Dienstag, 17. Oktober 2017

august burns red - phantom anthem

what a great band august burns red is. i saw them live again at this years reload festival and i am always amazed at how this band seems to fly under the radar. they got an afternoon slot and the crowd was pretty small for a band with such qualities. i wasn't complaining, lots of space to dance and sing-a-long. they played one new song and so my anticipation was rising for the new record. a fellow record collector tipped me off and so i pre-ordered my version at impericon mailorder.
the first thing that came to my mind after i spun the record for the first time, was that "phantom anthem" was packed with hits. their last record "found in far away places" was lacking memorable songs. i enjoy it every time i listen to it but afterwards there is no song stuck in my head. the new record has loads of such songs. it's the same august burns red recipe as always but there is something about it, i fail to explain. whatever it is, it makes the difference between a great record and a masterpiece. check out "frost" and "invisible enemy" and glance a slice of brilliancy.
there were a bunch of vinyl versions available throughout all kinds of internet shops. in hindsight i think i rather would have ordered the white with red marble version which seemed to be an european edition. anyway, my blue with gold marble copy looks pretty nice as well. the gold marble was quite tricky to photograph and looks better in reality. the gatefold sleeve is a standard affair but is sturdy and works well with the double vinyl set. fantastic album that i can only recommend to everybody slightly interested in heavy music. 500 copies made. fearless records. 2017.

Sonntag, 15. Oktober 2017

crowbar - equilibrium

i am always there to open my wallet when there is another crowbar re-issue coming my way. when such thing happens, i don't hestitate anymore. i made this mistake with the back on black re-issue of "sonic excess in its purest form" and am now dependent on second market copies coming around. so when i saw a re-press of "equilibrium" appearing in the high roller records newsletter it was obvious what i was going to do. this version right here is technically speaking a first press.
the italian label night of the vinyl dead, which is famous for their quality re-issues of metal albums that never got the vinyl treatment in the first place, is responsible for this nice platter. finally. the record is already seventeen years old but old crowbar stuff never fails to deliver. actually all crowbar stuff never fails to deliver. "equilibrium" is packed with that typical kind of sludgy, doomy and groove-laden metal which initially makes one think of no other band but crowbar. check out "glass of liquid pain" and the brilliant "down into the rotting earth" to get an impression.
of what i have heard and read about "equilibrium", the general opinion on this album is that it is probably one of the weakest crowbar albums. i really can't go conform with it. apart of the admittedly super bad artwork - i just can't stop thinking how absolutely dull the front picture is and the art on the insert looks as random as can be - this album is a scorcher. even the cover song of gary wright at the end is great. sturdy cover sleeve and insert with a subtle coloured vinyl. black vinyl with bird-shit splatter. mine is #314 out of 333 copies. night of the vinyl dead records. 2017.

Sonntag, 8. Oktober 2017

nile - in the beginning

i never bought just one single hammerheart records release and i think, i never bought any items via their store. still i get the regular newsletter of this label from the netherlands. for good reasons i am now sure of. in one of the more recent newsletters i got information about pre-orders for a new nile release. when it's about nile, i am all over it. doesn't matter what. therefore i was strongly interested in this compilation release called "in the beginning".
this release compiles their first mini album "festivals of atonement" from 1995 and their second demo "ramses bringer of war" from 1997. relapse records released this in 2000 but i didn't find any info on if it was after the release of "black seeds of vengeance" from the same year or before it. anyway, back in the day relapse licenced the vinyl rights to hammerheart records, which made it available on black vinyl only. now, seventeen years later, hammerheart re-issued it and i am happy as can be.
after a smooth pre-order process, i hold this lovely compilation in hands. "festivals of atonement" is such a strong release. it might even become my favourite pre-"annihilation of the wicked" material. especially "extinct" is a doomy, egyptian underworld scorcher. the "ramses bringer of war" demo can't hold up to but is good nile standard, which is still better than most other death metal in the world. the presentation is super slick with some gold ink on front and back cover and very nice "sand" vinyl, a.k.a. transparent beer vinyl. 300 copies made. hammerheart records. 2000/2017.

