Sonntag, 31. Juli 2016

ringworm - snake church

i just started collecting ringworm records four months or so ago. timely to my new obsession the band announced their new record in june. i jumped at the pre-order from relapse records straight away because all the coloured copies of "snake church" are shop exclusives and i definitely didn't want to miss out on some nice ringworm colour vinyl. while i had to bite the bullet and pay for oversea shipping anyway, i invested a few extra bucks to get the most limited vinyl edition with a bonus item.
just like always with relapse, the guys packed the record very well and so everything landed here in prime condition one week ago. so what does the new ringworm sound like? well, it simply sounds awesome. it seems ringworm is omnipotent and just not able to produce any garbage. the band follows the same recipe they are known for, a death metal basic structure mixed in with hardcore groove and hooks.
nothing spectacular, you say? oh, you are damn wrong, my friend. their stuff is played right to the point and takes no prisoners. just convince yourself by checking out "snake church" in all its glory. the presentation is very nice. the whole front and back cover has a nice spot gloss finish. unfortunately i failed miserably to make it visible with my cam. so you just have to believe and get your own.
what makes this edition "deluxe" is the mysterious ringworm's snake church magikal end tyme drink packet. i didn't really know what to make out of it. now holding it in hands i found out that it is an instant lemonade ice tea. add some cold water, stir and there you are. useless really and not really in touch with the album name nor artwork. the vinyl however looks really sharp. splattered black and white split out of 300 copies. relapse records. 2016.

Samstag, 30. Juli 2016

teamkiller - some scars some hope

teamkiller's first solo 7" after their split release with bleeding into one. the band was founded 2003 in stuttgart, germany. the same year they released said split 7" on dead serious recordings. one year later saw the birth of "some scars some hope". both, band and label have called it quits by now but the legacy remains and i found a part of it on ebay recently.
it was one of that auctions i knew would end super cheap and so i got it for four bucks, shipping included. musically this is strong n.y. hardcore with loads of energy. it's nothing new but it's better than a lot of the rest out there. unfortunately i could not find any music on the internet for you to listen to. just search discogs and snag a copy for cheap.
"some scars some hope" was pressed to vinyl by cathargo records under liscense from dead serious recordings. cathargo is another defunct label from bonn, germany. they released round about ten records, among them zero mentality's "in fear of forever". the presentation is a three-fold sleeve affair which houses a nice white vinyl platter. unfortunately i couldn't find how many copies were made. carthago records. 2004.

Dienstag, 26. Juli 2016

astra - the weirding

after i was totally blown away by astra's sophomore full length called "the black chord", i was anxious to get their first album. entitled "the weirding" from 2009. it was released quite some time ago and so i wasn't too hopeful to get some coloured vinyl for the retail price. i searched the internet nevertheless and actually found a shop with some copies left in stock. i spoke of them in the last astra post, the name is white dwarf mailorder from germany.
i was quite happy to get a copy hassle free and without the bitter aftertaste of high international shipping rates. the guys from white dwarf rock packed the record superbly and here we are with astra's debut released on rise above records. musically this a bit different to the second record. the first difference that immediately struck me after the first complete listen is the pace. "the weirding" is way calmer than its younger counterpart.
it has a lot more atmospheric parts and gives the listener more breathing space. at first i found this to be a bit boring but after more spins i really came to like it. the tension that is building throughout the faster parts is more intense and "the weirding" has a distinct conceptional feel to it. the duration of almost eighty minutes add to that feeling. at the end of the day i still prefer "the black chord" but "the weirding" has really grown on me.
rise above records from the u.k. did a few pressings for this album over the years. four all in all. there are quite a few cool colour varaitions out there and i probably would have made my decision towards a different colour, if they came for reasonable money but under the circumstances i am happy with my 180gr clear blue double vinyl. the artwork is really nice. it matches the album title quite well with its weird trippy/spacey images. fourth pressing out of 250 copies with a poster. some still available at white dwarf. rise above. 2009/2012.

