Sonntag, 30. November 2014

high on fire - surrounded by thieves

as i mentioned in my last high on fire post, i'm working on getting all the records together. so here is another piece of the puzzle. this time it's about their second full length record called 'surrounded by thieves. it was released three years after 'the art of self defense' now on relapse records. signing with relapse this album made them known to a broader audience. the album was firstly pressed on a single lp. i believe two pressings have been made this way. further pressings had been given the double lp treatment.
my copy is of the second double lp pressing, so actually the fourth pressing if my information is correct. the constant reader knows that i'm a sucker for split coloured vinyl. so before i ordered this one, i had to evaluate several aspects. first fact to consider was that all high on fire releases on relapse had been pressed on this colour way. as i think owning different records on the same colour way is boring, i only wanted one of the three on this nice orange/green split vinyl. but which one? 'death is this communion' was out of the picture, as i already had the opague green version. so the choice was between 'surrounded by thieves' and 'blessed black wings'.
it wasn't easy because i listened to both records beforehand and knew that i liked 'blessed black wings better' but then, the decision was made when i realised that i was able to buy 'blessed black wings' locally at burnout record store. that saved me alot on shipping and so i went for the second album. the whole order process went pretty smooth. convenient to order with relapse records. thumbs up!
after repeated spins of 'surrounded by thieves' i must say that it's the weakest high on fire record so far. i love high on fire for their dreamy melodies embedded in their very own stoner sound. i can't quite put my finger on it but there is something about their music that sounds familiar to me. on 'sorrounded by thieves' however these melodies seem to be missing. there is some good stuff, sure. for example 'the yeti' or 'nemesis' are strong songs but the whole delivery pales in comparison to their other releases. and then there is this stupid front cover. i can hang with the rest of the artwork but this fat demon guy on the front looks ridiculous. what kind of position is he in? sitting, lying? the rest of the presentation is pretty nice though. fat, sturdy gatefold sleeve and awesome half orange half green split vinyl with white splatter. 598 copies made. relapse records. 2002/2013.

Donnerstag, 27. November 2014

emmure - eternal enemies

in my last post about the mantar lp, which i bought in hamburg's saturn store, i let shine through that i was actually there for a different reason. here is this reason: emmure's latest effort called 'eternal enemies'. but let me tell you the whole story. of course i heard news of a coming new emmure record via victory records earlier on this year. at this point i was pretty sure that i could easily pick up a copy through my favourite mailorder per koro. when the release date came i saw that victory pressed two colour ways and a black retail version. shit. that meant per koro would only get the black vinyl. as i wanted to avoid shipping costs from the states, i looked what other possibilities might appear. i checked ebay and came across a seller who offered a coloured copy for twenty bucks. pretty high price but still less compared to the u.s. order option. so well, i pulled the trigger and some days later the package landed at my door.
removing the mailer and holding the sealed copy in hands, i noticed the missing of the 'limited coloured vinyl' sticker that is common for victory records. opening it up, the missing of the sticker became logical. it was a black copy. shit². i e-mailed the seller saying that i got the wrong copy. he said that he only got copies without the colour stickers, so they were all black. he apologised for the mistake in the auction's description, gave me a refund and i sent back the record. i checked more german and european distros but couldn't find what i desired. so my last idea was to ask at saturn store. it's one of the biggest entertainment media stores in germany with huge selection. i asked a seller and he looked through the wholesale program. he found the coloured vinyl option and told me to send me an e-mail when it arrived at the store. got the e-mail, drove to the store and saw the copy the friendly employee handed out to me. again no 'coloured' sticker and again a black copy. shit³.
must have been a mistake by the european wholesale distributor. so the only option now was to bite the bullet and order from the states. after all the hassle, i gladly paid up and was happy to recieve a new, shining, coloured copy. the musical part is really good. it's always a mystery to me how this band constantly repeats itself from record to record and still manages to sound fresh. it's the same ingredients emmure are known for: freaked out guitar overtunes, massive breakdowns and frankie palmeri's sometimes mystical and sometimes right in your face lyrics. this album excites me and i still love those weirdos. check out 'most hated' and 'we were just kids' and you have good examples of their musical range from bone breaking heavy to popy sweat. fantastic job, guys! clear green out of 300 copies. victory records. 2014. 

