Mittwoch, 27. April 2016

poison the well - distance only makes the heart grow fonder

i think it's safe to say that poison the well was a highly influential band in the late nineties and early 00's. it is actually correct to say that poison the well is a band again, as they are playing shows again but this entry is rather about their early deeds than about their current. their earliest is the 'distance only makes the heart grow fonder' e.p. from 1998. everybody loves their first full length 'the opposite of december' and rightfully so, but in hindsight i believe 'distance...' is even a bit better.
it took me a long time to get a coloured copy of 'the opposite of december'. i was pretty focused on that specific record and only when i finally held a copy of that album in hands, my mind was free to chase their first release. this time it didn't take me three years but six months instead. as in most cases with rare records, discogs came to my rescue. a seller from belgium offered a nice clear peach marble for a fair price and here we are.
man, this record is eighteen years old now. if it was from germany, it is now old enough to get the driver's liscence. it's like they say, time flies. goodlife pressed it on ten inch format and i am cool with that. i'm not sure what the cover art shows and why the picture doesn't takes the whole cover but i really love the centre labels of the record itself. it shows an excerpt of the infamous painting 'nachtmahr' by johann heinrich füssli or henry fuseli, a swiss-english artist. a truly disturbing, yet attractive piece. 200 copies made. check willem's post about his copy. goodlife recordings. 1998.

Montag, 25. April 2016

parkway drive - deep blue

the second parkway drive record of the month. pretty industrious fellows over at epitaph records. at first they gave us the long overdue first vinyl pressing of 'horizons' for this year's record store day and shortly after that i saw a new pressing of 'deep blue' going up at the kingsroad merch eu store. man, what do you think i was doing? of course i ordered a damn copy to fill the last remaining gap in my parkway drive full length collection..
back in 2010, when 'deep blue' was initially released, epitaph already did a vinyl pressing on clear blue double vinyl. copies of the first press are pretty hard to come by and so i was thankful for this re-press. especially as it comes on solid blue vinyl. in my eyes way more favourable. listening to it now, i can't really say anymore why i lost interest in these guys. after 'horizons' dropped in 2007 i was way more into more extreme types of hardcore induced metal. deathcore ruled my daily playlists.
that's probably why they seemed a bit dull to me at the time. listening for the first time to 'deep blue', i think it's a great album. it's that typical melodic death metal mixed with modern hardcore they perfected on the first four albums and are now expanding with their latest work, called 'ire'. in particular i love the sound production by joe barresi (who also worked with tool, bad religion or soundgarden) and the artwork of this record shown on cover and the printed dust sleeves. comes additionally with a slip sleeve and on lovely 180gr opaque blue vinyl. epitaph records.

Sonntag, 24. April 2016

crowbar - s/t

after i bought the 'odd fellows rest' lp from crowbar at the beginning of the month, i was already planning to get what else was available on vinyl from this new orleans based sludge band. i knew of the other two back on black re-presses of 'lifesblood for the downtrodden' and 'sonic excess in its purest form'. therefore i was checking some offers on discogs. when i logged in i stumbled upon the 'recommendations' feed.
there i saw yet another crowbar vinyl release on coloured vinyl. it was the second and self-titled record from 1993, re-pressed by e-one music last year. the colour-way was a lovely yellow/orange swirl pattern. it's the type they usually call 'starburst'. my latest copy of high on fire's 'luminiferous' was pressed on the same pattern, only with more colours in the mix. anyway, i assumed this would be the limited colour of this pressing with more copies on black vinyl. when i dug a little deeper i came to the conclusion that the whole pressing came on this colour-way.
good news, this would spare me a lot of trouble trying to chase a limited colour-way, that went unnoticed by me in the first place. i checked the obvious sources and found a good offer on the bay. it was a swiss seller from whom i bought a lot of cd's back in the day through the amazon market place. the only little thrill here was that the item wasn't described as coloured vinyl, but in the end all was well. the album itself is great, it breathes the nineties. rightfully called their break-trough album. e-one music. 2015.

