Donnerstag, 31. März 2016

converge - thousands of miles between us boxset

when a new converge release is announced, my interest is awaken to say the least. this happened when i heard news of a new release called 'thousands of miles between us'. at first glance i thought it was a new record but with more information i could see that it was a new live dvd. i mean blu-ray, sorry for i am old. that alone didn't convince me but when i saw a pre-order going up on kingsroad merch europe concerning a boxset with the whole live set on vinyl, i started to think.
i mean, i don't like live albums. recorded material is for my turntable at home and live music is for the clubs or festival stages. i don't listen to digital music when i am at a show and the other way around i don't listen to live stuff at home. well, usually. but with converge it felt different. the urge to buy it was definitely there but the hefty price tag of round about one hundred euros put me off a little. i explained the dilemma to my girl telling her of all the things on the negative side and she replied that thus the only reasonable decision was not to buy it.
i could only answer that somehow i still wanted it and she said annoyed: 'so why you're asking me anyway?' and i said: 'yeah, you're right, i should definitely go for it. thanks for the help, babe!' so, she turned shaking her head and i ran to the comp to put my pre-order in. just in time as it seemed because after three days all the copies were gone. despite the fucking 100€ bill. in the over three months long meantime, i ordered myself a used copy of 'the long road home' dvd. it sweetened the wait a bit.
when the package arrived i was blown away by the amount of care, thought and craftsmanship that went into the result of the 'thousands of miles between us' boxset. the box comes with a gold foil print and houses the triple blu-ray digipak - two blu-rays full of collected live and rare behind-the-scenes footage, the double vinyl lp containing the whole philadelphia live set, a special lp-sized live photo book, a cover art patch and a lovely slipmat. i didn't watch all three blu-rays as yet but i did watch the live set standing in the living room and moving to the music hectically. 500 copies on orange and white merge vinyl for kingsroad europe. deathwish inc. 2016.

Mittwoch, 30. März 2016

electric wizard - black masses

the sixth month in a row with a electric wizard record on display. this time it's about their sixth full length 'black masses'. i bought this baby around the same time i ordered 'let us prey' and 'we live'. at one point early last year, nuclear blast carried some copies of this 'black masses' tri-coloured vinyl. they sold out pretty quickly and i didn't snag one because i wasn't into the wizard's work at that time.
when their music clicked with me while listening to 'dopethrone', i was looking out for any available album on vinyl. shortly after that nuclear blast took pre-orders for a not otherwise specified tri-colour vinyl version. i was wondering if it was the same that was available a few months ago but definitely didn't care enough to wait for detailed information which i actually didn't need to know i would like it.
hey, it was a tri-colour split so there wasn't a chance that i let this pass me by. in the end it was the same version they already offered. can't really find a sensible explanation as this is actually the most limited colour-way of the second press. these were probably some forgotten copies from the vault or something. whatever the reason was, i am happy with it as they look pretty awesome.
musically this is the very own electric wizard sound with which they started since 'we live'. 'we live' will stay as my favourite second line-up electric wizard record, still 'black masses' is a damn strong album. heavy, gloomy, catchy - all this with this sleazy seventies sound. what more can you ask for. especially when 'black masses' has this slightly erotic, occult artwork. worship the wizard on your phono altar under a moonlit sky. 275 copies made. rise above records. 2010.

Montag, 28. März 2016

seven sisters of sleep - ezekiel's hag

one of that pricey relapse oversea orders that were just too good to resist. i know seven sisters of sleep for quite some time and knew that i like them but never made the attempt to get any vinyl of them. when these southern californian sludge/doomsters announced their third full length via relapse records i was quite interested and listened to some stuff via their bandcamp. pretty dark, noisy tunes that really appealed to me.
at that point relapse put up pre-orders for 'ezekiel's hag' with only one colour vinyl option. the 100 clear copies don't count to me as they are not available to the public. add the fact that this colour option is a relapse shop exclusive, there was only one way to get a hold of it: order it from the states. as you can see i did and the package looks superb.
musically this is a lovely mix of black metal, sludge, doom and that noisy converge feedback hardcore. love this shit! you can listen to the whole output and even the bonustrack at their bandcamp and i advise you to do so! the double lp comes in a gatefold with awesome, mystical cover art. i can't really say who the hag of the prophet ezekiel might be but she looks pretty menacing here. the vinyl comes on slick clear highlighter yellow with rainbow splatter.
i tried to find out where the cool band name comes from and found out that there is a botanic book by mordecai cooke written in 1860 dealing with the use of drugs throughout mankind's history. it's described as an unbiased and open-minded look at humanity's involvement with mind altering substances. whether this book is the origin of the band's name or not, it would fit the frame. 300 copies made. relapse records. 2016.