Dienstag, 25. November 2014

mantar - death by burning

i came across this one here accidentally. my first encounter with this album was while reading the fuze magazine. it's a free music magazine that comes with orders from certain labels and distros or can be found in physical record store to take away. they specialised on hardcore, punk and some assorted metal stuff. i don't know which issue it was anymore, but i know that saw the album cover in the review section. i shortly glanced over it but it left no deeper impression.
a physical copy crossed my path when i was in hamburg's saturn store. actually i wanted to pick up a different was the latest emmure record i actually wanted. but read about this disaster and the happy ending in the up-coming post. my girlfriend was with me and we had not that much time, but she looked at me and must have seen the disappointment in my eyes. she said that she knew that i hate to leave a store empty handed and that we should take a quick look through the metal vinyl section. god knows i love her.
so i started flicking through the vinyl and she, just to kill some time, looked at some covers she thought were cool. doing so she pulled 'death by burning' from the shelf.i looked at it and remembered the fuze magazine incident. so i took a quick listen and i was sold. that was some pretty good stoner/doom metal with a good portion of hardcore in the mix. as i'm on a huge high on fire kick right now, mantar really appeals to me. great shit. listen to 'the berserker's path' and to 'into the golden abyss' and convince yourself.
mantar is a two-piece from northern germany. amazing how just two instruments can produce such lovely noise. the amazing cover art tops it all off. my girlfriend proved good taste here. very good release all around. 700 on black vinyl and 300 on bronze vinyl. another version on white vinyl also available. probably the second press? svart records. 2014. 

Sonntag, 23. November 2014

korn - follow the leader

yeah, you got me. i admit, i am a korn fan. but let me explain to you. as a kid, i was introduced to heavy music by my uncle. i told that story many times before, so i won't bore you with another repetition. that must have been around '95 and '96. for two years i was content with the hardcore stuff i had on self-made tapes. i mean, i was at the age of nine or ten. i had more things to do than just listening to music. playing football, annoying neighbors and stuff. in 1998 things really begin to change. a good friend of mine and i were on winter vacation with our families. in the evening we were watching mtv and wittnessed something that became our first own musical discovery.
we watched a music video and by the title of this post you might already guess which one that was. yepp, 'freak on a leash' by korn. we were totally blown away. we looked at each other and were like, dude, you've seen that? boy, that was so cool. the whole bullet thing in the video. these cool dudes in baggy pants and with dread locks. and then this crazy song with its heavy guitars at the end. that was the shit, we decided. back home my buddy got the cd single (jeez, cd singles were real crap!) and we listened to this song without end. then, i decided to get the album.
in my small home town there wasn't any fancy music store, we just had a book store with a small music shelf. of course, they did not have it in stock. they had to purchase it at wholesale and then they informed my mom that the album was ready for pick up. i don't know what i paid anymore but it was a good chunk of my monthly pocket money, if not all of it. i took it home with great anticipation. and man, they were fully met. at one point i transfered the music to casette and took the album with me everywhere i went on my walkman. i remember listening to 'follow the leader' exclusively all the time through the summer family vacation in croatia. i loved this album to the death.
as time moved on and i was a youth, new possibilities arose with the internet and mtv became more and more uncool, just like nu metal in general. somehow korn, limp bizkit or coal chamber were not enough anymore. i craved for music with deeper meaning for my own life and so hardcore came back into my life with all might. i sold all my old cd's to fund future purchases of more important stuff like heaven shall burn, cataract or bleeding through. nu metal and korn with it was dead to me. dead until an announcement of music on vinyl made me pretty curious. the newsletter said that they would re-press all korn records up to 'take a look in the mirror' on coloured vinyl. well, that didn't get me hooked immediately. in hamburg, i came across a golden copy and suddenly i felt like i wanted it but the price put me off. back home i downloaded the album, just to see if i still liked it.
what can i say, i still do. i know these songs so well and everything came back - good memories and the album simply feels like home. so of course i wanted it. i ordered it together with the conan - monnos lp from the record looks lovely on gold vinyl and i really like the glue pocket sleeve. only downer is the missing of the bonus song 'earache my eye'. apart of that the presentation is top notch. they even put the white promo sticker on the pvc sleeve. had the same on my cd copy back then. the question, if i should get the other re-presses as well, will be answered in due time. 2000 made. music on vinyl. 2014.      

