Freitag, 28. September 2018

rivers of nihil - monarchy

i bought the latest rivers of nihil record just a few month ago. "where owls know my name" must have been quite a commercial success. the limited vinyl versions were gone pretty fast and are already subject to insane second-hand prices. if discogs is to be believed a copy of the version i have already sold for ninety five bucks. jesus, crazy that someone gives that much cash for a record shortly after release date. it seems that in the wake of these events, metal blade decided to give the band's second full length "monarchy"the vinyl treatment to cash in.
this strategy worked with me again. when pre-orders went up at emp mailorder, i did not need much time for consideration and bought a copy of the most limited european colour-way right away. musically "monarchy" is less experimental than "where owls know my name" and thus less unique. but when it comes to quality and coherent atmosphere, "monarchy" takes the cake. all in all rivers of nihil's second full length will get more spins on my turntable than its successor. really good prog/tech death metal album all around.
the presentation by the label is very neat. the album comes in a gatefold sleeve graced with artwork of the infamous dan seagrave. i love the art he contributed to albums of bands like the black dahlia murder, entombed or xibalba and this one looks ominous and epic in a way, only seagrave can pull it off. the vinyl colour is a beauty as well. bone/bronze merge makes me think of a good latte macchiato. this version is limited to 100 hand-numbered copies. funnily i got #80 again. metal blade records. 2015/2018.

Mittwoch, 26. September 2018

ac/dc - powerage

this is another record from the daytrips with my son visiting some record stores. i mean, with a little over a year in age of course my son doesn't care for vinyl, but it was still cool to spend time with him and show him around. this time we headed for hamburg and took a look at rekord music store. it is quite a small shop and only used records on offer. there is no hardcore section and a pretty weak metal section but among some radio plays for my son and a birthday gift for a good friend, i still managed to grab something.
they had a few records on display boards up on the walls and there i spotted this copy of "powerage". i asked the seller if they also sell those records and a few seconds later he handed me the desired vinyl album. "powerage" was released in 1978 and wasn't as a big commercial success as the up-coming "highway to hell" was going to be. still, i read somewhere that the album is sort of a band favourite. i enjoy every minute of the record. very good all around. my copy is a re-press from the eighties, i guess. very nice copy. atlantic records. 1978.

Dienstag, 25. September 2018

manowar - battle hymns

"what should i pick up this time? mmhhh... manowar? yeah, why not." these or something similar were my thoughts when i flicked through the "new in stock" section at blitz records in kiel. my one year old son and me were record shopping and i didn't come across somthing i really wanted. in such cases i am bold to take chances because i hate to walk out of a store empty handed. i didn't know much of manowar at that point but the record's condition was pretty neat and the price reasonable, so i took the gamble.
after i listened to "battle hymns" for the first time, i was surprised to find that manowar did play some really catchy up-tempo heavy metal songs in 1982. side b of the record also offers the trademark slow and epic songs, the band is known for. that was more like the manowar i got to know. i like both styles here and maybe will pick up another album of them when given the chance to. another thing i was really surprised at, was the spoken words part in "dark avenger". this is orson welles speaking. how come a metal band gets citizen kane for collaboration? anyway, solid record! liberty records. 1982.

