Montag, 31. Juli 2017

iron maiden - brave new world

"brave new world" was first encounter with the probably biggest metal band in the world. more exact it was the video clip for "the wicker man" which i saw on some music tv channel back in 2000. back then i couldn't appreciate let alone enjoy the musical impact of this british heavy metal band. it simply was not cool enough, not heavy enough, not hardcore enough. a few years later in the mid 00's i borrowed the cd from a friend but only the cd without the booklet and such. i listened to the album a few times and started to like the stuff that came from this tiny plastic disc.
nevertheless i couldn't get into it as much to check out more of iron maiden. too much metalcore and deathcore got in the way. fast forward ten years and i bought my first maiden vinyl record. in the meantime i broadened my metal horizon and now i see why this band was so successful throughout the world, because they are just that good. "seventh son of a seventh son", "piece of mind" and "somewhere in time" found their way onto my shelf and when re-issues of the whole back catalogue of the maiden was announced, i was excited for "brave new world".
i still have the cd lying around and definitely wanted a vinyl copy. the rsd version from last didn't make it into any shop within my reach and the hmv version was an u.k. exclusive. second hand prices for those are a pain in the ass and so i was glad when parlophone records a.k.a. warner music group finally pressed an accessible version for the european market. i ordered with and my copy showed up in pristine condition.
the record has lost nothing of its powerful atmosphere over the last seventeen years. the comeback of bruce dickinson really pushed the rest of the band to new musical hights. the powerful "the wicker man", the epic title track, the oriental "the nomad" or the galloping "out of the silent planet" are just a few examples of an album that has no flaws. all this pressed on 180g double black vinyl, coming in a glossy sleeve of thick cardboard and printed dust sleeves. maybe i'll reach out for some more of those re-pressings. parlophone records. 2017.

Samstag, 29. Juli 2017

summoner - beyond the realm of light

some new stoner metal in my collection. summoner is a band from the boston area an is around since 2011 if information is correct. they already have three albums out but somehow they have managed to elude me for the better part. i think it was during some e-shop surfing through the kozmik artifactz store, when a nice cover art cought my attention. i was intrigued by this dreamy picture of a mountain landscape and it made me want to check them out. after i listened to the first tunes of the album on the summoner's bandcamp page, i was sold already.
"beyond the realm of light" is summoner's third record. chunky riffs, fuzzed out guitars and vocals that reminded me of baroness' singer john dyer baizly. all in all it feels like a mixture of elder and said baroness with a little doom edge added, a combination you can't go wrong with. so of course i needed a vinyl copy of this piece. i checked some options and found a german seller on discogs who offered a coloured copy for a real good price.
the album was, as all summoner records to this point, released by magnetic eye records from the united states. they did some nice colour versions with the coolest being an obi strip edition but i didn't want to go the extra mile and order from the states. my baby blue inside bronze copy looks lovely in its own right. actually colour inside colour patterns work best with the main colour being a clear one. in this case you have to hold the record against the light to see the full effect. great match with the all around great art work. magnetic eye records. 2017.

Mittwoch, 26. Juli 2017

sepultura - roots (box set edition)

the last sepultura album of the set is the last album the band recorded with max cavalera. after an dispute with the rest of the band (mainly kisser) concerning gloria bujnowski and her declining managing qualities in the cause of the death of her son and max cavalera's step son dana wells, max left sepultura in bitterness. a dispute that max and igor compromised over a decade afterwards and which is still lingering between the older cavalera brother and kisser. but what came before one of the most renowned feud in metal was an album that set sepultura on the metal throne in the mid nineties. "roots" shook the earth and i think i can say without any exaggeration that sepultura's sixth full length is their most famous one.
back then in 1996 i was just exploring heavy music with rammstein's "sehnsucht" album i got on cd for christmas. korn came afterwards and i think it was in 1998 when i found "roots" in our local library. they had a few metal related albums on cd in their stock. i remember that i borrowed biohazard's "mata leao" and said "roots" cd. back in the days i listened to my cd's way more intensive because i just had a handful of them. "roots" was on heavy rotation. as soon as nu metal faded from my daily playlists in the early 00's, sepultura also disappeared. i probably didn't listen to this record for at least ten years, so i was quite excited to drop the needle on it.
after the first run-through of this re-press i was pretty underwhelmed. somehow "roots" didn't age well for me. i think with their previous records now being part of my metal canon, i only see how this drastic change in style is the complete opposite of what i learned to love in all the preceding records. a few more spins didn't help to change my feelings. but regardless of personal taste this re-issue looks lovely. i thought the double lp re-press from roadrunner and cargo records from 2011 was the only vinyl pressing of "roots" but there was actually a first press from 1996. as usual with this box set, this re-press is a detailed replica. the vinyl colour is perfect in combination with the cover art. even though i repeat myself this box is a pleasure for eyes and ears alike. give me more of them rhino! 2017.

