geisler. latter one has been a member ever since.
musically the band went back to more familiar spheres. with "cause for conflict" kreator went back to their thrash roots. of course there are still many progressive industrial elements, we're still knee deep in the nineties here, but this is almost a traditional thrash record in comparison to "renewal". nevertheless one can feel the upheaval that surrounded the band and thus i feel that "cause for conflict" lacks a bit the energy of previous records.
still, full length number seven is no fuck up at all and belongs in every self-respecting kreator collection. the presentation of this re-issue is, as you probably have guessed if you read the previous two posts, fantastic. shitloads of insight information provided by mille petrozza and photos, flyers and tickets from the archives. the records come on lovely opaque blue vinyl, although three bonus tracks on a bonus 12" seem a bit like a waste of resources. noise records. 2018.

Freitag, 13. April 2018

kreator - renewal (noise re-master series)

the second installment of the recent wave of classic kreator album re-issues. "renewal" is kreator's sixth studio full length and the album title was quite the hint as to what awaits the listener when playing the record. the band's main goal before they started writing material for the album was not to think in stereotypes. they wanted to create something fresh and unique regardless of fan and press expectations.
well, no doubt they achieved this goal. "renewal" is as far away from classic thrash metal as can be. after randy burns, the producer of the preceding album "coma of souls", said goodbye to music productions, kreator searched for a new studio and producer to record with. they found the infamous morrisound studios and producer tom morris. unlike the most productions at morrisound they didn't head towards the death metal direction but towards hardcore and industrial instead.
the outcome generated very mixed opinions among fans and media. the overall sound (especially the drum sound) and the progressive song writing were hard to swallow for die-hards. i really can see why but when i dropped the needle on this re-issue, listening to the album for the first time, i was blown away. the artistic change in style may be dramatic but the songs are so fresh and so full of creative energy that "renewal" became one of my favourite kreator records in an instant.
especially "reflection" is my go to song here. fantastic. the presentation is great again. love the matte finish of the gatefold and of course the informative liner notes to album and lyrics by mille petrozza. the matching clear green vinyl is another well thought component of this re-issue. only the second disc is pretty unnecessary. two useless songs (a rare version and a re-mix of songs already on the album) and one new song seem too little for a bonus 12". anyway, good work all around. noise records. 1992/2018.

Mittwoch, 11. April 2018

kreator - coma of souls (noise re-master series)

to be in keeping with the noise records theme of the last post, i start a little series on kreator and the aforementioned noise records. noise was a german independent metal label with its heyday in the late eighties and early nineties. after two takeovers by other music groups, noise is now a division of the bmg music group since 2016. bmg was clever enough to recognise what makes the money roll in on the vinyl market nowadays - the name is re-issues.
the first four kreator records already got re-issued and re-mastered and were all pretty nice fanboy editions (i call the first two, "endless pain" and "pleasure to kill", my own). whereas first pressings of those are pretty much steadily available through second hand market places for reasonable prices, most pressings for the nineties albums of kreator are rare and highly sought after. therefore i was all in for those four re-releases.
i start chronological with "coma of souls" from 1990. it is the band's fifth studio album and the first one with frank blackfire of sodom fame as new guitarist. kreator still played that full-on thrash which is distinctive for this ruhrpott combo. new to the sound were the slower parts here and there and the more complex riffing of petrozza and blackfire. an all around great record of kreator and one of their best selling.
"coma of souls" also enabled them to their first u.s. headlining tour together with suicidal tendencies. but now to this lovely re-issue here. noise/bmg came up with a lovely triple lp release with loads of added value. great liner-notes by petrozza in the inner gatefold, lyrics explanations on the printed dust sleeves, a vivid live gig in fürth, germany from 1990 spread over two bonus discs and all vinyl on a nice clear red. top notch! noise records. 1990/2018.

Montag, 9. April 2018

helloween - keeper of the seven keys pt. I

before i bought this record of helloween i heard zero music of the band. the name was prominent of course, because helloween is a big name in the power metal scene but to be honest, that kind of metal was never my favourite. i mean, i do enjoy my regular dosage of iron maiden but in my perspective this something different. maiden plays in their very own league above the rest.
so what made me buy this record in the first place? well, it was a mixture of eighties colour vinyl and the cheap availability. i came across this auction on ebay and thought if i could get this for a steal, why the hell not? in the end i won this for something like fifteen bucks. this was approximately a tenner under the usual discogs going rate. so it is not that rare or sought after but i am happy with the purchase nevertheless.
originally the blue copies came with a poster of the "pumpkins fly free" tour in 1988. mine is missing that poster which probably explains the low price. anyway, i am not too keen on getting the poster. the nice blue vinyl will do. musically i think this is pretty entertaining power metal. i like the record from start to finish and i see why this was one of their best selling records and gave way to the band's first u.s. tour.
"keeper of the seven keys" was actually planned as a double album. unfortunately the label thought this would lead to the diminishing in sales and that is why helloween split up the album in part one and part two. i really like the artwork, adds a mystical touch to the record. the album was actually released in 1987 and my copy is part of a re-press from a year later. noise records. 1987/1988.