Sonntag, 24. Juli 2016

suffocation - pierced from within

when i bought the two iron maiden records from the eighties this month, i felt pretty comfortable with that retro feel and so i thought i might check out some death metal classics from the eighties and nineties just to see if i find something interesting. i searched the bay for some vinyl and came across a coloured copy for suffocation's third album "pierced from within". suffocation formed in 1990 in new york and were one of the first bands mixing hardcore and grindcore with death metal. i found that pretty exciting and placed my bid for this recent re-press.
in the end i won it for a decent price and joyfully awaited my copy to show up. only it didn't and so i asked the commercial seller where it might be. they said they sent it but it must have got lost in the mail and so said to send a replacement. the replacement finally arrived but had an ugly seam-split and above all wasn't coloured. eventually they offered me a refund and said i could keep the record. wow, this i call customer-friendly behaviour. even though the deal didn't work out, i think i'll buy from this seller again.
i don't think i will go for the coloured version of "pierced from within". i'm ok with my 180gr black copy for free. musically this is pretty good technical death with loads of groove and head-banging potential. will look out for more suffocation stuff. this 2016 re-press is, apart from a bootleg from 2013, the first vinyl pressing of this album from 1995, actually released on roadrunner records. listenable records from france did the job and it looks solid. sturdy cardboard sleeve and insert. nice! listenable. 2016.

Samstag, 23. Juli 2016

yob - the unreal never lived

the second record in line which got re-issued by metal blade records is yob's full length from 2005 called "the unreal never lived". this album marks the beginning of dark times for this great band. the album dropped and soon after bass-player sato and drummer foster left the band for unknown reasons. mike scheidt later decided to call it a day for yob and went on to focus on his new band middian.
but middian was doomed from the start and they soon disbanded because of a law suit concerning the naming rights. so thankfully scheidt re-grouped yob in 2008. but back to "the unreal never lived". it was the second and last full length for the label and i heard rumours that mb dropped them like a hot potato. can't say if that is true and usually there are always two sides to every question but i think it wasn't the worst decision of the band to return to a smaller label like southern lord, 20 buck spin or neurot.
anyway, the label didn't affect the quality of this record at all. compared to "the illusion of motion" the band pushed its sound to new heights. they added a good portion atmosphere to their progressive doom metal and began to evolve this gloomy, dreamy gene in their d.n.a. which i fell in love with on "atma". the songs have more depth and on this album there are influences of other bands to be heard, sure, but there is none that yob sounds alike. they became a kind of their own.
in 2005 this album was released on cd only. looking back in their discography it seemed that happened to a lot of yob releases. up to "the great cessation" all their albums had a minimum delay of six years before they got the vinyl treatment. in this case it took metal blade seven years to come up with the first vinyl pressing of "the unreal...". in 2012 they did two colour-ways with 250 copies each. again they switched two songs. "kosmos" now being the closing title instead of "the mental tyrant".
seems like an idiotic idea because i cannot see why somebody would do that. mb held on to this idiocy with this recent pressing. luckily the bonus song "essence" is still there too because it is a real scorcher. i chose the silver vinyl here which was the most limited colour and thus is numbered. mine is #083/300. same presentation as on "the illusion...". gatefold sleeve, two-sided poster and a little downer being the flimsy vinyl. 180gr would have been appropriate. metal blade records. 2005/2016.