Donnerstag, 20. November 2014

conan - monnos

in my second post this month (life of agony) i spoke of my new mailorder find, namely. this mailorder has a very, very decent metal section and huge part with small european and u.s. label distributions. all the stuff you don't get via the big labels nuclear blast, century media and metal blade. they have literally thousands and thousands of titles to offer. and in my foolish attempt to browse through them all in one go without losing  perseverance, i came across this one here.
the first thing that caught my attention was the artwork. it has a nice comic touch to it and reminded me vaguely of stephen bissette and his work on eighties swamp thing comics. it also reminded me of the 'death is this communion' cover art from high on fire. with reminiscence of two things i really like, i ventured over to the tube to see if my gut instinct could be proven right. i listened to 'grim tormentor' and fell in love. i'm not the biggest doom metal fan. in fact, a year ago i didn't even know one doom metal band by the name. things changed with austrian's iron heel and my interest grew. but, you know, there is doom and then there is doom. i love the mean kind with bottom low down-tuned guitars. and hell yeah, liverpool's conan is definitely that kind.
so i checked back with the label that released this cracker. burning world records from the netherlands is the name. never heard of them though. but my unknown concerning this metal sub-genre explains that to an extend. the first pressing of 'monnos' was long gone, as it actually appeared in 2012. but they had a fresh re-press available. probably to cash in on the release of conan's latest album this year. not that this would be a bad thing at all. the new pressing, now on green vinyl, was all coloured. so i didn't hestitate to throw this in my cart and check it out along with another record, that will be featured here next.
in natura this baby looks brilliant. this great artwork which reflects parts of the lyrics and the album title (if researched correctly, monnos is a figure taken from the world of warcraft video game, which people get crazy over but fails to excite me in any way), lovely thick, 180gr apple green vinyl and a black dust sleeve make it a pleasure for almost every sense. check this shit out and if you love your music neck crushing, steam rolling heavy, than this is your address. don't know how many were made. burning world records. 2012.

Dienstag, 18. November 2014

converge - petitioning forever

when i bought the recent re-press of the converge compilation 'petitioning forever' from deathwish, i said that i was pretty unhappy with the complete missing of any written words. i mean, ok, i can live with the missing of the lyrics. that's shitty, sure, but if i really want them i'll look them up on the internet. what really bothered me the most were the non-existing song titles. if i can't read along to the lyrics, at least i want to know what the names of the songs are i am listening to. that flat out sucked.
i am not too much of a fan of these pre-jane doe works of converge, so the problem wasn't right in my face. but i said to myself, if there was the opportunity to get an up-grade for reasonable conditions, i would take it. after a while an ebay seller had this record right here for a twenty bucks starting price up for sale. not unreasonable if it was going out for this amount. i watched it but lost track on it and missed the end of auction. it ended without a bid and the seller re-listed it.
the following seven days i thought about it whether to get it or not, but then i reminded myself of my very own words. 'i would take a reasonable priced up-grade'. and this was just that. so i put in my bid, which was the starting price and hoped that again nobody else would want it. you wittness the proof that i was the only one interested. now as i searched for pressing information i came across an odd incident. my version actually doesn't exist. it's of the second pressing and two different sources tell me, that it was pressed either on two split colours or on two merge colours, but not one split and one merge. so what the heck is this? has anyone but me such a version and this might be a false mix up by the label? or has this been a change the pre-owner is responsible for? 
as mentioned above the music of 'petitioning the empty sky' and 'when forever comes crashing', the two early releases this compilation consists of, doesn't really knock me off my socks. it's interesting to hear where they came from and how they developed in these early stages, but that's it. really just interesting. but that's just my opinion, i know alot of fans are really into the early stuff. way more than into the post-jane doe era. anyway, the important thing is the little insert with all the song titles and lyrics, which i reasured myself of by asking the seller before bidding. and yepp, it's way more fun now listening to the record. lovely red and orange merge vinyl for record one and beautiful white and blue split vinyl for record two. second pressing. deathwish inc. 2007.

