Montag, 28. Mai 2018

expire - with regret (tape)

i was pretty wrapped up in metal in the span of a year or so. practically there was no recent hardcore release that really arose my excitement. i still rather listen to some death metal vinyl than to newer hardcore bands but since i started a new format obsession with cassette tapes recently i found a great way to buy releases for cheap that i was hesitant to get the pricy vinyl editions of. such was the case with the last expire record. i have the first two full lengths on vinyl but wasn't that thrilled for the third to order a lp copy from a distro. after i got my first music tape from a flea market and after i bought a tape deck used i was well equipped and ready for more additions to the starting collection.
it was real fun to search the mailorders and distros for available tape releases. at coretex records i came across a nice copy of expire's farewell album "with regret". eventually the time was right to get it and because it came on tape i even was really excited to finally listen to a newer hardcore release. well, expire is, or better was expire. fast and snotty hardcore, entertaining and with the right feeling for a break down. i love the look of the cassette edition. i was surprised that it is a full-featured release with lyrics, artwork and all. really cool. nice olive green shell out of 400 copies. bridge nine. 2016.

Sonntag, 27. Mai 2018

between the buried and me - automata I

the friggin' new between the buried and me is upon us. luckily i get the sumerian records newsletter so i recieved news about the upcoming album just on schedule. even more luckily sumerian runs an european store by now. that store operates from the u.k. which means that shipping is cheaper than from the states. i ordered my copy promptly despite the fact that the single vinyl had a pretty hefty price to it which added to an amount of over thirty bucks. well, admittedly i couldn't live with the fear to miss out on btbam/sumerian limited colour vinyl.
the record arrived here in prime condition. well packed by the european sumerian staff. the first thing that came to my mind after i unwrapped my copy was that the cover art looked a bit dull. the machine theme works with the album title but it doesn't appeal to me. anyway, that first impression was washed away when i dropped the needle on the vinyl. "condemned to the gallows" is a brilliant opener. what a wonderful melody hook line it has to offer. the other five songs are just as great. no doubt, the first part of the band's eighth full length is a prog metal pearl, a slap of ingenuity.
when i put my pre-order in there was only the clear yellow with black and white splatter variant available from the sumerian eu store. fine with me because that colour-way was my favourite anyway (a clear with black and red splatter variant was available from the u.s. store). by now a few more colours have surfaced. discogs knows the score. the record comes in a gatefold sleeve with minimalistic artwork on the outside and lovely art on the inside, a printed dust sleeve and the said yellow splatter vinyl. can't wait for part II. already pre-ordered. 750 copies made. sumerian records. 2018.

Donnerstag, 24. Mai 2018

the mighty mighty bosstones - question the answers

there is a certain childhood connection that links me to the mighty mighty bosstones. i am actually no fan of ska punk music but this is the exception of the rule. back in the mid nineties when i was ten or eleven years old i was on a visit to my uncle. i owe to him my development in musical taste by the introduction to bands like madball, sick of it all, life of agony and biohazard. on the particular day he had one song on heavy rotation on his stereo. the opener "kinder words" from the album "question the answers".
i enjoyed it just as much as he did and it really stuck in my mind. years later in the late 00's the song came back to my mind and i searched a while for it because i didn't remember song or album title. back then i didn't care for vinyl and so i was content with having the song on mp3. fast forward another ten years and i played that song to my wife to show her some feel good punk music. she asked if there was no vinyl version of the album and that was the signal for me to really see if i could get it on my desired format.
i knew about the coloured double 10" on big rig records from 1994 and the prices it achieves, the 12" release on mercury of the same year was an affordable option but i also learned that u.s. label asbestos records pressed a rsd version in 2015. 2900 copies on blue vinyl and 100 red/yellow copies thrown randomly into the blue bunch. i found a sealed copy at and was excited when it arrived. it turned out to be just the blue version. well, opaque blue looks pretty nice as well. fantastic album in any case. asbestos records. 2015.

