Dienstag, 27. November 2018

arkaik - nemethia

the sheer flood of talented technical death metal bands from the united states is overwhelming at times and it is hard to filter the good from the mediocre. arkaik is part of the massive unique leader records roster and the label is known for releasing quality extreme metal but always with one or two bad eggs among the stack. arkaik was on my radar for quite some time but never first priority. when commercial seller dodax on ebay dropped the price tag for this record from over twenty to only eleven euros, it was time to pull the trigger.
"nemethia" is an very ambitioned release. the guys know how to play their instruments and they know it well. the furious virtuosity is breath-taking at times. only the song writing feels sometimes a bit over elaborate, like they wanted too much. songs like "the order of the heirogon", "nexion stargate" and "the eupnean relic" click immediately but then there are one or two rather complicated songs where it's hard to not lose focus. great record all around but it won't invent the tech death wheel anew. lovely blue and gold merge vinyl of unknown quantity. unique leader records. 2017.

Samstag, 24. November 2018

ac/dc - the razors edge

the little record store i have in town has gone through a few changes. the first thing is pretty cool. when i went there for the first times they had almost new stuff only, now they added quite a big used record section. the other thing isn't that cool. the store must have faced some financial problems because the owner cut down the opening hours to four or five hours in the forenoon. so i can only go there on holidays or saturday morning, which means i go there pretty rarely.
but when i did find the time to take a little trip to hellion record store, i always came up with cool used records of yes, u2 or supertramp. nothing which i feature here but used metal wasn't among the stack. last time i actually found a bit to post here: ac/dc's eleventh studio album "the razors edge". it was in a fantastic condition and for six bucks there was really not a moment of hesitation. that baby had got to be mine.
musically it will rank pretty high in my personal ac/dc studio album list. of course "thunderstruck" is the perfect opener (as a kid i thought it was about a thunder truck, haha), "mistress for christmas" will be played a lot in the coming christmas season and the title track "the razors edge" is one of the strongest ac/dc songs at all. i think i have a european first press copy here. looks like it wasn't played an awful lot. good for me. great stuff! atco records. 1990.

post scriptum: sorry for the grainy pictures. in the moment i struggle with bad lighting at any time of day.

Freitag, 23. November 2018

psycroptic - as the kingdom drowns

i wasn't familiar with psycroptic at all before i got this prosthetic records e-mail newsletter with an advertisment for the band's new record "as the kingdom drowns". at first glance i just thought that the cover art was looking pretty sharp. then i read something like technical skilled deathmetal in the description - now i began to consider to get a physical copy. luckily prosthetic presses almost all their vinyl releases to one colour-way for the whole pressing.
so there is usually no problem with getting a coloured copy via a german distro. for this release anyhow there are actually three colour-ways. a clear version, an orange with black splatter version and a white/orange swirl version. maybe this is because prosthetic teamed with evp records from australia and had to change their modus operandi. anyway, i ordered from impericon merchandise and the record arrived in perfect condition.
the album needed a few spins to fully sink in but now i am really in love with psycroptic's approach to technical death metal. they craft a fine balance between easy to grasp riffing and technical virtuosity. and a few of their melody lines are so godamn epic, check the opener "we are the keepers" for proof. the actual colour-way is more of an orange marble but looks lovely nevertheless. awesome artwork by mariusz lewandowsky. 200 copies pressed. prosthetic records. 2018.

Dienstag, 20. November 2018

fear factory - obsolete

"there is a fear factory in this division". finally, someone proved sense over at music on vinyl and brought this sucker to its long deserved vinyl treatment. while nu metal ruled my playlist, "obsolete" was one of the few metal albums that found their way into my collection in the late nineties. i bought a cd copy on a whim in an appliance store's media section because i liked the cover art. when i brought it home i listened to it over and over again and i still know every second of the album. i always loved the dense atmosphere and its beautiful melody lines.
"obsolete" from 1998 is a scorcher on all accounts and therefore i did not waste a single second of thinking whether to get the recent vinyl pressing or not. i bought my copy on ebay. the seller was media markt and as they have stores all over germany, it was no problem to get it sent to my local store, save on shipping and pick it up. man, that record aged pretty good. back in the day i always thought of "hi-tech hate" and "freedom or fire" as inferior songs but now, especially the latter one slowly becomes my favourite of the record. the lyrical concept of a dystopian police state and its underground resistance is brilliant too.
of course the idea isn't really new. books like fahrenheit 451, 1984, comic books like v for vendetta or movies like blade runner go in a similar direction and it feels like burton c. bell took the best of them all. nevertheless the short story "conception 5" is so well written and the lyrics so fantastically tied in, it gives me the goosebumps every time i read along. the presentation is pretty cool. the artwork works well in vinyl format and the gold vinyl itself is a pretty good match. hopefully the rest of fear factory's roadrunner back catalogue will also be re-issued on vinyl by mov. 2000 copies made. music on vinyl. 2018.