Freitag, 6. Oktober 2017

aversions crown - xenocide

another tech death album for my collection. this time it's about aversions crown third full length called "xenocide". this album and me had some sort of starting problems. before this record i never heard any tunes of this australian death metal monster. this had probably to do with the fact that there were never any vinyl versions of their previous albums. that changed with "xenocide". the difference to the usual pre-order procedure at nuclear blast was that there wasn't any pre-order process. nuclear blast simply put some imported u.s. copies in their store, right there for the taking.
like always nuclear blast had just a limited quantity of their u.s. pressings in stock - fifty copies all in all. this plus the missing of an european vinyl pressing made these copies high-in-demand items. i was unsure whether to get one or pass on it. i read a negative review and this kind of influenced my mindset towards the band. nuclear blast had a counter of how many copies were still available and when it was stripped down to only four copies, i couldn't resist anymore. with the record now in hands and after i listened to it a few times, i am happy that i bought it despite the initial bad taste in mouth.
"xenocide" is a great album. of course it offers the usual ingredients of the genre. nothing innovative here but aversions crown understand to write good songs. the lead guitar and the apocalyptic melodies are the main attraction. every song has depth and stands on its own. the only thing the band lacks is a bit more of individuality. for fans of the genre this is an absolute safe game. others i advise to take a listen at first. as for myelf i friggin' love this album. scorcher! check out a few songs here. the presentation is solid. gatefold cover with not so good artwork and lovely electric blue with red splatter vinyl out of 500 copies. funny how my second disc partially misses some splatter. nuclear blast records. 2017.

Dienstag, 3. Oktober 2017

archspire - relentless mutation

the next technical ambitious record on this blog. this time it's about the new archspire album "relentless mutation". archspire is a canadian band that crossed my path this year on my technical death metal kick. i found a copy of their second full length "the lucid collective" via a german record store and distro and joyfully recieved the information that the band was recording new material for their third full length. at some point, i believe two months ago, the label offered pre-orders for physical copies.
they had a blue and a blue with splatter variant on sale through the season of mist u.s. store and a clear variant through the european store. the rest were all black. ordering from the european store meant increased shipping costs because it sits in france, therefore i wanted to wait it out until some german distro had coloured copies on offer. a risky game because i didn't know if that was the case anyway. fortunately high roller records came to my rescue with this lovely opaque blue version.
the new album is a killer all the way through. the band stripped down their amount of songs from eight to seven but this isn't a downer at all, because these seven songs are all a tech death fan could ask for. uneblievably intense with an improvement of song writing. all songs are unique and so deliciously evil, i am completely blown away. one of the best records this year. check out "calamus will animate" and "the mimic well", my favourites. the music makes up for the weak cover art. 100 copies on this nice shade of blue. season of mist records. 2017.

Samstag, 30. September 2017

whitechapel - the somatic defilement

finally. finally someone had the sense to press the debut full length of whitechapel to vinyl. i remember lively how i discovered the band for me. it was 2008, i believe and it was the high time of a social network called myspace. through friends-lists i stumbled upon numerous great bands and one of them was whitechapel. they had two songs of their debut in their music player - the title track and "devirgination studies". i was playing them to death and ordered a cd copy via the amazon market place for cheap. then i played the cd and thus the whole album to death.
i still have my cd copy and every once in a while, after i listened to one of my whitechapel records on vinyl and the question arose, why there was no vinyl edition of "the somatic defilement", i grabbed the cd for a listen. so you may understand my excitement when i saw this very album on vinyl for pre-order at emp.de. without a moments hestitation i made my way through the payment process and waited for the album to arrive. now i finally hold the lp in my hands and the album aged damn well.
it's a record without any flaws. the record is less progressive than their further output and way more direct but still with great technical skills and fantastic song writing. lyrically it's all about stories about women obsessed serial killers. that changed on further records but seems logical with regard to the band's name - whitechapel is the district in london where the infamous jack the ripper struck terror into people's hearts. the only little downer is the revised cover art, which metal blade used for their cd re-release from 2013. the original candlelight records release cover would have been cooler. on the other hand the vinyl colour looks sharp. 300 copies on tan marble a.k.a. "pale violet marbled" vinyl. metal blade. 2017.