Montag, 21. März 2016

wolfxdown - incite & conspire

i am in a metal state of mind recently. if you watch this blog closely, the majority of my more recent purchases had been metal releases. just a few hardcore releases here and there and even though i really enjoy my hardcore when i put a new record on my turntable, i buy them more out of fear i could regret missing out on a limited colour version than i really await them eagerly. the same thing with wolfxdown's sophomore record 'incite & conspire'.
i really liked their first two 7"es and the full length 'stray from the path'. a lot of time went down the river since then and when i bought their teaser 7" for this album in 2015 called 'liberation e.p.', i was surprised as to how the band changed their sound. way more metallic, heavier all in all. i wasn't sure what to think about it but now, with the expirience of the full length, i think i miss the old wolfxdown. 'incite & conspire' is good, pummeling all the way through but they lost their individuality.
before larissa, the vocalist from the pre-2015 line-up, left the band they were a fresh, modern hardcore band with a nyhc tinge, now they sound like hatebreed. again, all is well executed. the guys know how to write a good, heavy hardcore song but to me, it's just that - good. it doesn't really excite me. we'll see what time will do to this album but for now i am a bit underwhelmed. check them out and forge your own opinion. 500 copies on clear red vinyl. end hits records. 2016.  

Sonntag, 20. März 2016

fear factory - genexus

back in the late nineties i was all over new metal. korn, limp bizkit or coal chamber were on my daily playlist. also a few hardcore and metal bands made their way into my discman. stuff like biohazard, sick of it all or fear factory. especially after i bought a cd copy of fear factory's 1998 mammoth release 'obsolete' it was pretty much on heavy rotation. i absorbed this album and to me it aged extremely well. i stll love every tune and feel like i appreciate it even more now than back then.
the follow-up 'digimortal' couldn't hold up to the greatness that was 'obsolete' and after the band lost its musical mastermind in the shape of dino cazares, i lost them completely. back then i even had a copy of 'archetype' but found it somewhat dull and sold it somewhere along the way. after the band's hiatus until 2010 i couldn't care less for their releases. in 2010 dino cazares returned and 'mechanize' was unleashed.
i heard a few songs but i was pretty underwhelmed and i completely denied 'the industrialist' because they used a drum computer for all songs. call me old-fashioned but i think that sucks. when 'genexus' dropped in 2015 i wasn't too enthusiastic about the release but still a bit interested. i checked a few songs here and there and thought they were pretty good. especially the blade runner samples were right up my alley. it still took me until this year to finally order it. the limited colour-ways were still available and so i grabbed a copy.
now that i have it, i listen to it every day. 'genexus' is, apart from those useless bonus tracks on the d-side, flawless. not one stinker. i pretty much feel like back in the day listening to 'obsolete' and standing in awe because of its fantastic mixture between heaviness and epic melodies. the record comes in a gatefold sleeve, with a foldable insert with all lyrics and with horrible artwork all around. the vinyl itself is pressed on a nice lilac colour. unfortunately it looks way more blue in the pictures than in reality. 200 copies made. nuclear blast. 2015. 