post scriptum: "obsolete" is, i think, the only album of which i own a copy on all common formats. that speaks for itself. which one i might take for a listen today?

Sonntag, 18. November 2018

sick of it all - wake the sleeping dragon!

and they did it again. another full length of new york's finest. just another proof why my favourite among the flood of important new york hardcore bands, is still ahead of their game. i don't get too excited anymore for hardcore releases these days, therefore i didn't actually lose my shit over pre-orders for "wake the sleeping dragon!". excitement came when i listened to sick of it all's eleventh full length for the first time.
wow, what a godamn rager this record is. i love the hefty punk edge in sick of it all's hardcore sound and it feels like they lay greater emphasis on that part of their musical direction this time. not one single song over the three minute mark. all short blasts of heavy relevance. it is simply a pleasure for the ears to listen to that intensity and joy of play of your favourite hardcore grandpas. thirty two years and no sign of slowing down.
i pre-ordered this fantastic piece of nyhc from emp mailorder. century media pressed a few colour-ways for first vinyl pressing and just like for "last act of defiance" and "when the smoke clears", emp had their exclusive colour. a wonderful opaque yellow version limited to 200 copies. can't say that i am much of a fan of the album artwork but the musical content makes up for this big time. to say it with the words of krs one: sick of it all. fresh for 2018, you suckas! century media. 2018.

Donnerstag, 15. November 2018

inanimate existence - underneath a melting sky

i listen to a lot technical death metal as of late. i am really in the mood for fast picking, proggy bass play and exessive drumming. when i checked my collection to re-visit a few tech death pearls i came across the first two inanimate existence records. when i listened to them again, i was reminded of how fond i actually am of their music. furthermore their latest full length was brought back into my focus. "underneath a melting sky" was not released through their long-time label unique leader records but through the artisan era.
when the record came out in 2017 only u.s. stores carried vinyl versions for the band's fourth full length. thus shipping prices were mean and i didn't want to bite the bullet. i wanted to wait it out for some european distro to have it in stock. fast forward a few months and i was browsing the hhv.de metal vinyl section. i stumbled upon a copy on clearance and in no time i clicked the add-to-cart button. excitement grew because there was no indication of the colour of the vinyl.
the first copy arrived unsealed in a loose mailer with the vinyl inside the cover sleeve. thus a big top seam-split stared back at me. thankfully hhv sent me a new one without problems. what does "underneath a melting sky" sound like? well, it's a thirty minutes long banger without any flaws. they dropped the female vocals, which is a shame in my eyes but they still have this medieval occult, alchemical touch to their sound which gives them a hint of uniqueness. still, i think this is more for fans of the genre. i am really happy with my blue and green merge vinyl out of 100 copies. the artisan era. 2017.

Dienstag, 13. November 2018

high on fire - electric messiah

high on fire is an institution. since my love for this band evolved four years or so ago, i can't think of a bad album of matt pike and his two companions. so of course when i heard news of an upcoming new album, i was all over it. at first only pre-orders for north america appeared. no big deal. high on fire is on e-one entertainment since "snakes for the divine" and since they have no european distribution, century media released an eu version for each record. usually a bit later than e-one.
so i waited. release date came nearer and nothing over at century media. i couldn't find any info on the net and started to panic a bit. i was close to order from the states when emp came to my rescue. they offered a black and a red vinyl edition both labled as spv records releases and the red one limited to 100 copies. when i tried to gather information at the spv page i couldn't find anything. i ordered the sketchy red vinyl anyway but the suspicion arose that i actually ordered the red e-one edition.
when the record arrived i unwrapped the opaque red u.s. version of "electric messiah" of which emp had 100 copies available for europe. spv simply slept on a coloured e.u. version. now they corrected that error and some green marble lp is available for pre-order, set to be released in december. anyway, musically "electric messiah" is just another great stoner metal/punk n' roll record of hof. they just cannot disappoint. one of my favourites of the band for sure. go for "sanctioned annihilation"! really nice shade of red marbled vinyl. i am not sure how many were pressed. e-one. 2018.