Freitag, 29. September 2017

the dillinger escape plan - one of us is the killer

since i got into this musical entity of complexity and since i snagged two full length releases of them so far, i am always on the look-out for the rest of dillinger's output. these days i do not try to chase down a band's back catalogue as fast as possible, i won't rush things. there is simply too much stuff to buy and good things come to those who wait. in this case i was caught by surprise more than anything else. one day i got a message from a good friend with a picture of his copy of "one of us is the killer".
he said he just bought it in a record store with a voucher plus the store had a discount on all its items. these factors made for a pretty good deal on the record. the version he got sells for an average amount of round about thirty bucks on discogs and he snagged it for under the half of it. we got to talk a bit about the band and their unique sound and how we admire their innovativeness. but why am i telling you this? because the same good friend sent me another message a few hours later.
it contained a link to the german impericon shop and there it was: "one of us is the killer" brand new and on fancy white splatter vinyl for 9,99€. how could this be? a record that usually sells for at least the triple, still available after four years of its initial release and for a friggin' tenner. i don't know what's wrong with people but i threw this sucker in my cart as quick as i could and thanks to a friend i am now the proud owner of a shining copy of the dillinger escape plan's fifth album release. and what a strong record it is.
despite all complexity, all chaotic rhythms the band managed to even sound catchy in those moments. the actually real catchy and pop melodies among the chaos bring the second core element into their unique sound. check it out here. you won't be disappointed. the presentation is very elaborate. everything follows a black and white colour scheme. it all makes perfectly sense and feels valuable. sturdy sleeve and dust sleeve, insert in poster size, cd in slip sleeve and 180g white with black splatter vinyl. i have an euro pressing on heartwork music which is or was an imprint of bmg music. it was actually released on sumerian records and the band's own label party smasher inc. 2013.

Montag, 25. September 2017

arch enemy - will to power

i had some troubles with ordering a copy of arch enemy's new record, called "will to power". when pre-orders went live at some point in mid july, there were numerous options to choose from. there were also some box set editions. i am usually not the box set type, unless it is for a band i really hold dear. as this was not the case with arch enemy but i was (and still am) listening a lot to their last full length "war eternal", so i did consider buying a copy. the emp exclusive looked good and so i ordered one.
it was supposed to come with a slipmat, a patch, additional 7" and loads of more stuff. additionally the colour-way, clear with red splatter, was exclusive to this edition. quite a cool package. "so why do the pictures show a different vinyl edition?", you might ask. well, one and a half week befor the actual release i got an e-mail from emp with the message that the wholesale wouldn't deliver the box set plus a refund of my money. fuck that! not bad enough i wouldn't get the box but it would also be pretty difficult to get any other limited colour edition so close to release date.
fortunately the home label, century media, had some copies on gold vinyl left. not my favourite colour-way but in combination with the gold foil ink from the cover, i thought it was ok. was the only option left anyway. fast forward a few days and i got another e-mail from emp, now stating that it was all a mistake, the box was of course available and i had a week to buy it back. oh man, i was thinking. should i buy it back, cancel the century media order and all that? too much hassle, i decided plus i already invested the rest of the refund in another record. what a pain.
what's "will to power" musically about? well, it's that melo death metal that i already knew from "war eternal" with a little difference - it is not as good as the predecessor. when they don't play after their usual recipe, they're great. songs like "first day in hell", "dreams of retribution" and especially "reason to believe" are so good. the rest is a bit dull in my eyes. we'll maybe it'll grow on me. the presentation is buisness as usual apart from the super duper booklet. loads of great artwork and real fun to read along to the lyrics. gold vinyl limited 300 copies. century media. 2017.

