Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The State I'm In

My biggest surprise from last year was the new Rough Kids album. I'd never heard of the band before, but they came along at the right time, and fit that late 70's punk sound that I was obsessing over at the time.

That Rough Kids album went all the way to number one on my Best of 2016 list. I loved that record, but held back from rushing out to scoop up their 2013 debut album, The State I'm In. I wanted to fully soak in that new record, and didn't want to somehow dilute that by adding their first album into the mix too soon. So I waited it out a full year, before I decided the time was right to finally check out that first Rough Kids album.

The State I'm In fits that same '77 Punk sound, at times reminding me of the first album from The Adverts. How is it that a newer band can play a style of Punk that is 40 years old, and still have it sound fresh and vital?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Metal Church Live

Hands down, one of my favorite concerts last year was when Metal Church played a small club in Portland. Mike Howe's reunion with the band, had me obsessing over the three albums they did with him back in the late 80's/early 90's. I was listening to those albums like crazy and could not get enough...and on top of that, their newest record was impressive as hell. Having never seen Metal Church live before, I couldn't have been more stoked to see them when they came through town. A smile was permanently fixed on my face as I watched the band tear through some new tunes and a bunch of older classics.

I'm usually not too interested in live albums, but having such great memories of seeing Metal Church last year, I couldn't resist picking up their latest live release as a nice reminder of the show.

As the Classic Live title alludes to, none of the songs from their newest album are included here...only material from the bands original run...and with those last couple of Mike Howe albums feeling a bit under appreciated, it is nice to see songs like Gods Of A Second Chance and No Friend Of Mine falling under that "classic" umbrella. Solid fucking track list.

Only 300 pressed on vinyl, and only available through the band's website.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Virtual Maiden

All the cool kids like to look down their nose at Iron Maiden's Blaze Bayley years. I get it, after years of Bruce Dickinson's voice behind the mic, Blaze can be a bit jarring. Hell, it took me a number of years to come around to it, but these days, I'm on the Maiden train from start to finish. I love those oddball Blaze albums, and while I recognize they don't measure up when compared to anything else from the Maiden catalog, I probably still reach for them as much as anything else.

As much as I enjoy X Factor and Virtual XI, it was tough call to include the original vinyl pressing on my Want List. Trying to collect mid to late 90's Metal vinyl could break the strongest of record collectors. Vinyl was damn near extinct at the time, and if you want to chase anything from that era, you better be bringing stacks of cash...for a popular band like Iron Maiden, you better bring double.

The original 1995 pressing of X Factor was a bit steep, but it was manageable for me, but when it came to Virtual XI, with an average price of $300, things got a bit more serious. Earlier this year, I finally said "Fuck it", and I decided to step up and show that I was a serious player in the Maiden game. I had the record on my Top 10 Wants for 2017 list, I was getting ready to make a move and check it off...and then Iron Maiden announced that they were even repressing every album from 1990's No Prayer For The Dying through their latest picture disc release 2012's En Vivo. Unbelievably, Maiden were repressing the Blaze Bayley albums.

This put my thoughts into a spin. Did I save loads of money and go for the repress, or did I stick to my guns with the original press? I tossed the question around in my head over and over again. Taking the cheap way out felt dirty, but in the end $300 is a ridiculous amount of money to ask for what may be the weakest release in the Maiden catalog, so I put the money back in my wallet for another day, and I took the reissue for $30.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Nightmare Shovell

I've got a weird relationship with Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. With each record they release, I check out the latest music video, I absolutely love it...then I rush to buy the vinyl, which I give a few spins, and then I put it on the shelf and there it sits, pretty much ignored. I get all excited about it initially, and then it quickly becomes something I push to the side.

...and yet, I keep running to buy the latest Shovell release. Go figure.

When the new video for the latest single was released, I figured that I'd check it out. Videos from the Shovell, never fail to entertain, and with the one for Nightmare full of photos of naked girls from old magazines, it does not disappoint. The song itself is okay, but doesn't really grab me by the throat and command my attention...and the same goes for the b-side In A Damaged Brain. Good enough, I guess, but I don't know how often I'll be spinning this thing.

Only 100 pressed on black vinyl.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Number Of The Beast

Last year, Beastmaker released their Doom debut, Lusus Naturae. For me, they seemed to come out nowhere, and that album was a great surprise. When Rise Above announced pre-orders for the band's follow up album, Inside The Skull, I was shocked. Two albums over two years? I didn't know that bands could still put albums out at this frequency.

One of the things that first attracted me to Beastmaker was the cover art for their first album. With Inside The Skull, the album artwork is still really cool looking, and the entire packaging really captures the feel and sound of the band.

Beastmaker know their Doom influences, and wear them proudly on their sleeve. Videos for Evil One and Nature Of The Damned show the band enveloped in the horror doom imagery, and pounding out the songs.

Die Hard pressing limited to 100 copies on black vinyl, and includes a giant poster featuring Fangoria artist, Kelly Forbes.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Black And Blue God

Black God rolled out a few 7 inch records from 2011 to 2013, and I could not get enough of them. They really hooked me at the time, and even sucked me into buying multiple copies of each one. Then after that initial burst of activity, the band went silent. Almost four years later, Black God come out of nowhere, and drop another 7 inch.

With their latest 7 inch, 4our, Black God stick with the formula they perfected through their first three records. They carry a strong 90's Hardcore sound, and still come across as totally unique in today's Hardcore scene.

100 pressed on opaque blue vinyl.

The first three Black God records have a set of rules etched into the dead wax, and I was looking forward to see what commandments they would lay forth this time around. Rule #7 and #8 were new for this record, but I'll post the full set here for the hell of it.

Rule #1: No song over two minutes

Rule #2: No record over six songs

Rule #3: No record larger than seven inches

Rule #4: No cover songs

Rule #5: No splits

Rule #6: No stress

Rule #7: No Idea

Rule #8: Break Rule #1

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Hit And Red

At the end of 2015, I picked up a copy of Decibel Magazine that counted down the top 100 old school metal albums. I love a good list, and had a great time reading about their Top 100. I'm a huge metalhead, so I knew most of the albums listed, but there were still a few surprises from records that I'd never heard before.

One of these surprises was Girlschool.

Of course I was familiar with the band name...having recorded the St. Valentines Day Massacre split with Motorhead kind of makes it hard to have never heard of Girlschool before...still, outside of their songs with Motorhead, I never bothered.

I was determined to listen to every album on Decibel's Top 100, and with Girlschool's second album, Hit and Run, charting at number 68, I grabbed a sneaky download, and threw it into the mix.

Much to my surprise, I loved it. Their punked up kind of rock n roll, hit all the right buttons, and I found myself listening to those songs daily.

For me, there is something really cool about colored vinyl in the 70's and early 80's. Black vinyl was king at the time, as opposed to today, where every album gets 10 different colored vinyl grabbing colored vinyl from those early days seems special to me. When I discovered that there was a red vinyl pressing of Hit and Run, I had to grab one.