Sonntag, 23. Juli 2017

sepultura - chaos a.d. (box set edition)

a mammoth release and probably this what they call a game changer. sepultura's "chaos a.d." saw a pretty strong progression of the sound the band developed on each of their preceding records. after "arise" was a huge success the band had all the freedom they wanted to record their fifth full length. the four-piece chose to work on "chaos a.d." in isolation and booked rockfield studios in south wales on the recommendation of producer andy wallace.
"arise" already emphasised the new groove element in the sound of sepultura and "chaos a.d." took this to the next level. next to pantera they became leaders of a new artificial genre called groove metal. the cavaleras, kisser and paulo jr. more and more left their classic thrash metal path and incorporated more hardcore punk, the already mentioned groove and of course the tribal instruments and percussions. "chaos a.d." became a big surprise box with so many ideas somehow linked together and making it sound as if made from one piece.
hardcore influenced stuff like "biotech is godzilla" greets songs like the hypnotic industrial mantra "we who are not as others", the lovely new model army cover "the hunt" or the instrumental "kaiowas". the latter song was recorded in the ruins of the chepstow castle. because there was no roof even some seagulls can be heard. i can't imagine that they got permissions to record music in the monumental protected ruins back then. anybody knows something?
the re-press is made from the first european pressing this time under the name of the mother label roadrunner records. the colour-way of the vinyl is a clear blue with light green splatter. the splatter pattern looks a bit odd. unusual tiny dots instead of streaks, looks cool anyway. someone at rhino really spent some thoughts on matching the vinyl colours to the cover artworks of the records. another great re-issue in this overall great box set. five down, one to go. rhino records. 2017.

Mittwoch, 19. Juli 2017

sepultura - arise (box set edition)

arguably the band's most loved album among long time fans. "beneath the remains" set the tone and "arise" is the manifestation of each band member's talents molded into one metal masterpiece. the album was an instant classic. it recieved great reviews in magazines worldwide and achieved platinum sales throughout the world after one year after its release. roadrunner granted a way higher budget for the production of "arise" and so sepultura went to record their first full length outside of brazil. morrisound in florida was the destination where a lot of famous death metal records were recorded when the genre peaked in the late eighties and early nineties.
bands like suffocation, deicide, obituary or atheist got their sound polished in the studios - the place to be for an uprising metal band at the time. with the budget sepultura took their time to prepare and perfect the sound before they recorded. time well spent, "arise" sounds really forceful. musically a lot of new elements found their way into the sepultura cosmos. more groove oriented drumming and riffing, experimental song-writing and those tribal percussions which will increase in future sound of the band. "arise" is a fantastic record on all accounts. i love the progression from album to album even if it meant the band released records i can't relate to anymore - a little foretaste of the "roots" record - but there was never stagnation.
still "beneath the remains" is my favourite album but "arise" ranks damn close to it. i almost feel ashamed that i never listened to those records before i bought this box. this rhino re-press comes in the shape of the first european roadracer pressing from 1991. again everything looks pretty much the same. love that. the vinyl colour is well chosen. although i don't really like solid gold vinyl, i can't deny that it matches the iconic cover art by michael whelan very good. rhino records. 2017.