Freitag, 21. September 2018

conan - existential void guardian

2018 seems to become a very prolific year in terms of new releases. the year already saw excellent new records by ghost, obscura, bongripper, the faceless, between the buried and me - just to name a few. the last quarter of the year doesn't look too bad either. i am waiting for stuff of behemoth, sick of it all or beyond creation. and right here is the almighty conan. this british trio quickly worked its way into my personal league of most respected bands and thus a new full length is a no-brainer purchase.
i pre-ordered at napalm records from austria, conan's label since "blood eagle", and they had two colour vinyl options on offer. the obligatory solid gold edition limited to 200 copies and a dark green edition out of 300 copies. because i think solid gold vinyl looks extreme shite, i did not give a damn about limitations and opted for the green vinyl. holding the actual outcome in hands, i can sleep with the certainty of having made the right decision. the vinyl colour looks real nice against the centre labels. for the visuals conan worked with again with artist anthony roberts. dark, ominous and menacing - the perfect match to the tunes.
musically "existential void guardian" is a fantastic soundtrack to all the dark parts which have been visualised by the lord of the rings movies. i am not too much a fan of that fantasy stuff but this sort of imagery comes to my mind immediately listening to conan. the album is a bit faster at times, it even offers a fifty five second short grind metal song called "paincantation". but the slow tunes are what conan is best at and so the last songs on each side of vinyl are the peak moments of the album to me. "amidst the infinite" and "eternal silent legend" are the essence of conan in its purest form. don't really need the second disc with a few live songs, though. still, brilliant effort of conan. i hope to catch them live in two weeks. napalm records. 2018.

Mittwoch, 19. September 2018

ac/dc - back in black

ac/dc's "back on black" is one of the records that do not really need an introduction. after michael jackson's "thriller" record, this one here is the second highest selling album in the history of music. yeah, take a deep breath and let this fact work its magic. "back in black" was the first ac/dc full length to feature brian johnson on vocal duties. the album title and the dark and simple cover aesthetics were a sign of mourning for bon scott. the former singer faced an untimely death in course of an alcohol excess. maybe this drama added to the fascination the record still creates.
as i am trying to bring together all the ac/dc full length recordings, i was specifically searching the a-section at blitz record store in kiel. they had a few records but i only did take one of them. my decision was made towards the "back in black" copy because it still came in the shrink wrap and the vinyl was in perfect condition. it doesn't seem like the pre-owner listened an awful lot to the record. i found my version on discogs but the database does not know from which year this pressing is. looks cool with its red labels anyway. atlantic records. 1980.

Sonntag, 16. September 2018

obscura - omnivium

oh yes! that were the first words flashing my mind after i won the auction for this gem right here. obscura's "omnivium" was a major want of mine and i always struggled with the high prices asked for coloured copies. when relapse records, the label on which "omnivium" appeared, announced a re-press of "cosmogenesis" earlier on this year, i hoped for a re-press of the band's third album as well. but the day never came until now and so i went on scanning second hand market places waiting for the right chance.
shortly after i recieved my copy of the newest obscura record "diluvium", i came across a french ebay auction. i had to use a translator to understand the description because my french is pretty much non-existent. it said the auction was about the green with white marble edition with a starting bid of fifty bucks. at the moment asking prices on discogs start at eighty euros and so i considered taking a chance on the auction. there was just a sketchy picture of the cover and so i wasn't sure of the condition all around. but maybe this was also repelling others from bidding. in the end the temptation was too great to resist and i won the auction for the starting bid.
ten bucks on top for shipping made the amount of money considerable but ok to me. when the record arrived i was a bit disappointed by the condition the cover sleeve was in. beginning ring wear and a few corner dings showed that pre-owner didn't understand to store his vinyl carefully. luckily the records theirselves are in perfect condition, so that made up for the cover. musically "omnivium" showcases all the strengths of the band in perfect harmony. everything is so well conducted and right in place that i run out on superlatives to describe its beauty. just listen to the doomy "ocean gateways" and the jaw-dropping almost-instrumental "a transcendental serenade" to get a glimpse of the perfection that is "omnivium". easily my favourite obscura record.
my copy is from the green/white marble edition but obviously i have one green marble disc and one green transparent disc. discogs shows a similar copy but i also found pictures on the net with two marble discs. after i inspected my records more thoroughly i saw that my marble copy isn't opaque but semi-translucent when held against the light. so it must be clear green pvc miced with opaque white to create the marble effect. looking at my transparent disc one can see some white streaks. so it seems that the pressing plant didn't throw enough white pvc into the mix for the second disc. anyway, sounds great cut at 45rpm. 266 copies made. relapse records. 2011.

post scriptum: i know, it is quite a while until february 2019 arrives but i couldn't help and get a ticket for the upcoming euro tour of obscura next year. i am excited like a kid and can't wait to see them. what a great line-up with fallujah and first fragment as supporting acts.