Samstag, 19. März 2016

obscura - akróasis

obscura always flew under my radar. i mean, i knew they were there and that i would like them because i vaguely listened to a few songs in the past, but i never pursued to get into their stuff. mainly because i knew that getting my hands on some coloured vinyl of their albums would be quite a difficult task. relapse did pretty limited colour runs and never re-pressed them. so availability on second hand market places is scarce and prices are high.
when relapse announced the release of 'akróasis', i wasn't excited that much. other things had higher priorities and to get coloured relapse vinyl is always a pain in the ass, because their cool stuff is always shop exclusive and only black vinyl or lame colours make their way into german distros. every once in a while i will pay them cruel oversea shipping rates but if there is the slightest chance to avoid it, i'll be all over it.
in this case, a chance was given to me by the band's facebook page. i visited it to check some tunes of the record because i saw the european version pop up at the nuclear blast mailorder. at the page i was re-directed to their own e-shop and right there they had all the sweet colours from the u.s. shops. the band comes from germany and so shipping rates weren't a problem. even though it wasn't the most limited, i opted for the sharp orange and bone white merge vinyl because it looks just so delicious.
musically 'akróasis' is a friggin' monster of a prog/tech death metal record. at first i needed one or two spins to get used to that unusual bass play but now i can't get enough of it. it is extremely well done and proves that this instrument can be more than just plain backing. the songs are all so sophistically crafted, it is a real pleasure to discover more details at every spin. especially that monument of a song which is 'weltseele', is the fifteen minute long icing on the cake.
when the band kicks back in after that synphonic interlude, i fell like bruce banner turning into hulk. i want to go bezerk. check the whole album at the band's bandcamp and get yourself a copy of this great album. the record comes in a gatefold sleeve with lovely artwork. additionally to my order i got a free poster which i included in the package, even though it wasn't originally part of it. but as it will never hang on the wall i can slip it inside the cover as well. the vinyl comes with a slick d-side etching. 500 copies made. relapse records. 2016.

Freitag, 18. März 2016

integrity - systems overload

when i got into integrity i bought their newer records. post 2010 stuff. i really came to like those two full lengths, 'the blackest curse' and 'suicide black snake', and the 'black heksen rise' 7". good shit. naturally i stretched my hands out for other available vinyl of the band. at the moment those organized crime records re-issues of classic integ releases are accessible quite well. so i opted for 'systems overload'.
i wasn't really expecting this to be better than the recent stuff. somehow i was anticipating this album to be a rawer, unpolished version of the band's future sound. well, it is just that but at the same time it is so much better. 1995's 'systems overload' hit me like a train at full speed and i still feel like being pressed against the front of the engine.
i mean, their 'in contrast of sin' 7" which i bought last year did already set the tone, still 'systems overload' blew me away. i am really looking forward to recieve my copy of 'those who fear tomorrow'. if it's only partly as impressing, it will be a blast. strange to talk about those albums as if they were new releases at pre-order stage. anyway, you probably listened to 'systems overload' countless times before but if not, go check it!
organized crime does impressive jobs with their integrity re-pressings. they re-worked the cover art a bit which is really to its advantage, i'd say. the inner gatefold comes with the album credits and the iconic integrity skull printed with invisible ink. i confined myself to only show you the back of the cover with the track list printed with that same invisible ink, which has become a trademark for their releases.
also an insert with all lyrics and some real interesting liner notes by aaron melnick is included, as well as a huge poster with a live shot and on the flipside an intensive painting by arax melnick showing the 'armenian persecution' linked to the song on the record. has anyone more info on this? i couldn't really find anything. 600 copies made on grey marble vinyl. originally appeared on victory records. organized crime. 2012.