Freitag, 22. Juli 2016

yob - the illusion of motion

yob's "the illusion of motion" is the first part of two yob re-issues that metal blade unleashed onto the world recently. i was really looking forward to these releases because yob is a damn good doom metal band and because first pressings of those two albums are a pain in the ass to come by. so when they were put up in the nuclear blast e-shop and i came across them accidentally doing one of my usual checks, i got feverishly nervous and ordered straight away.
metal blade pressed two colour-ways for each album and black vinyl. in this case the most limited colour was gold and the less limited version was pressed on clear orange. as you can see i opted for the clear orange because i find opaque gold to be a pretty boring colour for vinyl and thus try to avoid it. both records showed up just at released date and the first one i dropped the needle on was "the illusion of motion" right away.
i know three yob records so far."atma" from 2011 is nothing short of a masterpiece and "clearing the path to ascend" from 2014 is a cracker too. then i know some bits of "catharsis" from 2002 and as far as i can remember this album wasn't for me. because "the illusion of motion" was released two years after "catharsis" i wasn't really sure of what would await me here. i refused to pre-listen to the album because i love the thrill of the first complete listen via one's own physical copy.
a little bit like in pre-internet era when there was no net that had you covered with an album leak before the album was actually released. so after i listened to yob's third album in whole i saw my worries disappearing in thin air. "the illusion of motion" is a real compact doom metal record. it feels like the songs are made fom one piece. i saw that metal blade changed the original order of the songs for the vinyl release. i don't see why and if it affects the expirience but for me, it works in this order as well.
on this album i feel the strongest doom influence so far. the bone crushing slow-motion-parts are quite prominent. but of course the trademarks are all here. progressive and ominous riffing, transcendal and spiritual atmosphere and lyrics and mike scheidt's sometimes quirky and sometimes raw voice make it an instant yob classic. love it! re-press comes in a gatefold sleeve with a two-sided poster, clear orange vinyl out of 500 copies and a shri yantra etching on the d-side. metal blade records. 2004/2016.

Donnerstag, 21. Juli 2016

astra - the black chord

astra is not only the name of a famous beer from hamburg, it is also the name of a prog rock band from the united states, which i managed to overlook in the past. when i listen to "the black chord" now, i cannot say how this happened. these guys are that good. i stumbled upon them via a video link over at youtube. i don't know what i was listening to in the first place but i saw the thumbnail with the cover art in the side bar and it looked appealing.
i clicked it and before the first song "cocoon" ended, i knew that i had to have a hard copy in my possession. after i informed myself of the release date, label and vinyl versions, i came to the conclusion to not waste any time. rise above released this already four years ago and due to the reputation of the label i figured it might be difficult to still get a copy from a mailorder. furthermore i fell in love with the splattered brown vinyl edition of the first press and all these factors together seemed like i was doomed to drop some serious cash.
in the end it wasn't that hard to get my desired copy. i found a few german d.i.y. stoner/doom metal shops like white dwarf that still carried second press copies and finally one, cyclone empire, that had one of the brown splatter copies to offer. i bought it via their discogs account but if i had known that they had their own mailorder, i would have gotten the record for one euro less. ok, i think i'll survive this.
the whole album is the shit. i hear some between the buried and me and cynic influences, especially in those crazy, quirky synth-laden prog parts. then they have these really nice and easy-going seventies rock parts with flutes and all that topped with richard vaughan's lovely voice make "the black chord" a beast which sinks its claws into you to not ever let go. check it out here. the presentation is hot too. the gatefold comes with an integrated booklet with pictures of each band member and houses this nice 180gr brown splatter beauty. excellent! 500 copies made. rise above records. 2012.

Dienstag, 19. Juli 2016

august burns red - constellations

august burns red is a fantastic band. period. musically they are absolutely on top of their game. in the metalcore genre there is none more imaginative, none more creative and none heavier. no killswitch engage, no caliban (boo!), no parkway drive. of course this is just my humble opinion but you simply cannot deny the musical force this band displays. from the vinyl point of view i was missing some essential releases of august burns red.
at the top spot and much to my dissatisfaction still there, their first full length "thrill seeker", which, i begin to believe, will be sitting there until solid state does another re-press. that damned first press is a nightmare to get a hold on for a half-way reasonable price. second place was "constellations", their third full length from 2009. a first press black copy, which was the only colour pressed, fetches insane prices up to two hundred bucks.
to avoid this madness i was waiting for the re-issues to come. if it wasn't for tobe, a fellow vinyl collector, i don't know if i learned about the existence of this new edition in time. he tipped me off and i ordered straight away. the only way to get it was via from the states. even though i e-mailed the lads to ship the vinyl outside the sleeve, the record arrived here sealed. sometimes the shrink wrap is tight enough to prevent seam-splits, not so this time. my cover has a top seam-split and my printed dust sleeve is split at all three edges.
fuck, i hate that! give me a small tear, give me a creased corner or give me a split plain white dust sleeve but lord, spare me those nasty cover seam-splits! as it is economically stupid to send my copy back and ask for a new one, i'll keep mine. i chose the orange inside clear red against the swamp green for obvious reason, because it looks better. solid state changed the cover a little bit compared to the original but still stood true to the idea. i am ok with that. the album is a scorcher indeed. check it out! 1.000 copies made. solid state records. 2009/2016.