Donnerstag, 13. September 2018

dimmu borgir - in sorte diaboli

my latest dimmu borgir piece of music in the collection. i have the album on cd in a very nicely done special edition digipak for years now but did not make friends with it too closely. i always thought it was ok but did not live up to "puritanical euphoric misanthropia" or "death cult armageddon". i even could have easily bought a silver vinyl copy when they went on sale some years ago but made the record just minor priority and so it never came to be.
with my recent dimmu obsession in full bloom, my desire to re-visit all of their records and get physical formats of the ones i am missing grew strong. the re-issue of the record came in handy, indeed. i ordered myself a copy via emp mailorder and after i listened to "in sorte diaboli" for the first time on vinyl, i scratched my head and wondered why i thought the album was just ok. you ever experienced that an album sounds better just because you listened to it via a superior format? well, i definitely did so here.
"in sorte diaboli" has been a permanent guest on my turntable since i recieved my copy. it is such a vital and dynamic album that should conjure a smile on the face of any fan of the post millenium dimmu era. the lyrical concept of a priest's assistant and his fall from grace to eventually become the anti-christ is just the icing on the cake. this pressing on clear green vinyl inside a gatefold sleeve with booklet is fantastic as well. there is just one little complaint, though. the inside of the gatefold is the same as the last double page of the booklet, only upside down. if that was really planned that way? anyway, 300 copies made. nuclear blast. 2007/2018.

Mittwoch, 12. September 2018

dimmu borgir - stormblåst (tape)

this year has been rich in dimmu borgir records already and after i saw them live at wacken open air in august, i am a bit on a dimmu kick. so when nuclear blast put up a tape version of the band's second full length in their store, i didn't think twice and ordered a copy. as i wasn't familiar with this record whatsoever, i informed myself and found out that i just bought a re-recording of the album. dimmu released "stormblåst" in 1996 via cacophonous records. it was recorded at endless sound production and due to a tight schedule the band had to make compromises concerning the sound.
obviously this was bugging leading band members shagrath and silenoz that much, that they were losing their sleep over this. in 2005 they decided to re-record the whole affair in the way they originally wanted it to sound. they entered abyss studios in sweden and settled this once and for all. among fans of dimmu's early days, the re-recording is like a red rag to a bull. the band felt the need to justify for "stormblåst MMV" right from the beginning, so there is even an explanation in the booklet.
that doesn't concern me to be honest. i think the record is quite good. it is way more forceful than i had anticipated. the production doesn't seem too clear to my ears but i experienced that quite often with abyss studio productions. not really my taste in most cases. the tape is pro-made and looks and sounds well from front to back. 100 copies made with the light grey shell. nuclear blast. oldschool records. 2018.

Montag, 10. September 2018

zaum - eidolon

after i listened quite a lot to "oracles" because it is probably the best doom metal record i came across this year so far, i wanted more. the overall oriental/mesopotamian theme really appealed to me and so i checked what further works the duo might have under their belt. i stumbled upon their most recent album "eidolon" from two years ago. i checked possibilities to grab a copy on the internet and found an option at high roller records from germany. i added a copy of "eidolon" to the two gorguts re-issues, i wrote about recently, and it arrived here in prime condition.
it seems like the two dude's favourite subject in school were the history lessons. "oracles" brought us back into the ancient middle east and "eidolon" tells a story of a high culture from south america. frankly, i have to admit that i fail to distinguish between maya, aztec and inca. i read in some review it was about the aztec. can anyone shed some light on the issue? musically this is yet another masterpiece of mystic atmosphere and heavy drone/doom metal. the guys in zaum have such a delicate sense of the right balance - you have to hear it! this is a re-press on "emerald" green out of 333 copies. i hate records. 2016/2017.