Mittwoch, 16. März 2016

gojira - l'enfant sauvage

after i bagged three of five gojira full lengths in one fell swoop by buying the latest listenable records re-presses, i wanted to have them all. after i did some research on discogs, i came to the conclusion that i was missing only one other full length. the band's first album 'terra incognita' from 2000 never saw a vinyl release and that only left 'l'enfant sauvage', their latest record. it came out four years ago and the coloured run was quite limited.
i knew that a copy wouldn't come cheap. among the few discogs marketplace options was one that wasn't too far from being reasonable. i know that in such matters as record prices, the term 'reasonable' is more a question of one's personal wallet but taken into consideration that according to popsike this record went for way more and prices cannot be expected to drop soon, the price seemed affordable to me all of a sudden.
after some thinking i pulled the trigger on this baby. the seller was quite busy and unexperienced so the order process took longer as usual but in the end the record landed here in perfect shape. so now on to the music pressed to those lovely white plastic discs. what can i say? this baby is gojira death metal perfection. they always gave their songs very artistic forms by sophistically adding atmospheric melodies to their incarnation of metal. no excepion here.
'l'enfant sauvage' has no weakness. period. check it out and convince yourself. for this album the band signed to roadrunner records. there is an u.s. only coloured version on clear orange and, in cooperation with cargo records, a european colour version on white. obviously i have the white one coming on 180g quality vinyl and out of 500 copies. the gojira lettering and the child's head on the cover have a slick glossy finish to them. nice presentation all in all. roadrunner records. cargo records. 2012.

Sonntag, 13. März 2016

sleep - dopesmoker

this is a rather dangerous release for me. dangerous because i was never really convinced of the musical part but this damned album always had a certain aura of attraction that really appealed to me. so every time when another re-press of 'dopesmoker' rolled up i was torn. i listened to my digital copy over and over again but simply couldn't find a reason to justify a purchase.
i mean, ultimately this album is one riff played for over an hour. still the attraction remained. when southern lord announced the latest re-press to be released mid february this year, i tried the album again. my opinion didn't really change. it's still a riff played over an hour drooling into your auditory canal, but i realised that i only could scratch that itch of attraction by finally snagging a copy.
southern lord offered a clear green heavy wax version and after some thinking to and fro, i grabbed me a copy. after listening to it on vinyl i can say that the forced pauses that appear due to changing sides, does good to the musical experience. it breaks up a little the demanding piece of music that is 'dopesmoker'. another thing i realised while listening to it, it's best to really relax.
usually i do something while listening to music. you know, reading along to the lyrics, reading comic books, writing this blog, just something. but when i really feel like doing nothing, just lying around lazily on a rainy day, 'dopesmoker' is the perfect companion. as this doesn't happen too often, sleeps mammoth album won't get as regular spins as other albums get but i finally found an access to this record. on occasions like these i simply enjoy this album and eventually understand the attraction that always drew me towards it.
the history of this record, now called 'dopesmoker', is quite interesting. after the band released 'holy mountain' in 1993 on earache records, they signed to the major label london records. due to this label change, earache and london records started a conflict which even peaked in a lawsuit. because of this lawsuit, the in 1995 already written album called 'jerusalem' couldn't be recorded until 1996.
after the recordings were finished, london records refused to publish the material even though they intended to do so according to the contract between band and label. before 'jerusalem' even saw a release, the band broke up. after rise above records and tee pee records also released this album post break-up, southern lord did the latest release and al cisneros commented that this was the way the band intended it to be in the first place. southern lord records. 2016.

Donnerstag, 10. März 2016

aborted - termination redux

shortly after i pre-ordered the latest ignite record, preorders for the new aborted e.p. popped up. as i am a fan of this belgian grind machine, i didn't ask any questions and picked a copy of the limited colour vinyl. i e-mailed the cm-guys asking them to ship both pre-orders together, even if it meant that i would recieve the ignite lp after its release date. it all took even longer than the actual aborted release date because the mailorder guy got the flu.
no real problem in the end. i don't mind waiting a bit longer, especially with those increased pre-order waiting times these days. but now to the content of this ten inch platter. it's a warm-up release for their up-coming full length 'retrogore' that will drop the coming month. the five songs of this e.p. are just of that style that aborted perfected the last six years since 'coronary reconstruction' from 2010. technical death metal with the right dosage grind metal and sinister harmonies.
check out the disturbing yet still attractive video to the title song 'termination redux' and you will see what i am talking about. there are four colour-ways of that e.p. out there with the best looking being a neon clear orange. i don't know where those were available because century media europe only offered the clear version. anyway, at least my version was the most limited out of 100 copies. seek discogs for detailed pressing info. really looking forward to the full length! century media. 2016.