Sonntag, 16. November 2014

born of osiris - tomorrow we die alive

number four of four. the latest born of osiris record from 2013. i heard news of this album through a promo sticker i got together with an u.s.-order via discogs. i don't remember which record it was but i do remember that i said to myself to check out 'tomorrow we die alive'. in the end i didn't and so i bought this record all unprepared. i believe there was only one colour option available from the label, and so this choice was an easy one. though i didn't have any choice when byuing it at discogs anyway.
again the look of this baby is pretty nice all around. the cover art is what i expected from these chicago guys. looks very futuristic. the album however wasn't going to sink its talons into me by the first listens. this seems to be the common procedure with born of osiris records and me. it needed time. and the first time i really thought: 'man, that's pretty good stuff', was on a hour long drive on the highway while it was night and raining. the surrounding seemed pretty alien with all the car lights and the blurred vision caused by the rain. a fitting setting for the music.
maybe that was all it needed. the right time and place. ok, let's not get too philosophical. the album is great but cannot beat 'the discovery', but that's just my personal opinon and not important by all means. check out 'mindful' and 'illusionist' and then go and get a copy! again i don't know how many of these babies are floating around. not much of these show up on ebay so i think the amount can't be too high. marbled dark blue vinyl. sumerian records. 2013.

Mittwoch, 12. November 2014

born of osiris - the discovery

the third full length by born of osiris. third albums are widely regarded as the 'make it or break it' album. when i listened to the discovery for the first few times in 2011, i have to admit they didn't really make it for me. so i put it back on my cd shelf. there it stood for quite a while. circa a year later, on a whim, i pulled it out and threw it into my cd-player. that was the first time it really clicked with me. all of a sudden that album was a real cracker and i felt like i finally understood the whole thing. they made it after all.
so strong songs on here. check out 'devastate' and 'automatic motion' and get lost in their odd, electronic induced soundscapes. i love this mix of this modern tech death metal, keyboard pop and these adorable neo-classic guitar solos. a masterpiece. simple as that. so the first three born of osiris records had been on my want list pretty much from the beginning of my vinyl collecting days. i loosely looked out for them on ebay, and the like. but i never really made a straight attempt on getting them. that changed the day i got another automatic discogs e-mail.
the mail told me that there were all born of osiris records abailable from one and the same seller. the prices were affordable and the seller had all the colour-ways available i was looking for. so here was the chance to pick them all in one fell swoop. of course, to buy all four (the 2013 record will be featured next) together wasn't that cheap after all but at least i saved on shipping. and here it is. sumerian went for a thick glue pocket sleeve instead of a gatefold sleeve, which i prefer. the cover art is pretty ace and matches the music perfectly. the vinyl colour is stunning. love that the two discs look different in their marble effect. sumerian records. 2011.  

Montag, 10. November 2014

born of osiris - a higher place

pretty soon after 'the new reign' was released in 2007, born of osiris announced a new record. one could follow the development through myspace with some short studio videos. and then somewhere in 2009 'a higher place' dropped. i remember ordering the cd with great expectations. as i finally held the album in hands and jamed it into my cd-player, expectations weren't fully met. you know the feeling of awaiting an album eagerly and then, without being able to explain it, it just doesn't feel right?
back then i just didn't enjoy this album as much as 'the new reign'. now, with hindsight, i think this album sounds a bit rushed here and there plus the sound is a bit too clean. but also 'a higher place' has aged well and i like it more than in 2009. it's this typical sound only born of osiris can play and that is unmistakably their very own. i simply love their complicated sound structures and how they still remain catchy at the same time.
i have always wondered what's the deal with all those egyptian references the band pulls off. the name alone - born of osiris. i mean, when i listen to nile the point is perfectly clear, because they explain their lyrics. but born of osiris don't deliver any hints and the lyrics aren't self-explanatory when it's about their background. and then the label - sumerian records. egyptian name and logo... anyone knows something to shed some light? electric white vinyl. sumerian records pressed this album to vinyl in 2011, too.

