Samstag, 30. Dezember 2017

cryptopsy - none so vile

the third and final record of this pleasing order at animate records is the second cryptopsy full length release called "none so vile". it was the band's first album for the new label wrong again records from sweden. it was unleashed in 1996 and was singer dan greening's farewell record. the farewell turned out to be just a hiatus before he returned in 2005 for "once was not".
again the record is extremely intense. the high level of technicality keeps this release relevant. a timeless piece which doesn't feel like being over twenty years old already. the only little weakness to me are the vocals again. no problem that they are a bit one-dimensional but still they are so hard to understand. this time the quality of the songs outgun the imperfection of the vocal performance. check out the whole record here. it isn't a fan favourite for nothing.
wrong again records didn't press the album to vinyl. still their cd version has quite a value among collectors (thirty to fourty bucks is considerable). it wasn't until 2005 until emetic records came up with a compilation release, combining "blasphemy made flesh" and "none so vile". in 2012 war on music finally gave the album the single vinyl treatment it deserved. this is a re-press from last year on clear orange vinyl out of 200 copies. war on music. 2016.

Donnerstag, 28. Dezember 2017

cryptopsy - blasphemy made flesh

cryptopsy and me wasn't love at first sight. the first time i heard of them was via lenny's blog the emerging addiction. back then i wasn't interested. my musical taste evolved since then and i began to dig into the history of extreme metal. at the moment i obsess over early death metal releases. "blasphemy made flesh" was released in 1994, a time where death metal was right in the process of declining after a peak in the late eighties and early nineties. cryptopsy went down a more extreme path.
the band played a highly technical demanding and challenging brand of death metal. after i re-visited lenny's blog and came across cryptopsy for a second time i checked out some tunes on the tube. i still wasn't sold but found it interesting at least. when i was browsing through the animate records mailorder looking for a record to add to the benediction lp, i thought it was good idea to finally give it a go. "blasphemy made flesh" is a rock solid piece of technical death metal. great song structures, fast and slow in a good mix (more fast than slow) and some great melodies.
the only thing i find a bit bothering is the voice of vocalist dan greening a.k.a. lord worm. it is so incrompehensible that sounds like cloudy barking and that sucks at times. listen for yourself. animate had a black friday deal going on and so i paid twenty percent off the regular price, which was decent already. a steal in my book. i am happy that i snagged a war on music records pressing. they come in a single sleeve instead of a gatefold sleeve like hammerheart records pressed them a year ago. heavy clear vinyl out of 250 copies. war on music. 2015.

Dienstag, 26. Dezember 2017

benediction - transcend the rubicon

christmas is still upon us and i finally found a bit spare time to listen to some music. i got a bunch of new and cool records for christmas which scream for some attention. it's nothing too special but very nice nevertheless. i'll write about them in due time. now to a record a obtained at the beginning of the month. benediction's third full length "transcend the rubicon". it is widely acknowledged as their crowning work and i can only agree to that opinion.
musically this is precise old school death metal from a time period where death metal already began to decline in poularity. "transcend the rubicon" was released in 1993 and by the mid-nineties the metal world got tired of this form of extreme metal. only when newer bands began to include fragments of other metal genres or even different musical styles into their sound, death metal came back. this benediction record is as mentioned before pure old school death metal and therefore pure gold to me in the moment.
i frequently visit ebay the past weeks to catch some early nineties death metal gems. unfortunately these records can be some real pain from a price point of view. that is why i also buy some good re-issues when they are made in the fashion of the first pressings. in this case original white vinyl copies of "transcend the rubicon" on nuclear blast sell for a shitload of money. the last one on ebay went for over eigthty bucks. too much for me.
when i visited germany's d.i.y. death metal label animate records i came across a nice re-press of this great album from 2016. cosmic key creations from the netherlands did a very nice re-press that is real close to the original. beside of new centre labels and a minimal change in font on the back cover, this one is an exact replica. the cover of dan seagrave is absolutely sick. the best work of him in my humble opinion. 500 copies made. cosmic key creations. 2016.