Dienstag, 8. März 2016

ignite - a war against you

ignite is around for over twenty years and when hardcore bands manage to stay in the game that long and when their new records went as fast at pre-order stage as 'a war against you' did, you know they damn well know how to write some crackers. i snagged a white vinyl version on pre-order at century media distro and the more limited colour-ways start to fetch quite some pennies over at those second hand market places already.
is this buzz justified, you might ask? a clear 'yes' is the only possible answer. ignite still celebrate that catchy melodic hardcore-punk sound of their starting days and managed to transfer it into another new decade without sounding like a copy of theirselves. all is fresh and crisp and most of all relevant, musically as well as lyrically. check out the song 'this is a war' for the culminated essence of this album.
the presentation is as lovely as it is simple. a slip sleeve made of fancy matte card, a printed dust sleeve, a cd of the full album and finally this lovely 180g pristine white vinyl out of 100 copies. according to discogs century media pressed astonishing 5.000 copies in the first press. here is the complete breakdown because i can't be arsed to write it down by myself, century media. 2016.

Sonntag, 6. März 2016

gojira - the link

the third and the last gojira re-issue that listenable came up with. this time for the band's second full length 'the link' from 2003. just like my first copy of 'the way of all flesh', it came in pretty beaten. nasty seam-splits and a flawed cover. it wasn't glued together evenly and thus looked a bit deformed. the nice guys over at nuclear blast sent me a proper replacement though, so all is ok.
musically 'the link' is again some piece of outstanding good progressive death metal. this french four-piece comes from a small town called ondres in south-west france, and somehow i feel this record sounds like a windy, cloudy and cold day at the beach of the atlantic ocean. all songs played with so much variety and diversity. these guys know how to make interesting, complex and crazy structured songs, without sounding too demanding.
there's still a certain freshness in the mix, though. just check out pearls like 'remembrance' or 'embrace the world'. 'the link' wasn't initially released by listenable records. not until 2005 where they put out a remastered version. it took them seven years before the first vinyl edition of this album appeared. this clear with red and orange splatter version is from the thrid pressing, out of 500 copies and looking sharp. listenable records, 2016.

Samstag, 5. März 2016

baroness - yellow and green

baroness is an oddball of a band. they play a style of rock/metal that usually doesn't appeal to me but in their own progressive context, i can't get enough of them. in the past i managed to get together all their albums on vinyl including their latest output 'purple' with one little exception. 'yellow and green', i attempted to get my hands on a copy several times before. these attempts were always for the only coloured version wih standard cover of the first press.
the deluxe version in a hardbound book cover looked very tempting but was always out of my price range. my first try on discogs ended with the seller cancelling the order because the item wasn't available anymore and the second copy i also wanted to buy via discogs but the seller was moving at that point and stored a portion of his vinyl collection somewhere without having access, this baroness record included. when he re-listed the record, someone was faster than me.
so i purposely waited for releapse to re-press that damned thing. since i bought the re-issue of the 'red album' one and a half years ago, i saw a lot of re-presses for 'red album' and 'blue record' but no frigging fresh platter for 'yellow and green'. but then, finally around the same time 'purple' dropped, relapse did me the favour and a sigh of release left my mouth. i immediately fell in love with the 'mustard and olive' merge vinyl which seemed like a perfect match to the album title.
after over a tormenting month of waiting my baby finally arrived. and it do looks awesome. personally i think that the cover art to 'yellow and green' is the best john dyer baizley has ever done. it all looks so warm and inviting and at the second glimpse there is this girl with the knife on the swans throat. suddenly the scene looks sinister. when it comes to the musical part i am a bit split as to what to think of the record. sometimes it's a bit too calm. a few fillers on here. 100 copies made as mailorder exclusive. relapse records. 2012/2015.