Samstag, 8. November 2014

born of osiris - the new reign

you remember those times as myspace was big? almost feels ancient to me now. it was a time i was really in touch with social networking. i almost daily discovered new bands. good ones as well as bad ones. and the flood of new bands seemed endless. for the first time it was so easy for musicians to present their stuff to a broad audience without needing to know how to create fancy internet pages. by clicking through friends lists i discovered bands, such as the acacia strain, whitechapel, carnifex and, you probably guessed it, born of osiris.
they were the first nerdy tech metal band i was getting into. i remember listening to 'rosecrance' for the first time and being not really sure what to think about it. it was kind of weird with its cheesy keyboard sounds and its omni-present on-off-riffing. after some more listenings i really came to love it and ordered a cd copy via amazon. that was 2007. six years later, in 2013, i heard news of a new record. it took me another year to get a copy and as i was on it, i bought all the other born of osiris records as well.
so here we are. i really love 'the new reign' and it looks and sounds great on vinyl. there had been two colour options for this gem. a clear blue and a solid yellow. i was really happy that the discogs seller, i bought all four records from, had my desired colour in stock. as you can see the opaque yellow is slightly marbled. fantastic! i don't really know how many were made. 500 maybe? sumerian records pressed this album to vinyl in 2011. stay tuned for more born of osiris stuff to come...

Mittwoch, 5. November 2014

life of agony - river runs red

it was a day somewhere in this year's summer, as i opened my blogger dashboard to check what new posts of my fellow bloggers might came around with this time. i looked through them and then it hit me like a sledge hammer. was that a freaking coloured version of one of my favourite nyhc records staring back at me? i hit the page and read my way through the post. and yes it was true! the re-issue gods had been gracious in my behalf. finally a coloured version of life of agony's 'river runs red'.
the post i was getting these great news from is an entry by lenny. check his words to it by clicking here. it told me that it had been some kind of black friday record store day release by brookvale records. never heard of this event or of the record label either. but anyway it was there and my task was to get hold of a copy. anyhow it wasn't going to be that easy though.
i could have easily ordered a copy directly through brookvale records or some other american retailers, but man, these damned shipping rates. the record alone wasn't a cheapo but together with shipping it was too much to me. so i seaked a german distro to have a copy in stock. the only option i found was an ebay seller. the price was pretty high and all in all i would have to pay the same amount as buying from the states.
after some weeks of thinking to and fro, i bit the bullet because they had some other stuff to offer and i made the order worthwhile to me. the ebay store i'm talking about is called hhv. it has its own internet address as well and seems to be an big ass store, that has all kinds of vinyl and some really cool distributed titles. i bought some more stuff from them recently. but that's another story.
musically i don't have to tell any more about this pearl of an album. such an intense piece of music. lyrically and sound-wise. this suicide story that holds the album together, sends shivers down my spine everytime i listen to this record. i saw life of agony recently play live at this years elbriot festival in hamburg. for those not in the know, keith is not keith anymore. mina is the name and he is a she right now. so i was very excited to see them. the change was remarkable concerning her look, the sound however, didn't change a bit. she still has this bone chilling singing voice and they played almost exclusively 'river runs red' songs. i really had a blast, as well as everybody in the crowd. brookvale records. 2013.

Dienstag, 4. November 2014

warhound - next level

the new warhound lp. with their debut full length 'colder than ever' it was a bit like a surprise box. i wasn't sure of what i was going to get. in the end it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. the record was reminiscent of nineties hardcore crossover ala biohazard, life of agony and even a bit dog eat dog. i really liked it and still do. therefore i was eager to hear their new material.
i get the regular newsletter of beatdown hardwear records and through this channel i heard news about a coming sophomore record. as soon as pre-orders were up, i headed over to the store and placed my order. the record and some others had been delivered right at release date and so this was an all smooth transaction, as always with bdhw. cool when things work that hassle free.
so now to the record at hand. well..., after only a few listens i'm pretty underwhelmed. they strayed from the path with this new record now playing some kind of experimental dark hardcore. i don't know how to describe it. this reminds me of a freaked out version of emmure. and if you know emmure, you know it's hard to sound even more freaked out than emmure does already. everything sounds so overdone without the right sense for composition.
it's a shame but gone are all their cool ninties reminiscences. i don't think i'll spin this very often. it's going to be filed away with the hope for better releases of warhound. maybe you like to check for yourself. feel free to do so. i snagged the most limited colour which is clear and out of 100 copies. mine is #9. a nice low number. beatdown hardwear records. 2014.