Sonntag, 17. Juli 2016

trap them - sleepwell deconstructor

trap them is just another band with a rich back catalogue and quite a well known name in the genre that i am slowly getting into. of course i saw their name thrown around multiple times and saw records of them in various stores but there always have been more important stuff. a few weeks ago i thought i should reconsider my opinion of trap them and listened to some youtube videos. i can't tell you anymore which record i was listening to, probably "darker handcraft", but i thought it was good.
the next thing i did was to scour the market for available vinyl editions. there wasn't much colour vinyl available for reasonable prices but their first record "sleepwell deconstructor". it is almost ten years old by now and got re-pressed in 2012 by the label which released this album in the first place - trash art records. it seems demand wasn't too high because a lot of mailorders i regularly frequent still carry this title.
demons run amok had it in stock as well and as i was ordering the ringworm record of the last post from d.r.a. too, i thought it would not hurt to add this baby on top. the decision was also made in favour for d.r.a. because the description said it was the tri-colour variant which is the more limited of the two colour-ways of the re-press. when it arrived it turned out to be the less limited bi-coloured variant. i decided to keep it because the oxblood red is almost glowing next to the gold and i am too lazy to send it back in this case.
musically "sleepwell deconstructor" is, in one word, relentless. it's a bit too much venom for me at times but i dig it. if you read the first line in the band description on discogs, you don't need more explanation. it says: "you make it ugly and bitter, or you don't make it at all." enough said, check out "fucked as punk" and "destructioneer extraordinaire". there is a distinct converge vibe going on. no surprise it was recorded at kurt ballou's god city studios. oxblood red and gold split vinyl out of 750 copies. trash art. 2007/2012.

Samstag, 16. Juli 2016

ringworm - scars

cleveland's powerhouse ringworm is one of my recent obsessions. i am on a mission to get all their full lengths on coloured vinyl. i have now five of them, "scars" included. if i count the pre-order for their new record officially being released in eight days, then there are two to go. but now let's talk about "scars", the band's 2011 output. it's another album that was released on chicago's victory records and it was also the last one for this label. and again, a ringworm album delivers.
the guys around james balloch, also known as the human furnace, just know how to write a dynamic and variable heavy record, balanced somewhere between the thin lines of hardcore and metal. the human furnace sounds as aggressive as in his early days and the two guitarists john comprix and matt sorg just have a sense for the right riff and the right solo in the right moment. there is not one stinker to be found on "scars". check out the epic title song and "cleansing of the fall".
i bought this cracker at the bay via the demons run amok ebay shop. i didn't order anything from this fine german d.i.y. label for quite some time because i wasn't really interested in their latest releases, but i knew the order process would be smooth. the record came in in perfect condition. second press white vinyl out of 452 copies and some real sick looking artwork by jacob bennon of converge fame. victory records. 2011.