Montag, 21. Mai 2018

nevermore - the politics of ecstasy

my first experience with nevermore. a shame that i found a way towards their music after they split up for good. since vocalist warrel dane tragically passed away in cause of a heart attack last december there will be nevermore nevermore. so of much more importance is the keeping of the band's legacy. century media started to re-press some essential full length releases, of which i pre-ordered "enemies of reality" and to sweeten the wait i searched for immediate available records.
i came across a record store day release of "the politics of ecstasy" from 2016. the second nevermore album was originally released in 1996 on century media as a single lp. the album is a milestone of progressive metal, tons of epic chorus melodies, elaborate song-writing and dane's voice throning above it all. listen to that bastard of thrash metal, heavy metal and melodic death metal in its full glory here. so twenty years after its initial release century media came up with this deluxe vinyl edition.
the record label stood true to the original cover artwork layout but released it in a gatefold sleeve this time. this seemed adaquate because they made it a double lp version. the whole e.p. "in memory", which saw the light of day shortly before "politics..." came out, is pressed to a bonus 12" disc plus some demo recordings on top. the two records come on matching 180g clear orange vinyl. though, the most disturbing part of the presentation is the trippy art on back and inner gatefold. vertiginous. century media. 1996/2016.

Sonntag, 20. Mai 2018

batman returns soundtrack

one off the topic. no hardcore or metal record but a motion picture score record instead. next to my star wars obsession i am a huge fan of all things batman. the animated series in the early nineties were my regular sunday morning tv appointment and i just loved the first two tim burton batman movies. i always thought that batman returns was superior to 1989 batman. the winter setting, the even darker tone of the pictures compared to first movie and of course the theatrical score just got me hooked. yeah, and michelle pfeiffer as catwoman was a real treat for the eyes.
something like ten years agor or so i bought myself the cd version but never considered that there could be a vinyl version floating around. i cannot really tell anymore how i stumbled upon this new vinyl re-issue of the batman returns soundtrack but i immediately felt that i needed a copy. problem was that it is a north american release and no distro over here was carrying it. copies i found on ebay had huge price tags starting at fifty bucks, not to speak of the original being offered for even more. after some searching discogs came to my rescue.
i found a seller who offered a re-issue copy for a reasonable price and he came from germany, which kept shipping costs low. when my copy arrived i was devastated to see it being pretty battered during shipping process. three of four corners bend - aarrgghhh! well, in the end it seems like i won't get any copy for that good price anymore so i got to come to peace with it. the vinyl however is in great condition and the music is just awesome. danny elfman's compositions are so full of pathos and emotions, i get chills down my spine every time i listen to "selina transforms" or "the finale". fantastic orchestral experience. mondo records. 2017.

Freitag, 18. Mai 2018

dimmu borgir - godless savage garden

in eager anticipation of this year's dimmu borgir live set at wacken festival, i thankfully took the opportunity to grab some re-issues of older dimmu records nuclear blast produced in respect of the band's new album "eonian". still nb did not re-issue the "godless savage garden" e.p. which came out in 1998, in between "enthrone darkness triumphant" and "spiritual black dimensions". it served as a little appetiser and to bridge the wait for "spiritual...".
two new and exclusive songs found their way onto this release. "moonchild domain" and "chaos without prophecy" are two strong efforts and typical for the late nineties era dimmu borgir. heavy song-writing taking the best of black and death metal combined with epic keyboard arrangements. two re-recorded songs of the first full length "for all tid" round out the a-side. the b-side consists of an accept cover song ("metal heart") and three live recordings. solid e.p. in my book.
i snagged a copy of the back on black re-press from 2008 on ebay. back on black did a full re-press of the dimmu back catalogue to that point ten years ago and i think the whole run is pretty decent. no difference here. sturdy gatefold with nice clear with blue splatter vinyl. unfortunately the seller sent the record not removed from the cover sleeve, even though i requested it (idiot!). split on the top seam was the result. fixed it the best i could. anyway, love the drawn artwork in particular. back on black. 2008.