Mittwoch, 20. Dezember 2017

benediction - the grand leveller

the next nineties death metal record in my collection. this time it is about the second benediction full length "the grand leveller". benediction was a band from birmingham, england. i am not to one hundred percent sure if the band called it quits but since the last activities on their facebook page are dated over a year ago and the last album is almost ten years old, i think it is ok to state them dead and gone. they released a string of great death metal records from 1990 to 1993 and this is the one in between.
"the grand leveller" was released by nuclear blast records, like all their full lengths before and thereafter. it's a great pummeling piece of death metal and added to the success of the predecessor "subconscious terror". like all the classic benediction records, "the grand leveller" doesn't come cheap. doesn't matter if you want the re-press from 2010 or the original pressing. as i was out for the original i came across many high-priced offerings. some with astronomic price tags and none of which i wanted to pay the money asked for.
then i stumbled upon an ebay buy-it-now offering with a reasonable price tag. the pictures showed a cover and printed dust sleeves which had seen better days but the record seemed to be in a good shape. i still hesitated because it would mean a compromise. when the seller lowered his price, i was ready to compromise and am happy with the decision. yepp, the cover lived the rock'n'roll dream but the record is in a very good condition and this is what counts. love the old nuclear blast centre labels of the vinyl. nuclear blast. 1991.

Dienstag, 19. Dezember 2017

morbid angel - blessed are the sick

after i luckily won an ebay auction for an early pressing of the first morbid angel full length "altars of madness", a hunting fever within me broke loose. i fully immersed myself in early nineties death metal. especially in earache records and roadrunner records stuff. the problem is that those first pressings tend to be on the expensive side. so i searched obsessively several sources for metal vinyl on the internet. one option was ebay kleinanzeigen. it is a subsidiary of ebay and is actually for local advertisements but some of the sellers do ship their offerings as well.
so i found this seller from berlin who had a few interestings bits and among them there was "blessed are the sick" from morbid angel. it is the band's second full length and was released in 1991 on earache. after the seller confirmed that he had a first press to offer, we wrapped up a deal and a few days later my copy arrived at my doorstep. musically this album got slower and chunkier in riffs. i really like that. especially the opener "fall from grace" and the title track "blessed are the sick" are unbelievably strong.
the b-side unfortunately can't really hold up to the a-side but three out of six songs are re-recorded material from their 1986 demo "abominations of desolation". the original pressing comes in a slip sleeve instead of the gatefold of the re-issue. i prefer this version because the gatefold shows a picture of the band. mehh, give me some new artwork or something but i don't need a picture of the dudes all over the gatefold inner. the cover artwork looks really sinister and is a painting crafted by painter and occultist jean delville entitled "le trésors de satan" (the treasures of satan). earache records. 1991.

Freitag, 15. Dezember 2017

the black dahlia murder - miasma

the black dahlia murder's second full length is one of those i waited for a re-issue for quite some time. original copies of "miasma" sell for an average of 190€ over at discogs and therefore it was clear to me that i would have to wait for a re-press. somehow it wouldn't come. i saw "nocturnal" being re-pressed, saw "unhallowed" and even "deflorate" being re-pressed but no sign of "miasma". even though the sophomore album of detroit's finest is a fan's favourite, metal blade persistently neglected it.
a month or so before when i checked the emp mailorder pre-order section, i came across the long overdue re-press of this great album. indeed, it took me nothing more than seconds to take the coolest colour variation and proceed the check-out. musically "miasma" is definitely among my dahlia murder top four (together with "nocturnal", "ritual" and "everblack") and it was the first album of them i got into. i remember that a good friend in school passed me "unhallowed" and "miasma" on cd. while "unhallowed" left me underwhelmed at first listen (i drastically changed my mind about that) "miasma" was an instant hit.
so, twelve years after its release, "miasma" didn't lose a bit of its ferocious brilliancy. thankfully metal blade stood pretty true to the initial pressing from 2005. artwork on front and back of the cover, the lyric sheet and the vinyl centre labels - all stayed the same. the only little change is the label logo with skull and swords. the vinyl colour i snagged was limited to 200 copies and is one of the most limited configurations. that clear with multi-colour splatter looks sharp. metal blade. 2005/2017.