Dienstag, 12. Juli 2016

iron maiden - seventh son of a seventh son '88 pressing

in september last year i wrote about my first copy of iron maiden's "seventh son of a seventh", which i obtained at idiot records in dortmund. as i said in that post, i thought it was an bootleg. the condition of the vinyl is superb, the cover colours crisp and the cover in almost mint condition. too good to be original. so i stated back then that i would consider an upgrade copy.
well, the time was right that faithful saturday afternoon at blitz records in kiel. i was browsing the used metal vinyl bin and "seventh son of a seventh son" was actually the first record that caught my attention. i pulled it from the racks and checked the dust sleeve. to my delight i found it to be the printed dust sleeve which original press copies have. the vinyl itself seemed to be in good condition, too and so it was mine already.
of course, the cover of this copy looks a bit pale and i have more surface noise when i play the record compared to the bootleg but this is part of the experience and simply the real deal. i can read along to the fantastic conceptional lyrics, inhale that dusty smell of old cardboard of the sleeve when i pull out the vinyl and be aware of the strange fact that i am only two years older than this piece of plastic and card. emi records. 1988.

Sonntag, 10. Juli 2016

iron maiden - piece of mind

after i bought iron maiden's seventh studio album, aptly called "seventh son of a seventh son", last year - which i am pretty sure by now is a recent bootleg - i said to myself to pick up old maiden records whenever i come across a used one in a store for a reasonable price. of course they had to be in a good condition as well. those criteria made it quite difficult to obtain any maiden vinyl but when i visited blitz records in kiel last weekend i lucked out.
i stumbled upon two lovely maiden records in the used bin. the first was "piece of mind", their fourth studio album from 1983. what a great record this is. the a-side is pure heavy metal greatness. the band had a unique feeling for epic riffs and hooks that it is no surprise this record peaked at no. three in the u.k. album charts. rightfully maiden is one of the biggest players in the metal genre.
i love this feeling of nostalgia when i put on this record. i feel the urge of growing my hair, wearing nike air sneakers to my skin-tight jeans and leather jacket when listening to this album. the vinyl copy i found at blitz records looks super clean and sounds like the pre-owner wasn't really a fan of "piece of mind". minimal to no scratches on the vinyl - awesome! whereas the cover has some wear here and there.
most notable the tear at the front cover resulting from the removal of a price sticker, i suppose. the same is to be seen on the back, just less distinct in form of a circle. given the almost pristine condition of the vinyl itself i could live with those damages and took this cracker for a decent price. as there is a considerable number of copies out there, which is only logical considering the time when vinyl was the format number one, i am not sure what i have here. following the label code on the back this is a european first press copy. emi records. 1983.

Samstag, 9. Juli 2016

incendiary - cost of living

i actually knew the band incendiary only by the name. i read about them at lenny's now defunct the emerging addiction blog. lenny praised them a lot and as we usually have a similar taste in music my interest grew. furthermore incendiary released a split together with xibalba and if i like one band from a split, it is likely the other band could be up my alley as well. the problem was there wasn't any vinyl available. only expensive second hand copies.
so this liaison between incendiary and me never came to be. not until closed casket activities decided to give this fine record a re-press. i heard news of this enterprise through my mailorder of trust per koro. i spotted it when glancing through the new additions section and happily added it to my cart. after it arrived and i dropped the needle on it, i was blown away.
"cost of living" hits you like a sledge hammer. it is a mix of some beloved european metallic hardcore like arkangel or congress, groove laden nyhc crossover and their own ability to create some heavy, dark and intense music. a monsters that spits venom, angst and rage right in your face and still leaves you wanting more. check out the full twenty six minutes of constant headbang at the tube.
closed casket did a formidable job on the presentation of this bad boy. it comes in a gatefold sleeve of nice matte cardboard and with fantastic artwork all around. this is the third pressing by now. it comes with 1.000 copies in total. 300 on a black-white-red tri-colour edition and 700 copies on my clear red with black splatter vinyl. the record is cut at 45 rounds per minute for perfect sound. closed casket activities. 2013/2016.