Donnerstag, 21. April 2016

earth crisis - forced to kill

i stumbled a few times upon the 'forced to kill' 7" on ebay. the first press was done by xseventh daggerx records in 2009 as some sort of warm-up release before or shortly after 'to the death' dropped. i actually don't see the point why xseventh daggerx only took these two songs from the 1993 demo and not re-release the whole eight song thing, anyway the label pressed three colour-ways - clear red, clear blue and white vinyl.
they pop up on the bay quite regularly but i never was really down to get one. i made a few half-assed attempts but nothing real serious. i didn't look overly attractive to me and two songs are just that, two songs. it'd almost take more time to flip sides than to listen to one song. but then accidentally i came across this new pressing. i was checking the earth crisis facebook page for some info on a possible new record and saw that 'forced to kill' just got re-pressed.
holy mountain printing company handled the job and they came up with a re-vised artwork, a screen printed cover, a sticker, a woven patch and a new vinyl colour. a light purple which, i think, is best described as lavender coloured. i ordered from the states and so it was twenty dollars for a damn seven inch but it looked too seductive to deny it. a real cool detail was the screen printed cardboard mailer. i cut out the printed piece and will keep it together with the 7". musically, this is average earth crisis stuff. it is more of a collector's item to me. holy mountain priniting. 2016.

Dienstag, 19. April 2016

harms way - blinded white vinyl

the last record i bought on record store day 2016 and will write about (the other two were the last police record i needed to complete my full length collection of them and the ghostbusters soundtrack - as they don't fit the metal hardcore theme, i'll leave them out) is this lovely copy of harms way 'blinded' mini-lp. it's such a strong record that i always felt uncomfortable with my clear copy. i am not the biggest clear vinyl fan and therefore said to myself to get an upgrade for a reasonable price when the chance is there.
i actually thought this would be the ultra ace looking green and blue merge vinyl, which represents the rarest colour-way of the first press. unfortunately i never came across such a copy but when i was at burnout record store, hamburg sometime last year i saw a white copy sitting on the shelf. lately i really began to evolve a soft spot in my heart for white vinyl and when i saw it still being available after already having the rsd parkway drive in my hands, i couldn't say no anymore.
when i played it the other day after a year or so i suddenly remembered why this record is so devastatingly good. perfect five songs, nothing more nothing less. simply perfect. their latest full length 'rust' didn't really grab me. it is good but not as outstanding as 'blinded'. still the title song is my absolute favourite. so heartbreaking bittersweet and yet so ugly crushing. a masterpiece. go listen to it. 700 copies on this lovely white vinyl. cut at 45rpm. fantastic artwork. deathwish inc. 2013.

Montag, 18. April 2016

parkway drive - horizons

when i read the list for this year's record store day, there were just two releases that interested me. integrity's 'humanity is the devil' album and parkway drive's 'horizons' album. two years ago was a disaster with waiting in line in front of burnout record store, hamburg and getting none of my desired items - funnily i got a rare parkway drive record instead, rsd seems to be a good time for pd releases - and last year i went to the store a week after rsd and still got what i wanted. this taught me not to stress out.
a good friend and me went to town for rsd but vowed not to stand in line and haste for the rsd boxes. we would have a nice day checking out record stores and maybe luck out on some releases. we went into burnout records an hour after it opened and the smoke had already cleared. we checked the hardcore rsd box and there they were. still a few copies left of 'horizons'. we took two copies without any sweat and were happy. ok, i couldn't score the integrity record on that day but i am pretty sure i'll grab one through other channels.
listening to 'horizons' brings back some memories. i remember buying a cd copy of that album, which i still own, back in 2008 together with 'nocturnal' of the black dahlia murder. i listened to it a lot and saw the band play live around that time pretty often. next to terror, who are also playing every bigger tour over here in europe, i believe parkway drive is the band i saw play live most often. the record in particular has aged very well. especially playing it on vinyl feels great. lovely clear yellow with blue splatter out of 500 copies. epitaph records. 2008/2016.