Dienstag, 19. September 2017

amon amarth - the crusher

another record from amon amarth's early days. "the crusher" is the band's third full length album from 2001. again the guys recorded their material at the abyss studios where peter tägtgren mixed and mastered it. the album was well recieved by fans and i can see why. it's fourty five minutes of all amon amarth stands for. if you know any stuff of the band and liked it, you can't go wrong with "the crusher". because of the really bad cover i was always sceptical about this album but with repeated listens, it may even attack the top position of "versus the world" in my personal ranking.
there are so many strong songs on this record, that i fail to name a favourite. check out "as long as the raven flies", "a fury divine" and "the fall through ginnungagap" for some amon amarth melodic death metal supremacy. i bought my copy, just like the "once sent from the golden hall" copy of the last post, from the metal blade europe ebay store. for all of their amon amarth vinyl re-presses they sold a special ebay store exclusive version. all come on "flame" splattered vinyl, a clear orange with red splatter variant.
i opted for this edition because it is limited to 200 copies for "the crusher", whereas for "once sent..." and "the avenger" they were limited to 300 copies. in this case metal blade didn't stand true to the original pressing as the first press came on a double lp edition. still this re-issue looks super lovely. matte cardboard sleeve, a poster, cool custom metal blade dust sleeve and this nice colour-way. all hand-numbered with my copy being #72. metal blade records. 2001/2017.

Montag, 18. September 2017

amon amarth - once sent from the golden hall

continuing the recent re-press series of amon amarth complete back catalogue by metal blade with their first full length. "once sent from the golden hall" was already released in 1998. man, this is almost twenty years. the album itself is actually twenty years old because the first take was recorded in 1997 in stockholm's sunlight studios. the band wasn't satisfied with the end result and therefore looked for an improvement.
they found help in the person of peter tägtgren of hypocrisiy fame. at the time tägtgren was already a producer of renown throughout the metal world with his own abyss studios. amon amarth and tägtgren re-mixed andre-mastered album so it would meet the demands of the band. with a little delay "once sent from the golden hall" was unleashed in early 1998 via metal blade records.
the album wasn't a huge success but it put amon amarth on the map of the metal world. still the album recieved mostly positive reviews and is now considered a classic. musically i wasn't sure what i would get here. the earliest work of amon i know is "versus the world" (which i still consider their finest moment) and i somehow imagined their previous records to be musically not as well written as the stuff i knew.
that fear was washed away with the forst notes of the opening track "ride for vengeance". it's all there, the band's unique feeling for epic melodies, the groove-driven riffs and, of course, the viking lyrics. an absolutely rock solid debut with a few hits (check "friends of the suncross"). the re-press is part of the "original series"and thus is detailed replica of the initial lp version from '98 except the vinyl colour. 500 copies on orange black marble. metal blade. 1998/2017.

Samstag, 16. September 2017

thy art is murder - dear desolation

thy art is murder is one of those tech death metal bands that walk around with a deathcore label. beside the look of some band members there are no core elements in their sound at all. of course, there are breakdowns on this record but suffocation has breakdowns in their songs too and nobody would go as far as calling the new york death metal institution a deathcore band. anyway, whatever you want to call the sound of thy art is murder, the adjective "phenomenal" should always precede the genre description.
"dear desolation" is the fourth full length of this australian monster and the second for nuclear blast records. after the departure of vocalist cj mcmahon in december 2015 and his return in early 2017 the band released split lp and the song on that split promised great deeds. the new album has become an utterly dark and aggressive slab of technical death metal. there isn't too much change to "holy war", which is (still) good in my book. the guys have an unique feeling for the right mixture of groove, fast tech death assaults and apocalyptic melodies.
check out their impressive wall of sound with "the son of misery". nuclear blast came up with numerous vinyl editions. four american, three european and two australian versions are floating around. nuclear blast had two euro versions and one u.s., the latter of the three just looked lovely on merge vinyl. the artwork by german artist elrian kantor, who also worked for testament, hatebreed or crowbar, is a breathtaking oil on canvas piece. so a great package all around. 800 copies made. nuclear blast. 2017.

