Freitag, 27. April 2018

iron maiden - the number of the beast

another addition to the classic iron maiden collection. one of my best friends and me were on the road to a record fair in kiel. it was not long after the very satisfying record fair in hamburg, where i snagged a nice madball and obituary record. therefore i set high hopes in that event to find some more gems. maybe that's the thing with high expectations, they could not be met in that case. it was a fairly small venue and the choice was not as large as in hamburg.
i was almost done checking all vendors when eventually i stumbled across two records that i wanted. those are not the most sought after, rather easily available but i was happy to find them in a very good condition. the first one was this nice copy of iron maiden's third full length from 1982. it was the first to feature bruce dickinson and is packed with live classics. the title track, "run to the hills", "hallowed be thy name" and so on. fantastic record.
what i have here is a re-press from 1984. it was pressed for the mid-price section and comes with an emi fame dust sleeve and with the emi stock labels. it was also mastered with the direct metal mastering (dmm), whatever that means. all i know is that it sounds lovely. now i have almost all the maiden records from the decade that was the eighties, only "killers" is missing. emi records. 1982/1984.

post scriptum: i know, actually it would have been a better fit to feature that figure in combination with a "powerslave" post but i already wrote about that record. those were available via nuclear blast and there are three more eddie action figure variations but i thought pharaoh eddie looked the coolest.
made by super7 from san francisco.

Donnerstag, 26. April 2018

decrepit birth - ...and time begins

i bought decrepit birth's fourth album "axis mundi" last year and was blown away by it. easily among the best three tech death records of 2017 in my humble opinion. it was my first encounter with decrepit birth and my usual modus operandi in such cases is to check out what other releases the respective band has under its belt. only the first two of the remaining decrepit full lengths had been pressed to vinyl (third album "polarity" from 2010 never got the vinyl treatment).
debut record "...and time begins" from 2003 and "diminishing between worlds" from 2008 were released on unique leader records and the californian label liscensed the vinyl rights to french label osmose productions. osmose released a "diminishing..." lp edition in 2012 and "...and time begins" in 2013. the facts so far. of course in the meantime all the copies of the limited coloured runs sold out. so i was dependent on second hand options. thankfully osmose found a little batch of left over blue copies from "...and time begins" in the vaults and put them online.
discogs gave me a hint and now i am the proud owner of this nice vinyl edition. musically this pretty raw and unfiltered brutal death metal with a technical edge. not as elaborate as last year's opus but the foundation was laid. noteable is that bassist derek boyer was a founding member of decrepit birth and went on to play in suffocation ever since. the vinyl looks very nice. slip sleeve with dan seagrave artwork, quality printed dust sleeve and 180g opaque blue vinyl. don't know how many have been pressed. osmose productions. 2013.

Dienstag, 24. April 2018

amon amarth - jomsviking

the final amon amarth album in the line of the metal blade re-issue campaign: their latest record "jomsviking" from 2016. i never listened to this piece although i could have bought a clear green copy from regular sources upon time of release. back then i wasn't really interested but when i started to buy the re-issues with the re-release of "fate of norns" and "with oden on our side", i was excited for every new re-press. therefore it was out of question that i would buy a copy of "jomsviking" too.
again i was buying the record from emp mailorder because they are the official retailer of metal blade europe. they offered two colour-ways. a clear brown with black smoke as the most limited edition and a baby blue marble edition as the lesser limited. in this case i didn't care about limitations because the baby blue version was looking very nice in the mock-ups and so i ordered one. the actual outcome is even better. yummy.
musically amon amarth doesn't reinvent itself. it's actually remarkable how a band just repeats itself record after record and does not become dull, at least not to me. that's an ac/dc quality here. anyway the coolest song is, just like on "deciever of the gods", the one with a guest singer. "a dream that cannot be" with doro pesch is a rager. this edition comes with two inserts, a double-sided big poster and 180g vinyl. blue marble is out of 500 copies. metal blade. 2016/2018.

Samstag, 21. April 2018

amon amarth - deciever of the gods

another release in the huge re-issue campaign of all amon amarth full lengths so far (which makes them ten). "deciever of the gods" was the first amon record i bought upon release. it was more of an impulse buy and it wasn't the vinyl version but the cd box set instead. my local media market was selling them for cheap and so i grabbed a copy. i wasn't that much into the record though and so i never pursued the vinyl version.
when i started to jump on the metal blade re-issue train for amon's full length records, i knew that i would buy them all. there was no point in getting just my favourite ones. i mean, come on, we're talking about record collecting here, ok?! so when my vinyl copy of the limited european colour-way arrived and i dropped the needle on it, i was surprised at how good this record actually was. it may not be their strongest effort but it still rock solid with some real pearls among the ten songs.
"shape shifter" and especially "hel" featuring candlemass' vocalist messiah marcolin are so good. the vinyl edition metal blade came up with does the album justice. nice slip sleeve with matte finish, an insert with lyrics, a big poster with cover art and band pic on the flip side and lovely rusty marbled vinyl. this edition is numbered out of 300 copies. mine is #169. metal blade records. 2013/2018.