Montag, 11. Dezember 2017

the black dahlia murder - nocturnal (tenth anniversary press)

back in 2013 i bought the long overdue first european vinyl press of the black dahlia murder's third full length "nocturnal" from 2007. it was a nice edition with clear blue/black smoke vinyl out of 500 copies. in the meantime inflated second-hand prices for this edition had been asked and payed. usually i tend to keep my stuff but this time it was different. i obsessed over a bolt thrower record for which i needed some cash.
so i searched my collection for something valuable i could let go of. if it wasn't for the occasion of the tenth anniversary re-press of "nocturnal", i would have never sold my initial copy. a nice dude from the states actually payed a hundred bucks for it. wow, i never considered to pay that much money for a single record myself so it felt strange that someone else thought it was worth that much cash. anyway, in the end i didn't get the bolt thrower record i wanted but a few other gems instead, but this will be a different story.
what i did get to balance the loss of my first press "nocturnal" copy was this lovely new edition by metal blade records. there are a few differences to the first press. the first is that the anniversary press comes with a lyric sheet and a custom paper dust sleeve instead of a printed dust sleeve. layout-wise the lyric sheet is a replica of the printed dust sleeve from the first press. the second change isn't visible at first glance.
metal blade chose not to end the a-side with the title track but with "deathmask divine" (so now six songs on the a-side and four on the b-side).a good choice in my book because it prevents the harsh cut after "nocturnal". notably metal blade forgot to change the tracklist on the back cover, so i was a little surprised when i heard "deathmask divine" on side a. the vinyl colour is a real looker. love the different shades in different lights. 300 copies made. metal blade records. 2007/2017.

Mittwoch, 6. Dezember 2017

bolt thrower - the IVth crusade

i am on a bolt thrower kick as of late. after i got the band's third full length on ebay and the re-press of their second album "realm of chaos" via some bonus points from nuclear blast, i was searching their discography for more stuff i might be interested in. as i cannot relate to bolt thrower's obvious war affinity, "war master" and especially "realm of chaos" appealed to me because of their lyrical and graphical connection to the warhammer tabletop game. very nerdy but i love nerd stuff. "the IVth crusade" had something different to offer.
as the album title clearly indicates the lyrical theme is loosely based on the fourth crusade from 1202 until 1204. a very interesting historic topic. this made me want the record. luckily earache just put up pre-orders for a new re-press on silver vinyl. the price and shipping from the u.k. were very moderate and so i didn't ask twice and ordered a copy. musically this is absolutely bulldozing mid-tempo death metal. the band incorporated an even doomier sound which i like very much.
now it is obvious to me from where a lot of european metalcore bands from the early 00's took their influences. bands like heaven shall burn, born from pain or cataract have some strong bolt thrower references in their sound. the presentation by earache is very nice. not because of innovative or high quality packaging but because of doing the re-press in the same fashion as the first press from 1992. the great cover shows "the entry of the crusaders in constantinople" by eugène delacroix. silver vinyl for the 25th anniversary and out of 500 copies. earache records. 1992/2017.

Dienstag, 5. Dezember 2017

metal massacre ten

the record of today's post isn't a special one by any means and i didn't even pursued the purchase. it kind of fell into my hands. i like to go on flea markets in my area and seek seventies and eighties pop, prog rock stuff. very rarely there is anything metal related among the second hand vinyl. if so, it is mostly ac/dc and they are more hard rock than metal. so when i come across something for a good price, i don't hesitate to grab it.
in this case a friend and me were working our ways through a pile of assorted records. he came up with a nice bruce springsteen lp and i found this metal massacre number ten. i knew that metal blade records were releasing these compilations and that some famous bands had their first appearances here. do i hear metallica anywhere? when i looked for the tracklist, there was not one band that sounded familiar but for measly four bucks i figured it could do no harm to take it.
after i spun the album i understood why no band sounded familiar. there is just pretty average stuff to be found here. beside of two bands none of them got past the one full length mark. after all i won't spin this very often but i think it is cool to have, especially in that fine condition. only the printed dust sleeve looks a bit worn, cover sleeve and vinyl are in great condition. the songs for the comp were chosen from mid 1988 to early 1989. the record itself was released in early 1990. metal blade records.