Donnerstag, 17. Mai 2018

bolt thrower - realm of chaos (first press)

i don't know if i can call this baby a white whale pick-up. considering what others call their white whale record and how long they have waited for a chance to get them, i think the wait for this one was quite acceptable. anyway, bolt thrower's second full length "realm of chaos" was an elusive bastard and i am more than happy to have a copy of the pressing and in the condition i craved for. it all started with an ebay auction at some point in autumn last year.
a seller from germany offered his first press copy. those came in a gatefold sleeve and a booklet with official warhammer 40k artwork liscenced by games workshop. for those not in the know, warhammer 40k is a tabletop game set in an apocalyptic future dystopia and games workshop the company which produces all related merchandise. "realm of chaos" was released in join venture of label and game company because members of the band loved the game and lyrics were already warhammer related.
the said ebay auction had a fifty five euro starting bid and i thought this to be too much. so i did not bid. fool! the seller re-activated the auction with a lower starting bid. in the end the record went for round about sixty bucks and i was outbid. then started a time of privation where i missed a few opportunities on discogs, came only across versions with a lost booklet or saw editions in a slip sleeve with insert, which seem also be part of the first press.
then at the beginning of april discogs had a copy from france to offer with an ok price tag and i had some birthday money to burn. finally the timing was right. the seller packed the record superbly and now i have bagged this sucker eventually. musically the songs lack a bit of that depth and groove which surfaced on "warmaster" but i love the album from first to last tune. the imperfection has its own charm. the booklet is in beautiful condition, the vinyl is slick and the gatefold even has the hype sticker attached to it. score! earache records. 1989.

Montag, 14. Mai 2018

ac/dc - fly on the wall (tape)

i have a new love in life. cassette tapes never really did matter to me. besides my big youth audio play cassette collection i never had any use for music tapes. why should i? vinyl is the superior format in terms of aesthetics and overall audio experience and still i am of this opinion but there was a key moment. i regularly visit flea markets in my area to search for 70's prog/art rock and audio play vinyl, stuff i don't post here. when i was out with my wife and child recently i came across a tape copy of ac/dc's album "fly on the wall".
i was excited to pick it up even though i had no cassette deck at that point. there was something about it that got my heart beating faster. not for the album in particular but for the format in general. somehow i liked the overall look of that tape. the coming days i was occupied with getting a used tape deck and checking the mailorders for contemporary tape releases. with tapes i found a convenient way to get albums that i wasn't sure paying the twenty plus euros for the vinyl editions. so expect some more tapes on this blog in the future. "fly on the wall" is an entertaining listen by the way. i won't become the biggest ac/dc fan but will pick up more tapes when given the chance to. atlantic records. 1985.

post scriptum: i bought a handsome pioneer ct-w208r cassette deck used via ebay kleinanzeigen (a craigslist equivalent) off a family in the area for a good price. finally playing and enjoying those tapes.

Sonntag, 13. Mai 2018

aborted - the archaic abattoir

aborted were one of the first extreme metal bands i got into outside my steady hardcore diet in the early 00's. i don't know anymore how i got aware of aborted but it was most likely via myspace which i frequented quite often back then. i was really attracted by the fast drumming and the groovy parts along to the gore lyrics. the latter i am not into anymore but back then i found topics like mass murdereres gruesomely fascinating and "the archaic abattoir" tied in perfectly.
i bought the slipcase cd version in 2005 with alternate artwork and still have that copy. when i started getting into vinyl and was buying a lot of records i had on cd previously, "the archaic abattoir" was high on the list of vacant vinyl albums. there were chances along the way but it never worked out. a few weeks back i finally came across an ebay auction with a reasonable starting bid. i won it with me being the only one placing a bid. good deal.
the cover sleeve has a bit wear on the edges but the vinyl looks damn neat. a shame listenable never came up with a colour vinyl version but the black vinyl suits me just fine. check out this ferocious bastard of an grind death record here. the presentation is basic. a slip sleeve with an two-sided insert and nothing more. the pressing is hand-numbered with a gold marker on the back. my copy is  number 347 out of 700 copies. listenable records. 2005.