Montag, 17. Juli 2017

sepultura - beneath the remains (box set edition)

sepultura's breakthrough album was the first one initially released on roadrunner records. with the international distribution and this killer album up their sleeve, sepultura gained a lot of recognition and many positive reviews especially in europe where the first records weren't recieved well. actually roadrunner wasn't really convinced of the sale potential when they signed the band and so the label granted a relatively small budget which even doubled in the process of recording. little did roadrunner know that "beneath the ashes" would become a thrash classic which sold over 600.000 copies and was listed among the top twenty thrash records of all time by u.k. metal magazine terrorizer.
concerning my personal taste i can only praise it with the same superlatives like the music press did. this album is pure gold from first to last tune. the musical development in all departments is remarkable. "schizophrenia" sounds like the band had yet to find themselves. instead of trying to sound like the big bands of the genre, "beneath the remains" shows a group of grown musicians with better understanding for each other and a clear idea of what their very own sound was going to be like. check out the whole thing here.
the re-press is, just like "schizophrenia", a detailed re-work of the european roadracer pressing from 1989. rhino chose a clear orange colour-way for "beneath the remains" and i can only congratulate to this decision. works quite well with the cover art by michael whelan. the artwork is famous because it wasn't originally planned for the album. the artwork by whelan the band actually chose was given to obituary's "cause of death" by the label. the printed insert for this re-press is one-sided with a blank back. i wonder if this was the case with the original pressing. couldn't find any pictures. rhino records. 2017.

Sonntag, 16. Juli 2017

sepultura - schizophrenia (box set edition)

sepultura's second full length "schizophrenia" was, like "morbid visions" and the split with overdose, released on cogumelo records and came out in 1987. it seems that cogumelo released the album only for the south american market. later on the album got a few pressings on different labels, for example shark records from germany, but it was never fully distributed internationally. as i already stated in the preceeding post, sepultura was signed to roadrunner in 1989 for the release of "beneath the remains". a year afterwards roadrunner re-released "schizophrenia", this time on an international scale.
by the time it was re-released on cd, cassette and vinyl. there are a few cd and cassette pressings under the imprints of r/c records and roadracer records and also under the name of the mother label itself. why roadrunner worked with these different imprints i really cannot say. i read that they used roadracer in the states to avoid name right problems with the comic character roadrunner from the looney tunes but that doesn't explain r/c records. anyway, this box set version is a detailed re-press of the european pressing from 1990 on the roadracer imprint.
besides a sticker on the cover advertising the re-mastered album and the bonus track "troops of doom" (a re-recorded version from "morbid visions") and few legal informations in the fine print, this rhino re-press looks like it came out twenty seven years ago. of course it is the easiest way for rhino to keep this re-press as close to the blue prints from the roadrunner archives as possible but this suits me just fine. i love my re-press that way. even the printed dust sleeve comes on standard paper quality that feels so eighties and not with a glossy finish which is common these days.
musically the sound improved quite a lot in comparison to "morbid visions", the production is sharper. the songs are still that early slayer and metallica influenced thrash metal with a few excurses into the realm of death metal here and there. an important event for the future of sepultura was the joining of andreas kisser as lead guitarist for "schizophrenia". nevertheless sepultura's sophomore album remains to be the one i like the least. a shame because the vinyl colour used here is the slickest in my opinion. a lovely baby blue which reveals its marble effect held against the light. rhino records. 2017.

Freitag, 14. Juli 2017

sepultura - morbid visions (box set edition)

the first lp of the set is "morbid visions" from 1986. it is the band's debut full length released by brazilian label cogumelo records. it was recorded in belo horizonte during a seven day session. i never listened to any songs beforehand and wasn't expecting too much from this release. after a few spins i find myself rather enjoying it. of course, the production sounds a bit thin, max cavalera's vocal performance sounds quite untrained, the artwork is hilarious and the lyrics immature but the whole album is so full of energy.
you can really feel that they wanted to record some bad ass metal and hit as hard as possible. no fancy production, a small budget but the sheer enthusiasm of teenagers recording their first real album. this is probably what i like the most about this record. it's not really the music itself but the vibes it transports. one can tell these four brazilians had a strict slayer diet but a few death metal hints are to be heard as well. roadrunner actually re-released the album for the first time in 1990 on cd.
back then they were already part of the roadrunner roster for one year and "beneath the remains" had been released in 1989. as for the rest of this box set re-pressings rhino records stood absolutely true to the original editions, this one is the exception. everything is identical to the roadrunner vinyl re-pressing (out on the sub-label r/c records) from 1991 except of the centre labels. they seem to be the ones used for the polysom re-issue from 2013. strange because i couldn't find any explanation how this came to be. anyway, love the inclusion of "bestial devastation", the band's side of a split shared with overdose. it's pretty raw and i like it even a bit more than "morbid visions". clear red with black splatter vinyl. rhino records. 2017.