Mittwoch, 18. April 2018

kreator - outcast (noise re-master series)

the last part in this kreator re-issue series is about the band's eighth studio effort called "outcast" from 1997. again the record is marked by another few line up changes within the band. guitarist frank blackfire left the band after three full lengths and ex-coroner guitarist tommy vetterli stepped in. also did founding member jürgen ventor reil take over drumming duties again. this change was important especially for the chemistry among the band members.
for the first time since "terrible certainty" from 1987 the band recorded an album in germany again instead of in the united states. after "cause for conflict" was a thrash throwback, with "outcast" kreator tread more progressive paths again. there is a significant portion of midtempo songs on the record and many industrial-ish sound samples. i would call "outcast" a genuine crossover record, which has a lot to offer if one is willed to get into it.
there are fantastic songs like "phobia", "stronger than before" or "whatever it may take" which transport a great dark atmosphere. the whole thing breathes the nineties. although i think that the record is a bit too slow at times. a bit thrash ferocity would have done it good. therefore i can see why "outcast" isn't a fan favourite. like its predecessor, the album also appeared on gun records and because the late nineties were already a dark time for vinyl there was never a proper vinyl release (apart from a shitty picture disc).
a few unoffical pressings were the only way to get this baby on vinyl until fairly recently. noise records re-issued "outcast" in this nice edition with tons of liner notes and first-hand informations. additionally they threw in a bonus disc with the complete set of their dynamo open air gig from 1998. nice clear highlighter orange vinyl to round out the package. noise records. 2018.

Sonntag, 15. April 2018

kreator - cause for conflict (noise re-master series)

number three out of four. kreator's seventh full length appeared in 1995 and is marked by a time of change. after "renewal" the band quit most parts of their collaboration with noise records and found a new label in gun (great unlimited noise) records also from germany. gun records, which was shut down in 2009, was a sub label of sony music. noise records still took care of the international distribution of the album.
the band's personnel did also change. two of the three founding members called it a day. bassist rob fioretti and drummer jürgen "ventor" reil had to be replaced due to personal problems within the band. kreator toured extensively in support of "renewal", this took its toll on the members. a new rhythm section was found in drummer joe cangelosi and bassist speesy geisler. latter one has been a member ever since.
musically the band went back to more familiar spheres. with "cause for conflict" kreator went back to their thrash roots. of course there are still many progressive industrial elements, we're still knee deep in the nineties here, but this is almost a traditional thrash record in comparison to "renewal". nevertheless one can feel the upheaval that surrounded the band and thus i feel that "cause for conflict" lacks a bit the energy of previous records.
still, full length number seven is no fuck up at all and belongs in every self-respecting kreator collection. the presentation of this re-issue is, as you probably have guessed if you read the previous two posts, fantastic. shitloads of insight information provided by mille petrozza and photos, flyers and tickets from the archives. the records come on lovely opaque blue vinyl, although three bonus tracks on a bonus 12" seem a bit like a waste of resources. noise records. 2018.

Freitag, 13. April 2018

kreator - renewal (noise re-master series)

the second installment of the recent wave of classic kreator album re-issues. "renewal" is kreator's sixth studio full length and the album title was quite the hint as to what awaits the listener when playing the record. the band's main goal before they started writing material for the album was not to think in stereotypes. they wanted to create something fresh and unique regardless of fan and press expectations.
well, no doubt they achieved this goal. "renewal" is as far away from classic thrash metal as can be. after randy burns, the producer of the preceding album "coma of souls", said goodbye to music productions, kreator searched for a new studio and producer to record with. they found the infamous morrisound studios and producer tom morris. unlike the most productions at morrisound they didn't head towards the death metal direction but towards hardcore and industrial instead.
the outcome generated very mixed opinions among fans and media. the overall sound (especially the drum sound) and the progressive song writing were hard to swallow for die-hards. i really can see why but when i dropped the needle on this re-issue, listening to the album for the first time, i was blown away. the artistic change in style may be dramatic but the songs are so fresh and so full of creative energy that "renewal" became one of my favourite kreator records in an instant.
especially "reflection" is my go to song here. fantastic. the presentation is great again. love the matte finish of the gatefold and of course the informative liner notes to album and lyrics by mille petrozza. the matching clear green vinyl is another well thought component of this re-issue. only the second disc is pretty unnecessary. two useless songs (a rare version and a re-mix of songs already on the album) and one new song seem too little for a bonus 12". anyway, good work all around. noise records. 1992/2018.