Freitag, 11. Mai 2018

dimmu borgir - spritual black dimensions

back in 2002/2003 i was listening a lot to dimmu borgir's records "death cult armageddon" and especially "puritanical euphoric misanthropia". i was absolutely mesmerised by the heaviness and dark, mythical atmosphere the band created on those two albums. those two records are still my favourites of dimmu. back then i wanted to dive further into the band's discography and bought a digipak cd copy of "spiritual black dimensions" from 1999.
this album was just released before those two masterpieces i hold so dear. back then it could not really convince me. "spiritual black dimensions" just felt not as technical as the two successors and i think this had a lot to do with nicholas barker not playing drums on this album. his drum play is so energetic, precise and this sort of rhythm is missing on "spiritual...". given the fact that i broadened my musical horizon in the last years and nuclear blast announced a re-issue, i wanted to give the record another chance.
i ordered the mint green version which sold out in pre-order stage. naturally i was excited when nuclear blast sent shipping notification with a tracking number. i checked back every day and after five days with zero progress, i started asking questions. the end result was that the parcel was declared lost. oh man, this can't be true. after my the faceless record this was #2 which got lost in the mail. only this time nb ran out of mint green copies. fortunately they did another re-press on white vinyl, so the label sent me that one and a bonus on future orders instead.
wait, white vinyl? well, another surprise. the pressing plant made a mistake and pressed clear instead of white. so in my opinion clear vinyl is the most boring colour right behind metallic gold and silver. yeah, one of these days... anyway, musically "spiritual black dimensions" has aged pretty good. bombastic, symphonic black metal. theatrical and elaborate - dimmu knows how to write intense music. that reminds me that i still need a copy of the latest record "eonian". 300 copies made. nuclear blast records. 1999/2018.

Donnerstag, 10. Mai 2018

amon amarth - twilight of the thunder god

one of the last missing pieces in the amon amarth full length puzzle. i actually ordered one of the green olive marble vinyl copies that were exclusively sold via emp mailorder. but a few days after i completed the order process together with the orange "surtur rising" lp, i got a notification that emp could not deliver because the supplier ran out of copies. hell knows why. at the time i didn't pursue an imidiate replacement.
when time went on i felt a stronger need to get a copy eventually in cause of fear the vinyl might sell out. i went for the flame splatter variant which was sold through the metal blade ebay store. metal blade produced for every amon re-issue such a colour variant as their store exclusive and i already have "the crusher" on that colour-way. it didn't seem like a perfect match for the cover art but beggars can't be choosers.
musically i think that this album from 2008 is one of their strongest. i mean, ultimately amon amarth never did a bad album but as whole "twilight of the thunder god" is a full-scale viking metal attack which takes no prisoners. the presentation does the greatness of the record justice. slip sleeve of matte cardboard, big double-sided poster, insert and clear orange with red a.k.a. "flame" splatter vinyl out of 200 copies. metal blade records. 2008/2017.

Dienstag, 8. Mai 2018

the faceless - in becoming a ghost

finally the new the faceless has surfaced after five years of waiting. well, ok, to me it wasn't like i waited five years because i bought my first the faceless record around christmas 2016 - but - it felt like an age of waiting for new tunes of these prog death masters. so when pre-orders went up at the end of last year, i didn't hesitate to order from the states. high shipping rates be damned but i didn't want to miss out.
i asked the guys at killer merch, where sumerian has a platform for their merchandise, to separate the vinyl from the cover sleeve which was never a problem with past orders. they agreed, cool. when they shiped the record i got a tracking number. after a few weeks their was still no progress with my parcel. asking back it was declared lost and the mailorder sent a new one and i think this was where my request got lost. the record arrived with an ugly seam-split at the spine. fuck that! thankfully the text was unconcerned.
i tried my best with the limited handicraft abilities within my grasp and i think it went out quite ok. still i spare you guys the view. no professional work here. instead i tell you that "in becoming a ghost" is a behemoth of a prog death record. the band included some black metal elements to their sound and it works perfectly. check out "black star", what a fantastic song. i love the bass play. 500 copies on this nice opaque pink with black splatter vinyl. sumerian records. 2017.