Mittwoch, 12. Juli 2017

sepultura - the roadrunner albums: 1985-1996

when this thing came out in january this year i was thinking if i should buy meself a copy. to be honest, i was never the biggest sepultura fan. i know their "roots" album from the mid-nineties because anyone who was slightly interested in metal back then knows that record, and i know their "chaos a.d." record from 1993 of which i bought a re-press five years ago. that's that. never listened to any pre-nineties sepul albums let alone any post max cavalera stuff. therefore i wasn't sure if i wanted to invest round about one hundred bucks into this box set. it drifted a bit out of my focus the coming months. in march i read a string of posts of sean and his skullfuckery blog.
he wrote about his box set and when i saw the pictures my interest grew. still other stuff was more important. finally this month the time was right for the sepultura box set and me. it helped that i found a copy in a media markt electronic store in neumünster on a trip with the wife and kid. with this physical copy in front of me and a good price tag on it, i couldn't deny it anymore. after i examined it closely i came to the following conclusions. the box set is more or less a re-press of a cd box set which roadrunner released in 2013. it was part of a series called "the complete roadrunner collection". the label released cd box sets of a handful of bands which had most of their discography put out by roadrunner. back then it didn't include the "morbid vision" record which thankfully has now been added.
this new release sees all the titles re-pressed on vinyl and for the first time all on colour vinyl. the label responsible for the re-issue is rhino records. since 2006 roadrunner records belongs to warner music and is part of one of the three major labels in the music business (sony music and universal music being the other two). after a little research i found out that rhino records also belongs to warner, so there was no licensing process. all just warner re-warming archive material. i love the kick of nostalgia anyway. maybe rhino re-presses some more of the "complete roadrunner collection". i would love to see some obituary or fear factory box sets. the slip sleeve looks a bit too simple in layout but the records make up for that. although sean already posted about every single record, i will do the same in the coming days because it's what i do. so stay tuned for some classic brazilian metal coming your way. rhino records. 2017.

Dienstag, 11. Juli 2017

inanimate existence - a never-ending cycle of atonement

after i bought the third full length of inanimate existence called "calling from a dream" there was no doubt that i also needed their other stuff on vinyl. in 2014 this technical death metal band from california released their sophomore album going by the name of "a never-ending cycle of atonement". back then unique leader records didn't feel it was necessary to give it the vinyl treatment. fortunately this mindset changed a year later. again ebay was my source for unique leader vinyl.
commercial seller dodax had a few copies in stock and i gladly took one. one and half week later i was the proud owner of a lovely white with blue splatter vinyl copy of "a never-ending cycle of atonement". musically this one is more raw in comparison to "calling from a dream". the female vocals are almost non-existing and the dark ambient melodies which gave the last album a little goth touch are not as prominent on "a never-ending cycle...".
all this doesn't hinder this record in being a great tech-death album, it simply makes it a little less unique. but you may check for yourself via this link. the presentation is the usual way unique leader handles their releases. a slip sleeve and a printed dust sleeve with further information. the cover artwork by guang yang is amazing and together with the lovely vinyl colour it is the perfect combination. don't know how many have been made. unique leader records. 2014/2015.

