Sonntag, 25. Juni 2017

elder - reflections of a floating world

the new elder release is finally here and again the trio from massachusetts crafted a truly mesmerising piece of art. on their self-titled debut elder had yet to find theirselves but "dead roots stirring" from 2011 and "lore" from 2015 were nothing short of masterpieces. the guys created a mix of heaviness and atmosphere that is unparalleled in the stoner rock genre and beyond. of course i was very excited to hear the band was releasing a new record in early june. that was at some point in march, i believe. almost every day i checked the band's facebook page eagerly awaiting the pre-orders to go live.
in contrast to "lore" where the first press came on black vinyl only, both european (stickman records) and u.s. (armageddon shop) label offered coloured vinyl. while there are several u.s. versions floating around offered by several sources, stickman records made one vinyl edition available. a lovely sea foam green colour-way. as i definitely found one or another u.s. vinyl colour attractive as well, i didn't want to pay up for international shipping. so i jumped at the stickman pre-orders as soon as it was up and at the end of may i was the proud owner of a vinyl copy of the new elder record, called "reflections of a floating world".
what can i say, again elder gave us a record full of spaced out and dreamy progressive rock/stoner hymns. everything is pure gold on this record. if you like bands such as baroness or mastodon, you have found your new favourite band in elder. i am always a bit puzzled as to why these guys don't gain much more recognition. the artwork by adrian dexter is another milestone in his ongoing collaboration with the band. simply beautiful. the art and lettering on the slip sleeve come with a spot gloss print while the white upper bar is of normal cardboard. printed dust sleeves, an insert with all lyrics and nice 180gr sea foam green round out the lovely package. stickman records. 2017.

post scriptum: i am pretty excited to see elder live in hamburg on 24th of july with two good friends. we'll see if the band carries some tour vinyl. so probably there will be more elder vinyl on here soon...

Freitag, 23. Juni 2017

killswitch engage - alive or just breathing

finally the vinyl gods had mercy with my sorry soul and granted me deliverance through a vinyl pressing of killswitch engage's breakthrough record "alive or just breathing". the album was released in 2002 but i think, it wasn't until late 2003/early 2004 that i listened to the opener "numbered days". it was right after school in front of a small super market which was close to the school building, where a friend of mine handed me his second headphone plug and turned up the volume of his discman.
the song blew me away. it was something completely new to me. the riffing of classic metal combined with hardcore groove and big choruses that were not cheesy because of the unique voice of jesse leach. i was all over it and got my hands on a cd copy which i played to death. "alive or just breathing" came just in time to fill the void that nu metal left after its downfall and killswitch were, along with bands like unearth or shadows fall, leaders of a new genre soon to be called metalcore.
when i started to collect vinyl and set out to get vinyl copies of albums i held dear and had already on cd, killswitch engage's sophomore release was always high on the list of albums i would have liked to see a vinyl pressing of. now, fifteen years after its initial release, roadrunner comes up with an anniversary pressing which is technically the first press. i am not one hundred percent satisfied with it, though. i really would have liked to see roadrunner sticking to the original cover instead of this worked over variant.
and of course a coloured variant would have been cool also. well, 180gr black vinyl looks sharp as well. the upside is the inner gatefold with all the cool band pictures from back in the day and the very informative insert with loads of liner notes by band members, former companions and label employees. for example roadrunner was close to drop all that was metal from their roster because the genre seemed dead in the early 00's. killswitch brought a breath of fresh air and got the label back on track. don't know how many copies were made. roadrunner records. 2002/2017.

Mittwoch, 21. Juni 2017

born of osiris - the eternal reign

the new release of born of osiris is not a new one at all but rather a re-recording of the band's debut full length "the new reign" from 2007. if count count taught you well, you might have recognised that 2017 marks the ten years anniversary of born of osiris' first album. for all their releases they stayed with the label sumerian records, so 2017 was not only the anniversary of the debut but the cooperation with sumerian as well. to celebrate this fruitful relationship for both sides born of osiris hit the studio again to grace the music with a new production.
i have a pretty lively memory of 2007 when i sat in front of my computer, in the room of my first shared flat in leipzig checking bands on myspace. i came across "the new reign" and fell in love with this progressive and modern way of metal. seven years later i was equally excited to add the vinyl version to my collection. right after their milestone "the discovery", this first record is my favourite of them. therefore i was a little torn if there was really the need for me to get this re-recorded version.
at first i flirted with the u.s. pre-order over at sumerian but my doubts hindered me in putting the idea to action. after a while i saw an european version floating around. when i saw the price dropping drastically in the absence of oversea shipping rates i couldn't say no anymore. the final outcome is pretty much what you would expect of a re-recorded version. it's basically the same stuff with a better sound. little changes here and there and a new song as a bonus. so really more of a fanboy package but that's just what i am. i think i prefer the original version but this new edition will not just collect dust on my shelf. good work born of osiris! opaque orange vinyl. sumerian records. 2017.