Sonntag, 3. Dezember 2017

bolt thrower - realm of chaos re-issue

the first press of this bolt thrower album became my white whale in the bygone weeks. i am still out on the sea, standing in my boat with a harpoon in my hand and waiting for the great fish to appear out of the deep. to scratch the itch just a bit, this re-press copy fell into my lap. i order at nuclear blast records quite regularly. for every item i buy at nb i get some bonus points, those are called blasts. because i am a bronze customer by now i get the double amount of blasts for each item.
the bottom line of the story is that i had some bonus points to burn and ordered a copy of "realm of chaos" for the shipping costs. so i finally have the tunes on vinyl, this will make the waiting time for a first press copy more bearable. in most cases i don't have any problems with re-issues. they serve a great purpose by making music which is high in demand accessible without paying over the odds. things are different with this one here. i am not a fan of different artwork to the original pressing. i can live with changes on the cover, layout, bonus tracks or the amount of vinyl discs but a changed cover artwork is a killer.
earache had a problem when they wanted to re-press the album in 2012. the original release was a joint venture release with games workshop. the inventors of the warhammer tabletop game liscensed artwork for "realm of chaos" and sold copies directly through their stores. the liscence for the art run out in 2002 and wasn't prolonged. so earache was forced to come up with something new. it's ok for what it is but i definitely need an original press of this release. the music itself is great and i will dive further into the matter when i write about the first press. clear vinyl as a nuclear blast exclusive out of 500 copies. earache records. 1989/2017.

Donnerstag, 30. November 2017

morbid angel - altars of madness

that "war master" record from bolt thrower which i got from ebay a few weeks before, kind of kick started a new obsession. early nineties death metal. in a way i was already riding this wave with the constant re-issues of the death back catalogue by relapse records and the early suffocation records re-issued by listenable records. but this time it hit me with full spead ahead. i was digging into the early bolt thrower stuff and from that point into the early earache records releases and then into the roadrunner records death metal heyday. so many cool stuff. i also recognised pretty quick that original pressings from that time don't come cheap.
ebay had a lot of early nineties death metal to offer in the last weeks and so, among many outbids, i was able to snag a very nice version of morbid angel's debut full length "altars of madness". morbid angel are one of the originators of the florida death metal sound that was swapping the earth at the time. this album however still has a good portion of slayer thrash in the mix. the band really found their style on the follow-up "blessed are the sick". that fact doesn't compromise my appreciation for"altars of madness" a bit. i enjoy it all the way through. check out this rager here.
this copy isn't a first press. the record was released in 1989 and around 1991 and 1992 earache re-pressed some crucial titles of their back catalogue on nice white splatter vinyl. today this colour-way would surely be named marble vinyl but anyway, it looks absolutely lovely. i scored this baby for way under the going rate on discogs but popsike told me that the price wasn't unusual considering the more recent auctions on ebay. whatever, i am more than happy with the condition of the vinyl in particular. there is something about those early pressings, i will try to get more classics. love those tasks, it makes collecting real fun. 2000 copies made. earache records. 1989/1991.

Dienstag, 28. November 2017

gojira - from mars to sirius (cream/black merge)

did i really need this re-press of my favourite gojira record "from mars to sirius"? obviously i did not because i already own a nice clear with white and orange splatter variant from two years ago. but when i saw these nice new colour-ways go up for pre-order i couldn't resist.
the merge variant looked just too delicious. unlike the merge copy for "the way of all flesh" i ordered "from mars to sirius" from emp mailorder. they had serious delivery issues and so my record arrived way later than "the way of all flesh" which i ordered directly from listenable records.
so really not much to say about this one. musically this is easily my favourite of this french band. when the first tunes of "ocean planet" kick in, i am in another world. a perfect melange of progressivity, rhythm, melody and heaviness. check out the heaviest matter of gojira in its entirety.
listenable records printed this album for the sixth time by now. nothing special, you say, considering the album was released in 2005. remarkable is that the first listenable press is from 2011. every year a new pressing and they sell quick. speaks for the quality of "from mars to sirius". 700 copies made. listenable records. 2005/2017.