Sonntag, 9. Juli 2017

exist - so true, so bound

i don't write any best of year lists but if i did, "so true, so bound" would be a strong contender to make the top three. this thing pretty much came out of the blue. but let us start with the beginning. i am subscribed to the prosthetic records mailing list and at some point in may i was informed about the coming full length of a band called exist. never heard of them before. driving force behind exist is max phelps. he is the voice of the death tribute band death to all and played in cynic. these two bands run deep in the musical veins of phelps.
after i listened to "so true, so bound" a couple of times i would summerise the sound of exist as a sophisticated mixture out of death and cynic. take the progressive death metal of later era death and season it with the melodical atmosphere of cynic and you get a fair idea of what exist sound like. the album is demanding but equally rewarding when you give it a little time to fully unfold. check out the video to "take my picture" and witness the band's take on today's presentation of self via social media.
i really like the sound on this album. not as polished as most technical death metal records but still very forceful. love the bass in the mix in particular. hannes grossmann of ex-necrophagist and ex-obscura fame provided the drum play and bobby koelble who is also part of the death to all project and was part of the legendary line-up of death's "symbolic" record lended is talent on "to sever the strings". so loads of metal fame on here.
i ordered my copy via emp mailorder. the description said nothing about the colour-way and the mock-up picture showed a single black vinyl copy. on the prosthetic record store i was able to find only double colour vinyl and so i assumed emp just had scarce information and therefore used a standard procedure in showing the item as single black vinyl. i took the gamble because it was also priced as a single lp and it paid off. lovely light blue marble vinyl matching the artwork perfectly. a masterpiece through and through. prosthetic records. 2017.

Mittwoch, 5. Juli 2017

hatesphere - ballet of the brute

sometimes things just fall into place. a little after i snagged a colour vinyl re-press of the fourth hatesphere record "the sickness within", scarlet records announced a re-issue of my favourite and the band's third full length "ballet of the brute". technically speaking this is the first press of the album because it never got the vinyl treatment in the first place. a shame scarlet records didn't press any colour vinyl but this is really just a second rate complaint because the album looks lovely on black gold.
"ballet of the brute" was released in 2004 and i was already a fan of the band. my uncle and his band isolated had a good rapport with hatesphere vocalist jacob bredahl. also my aunt was booking shows back then and so bredahl's hardcore band barcode played the local venue a couple of times and so did hatesphere in support of their 2002 album "bloodred hatred". via my family connection i met the singer at a show in braunschweig which hatesphere played with cataract. because of me being the kid (i was innocent eighteen back then) i got a shirt and cd from jacob. i felt pretty cool that evening.
so owning this gem finally on vinyl brings back some real fond memories of a time when listening to hardcore and metalcore was pretty much all i really cared for. hatesphere with their thrash metal/death metal mix were not particularly part of that genre but they played a lot of shows with bands with hardcore background and so fitted quite well. the album aged really good and is still a scorcher without any weakness to me. check it out and bang that head. cannot say how many have been pressed. scarlet records. 2004/2017.

Dienstag, 4. Juli 2017

integrity - those who fear tomorrow (tan vinyl)

over a year ago i got myself a copy of integrity's first album called "those who fear tomorrow". back then i didn't want to wait for a cooler copy coming my way and so i ordered a clear blue copy hassle-free from per koro records. although it was convenient to obtain this record, i wasn't completely satisfied and still needed to get an opaque coloured version of former pressings. the reasons were many. first of all those earlier pressings came with a gatefold cover with excerpts of visual work of hieronymus bosch on the inside taken from the dutch east india trading cd version.
that looks very apocalyptic and really works well with the album title. the second reason was all the invisible ink that kind of became a trademark detail for any integrity record done by organized crime records. unfortunately the clear blue re-press didn't have any. the third reason was the vinyl colour. opaque pink or tan colour vinyl looked especially tempting. in the end i snagged this tan copy from a seller from germany and re-invested the money i got from the sale of my clear blue copy.
the album itself is another reason for my preference of the early integrity material. what a timeless mixture of hardcore, thrash and death metal. "systems overload" is still my favourite record of integ but the debut ranks pretty close to it. my tan copy is out of 400 copies pressed of the second organized crime pressing for this album. i love the marble effect of this colour pattern. originally released in 1991 on overkill records. organized crime records. 2010.