Sonntag, 11. November 2018

beyond creation - algorythm

wow, what a strong effort of canada's beyond creation. i knew that these guys were good because i have a tape version of their debut "the aura" (didn't write about it yet) but after i listened to "algorythm", i just sat there in awe unable to fully comprehend the beauty of this album. but from the beginning. i stumbled upon the silver vinyl version over at high roller records. they distribute most stuff from french label season of mist here in germany and so they offered "algorythm" on pre-order.
i believe, i listened to one song on the tube and thought it was money well spent. when it arrived together with the behemoth record, i was a bit distracted by "i loved you at your darkest" and thus grabbed "algorythm" fairly late for a listen. i already told you about my first impression and after repeated listens the record just got better and better. an outstanding mix of progressivity, melody and heaviness. listen to "ethereal kingdom" and the title track and be blown away.
the presentation is top notch as well. season of mist released beyond creation's third full length in a slick gatefold sleeve with a nice embossing on the front. the cover art by tierno beauregard is amazing by the way. ominous and beautiful at the same time. in this edition the dual disc release comes on silver vinyl cut at 45 rounds per minute to ensure best sound quality. a breath-taking technical/progressive death metal release and next to obscura's "diluvium" the best of the year so far. 350 copies made. season of mist records. 2018.

Donnerstag, 8. November 2018

behemoth - i loved you at your darkest

the new piece of behemoth and what a mammoth work this is. the pre-order process was somewhat sketchy. everywhere the record and its different versions were offered, only mock-up photos concerning the vinyl colour-ways were to be seen. those mock-ups indicated a clear merge pattern which would have been very interesting because i only know of opaque colours for merge patterns. i actually was tempted to get the u.k. version but shipping costs put me off.
so i went for the clear/bronze version, it was available via a few german distros and looked pretty cool in the mock-ups. though, i doubted the actual outcome would come close. when the package arrived i was truly blown away. the whole record looked simply amazing. the gatefold comes with partial gold ink printed on a lovely matte cardboard gatefold sleeve. it includes a booklet with fantastic hints to biblical events and their respective paintings.
there is the binding of isaac by abraham, the beheading of holofernes by judith, archangel michael and the weighing of souls, the moulting of apostle bartholomew and a few more which i didn't recognise yet. the colour-way of the vinyl is cool, too. it has nothing to do with the pictures shown beforehand but still nice. coke bottle clear (a teal tinge) with a bronze centre cut at 45 rounds per minute for perfect sound.
musically behemoth delivers a coherent piece of most delicious quality. they actually took the foundation of their death metal sound of "the apostasy" and "evangelion" and added a few new surprising elements like weird clean vocals or an almost catchy chorus. but don't worry, it all blends into the typical behemoth sound seamlessly. fantastic album all around. limited to 500 copies. going to catch them live next year in february. yeah! nuclear blast. 2018.

Dienstag, 6. November 2018

obituary - back from the dead

i am finally back with some obituary vinyl. i thought the title of the album was pretty apt for my little comeback here. we moved into the new house eventually and now i feel like i can lean back and dive headfirst into my vinyl collection again. in the meantime a few bits landed at my doorstep but this is one from the old batch. i recieved "back from the dead" with the self-titled devildriver record.
when i ordered the latest two vinyl re-issues from relapse, listenable records from france offered a few re-issues of old obituary classics theirselves. in a reliable regularity listenable cranks out those roadracer/roadrunner classics from the death metal heyday in the early nineties. suffocation, gorguts, malevolent creation and now obituary. they started with "the end complete", "dead" and "back from the dead". i opted for the latter one because i have an original of the first one and don't need another live record of obituary.
the album marks the last recording before the band went on a hiatus for six years. considering the dark times for death metal in the late nineties, i suppose the record wasn't commercially successful. musically it is a typical obituary piece of doomy death metal the way i like it. listenable did the album justice with its vinyl treatment. slip sleeve, heavy cardboard stock insert and semi-translucent red vinyl make for a sharp first vinyl pressing. 1000 copies made. roadrunner records. 1997. listenable records. 2018.