Montag, 7. Mai 2018

spaceslug - mountains & reminiscence

after the band released "time travel dilemma" in 2017 (the vinyl just came out in 2018) they are back again. this time they unleash an e.p. onto the doom world. the piece is entitled "mountains & reminiscence" and is another journey into the realms of deep, cold space. it is remarkable how this three-piece is able to create such a trippy and mesmerising atmosphere with vast wall of sounds and just three instruments.
sometimes i have a hard time to pick a favourite song of an album because there is not one stinker among the tracks. "mountains & reminiscence" is such a record. therefore i spare me the agony and provide the link to the whole e.p. here. like their two full lengths before, oak island is responsible for the slick vinyl treatment of this piece of gold. i ordered my copy together with the "lemanis" re-press at kozmik artifactz.
just like the packaging for "lemanis", "mountains & reminiscence" is a simple affair. a slip sleeve, black poly-lined dust sleeve and this nice heavyweight opaque blue vinyl. that is it. but ok, this is just an e.p. so i think the presentation is appropriate. the artwork by maciej kamuda however is absolute stunning. it sets the right tone for the music. limited to 150 copies as a mailorder exclusive. oak island records. 2018.

Samstag, 5. Mai 2018

spaceslug - lemanis

earlier on this year, or was it last year, i bought spaceslug's sophomore release called "time travel dilemma". i missed out on their first record because i was too hesitant. after i really appreciated the second album, i swore to myself to be on spot for a second press of "lemanis". it wasn't long until i got the chance to fulfill my oath. in occasion of the latest spaceslug e.p., oak island records found it apt to come up with a new "lemanis" pressing.
these three space/stoner rockers from poland simply know their craft. "lemanis" is a great stoner album all the way through. heavy, slow, repetitive and so deliciously hypnotising. i think, it is even a tiny bit better than its successor. the song "grand orbiter" is my personal favourite and stands for all the qualities of the record. check out this psychedelic space pearl here.
the presentation by oak island records is pretty basic here. the label, which is exclusively distributed by kozmik artifactz, went for a simple slip sleeve which provides all information necessary. they dispensed with an insert and so there are no lyrics. as this is the second press, the record comes on clear vinyl. this seems to be the usual colour-way for second pressings by kozmik and its related imprints. 180g quality vinyl and limited to 300 copies. oak island records. 2016/2018.

Mittwoch, 2. Mai 2018

helloween - keeper of the seven keys pt.II

the second record i found in that final bin at the record fair in kiel was the second part of the "keeper of the seven keys" saga by german power metal heros helloween. i kind of felt compelled to get the second part after i won an auction for a coloured copy of the first part on a whim on ebay. it just doesen't felt right to leave part one alone on the shelf.
so when i pulled this copy out of the bin i was pleasantly surprised at the great condition and the reasonable price. the seller even lowered the whole price for the two records without me bargaining about it. the band's third album was released in 1988 and is their best selling to this day. musically one gets what the first part was foreshadowing. classic power/heavy metal with another epic piece.
the thirteen minutes and a half long song "keeper of the seven keys" is the centrepiece of the album and is in keeping with part one and its lengthy "halloween" song. all in all i think i enjoy part one a bit more than part two. especially "dr. stein" is too much of a goofy song to me and when there is one thing in music i really loathe besides reggae, than it is ridiculous bands and their songs. yeah, i am humourless like that.
still i like to spin the record occasionally. i am not really sure if i got a first press here. discogs shows me two versions that came out in 1988, mine included, but does not give information which came first. anyway, i like the tour advertisement on the printed dust sleeve. must have been cool shows with iron maiden back in the day. that reminds me that i will see helloween re-united on wacken festival this year. looking forward to it. noise records. 1988.