Montag, 27. November 2017

atheist - jupiter

i really came to love my two atheist records i have on vinyl so far. "piece of time" and especially "elements" are unique, progressive and so beautifully sophistacted. among fans, their second record "unquestionable presence" seems to be their crowning work. as i was late to the re-press parties that season of mist threw in the past, i am always on the look-out for some new re-issues. i get all kinds of update mails from several distros and labels to not miss anything. when i got a mail from high roller records i was delighted to see the name atheist in the pre-order section. it wasn't the desired re-press of "unquestionable presence" but of "jupiter" instead. and it came on colour vinyl. a no-brainer.
"jupiter" is the band's fourth full length album which came out in 2010. so seventeen years after the band released their third record "elements". the guys are not the ones for quick decisions. after disbanding in 1994 they actually came back together in 2006 already. it took them another four years to come up with new stuff. anyway, the album is quite a good return. thankfully they didn't try to push things. they wrote eight songs without any fillers like intro or interludes (although i liked those interludes on "elements"). those eight songs are everything the band promised on their preceding three records, only without the surprising joy of playing of the nineties.
i think, this it what makes "jupiter" go pale compared to the old atheist stuff. you know what you will get. despite all complexity, atheist doesn't bring something unexpected to the table. but that's just what i would expect of a progressive band. in the end my view on "jupiter" is not as harsh as these words sound like. i still enjoy this album all the way through. a great prog death release. period. i wonder if it takes them another seventeen years for new tunes. seven years already down. fingers crossed. the re-press comes in a gatefold with a nice poster and transparent yellow vinyl out of 300 copies. season of mist records. 2010/2017.

Mittwoch, 22. November 2017

converge - the dusk in us

finally the new converge record is upon us. it took the band five years to come up with new material but if it is with this high level of creativity and artistic brilliancy, i have no problems with waiting another five years for the next record. a good friend, who shares the fascination for this boston based band, and me were eagerly awaiting the pre-orders going live for this full length. we already bought the teaser 7" at the same time and when he messaged me that pre-orders were up, we checked the possibilities. we wanted to keep shipping costs as low as possible, so an order from the states wasn't acceptable. the deathwish e.u. store had an opaque orange version but shipping was still pretty high due to the store being located in italy.
then it dawned on me that kingsroad merch europe would probably sell the epitaph exclusive version because they host the epitaph e-store. they did and as the store has its home here in germany shipping costs were reasonable. after almost two months of waiting, the record finally arrived. what can i say? it is a masterpiece through and through. maybe the scale turned a tiny bit in favour of the more melodic side of their work but the heavy and fast hardcore punk is still plenty. "the dusk in us" is so well balanced. i especially love the straight metal riffs at the end of the album in songs like "reptilian"or "cannibals".
new to this album is that jacob bannon does the complete clean singing. on previous albums a handful of guest singers did the job but bannon, probably trained by his side project wear your wounds, pulls it off flawlessly. the lyrical side of the album is amazing. so sophisticated, check "under duress" for example. the presentation is top notch like the rest. it comes with a fantastic holographic mirror board sleeve which represents all the rainbow vinyl colours of the first press. next thing is the outstanding thick booklet with wonderful artwork. beautiful! next to mastodon's "emperor of sand" converge's ninth full length is definitely the release of the year. period. 500 copies on yellow vinyl. deathwish inc. epitaph records. 2017.