Montag, 19. Juni 2017

suffocation - pierced from within orange vinyl

almost a year ago i bought a copy of suffocation's third album "pierced from within". back then i won an auction for an orange vinyl re-press by listenable records from france. after some hassle i finally recieved a copy, only it wasn't coloured but black vinyl. i then got a refund and the seller said that i could keep the black copy. in my according post i wrote that i wasn't planning to get the colour copy and stick to my black lp. yeah right, who was i fooling here?
when i decided to buy "pleiades' dust" by gorguts from supreme chaos records, i searched the store for an addition to my order. i came across a new orange vinyl copy for a pretty moderate price. the description said "slight corner ding" which probably was the reason for the good price. i thought "how bad can it be?", and added it to my cart. i am still searching for that corner ding and am very happy that i went for it.
the album was recorded in 1995 and actually released by roadrunner records. it was the first album where the band was satisfied with the sound production. on this album they started with the habbit of re-recording one song of the "breeding the spawn" record, which had a poor production due to some financial issues of roadrunner, on every new album. check out the whole record here. 500 copies pressed. listenable records. 2016.

Sonntag, 18. Juni 2017

gorguts - pleiades' dust

gorguts were a little surprise to me last year. a band that is around since the late eighties and their considered masterpiece "obscura" was written in the mid nineties, were just brought into my focus last year. i bought their re-issues of said "obscura" album and the follow-up "from wisdom to hate" on century media and then my interest drifted onto other things. lately i listened to my gorguts records again and thought it was time to get the latest stuff from the return after their second break-up consequent upon the suicide of drummer steve macdonald in 2002.
in 2008 the band or better luc lemay, guitarist, voclist and mastermind behind gorguts' compositions, started working on a few demo tracks. due to some legal issues with century media which took over olympic records, the label which gorguts released their last two records with, and long recording process, the fifth full length "colored sands" saw the light of day in 2013 and "pleiades' dust" in 2016 eventually. the wait was worth it. the band is still complex and challenging but that is just the way you want your gorguts album. what is more stunning to me is the atmosphere they create.
the e.p. that contains of one coherent song. the lyrical concept is based on the house of wisdom in baghdad and it seperates the piece into seven sections. the house of wisdom was founded in 825 and was some sort academy where arabic scholars translated and provided scientific scripts from the ancient world. next to the translation department the house of wisdom also contained a hospital, a libary and an observatory. in 1258 the house was destroyed by the mongolians who conquered baghdad. all these elements can be found in the fantastic artwork by zbigniew m. bielak from poland. 500 copies on orange vinyl. season of mist records. 2016.

Montag, 12. Juni 2017

inanimate existence - calling from a dream

this is actually the first record i recieved in june. it kicked off a flood of great records being washed up at my doorstep and the flood still won't let up. for this first june record the motto is a new month, a new unique leader record. i came across inanimate existence while checking the unique leader roster. i think i listened to them one or two months ago and was a bit put off by the female voice which kicks right in at the start of the first song "calling from a dream".
it reminded me a bit of fallujah, an experimental death metal band which i hold really dear since their debut "the harvest wombs" started my recent obsession for tech death. so far, so good. only it wasn't as good and that's why i put them aside. after i got myself the hideous divinity and eschaton record i stumbled upon inanimate existence again. re-visiting the album i had to revise my first impression. it wasn't right to say "not as good as fallujah", it was simply different and great in its own way.
inanimate existence brings more of a dark atmosphere into their mix. not as futuristic as fallujah but more occult. i really dig it and am happy to add this to collection. you can check the whole album in stream on the tube. the band was founded in 2010 in santa cruz, california. "calling from a dream" is their third and latest full length all released via unique leader. need to check out the other two releases.
the album comes in a slip sleeve with printed dust sleeve. the great artwork by parin cashmony adds to the dark and mystical mood the music creates. the vinyl is described as white with purple haze, whereas the purple is seemingly added very scarcely to the mix. held against the light the vinyl reveals quite alot purple under the surface, though. for the picture i used a single beam of sunlight that shines through the centre of the record to emphasise the difference. bought this at hhv.de with a sweet discount on it. unique leader records. 2016.

Samstag, 10. Juni 2017

atheist - elements

last year i got meself a copy of atheist's debut full length "piece of time" and was pretty impressed with the sophisticated brand of metal they were playing, especially when considering the year of release of this album which was 1989. back then i wanted to get the other albums of the band as well but lost focus a little. seeing this album for sale two weeks ago on ebay kleinanzeigen served as a reminder. ebay kleinanzeigen is a second hand market by ebay with focus on local offers, similar to craigslist.org.
usually this isn't a proper site for searching for vinyl. in general search hits are limited for hardcore or metal stuff. i was checking options for atheist vinyl and just wanted to make sure i was exhausting all possibilities. actually i looked for a copy of "unquestionable presence" but came across a very reasonable priced copy of the third full length "elements". the seller listed the item as new and if that was true (season of mist vinyl comes unsealed in a protection sleeve), i paid even less than from a store.
musically this album is a blast. a wild, jazzy trip through thrashed prog death metal. "elements" is a surprise bag full of ideas tied together by masterful musicianship. the lyrical theme build around the four elements adds to the progressive approach on metal. the colourful artwork by kristian wåhlin works perfectly with the musical part of the piece. in this context i think that season of mist could have gone a bit crazier with the vinyl colour as well. clear red is a nice match nevertheless. 250 copies made. season of mist records. 2015.