Montag, 11. September 2017

suffocation - ...of the dark light

when i discovered this new york death metal institution something like a year ago, their at the time most recent record "pinnacle of bedlam" was already three years old. therefore time for a new release was long overdue. so four years after the pinnacle there is now the dark light. when pre-orders went live at nuclear blast, i didn't jump at it immediately because i figured that the coloured versions wouldn't sell out that fast. i was right with that assumption, you can still buy all three european colour-ways from nuclear blast.
what actually took me so long to get a copy of "...of the dark light"? the album was released in early june but i pre-ordered the new thy art is murder record as well and included it to the order. so it wasn't until late august that i could unwrap the band's new masterpiece. musically this is more of the same suffocation brilliancy. they didn't change much in their trademark sound but to me it doesn't go out of style. technical and fast death metal with that special ingredient, which makes me initially think of no one else but suffocation.
listen to "your last breaths" and the mighty title track. clocking in a bit over thirty five minutes, this is a short and hefty kick to the head. great album overall. with "epitaph of the credulous" they have now re-recorded five of eight songs from "breeding the spawn" on their following albums. three to go for future releases. my vinyl edition comes on nice azure blue and looks classy. it must be the same technique they use for the solid gold and silver colour-ways. it's pretty shiny and has this distinct water-sign-like pattern around the centre. 300 copies made. nuclear blast. 2017.

Sonntag, 10. September 2017

kreator - flag of hate (u.s. edition)

three weeks ago i visited one of the nicest flea markets in my area. it took place in three old warehouses in a village a thirty minutes drive away. my mother in law told me about it and that there was a seller with over a few hundred used records. sounded good and when i was entering the hall and saw the stall with the vinyl, i rubbed my hands in gleeful anticipation. i waved kid and wife goodbye for the next hour and began flicking through the racks. next to some nice electric light orchestra and simon and garfunkel records, i came across a familiar looking band logo.
at such flea markets i usually pursue my passion for seventies and eighties pop and prog rock vinyl so i wasn't expecting any metal records here. the more i was surprised to find an early kreator record. as i am not familiar with the band's early stuff, i didn't really know what i was holding in hands here. i bought six records all together for twenty five bucks, so four euros and something per record. good deal. back home i searched discogs for some pressing information.
the e.p. was released in 1986 after their second full length "pleasure to kill" of the same year. it was actually produced to promote their tour with destruction and rage. the german version on noise records comes with the re-recorded song "flag of hate", which was already on the debut "endless pain", and two exclusive songs. i have the u.s. version on combat which is expanded by three additional track also taken from the first full length. the vinyl is in pristine condition, whereas the cover sleeve had seen better days. but for this price i won't complain. noise records. combat records. 1986.

Samstag, 9. September 2017

beastwars - s/t

beastwars is a stoner/doom metal band from new zealand and i stumbled upon them earlier this year because of their most recent album "the death of all things". it was actually released in 2016 already on destroy records. when i checked the kozmik artifactz store i came across the nice cover art and took a quick listen. i did like what i heard but i still didn't come around to order a copy. i forgot about the band in the coming months.
beastwars were brought back into my focus with an ebay auction for their debut full length from 2011. because i checked discogs for second hand prices and availability of their first two records, i knew that it would be tough to get them. that was why i couldn't let this opportunity slip through my fingers. it was one of those ten-days auctions, so i was pretty tensed when the day of the auction's end finally came.
thankfully i got the record for under fifteen bucks, which is quite a good deal in my book. when this beauty arrived and i dropped the needle on it for the first time, i was all satisfied. this self-titled album is the perfect mix of high on fire's stoner metal and crowbar's mighty sludge metal. together with vocalist matt hydes' whisky formed voice, the record makes for a very variable and unique listen. check it out here.
the presentation adds to the overall good impression. the unbelievably detailed artwork by nick keller, who also graced records of the black dahlia murder or horn of the rhino, is perfectly presented on a gatefold cover, which has some even nicer art on the inside. the vinyl comes on a lovely white with black marble colour pattern. it was part of the second press out of 200 copies. destroy records. 2011.