Montag, 20. November 2017

bolt thrower - war master

bolt thrower and me had a long time coming. i heard the name thrown around quite often in combination with old heaven shall burn stuff and given the fact that i love old heaven shall burn stuff, i actually wanted to check them out way earlier. what always put me off was the obvious war affinity in lyrics and artwork. i could never share the fascination and think that wars should be an invention mankind got rid off long time ago and only discuss about the idiocy of it in school lessons. anyway, i still ended up with the band's second full length on some nice vinyl colour. how come? good question.
well, i watched a few bits on ebay on auction by the same seller. among his offerings were this copy of bolt thrower's "war master". albeit the cover looked absolutely cheesy and beyond, i was attracted to it. so i did a bit research about the band and found out that they loosely based their lyrics on the tabletop game warhammer. i am no player/worshipper by any means but i got introduced to the game in my teens by an old friend who was very enthusiastic about it. he gave me endless lectures about warhammer back then and i thought it was a cool game. i couldn't warm up with playing it because it was too tactical but i liked the idea of collecting those figures and painting them in your favoured fashion.
serious nerd stuff, and nerd stuff is something i can rely to very well. suddenly bolt thrower became very interesting. i finally listened to some stuff of "war master" and liked it. in the end this record was the only i succesfully bid on and i am really happy to have it. it is a re-press from 2013 and earache kept completely true to the original release from 1991. even the lyric booklet is included. i read that the lyrics were not warhammer related anymore but the artwork from the gatefold sleeve and booklet is obvioulsy leaned on warhammer fantasy and 40k. cool in a way, love the alice cooper warrior in the centre. musically this lovely old school mid-tempo death metal but you already know that. 200 copies on white with blue splatter vinyl. earache records. 1991/2013.

Samstag, 18. November 2017

shroud eater - strike the sun

save the best for last. the fourth record i ordered at kozmik artifactz is such a rager. shroud eater's debut full length was a little surprise box to me. i read about the album on the vinyl diaries blog and just thought that the artwork was looking cool. when i saw the record at kozmik, i gave it a shot just to see if i might be interested. as soon as "iron mountain" was through, i knew i needed this piece. what a crushing behemoth of a doom metal song.
the band is a three-piece consisting of two girls on bass respectively on guitar and a guy on drums. all three are also performing vocals on the recording which adds a touch of more diversity. the rest is sludgy doom metal of the heavy kind. another band that came to my mind several times while listening to shroud eater was the mighty conan. the ultra low tuned string instruments are pounding out riffs of biblical proportions and the heavy drumming continuously reverberates amongst the madness.
check out this scorcher in its entirety here. what i have here is the 'not so standard' edition on cream, red and brown swirl. at the time it was the only available option at kozmik. by now they added some copies of the hand-numbered obi-strip edition. too bad for me because they look pretty good. anyway, this swirl edition looks sharp as well and i think the it's the nicest of the pressing. the gatefold is graced with disturbing yet beautiful artwork which is printed partly with an uv effect. great presentation all around. 250 copies made. stb records. 2017.

Mittwoch, 15. November 2017

asg - win us over

the third record of my little haul from kozmik artifactz aptly is asg's (amplification of self-gratification) third full length "win us over". this is one of the records i am actually after for quite a while now but somehow lost track on it along the way. when i searched for the monolord record it was an accidental find. "win us over" popped up among the search results and i thought it was finally time for me to snag a copy.
the album was actually released in 2008 on volcom entertainment. i never heard of the label and thought volcom was just a clothing company. obviously the guys at volcom also had some interest in music. anyway, it wasn't until six years later in 2014 that relapse records produced the first vinyl pressing for "win us over". in the mean time the band moved to relapse and had already released their first full length for the label in 2013 ("blood drive").
"win us over" is a brilliant stoner record from start to finish. the band members had a strict queens of the stone age and kyuss diet, it seems. still asg knows how to throw their very own ingredients into the mix. they strongly lean to the metal end of the spectrum when the singer deals some harsh shouts here and there. but the most of the time asg plays some high-nod-rate stoner rock/metal with beautiful melodies. check out the full album here.
for their first vinyl press relapse subtly changed the colours of the cover background from red/yellow to purple. don't know why they thought this was a good idea. some legal problems with volcom? i mean, it's not a big deal, just seems so random and therefore unnecessary. anyway, it's still a good cover that screams stoner rock. the vinyl colour is very nice. i think for splatter colour patterns, white is the best main colour. lovely white with multi-colour splatter out of 800 copies. relapse records. 2014.