Donnerstag, 5. April 2018

obituary - slowly we rot

the second record i bought at the record fair in hamburg. to get a madball and a obituary record must have been destiny. on the way to the fair my friend and me were listening to some madball songs and when he asked me what i was looking for, i told him that i was out for some early nineties death metal - stuff like obituary. then my buddy was the one who pulled "slowly we rot" from the racks. a good condition of the vinyl and a fair price were the last pieces to the predetermined puzzle.
obituary debut full length "slowly we rot" is considered a classic for all the right reasons. not only was the record one of the first death metal releases but also it was one of the first works of producer scott burns at the infamous morrisound studios in tampa, florida. burns graced numerous death metal records with a great sound and mix. at the time of recording the band still was called xecutioner.
shortly before the release of the debut the band changed its name into obituary. "slowly we rot" became quite successful for a first full length and it paved the way for killer records to come. musically obituary were already this distinctive groove monster only in an early stage. the record is pretty raw but this only adds to the old school feel. great record all around. check it out here.
when i looked into discogs to find my copy, i was a bit confused whether i have a first press or not. five to six different versions are listed which seemed all to be made in 1989. my copy has a worked over centre label with the corrected band name (was misspelled on other versions as "obituari"). so maybe this is not a first press? anyway, this record fair was a nice experience. looking forward to the next one. roadrunner records. 1989.

Montag, 2. April 2018

madball - hold it down

some good ol' hardcore on this blog again. these occasions became very rare in the last year. somehow i have zero interest in contemporary hardcore bands and releases. i am all over metal these days, especially from the late eighties and all throughout the nineties. turnstile have a new album out? i don't even feel an itch. pre-orders for the new parkway drive record are up? i couldn't care less. therefore it feels quite good to write about and listen to some hardcore again.
madball is one of my all time favourite hardcore bands. their debut "set it off" was one of the first records with heavy music i listened to. thus i was very pleasantly surprised to find this copy of their fourth album "hold it down" at a fine small record fair in hamburg. i visited the place with a friend and after some unsuccessful digging, i found this gem at one of last tables. the condition was very good and the price was too, soi bagged it and am still happy about this find.
the album was the only release on epitaph records for the band. it was pressed to vinyl upon time of release in 2000 and to my knowledge the original press is the only one ever produced. i don't know how many have been pressed but i presume a range between 500 and a 1.000 copies. all copies came on black vinyl with a printed dust sleeve. musically this is probably my favourite album after "set it off". check out the title song here. epitaph records. 2000.

Mittwoch, 28. März 2018

nocturnus - the key

one of that death metal pearls of the early nineties released from the rich back catalogue of earache records. when i browsed the earache store after i purchased the bolt thrower re-press for "the IVth crusade", i came across a pre-order for "the key" re-issue on white vinyl. the label started a pretty cool re-issue campaign. they start out with a pre-pre-order and when a certain target is reached (200 sold copies), the label would start the manufacturing process.
the first 200 copies will come on clear vinyl and are the limited colour-way of the pressing. when they are sold, earache acknowledges the demand and presses another 800 copies for retail (300 white and 500 black vinyl copies). when i saw the white vinyl still in stock at the earache webshop, it was an offer too tempting to pass on it. the availability and the great album concept of "the key" were convincing enough. the lyrical concept is about a cyborg that travels back in time to destroy christianity and build a modern surveillance state.
musically nocturnus' debut was an outstanding piece of death metal at the time of release in 1990. the death metal genre was going strong but the level of progressivity and especially the use of keyboards were unusual for its time. this re-press stays pretty true to the original release. the only difference is the change from double sided insert to printed dust sleeve with the same layout. 300 copies pressed on this nice white vinyl. only the cover colours came out a bit too dark in my opinion. earache records. 1990/2018.

Freitag, 23. März 2018

as i lay dying - frail words collapse

"frail words collapse" was one of the albums that i waited for a vinyl re-issue real bad. there have been a few in the last months which made the list shrink. records like killswitch engage's "alive or just breathing", whitechapel's "the somatic defilement" or the black dahlia murder's "miasma" were big wants. the industry cashes in on easy to produce re-issues and i couldn't be more happy about it, even if it feels a bit sleazy. metal blade is one of that labels which drop re-press after re-press in multiple colour-ways.
when i saw as i lay dying's masterpiece "frail words collapse" on pre-order at emp mailorder, i was all over it. i grabbed a copy of the most limited colour-way and waited eagerly for it to arrive. when it arrived and i dropped the needle on the vinyl, i was way back in 2004. a friend of mine who also handed me the first two the black dahlia murder albums on cd, borrowed me his cd version and i began to really love this scorcher. so many perfect songs on here. especially "distance is darkness" is perfect.
the chaotic first three quarters of the song with the harsh screams and growls of tim lambesis culminate into the beautiful desperation of the melodic last quarter. top notch! the presentation by metal blade is nice as well. the record comes with a slip sleeve, an insert and a poster of the fantastic cover art by converge's jacob bannon. on top comes this nice clear with cream and yellow splatter vinyl. #110 out of 200 copies. metal blade. 2003/2018.