Mittwoch, 11. April 2018

kreator - coma of souls (noise re-master series)

to be in keeping with the noise records theme of the last post, i start a little series on kreator and the aforementioned noise records. noise was a german independent metal label with its heyday in the late eighties and early nineties. after two takeovers by other music groups, noise is now a division of the bmg music group since 2016. bmg was clever enough to recognise what makes the money roll in on the vinyl market nowadays - the name is re-issues.
the first four kreator records already got re-issued and re-mastered and were all pretty nice fanboy editions (i call the first two, "endless pain" and "pleasure to kill", my own). whereas first pressings of those are pretty much steadily available through second hand market places for reasonable prices, most pressings for the nineties albums of kreator are rare and highly sought after. therefore i was all in for those four re-releases.
i start chronological with "coma of souls" from 1990. it is the band's fifth studio album and the first one with frank blackfire of sodom fame as new guitarist. kreator still played that full-on thrash which is distinctive for this ruhrpott combo. new to the sound were the slower parts here and there and the more complex riffing of petrozza and blackfire. an all around great record of kreator and one of their best selling.
"coma of souls" also enabled them to their first u.s. headlining tour together with suicidal tendencies. but now to this lovely re-issue here. noise/bmg came up with a lovely triple lp release with loads of added value. great liner-notes by petrozza in the inner gatefold, lyrics explanations on the printed dust sleeves, a vivid live gig in fürth, germany from 1990 spread over two bonus discs and all vinyl on a nice clear red. top notch! noise records. 1990/2018.

Montag, 9. April 2018

helloween - keeper of the seven keys pt. I

before i bought this record of helloween i heard zero music of the band. the name was prominent of course, because helloween is a big name in the power metal scene but to be honest, that kind of metal was never my favourite. i mean, i do enjoy my regular dosage of iron maiden but in my perspective this something different. maiden plays in their very own league above the rest.
so what made me buy this record in the first place? well, it was a mixture of eighties colour vinyl and the cheap availability. i came across this auction on ebay and thought if i could get this for a steal, why the hell not? in the end i won this for something like fifteen bucks. this was approximately a tenner under the usual discogs going rate. so it is not that rare or sought after but i am happy with the purchase nevertheless.
originally the blue copies came with a poster of the "pumpkins fly free" tour in 1988. mine is missing that poster which probably explains the low price. anyway, i am not too keen on getting the poster. the nice blue vinyl will do. musically i think this is pretty entertaining power metal. i like the record from start to finish and i see why this was one of their best selling records and gave way to the band's first u.s. tour.
"keeper of the seven keys" was actually planned as a double album. unfortunately the label thought this would lead to the diminishing in sales and that is why helloween split up the album in part one and part two. i really like the artwork, adds a mystical touch to the record. the album was actually released in 1987 and my copy is part of a re-press from a year later. noise records. 1987/1988.

Donnerstag, 5. April 2018

obituary - slowly we rot

the second record i bought at the record fair in hamburg. to get a madball and a obituary record must have been destiny. on the way to the fair my friend and me were listening to some madball songs and when he asked me what i was looking for, i told him that i was out for some early nineties death metal - stuff like obituary. then my buddy was the one who pulled "slowly we rot" from the racks. a good condition of the vinyl and a fair price were the last pieces to the predetermined puzzle.
obituary debut full length "slowly we rot" is considered a classic for all the right reasons. not only was the record one of the first death metal releases but also it was one of the first works of producer scott burns at the infamous morrisound studios in tampa, florida. burns graced numerous death metal records with a great sound and mix. at the time of recording the band still was called xecutioner.
shortly before the release of the debut the band changed its name into obituary. "slowly we rot" became quite successful for a first full length and it paved the way for killer records to come. musically obituary were already this distinctive groove monster only in an early stage. the record is pretty raw but this only adds to the old school feel. great record all around. check it out here.
when i looked into discogs to find my copy, i was a bit confused whether i have a first press or not. five to six different versions are listed which seemed all to be made in 1989. my copy has a worked over centre label with the corrected band name (was misspelled on other versions as "obituari"). so maybe this is not a first press? anyway, this record fair was a nice experience. looking forward to the next one. roadrunner records. 1989.

Montag, 2. April 2018

madball - hold it down

some good ol' hardcore on this blog again. these occasions became very rare in the last year. somehow i have zero interest in contemporary hardcore bands and releases. i am all over metal these days, especially from the late eighties and all throughout the nineties. turnstile have a new album out? i don't even feel an itch. pre-orders for the new parkway drive record are up? i couldn't care less. therefore it feels quite good to write about and listen to some hardcore again.
madball is one of my all time favourite hardcore bands. their debut "set it off" was one of the first records with heavy music i listened to. thus i was very pleasantly surprised to find this copy of their fourth album "hold it down" at a fine small record fair in hamburg. i visited the place with a friend and after some unsuccessful digging, i found this gem at one of last tables. the condition was very good and the price was too, soi bagged it and am still happy about this find.
the album was the only release on epitaph records for the band. it was pressed to vinyl upon time of release in 2000 and to my knowledge the original press is the only one ever produced. i don't know how many have been pressed but i presume a range between 500 and a 1.000 copies. all copies came on black vinyl with a printed dust sleeve. musically this is probably my favourite album after "set it off". check out the title song here. epitaph records. 2000.