Sonntag, 17. April 2016

ringworm - birth is pain

my introduction to this band was 'justice replaced by revenge'. it was quite infectious and thus i wanted more. so i searched the net for some cool colour releases of their albums. also has a discogs shop and there they offered 'birth is pain' on this lovely tan vinyl re-press from 2011. the price was alright and a few days later the change of ownership of this copy was completed.
'birth is pain' marks ringworm's second full length in eight years. quite a long time. the reason was the split of the band in 1993 and its re-union in 1998. after they re-united a demo was self-released in 1999, called 'madness of war' and containing three songs which all landed on the full length in a re-recorded form. it still took the band another two years to finally unleash 'birth is pain', for the first time on victory records.
this come-back record is a real strong one. the songs are played tight and directly to the point. ringworm wastes no time with fancy intros or useless instrumentals, they deliver. and they deliver hard. in direct comparison i like 'justice replaced by revenge' a bit better but objectively considered i couldn't choose a winner. 400 copies pressed on this nice tan marble. victory records. 2001/2011.

Mittwoch, 13. April 2016

crowbar - odd fellows rest

i am not familiar with crowbar. i only know kirk windstein's side project kingdom of sorrow together with jamey jasta of hatebreed fame. in hindsight this band already gave me a fair idea of what crowbar might sound like. anyway, i listened to 'lifesblood for the downtrodden' at burnout record store when it was re-pressed by back on black records two years back but it wasn't the right time for me and crowbar.
lately i was visiting blitz record store in kiel quite regularly. mostly not because my girl and i were record shopping but as a welcomed side-effect. blitz records had the latest crowbar re-pressings by back on black in stock. i found the 'odd fellows rest' cover art of the 1998 album cool in a way and so listened to it. now i finally understood the band and thought man, that shit is good. i bought the sealed record and went home happily.
back home i wanted to throw the platter on my turntable, removed the seal and was shattered. record one had some processing error. a fingernail wide spot of the surface was damaged or not sealed properly, it couldn't be played. ah fuck, kiel isn't quite around the corner. it's still a fifty minutes drive, nothing i'd do just to return a damaged record.
fortunately i had to get back to town three weeks after that purchase. so last weekend i returned the damaged one and got a working replacement instead. finally i can drop the needle on it and it's a damn strong record. crowbar's bluesy sludge/doom hardcore really hits the nail on the head. it's the right mix of melancholy and steamrolling heaviness. check my favourite song of the album 'december's spawn'. love the whole layout, artwork, vinyl colour - all crisp and clean. more of it! 500 copies made. back on black. 2015.

Montag, 11. April 2016

ringworm - justice replaced by revenge

the last of the victory batch is ringworm's 'justice replaced by revenge'. i listened to some ringworm stuff occasionally in the past. mostly to their latest full length on relapse records called 'hammer of the witch'. i liked their music but was never overly blown away. at least not enough to order a copy of one of their records. when i looked around at the victory merch shop i came across a few of their albums because the main part of their output was handled by this chicago based hardcore label.
as i was listening to a lot of old integrity stuff recently and the bands are strongly linked to each other not only because of their home base cleveland, i thought it would do no harm to check out ringworm more thoroughly. the first album i picked was 'justice replaced by revenge'. while the title song didn't convince me to one hundred percent, that definitely changed with 'day of truth' and 'god eat god'. excellent, gritty and snotty mix of thrash/death metal and hardcore.
they have a real down-to-earth style. no useless gimmicks, just some short blasts of anger and fury. gets a lot of spins since it arrived here safe and sound. i really love the fact that victory usually goes for some nice opaque and marbled colour-ways. this time it was described as red but when i saw the pictures, i thought it had a slight shade of pink to it. holding it in hands now i am pretty sure it is pink. the shade they call hot pink. definitely dig it! the jacob bannon artwork is beautiful. 100 copies made. victory records. 2005/2015.

Sonntag, 10. April 2016

darkest hour - undoing ruin

nowadays i don't really care for victory records releases. the only band of their current roster which gets me excited with a new release is emmure. but the nineties and especially the 00's, which were important for my second coming to hardcore, saw victory putting out some essential stuff. victory knows about that and started to chash in on repressing a lot of their classics the last few years.
i am definitely a fan of that policy because it spares me the agony of paying for overpriced items on second hand market places. such is the case with this lovely record of darkest hour. if you ever intend to gain knowledge about what typical 00's metalcore sounded like, put on 'undoing ruin' by darkest hour. among classics of unearth, killswitch engage and heaven shall burn you definitely will find this one here.
melodic death metal of the swedish school with the energy and ethics of hardcore. it feels like going ten years back when i drop the needle on this platter. check it out here and experience a flawless metalcore record. victory made a lovely green marble version for the second press which looks ace next to the colourful artwork. 110 copies pressed and still available. victory records. 2005/2015. 