Sonntag, 9. September 2018

zaum - oracles (tape)

zaum is a new discovery to me. i was browsing the urtod void bigcartel shop, which is a german d.i.y. label and distro. they have some good tape releases on offer and so i stumbled upon a very interesting looking cover art work. it reminded me strongly on the southern lord release of sleep's "dopesmoker". i love painted vast landscapes as cover art and so i was bound to listen to some tunes. after the duration of thirteen minutes called "zealot", i knew i had to have this. five bucks paid and a few days later my cassette copy arrived.
the whole journey through "oracles" is as mysterious as it is stirring. it is quite amazing that just two guys can create such a dense atmosphere. drums, a 6-string bass and a voice as the core elements. a little synthesizer here, a bit sitar there and there you go - perfect monolithic doom metal record with a hefty oriental edge to it. do yourself a favour and check them out. the tape itself is of high quality. great sound all the way through and good preservation of the whole artwork throughout the j-card. still i consider getting the vinyl version as well - time will tell. 100 copies made as a re-press by greek aisxini records this year. originally released on i hate records in 2014.

Samstag, 8. September 2018

slomatics - a hocht

northern irish doom/sludge outfit slomatics gracing this blog with a recent re-press of their second full length "a hocht". initially it was released in 2012, cd version made by burning world and vinyl rights liscensed to head of crom records. i was introduced to small uk label head of crom via their pressings of the first conan record, which i never got my hands on. in its day head of crom pressed a clear orange vinyl edition out of 300 copies, which proved to be difficult to obtain. therefore i was really happy when burning world announced a re-press this year.
as i wanted to save on shipping, it took me a bit of time to finally order a copy. when the new bongripper came around and burning world was handling european pre-order affairs, it seemed like the perfect chance to order "a hocht" along. musically this record may become my favourite slomatics album. "a hocht" is no big deviation from their other works in terms of sound but the dynamic, the flow is fantastic. droning, yet catchy - check it out. i always wondered what the record title meant. google says it's irish and simply means "eight". don't know if that is correct but the album has eight songs so maybe that's the trick. clear red vinyl out of 300 copies. burning world records. 2012/2018.

Sonntag, 2. September 2018

type o negative - the least worst of

type o negative had an undeniable influence on the metal world during their existence from 1989 to 2010 and beyond. pete steele was one of the most charismatic vocalists and frontmen in contemporary music and so it is no wonder that the band generated quite a cult around itself. i am ashamed to admit that i fairly overlooked type o when they were active and even years after the passing of pete steele and the associated breakup of the band. a cover song of "love you to death" from pallbearer was the spark to lit the fire of interest.
the song is part of pallbearer's "fear and fury" e.p. and i have this piece of vinyl since its release in 2016. recently i began to really appreciate the cover song but never bothered to check out the original until a few weeks ago. i listened to more songs of type o negative, which i vaguely knew from the past ("everything dies" for example, which i used to watch the video of on music tv back in 1999). i decided that those were great and that i needed some vinyl.
unfortunately i found out that type o negative vinyl is not for the faint of heart and doesn't come cheap. in the face of those mean second hand prices i threw the towel. in today's re-issue madness i am pretty sure that there will be new pressings of all the type o full lengths sooner or later. thankfully a copy of this best of compilation fell into my hands at a media markt for a very decent price of fifteen bucks.
the price was too good and the opportunity to get some great type o songs on vinyl too tempting to not take it with me, even though i usually do not buy those best of comps. as this one wasn't just a label pick but the band itself chose the song selection, i think it's one of the better assortments. a few different non-album versions and a good cross section throughout the band's carreer. all this comes on heavy black dual vinyl in a matte cardboard gatefold sleeve with printed dust sleeves. good work by roadrunner and cargo records. originally released in 2000. vinyl version from 2014.