Freitag, 8. Juli 2016

life of agony - soul searching sun

life of agony released one of my all time favourite records. "river runs red" was once handed over to me on a dubbed cassette by my oncle and ever since i loved this fifty minutes of recorded music. despite the fact that this album has a special place im my heart, i never spent much time with their other outputs. i listened to a few bits of "ugly" and knew the song "weeds" because a friend of mine loves it but that's that.
since 2014 the band is touring again after they resigned from their second resignation in 2012 and a new album is set to be released this year. now music on vinyl thought it might be a good idea to re-issue some of their older titles. well, that comes in just handy. at first they re-released the band's "unplugged at the lowlands festival '97" album on several vinyl colours for this years rsd. i wasn't interested because it's a live album plus, and that is even worse, no electronical distorted guitars.
when "soul searching sun" from 1997 was announced, i was way more interested. i skipped the pre-listening on the tube and the like and when the time came i ordered at per koro right away. after i gave it some spins i pretty much got what i was expecting. the record is solid but doesn't gets me as excited as "river runs red" does. they dropped a lot of their hardcore elements in favour for a more alternative orientated sound. this new recipe works on one half of the album very damn well.
songs like "gently sentimental", "led astray" or the superb "neg" are very strong. then there is another half which is just average alternative rock and a bit boring. still i think i'll grab this for an occassional listen here and there. the presentation is the shit though. nice matte cardboard sleeve, a fold-out insert and hot 180gr orange marble vinyl. very nicely done! #1334 of 1500 copies pressed. music on vinyl. 2016.

Dienstag, 5. Juli 2016

despised icon - beast

the icon is back from the dead. after the band called it a day in 2010. in 2015 rumours were floating around the guys consider a reunion. now, round about six years after despised icon disbanded, they are back with this new beast. prior to the release of course nuclear blast, their new label, gave us a first taste of what the record would sound like in form of a video to the song "beast". man, that song is great. there is a lot of this "ills of modern man" vibe going on, not least because of the revived pig squeals of vocalist steve marois. yes, i wanted it.
these days nuclear blast made it a habbit to offer a few coloured copies of u.s. pressings of their releases. the european edition comes on dark green vinyl and the u.s. edition on olive green vinyl. even though it is less limited, i thought the olive green looked way better. especially because of the green instead of black and white centre labels. so i pre-ordered that one. but now to the thing which actually counts - the music. "beast" is a great comeback record. i feel like it has the biggest hardcore share of all icon albums to date.
it won't beat "the ills...", if you ask me and there is definitely room for improvement, but man, it is a damn good listen and the proof that this band is still relevant. i saw them a few times in the past and remember that they were a pretty intense live band. with this new stuff up their sleeves, i am really looking forward to catch them at some point again. slip sleeve and printed dust sleeve. 1.000 copies pressed on this nice olive green vinyl. release date is actually at the end of july. i was quite surprised to recieve it last week. well, doesn't hurt actually. nuclear blast. 2016.

Sonntag, 3. Juli 2016

despised icon - day of mourning

continuing with my recent deathcore topic. despised icon from montreal, canada released one of the finest records of that genre in 2007. "the ills of modern man" is one rotten bastard of a great technical death metal album. the high speed, the slam parts, the hardcore elements here and there - outstanding! in celebration of the new despised icon re-union album "beast", century media came up with re-pressings of the aforementioned "the ills of modern man" and their 2009 album "day of mourning".
a few years ago i was lucky enough to snag a coloured first press copy of "the ills of modern man" at animate records shop, so i only ordered "day of mourning". back in 2009 when the album was actually released, money was short and i passed up on this one. a few years later, after the band split up in 2010, i bought the digipak cd version and couldn't really warm up with it. despite that fact i had to order the re-issue because this is what i do. listening to it now on vinyl, it feels like it is a way better record than it was on cd. probably because of the fact that everything sounds better on vinyl.
i think my main problem with "day of mourning" was that it just couldn't win against "the ills...". regarded seperately on its own, it's a damn solid despised icon output. two weaker songs ("all for nothing" and "eulogy") against eight killers is a not too bad outcome. check out the video to the title song and ignore the ridiculous acting guys and rather watch the hot chicks instead. first vinyl pressing on nice 180gr white vinyl and some bad artwork. 100 copies made. century media. 2009/2016.