Montag, 30. Oktober 2017

cradle of filth - cryptoriana - the seductiveness of decay

the twelfth album of cradle of filth. pretty impressing number, especially when the numerous e.p's, compilations, dvd's and other odds and ends releases are not even taken into consideration. nevertheless i wasn't overly excited when the pre-orders went live. since "hammer of the witches" couldn't stand the test of time - great songs like "right wing of the garden tryptich" or "yours immortally" overshadowed a few weaker songs at first glance - my expectations weren't going through the roof.
when i finally ordered a copy, the album was even already released and i put it in the cart just because i had to make the order worthwhile with a second record. considering that the last real good cradle album was released almost ten years ago ("goodspeed on the devil's thunder") and that records without guitarist paul allender tend to suck - to be fair there are actually quite a few weak cradle releases that feature allender as well - chances for a return to form seemed faint. but these bad omens seemed to be all the band needed to prove me wrong.
oh boy, "cyrptoriana - the seductiveness of decay" is a rager all the way through. when i said that "hammer of the witches" could be good after a few spins (and came out to be "ok" in the end), all i needed was one run-through to recognise that this record was all i wanted from a cradle of filth piece. the song quantity was lowered, songs got lengthier and thus more complex and that seemed to be the trick. seven lengthy pieces of gothic horror - intense, fast, epic and heavy. check the single "heartbreak and seance".
lyrically there is no concept story line, just the theme of the victorian age of great britain to which the lyrics are loosely connected. still, these kind of short stories are a really interesting read and the perfect match for the fantastic music. the presentation is quite nice. standard gatefold with the obligatory band pic on the inside - just the second time in the over twenty five year long existence that cradle recorded two albums in a row with the same line-up - a fold-out insert with lyrics and further artwork and lovely black and white split vinyl out of 500 copies. nuclear blast. 2017.

Samstag, 28. Oktober 2017

death - individual thought patterns

the newest installment in the death album re-issue series by relapse records. "individual thought patterns" is the fifth death full length and was originally released in 1993 on relativity records. relapse learned from the past re-issues and was ready to unleash a shit-load of vinyl options for this one, so i tried to choose wisely from what source i should get a copy. when the "human" re-press was released it was the last record i ordered directly from the label in the states. in the meanwhile they opened an european store which will spare me undesired shipping costs in the future.
but for "individual thought patterns" relapse again pressed a german retail edition which, unlike the last editions, promised to come on some nice colour configuration. emp mailorder offered some copies and i was there for the taking. the record arrived clocklike and after the first listen i was blown away. the record is the perfect successor of "human". the jazzy feel to their compositions got explored further and the technical skills of mastermind schuldiner and his version of the band for this record are breathtaking.
you all probably already did but if not, then check this record out, now! relapse did an awesome job with this re-issue, like always. the label especially loves its cover foil prints for the re-pressings. nile had them and most death records have them too. i like it. the vinyl itself comes on sharp clear red with black and white splatter out of 500 copies. there is also some bronze supposed to be in the mix but i am not sure about that. the fold-out insert comes with liner notes of ex-band members and contemporary witnesses. good work! relapse records. 2017.

Donnerstag, 19. Oktober 2017

the black dahlia murder - nightbringers

this band is regular as clockwork. every two years a new record and this procedure continues since the debut "unhallowed" from 2003. so without any confirmation, i prepared myself for a new album this year and wouldn't you know it, there was one in the pipeline. the new baby goes by the name of "nightbringers" and the first thing that let me burst with anticipation was the awesome cover art by necrolord a.k.a. kristian wåhlin. i wasn't a fan of the "abysmal" art concept and was therefore more than happy with this great artwork.
he also drew the "nocturnal" cover and in the face of the ten-year-anniversary of that classic dahlia record it seemed like the perfect idea to let the man go for "nightbringers". he did an outstandingly good job. so expectations were high. can "nightbringers" live up to that? partly. the album has some undeniable fantastic moments. songs like "of god and serpent, of spectre and snake", the title track "nightbringers" or "catacomb hecatomb" are pure gold.
on the other side songs like "jars" or "as good as dead" don't really click with me. don't get me wrong, this is complaining on a high level. of course, the album is a good listen - i mean, it's a black dahlia album after all - but i am not sure if i consider this full length a classic in ten years. well, that's just my opinion. go, pick up a copy and form your own on "nightbringers". vinyl variations are plenty for this eighth album of the band.
if discogs information is complete then there are at least ten different colour variations. i snagged the exclusive european mailorder edition on white vinyl. i ordered a copy as soon as pre-orders went up at emp and thus were too early for the impericon edition on opaque red with black splatter. as i didn't want to go through the hassle to cancel an order for another one, i stuck with my white copy and am happy with it. comes with a big poster. 300 copies made. metal blade. 2017.

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.