Donnerstag, 8. Juni 2017

mastodon - emperor of sand

i finally came around to get a copy of the new masterpiece by mastadon. the new baby is entitled "emperor of sand" and is a concept album again which really made me see the return of high times of "crack the skye" or "leviathan". it is not like i wouldn't love the non-concept records "the hunter" and "once more 'round the sun", quite on the contrary. in other words: there is no such thing as a bad mastodon record. but the overshadowing myth of a lyrical concept adds a special attraction.
"emperor of sand" tells the story of a protagonist being sentenced to death by a ruler of the desert. he is cursed to wander the wastelands and experiences different stages of exhaustion, dehydration and disorientation. at the end the protagonist dies and is saved at the same time. with these metaphors the band deals with relatives of a few members developing cancer. a gripping concept in a fantastic setting. next to the lyrical common thread the musical part is outstanding.
to me it is a perfect mastodon album. not one weak song on the record. all killer, no filler. again the band worked with producer brendan o'brien. he already was the mediator between the band and recording techniques on "crack the skye" and did an awesome job back then. on "emperor of sand" i feel the same diversity and lust for detail. an artisitic collaboration which paid off completely. listen to the full album and convince yourself.
i got myself a copy that late because i thought and still think that there will be a coloured vinyl version of "emperor of sand" at some point. i tried to wait it out but failed becuase you know, it's mastodon. so of course i will pay for another colour copy when the time arrives. the artwork by alan brown/medusawolf is gorgeous. i love the hieronymus bosch-esque center piece of the gatefold cover. nice 180gr black vinyl housed in a sturdy, glossy gatefold sleeve. european edition. reprise records. 2017.

Dienstag, 6. Juni 2017

hideous divinity - adveniens

june is going to be a top notch month for vinyl. i already recieved a bunch of cool stuff and more is on its way. all the worse i don't find the time to listen to my new additions properly let alone writing about them. with this one here i am still cleaning up my may backlog. but what's the use of whining? here is another unique leader release at hand and another band i didn't know beforehand. hideous divinity is the name and the guys are hailing from italy.
cool to see a band from europe among the majority of technical death metal bands coming from the states. the guys have a somewhat strange story to them. hideous divinity consists of italian musicians but was formed in norway in 2006. i don't know if there is a big italian community in this scandinavian country but it sounds odd that a bunch of italians founded a death metal band in cold norway. anyway, by now they re-located in sunny italy and released their third full length via unique leader this year.
the album goes by the name of "adveniens" and is a real scorcher. listening to this piece i definitely hear a more classic approach to extreme metal. the eight songs sound mystical, ominous and the technical abilities of the musicians support the song-writing and are not an end in itself. at times "adveniens" reminds me of great deeds of genre heroes such as behemoth or nile. listen to the album in whole here.
the packaging by unique leader records is different to the eschaton album from the last post and to most releases i own from them. they abandoned an insert and went for a printed dust sleeve. looks nice but those things tend to get seam-splits when sent in a vinyl mailer. unfortunately no difference here. the vinyl colour is one of that opaque in clear vinyl configurations. the opaque colour inside clear red is stated as grey. looks lovely. unique leader records. 2017.

Dienstag, 30. Mai 2017

eschaton - sentinel apocalypse

in the past few months i was working my way through the vast unique leader records back catalogue. i found a few releases that were not my cup of tea and a lot more that were right up my alley. now i am playing catch up with what i missed in the past. fortunately the musical style which unique leader stands for is not the most popular in the metal genre. otherwise i would not have been able to still find most vinyl releases i am interested in pretty much hassle free.
technical death metal really embraced me and i cannot get enough of new stuff. one of those bands that fit that mood lately is eschaton. another band from the states which plays this progressive and technical metal style flawlessly. fast and crushing guitar work, sophisticated bass play, fierce drumming and guttural growling along with high pitched screaming make for a great death metal record. maybe they won't gain much recognition beyond the genre but for fans this is a highly enjoyable piece of recorded music.
the record comes in a slip sleeve with a simple one-sided insert and a white dust sleeve. love it this way though. the artwork is pretty bad on all accounts. it looks really cheesy with those three naked guys in front of a medieval gate. the only things that helps is the psychedelic colouring. speaking of nice colours. the vinyl colour-way is a real charm in my eyes. lovely purple and pink merge with blue splatter vinyl. don't know how many were made. unique leader records. 2015.