Freitag, 4. März 2016

sick of it all - built to last

sick of it all is probably my favourite nyhc band out there. i love their energetic hardcore-punk and their anarchical lyrics, which are far from only relying on empty platitudes. i even love their emphasis on punk in their music, which is usually not my cup of tea. thanks to the high demand for sick of it all's back catalogue and the ongoing hype for re-presses, i have been able to get a fair amount of their albums on vinyl.
here is just another example. music on vinyl from the netherlands already gave soia's milestone record 'scratch the surface' a worthy re-press two years ago and now the time has come for their second and last major label release 'built to last' from 1997. it's the band's fourth full length and a damn scorcher. obviously it is because there is no such thing as a bad sick of it all record. on a side note, it was produced by garth richardson a.k.a. gggarth who also worked with rage against the machine, the melvins or skunk anansie.
nineteen years ago elektra records or east west records, which are ultimately warner music, decided to liscence the vinyl rights to independent labels because vinyl was pretty dead. the renowned equal vision record company pressed black and lovely blue marble vinyl. this version looks superior to the re-press but fetches quite a penny nowadays. this mov re-issue is great nevertheless and affordable, so i'm really fine with it. 180g rust brown vinyl coming in a glossy sleeve with insert. 1000 copies made. music on vinyl. 2016.

Donnerstag, 3. März 2016

gojira - the way of all flesh

when listenable announced the re-pressings of the three gojira records in their back catalogue and after i re-assured myself that i really like this band, i was waiting eagerly for my pre-order from nuclear blast to arrive. when they finally did, it seemed like a bad joke to me. i get my packages sent to my work address, to make sure i don't have to pick up records at the post office because i wasn't home when they showed up. usually a collegue of mine accepts the parcels.
unfortunately a big tear at one edge of the parcel went unnoticed until i picked it up. on my way home i was picturing nasty seam-splits on my records, stuff that collector's nightmares are made of. when i arrived home, all my worries came true. apart from a creased corner, 'from mars to sirius' came in relatively unharmed but the other two were looking horrible. the records were sealed, which is usually enough to save covers from seam-splits but the fucking postman must have played rugby with the parcel, badly at that.
both, 'the way of all flesh' and 'the link', showed ugly seam-splits on cover and dust sleeves alike. damn it! fortunately nuclear blast is pretty cool with returning damaged goods and sending out new copies if still available. under these circumstances i was quite lucky that 'from mars to sirius' was ok, because it was the only one being already sold out at that point. thankfully nb sent me some lovely new copies and even opening the seals upon my request, to get the the vinyl delivered outside the cover. thanks guys!
musically this is very close to my favourite, 'from mars to sirius'. maybe a little darker all in all but brilliant all the way through. a little tech death here, a little groove there, some unusual guitar hooks and a little bit of experimenting with electronic music and ready is the master piece. sometimes the fragments seem so easy, almost banal but listening to it in whole you'll see the bigger picture. an exciting record at every second. lyrically it's about the bands vision of life and death. leaves plenty of room for interpretation. 500 copies on clear with blue and black splatter vinyl. listenable records. 2008/2016.

oh yeah, here is a glimpse on what my first copy of 'the way of all flesh' looked like when it arrived.
what a diabolical waste...

Mittwoch, 2. März 2016

isis - the red sea

i have tried to get into isis several times but whatever record i listened to, it didn't work for me. admittedly i didn't listen to all five full lengths, so probably i will change my opinion but for now isis isn't my cup of tea. at least not all their recorded material because there is one release that i like from start to finish and that always draws me to give them another try. this release is their 'the red sea' e.p. from back in the nineties.
these three, fifteen minutes spanning songs are full of desperation, aggression, darkness and sophisticated twists, that it is hard for me to see that this e.p. was only a small evolutionary step in the band's development. i really wished there was more of this great stuff. anyway, fortunately the band decided to include the '98 demo on cd first and all subsequent 12" pressings got it, too. the four songs of the demo are just as great as the original 'the red sea' e.p. check it out in all its glory.
'the red sea' was initially released on an 8" format. the first two vinyl pressings came on this quite unusual vinyl format. in 2006 the label decided to give it the 12" treatment, which i think is way better. i have a copy of the last, the fifth 12" pressing from already four years ago. it was pressed for record store day 2012 and comes in a fold-over piece of cardboard functioning as a cover and a printed dust sleeve. 500 copies made on this nice black and white merge colour pattern. second nature recordings. 1999/2012.