Samstag, 9. April 2016

all out war - condemned to suffer

of all the all out war full lengths, 'condemned to suffer' proved to be the most difficult to come by. when the album was released thirteen years ago, victory did a vinyl pressing and they did one quite different to the cd version. a screen printed fold-over cover with the album art in black and grey, a photo copied insert and the vinyl labels were showing the big victory records lettering they used for some records at the time (see my 'for those who were crucified' record). all looked like a real home job.
the first pressing came with only 507 copies in total but i once had the chance to buy a clear red one for fifteen bucks on the bay. i didn't bought it back then because i didn't think. so this pretty good priced opportunity vanished. it never showed up again and discogs sellers call up hefty prizes for a first press. thus i was very pleased when i saw that victory records did a re-press for 'condemned to suffer'.
i ordered it along with two other records, which i will write about in the coming days, directly from the label. i opted for the most limited colour of the second press which is 'blood in the water', or clear with red/pink smoke. this time victory did proper covers with the dave quiggle artwork in all its glory. a fold-out insert with all lyrics and a download code round out this release. musically it might become my favourite all out war album. the a-side is just that good! check it out. 163 copies made. victory records. 2003/2016.

Dienstag, 5. April 2016

converge - all we love we leave behind mint green

i am breaking my rules quite regularly in the recent past. it started with nile re-presses of 'annihilation of the wicked' and 'in their darkened shrines', went on with my second copy of high on fire's 'luminiferous' record and now i find myself sitting here with a second copy of one of my favourite converge albums, their killer output from 2012 'all we love we leave behind'.
as i was fairly late to the party 'all we love we leave behind' was my door opener to the converge universe. thus it holds a special spot in my heart and just when i saw the deathwish newsletter with another pressing of this record on absolutely marvelous looking mint green marble vinyl, i knew this would be hard to resist. there was this annoying itch that could only be scratched by buying a copy.
so after a few weeks of thinking, i gave in. i know that i usually find it useless to own several copies of one and the same record and hopefully this is just the exception that proves th rule. holding this lovely green vinyl in hands now, i certainly don't regret this purchase. it sounds great and looks ace next to the pink copy i already own.
i think all that is neccessary has been said to the music itself. listen to 'trespasses', 'sadness comes home' or the frantic title song and witness artistic fury in its purest form. actually there is nothing too special about this copy of mine. it's part of the third pressing out of a whopping 1052 copies. it just looks so nice next to the colourful artwork from the inner gatefold and insert. i go and spin it again. deathwish inc. 2012/2016.

Montag, 4. April 2016

integrity - those who fear tomorrow

after 'systems overload' really caught me by surprise i was eager to get their first full length 'those who fear tomorrow' from 1991. i heard and read a lot about this record and the foremost consensus was that this record was their best material. therefore i was pretty excited and i tried to get a cool copy, preferentially an opaque coloured copy. i missed out on a tan colour copy on ebay and the discogs options were a bit too pricey for my taste.
i probably could have waited for a desired copy coming my way but i wanted an instant solution and so i took the most recent re-press from organized críme recordings. it's a clear blue coloured copy which, i think, doesn't really flatter the cover art but hey, instant solution. probably i upgrade my copy at some point but for now it will do. musically this is really an extremely well executed piece of metal-hardcore mish mash ala integrity.
their early stuff is a real treat. at the moment i am not sure which record i like better, 'systems...' or 'those who fear...', i see a few advantages on 'systems...' side but time will tell. the artwork by francis bacon is pretty sinister and even though i can't safely say what it depicts, it gives me the creeps. this version comes in a slip sleeve with updated liner notes by aaron melnick. former pressings had a gatefold with more artwork. i really should look out for one. organized crime. 2013.