Dienstag, 5. September 2017

obscura - cosmogenesis

obscura have really left their mark on my musical horizon. i bought their latest full length "akróasis" when it was released last year and it quickly became one of my favourite records of the year plus it helped to kick start a tech death obsession i still cherish. almost exactly one year ago i bought my last piece of obscura vinyl - their odds and ends compilation "illegimitation". that left me with two records of the band still to chase down, which are "omnivium" and "cosmogenesis".
discogs was a dead end because the prices asked for both of the records are far from what i call reasonable. ebay was even worse. no auctions, just offerings with inflated buy-it-now prices. a seller had both records at hand and was lowering the price each time the auctions ended without anyone pulling the trigger. "omnivium" was pulled at fifty euros, i believe. when "cosmogenesis" was at fourty euros, another seller from germany offered his copy for thirty bucks. i was there to end this price battle and left the war zone with a record under my arm for an ok price.
"cosmogenesis" is prog/tech death metal perfection. a timeless piece of culminated musical craftsmanship. not one note is random, everything is so deliciously sophisticated. check it out and bow to the sheer superiority of obscura's "cosmogenesis". the first and to this date only pressing is out of 1000 copies. here is the breakdown: 100 copies on the obligatory clear vinyl, 400 copies on 180g black vinyl and 500 copies on this beautiful opaque blue vinyl. comes in a slip sleeve with printed dust sleeve and is looking sharp! relapse records. 2009.

Sonntag, 3. September 2017

converge - i can tell you about pain

at some point at the beginning of the year i read about converge working on new material to be released this year. as time went by without any informations of a recording process or similar, i began to doubt the actual release of a new album for this year. then, a few weeks ago, i got a message from a good friend with a screen shot from the converge facebook page, which showed a date in july.
when the day finally came, i was a little disappointed to see that all the buzz was about only a two song 7". i really hoped for a new full length but that wish should be fulfilled a bit later. nevertheless i ordered the 7" right away because it was a new converge piece of vinyl and this is reason enough for me. i ordered at kingsroad merch europe and they had an opaque blue version out of 1000 copies.
the first and name giving song "i can tell you about pain" is a typical fast and feedback induced outburst of converge venom the band is known for. whereas "eve" on the b-side is one of those fragile and desperate balladesque songs that show the other side of converge's sound cosmos. to me "eve" definitely lifts the silverware here. the sleeve has a metallic foil print all over it which made it difficult to photograph. nice teaser for the lp which i already pre-ordered. can't wait! deathwish inc. 2017.

Samstag, 2. September 2017

forming the void - relic

the second record i put into my cart at kozmik artifactz was the sophomore release by a doom/stoner band called forming the void. again the main aspects for my purchase were the cover art and the bands in the description the sound of "relic" was compared to. funnily the artwork bears resemblance to the hyborian cover. it was time for hooded guys in a space background, it seemed. the album was recommended for fans of baroness, torche and mastodon.
this meant two out of three (torche is not really my cup of tea) and was a strong sign for me to check this louisiana based four piece. the band has a hefty doom metal sound with some progressive and lengthy outbursts. definitely appealing to me. the price was very moderate and so i had no excuse not to add the record to the cart. you can check out the record via this link. kozmik artifactz has momentairly sold out on the lp but you can order directly from the source, lonestar records. the band's first album "skyward" from 2015 was self-released. initially the follow-up "relic" was a cd-only release on the italian label argonauta records.
the band actually always opted for a vinyl release but didn't have the right partner for a vinyl output. the problem was probably that "relic" is actually too long for a single vinyl release. round about fifty five minutes of music call for a double lp release and thus for increasing production costs. therefore forming the void dropped one song and changed the tracklist so that lonestar records from germany could press the material on a single lp. 500 copies pressed on coke bottle clear vinyl. lonestar records. 2017.