Mittwoch, 30. November 2016

the zenith passage - solipsist

after i clicked the add-to-cart button for fallujah's "the harvest wombs" lp at and realised that it was released on a label i never heard of before - unique leader records is the name - i set the filter for that label at hhv's tool bar to see if there was more. as you already know there was more. the first record that caught my interest from a visual point of view was the zenith passage's "solpsist". i never heard of the album title or even the band name before and so i checked the net for further information.
the unique leader website told me that the band consisted of former and current members of the faceless, fallujah and all shall perish. i know that name dropping alone doesn't make a good band but there are definitely worse bands to be connected with. i listened to some songs on the tube and knew from that point on that there was no way to deny the zenith passage, especially when hhv had a twenty percent discount on this title. i love good deals.
musically this is really reminiscent of all shall perish's classic "the price of existence" (somebody press this to vinyl, please). add some electronical born of osiris quirkiness and a little bit of orchestral dimmu borgir bombast and there you have the zenith passage. or something like that. check for yourself via the label's bandcamp. so whatever they do, they do it damn well. together with the philosophical lyrics "solipsist" is a complete package any fan of technical death metal should be panting for.
the sweet presentation will only add to the desire. the whole gatefold is graced with artwork by ken sarafin. transports a certain terminator vibe if you ask me. the visuals definitely match the musical mood. the first press comes on two colour-ways. a green merge with black splatter and my red/gold a side b side with splatter. at least this is what the unique leader store calls it. looks more like gold with pink and yellow splatter to me but it looks lovely; whatever you call it. unique leader records. 2016.

Montag, 28. November 2016

fallujah - the harvest wombs

to come straight to the point, in my humble opinion "the harvest wombs" is a masterpiece. now that i got this off of my chest, i can now start from the beginning. i came across the name fallujah quite a few times in the past, especially recently because the band released their new record "dreamless" via nuclear blast, unfortunately there was just an u.s. vinyl version but more of this later. two weeks ago i was browsing through the metal vinyl section at just to kill some time. usually such a deed is followed by a loss of my money. this time wasn't any different.
i stumbled upon a coloured copy of fallujah's first album "the harvest wombs" and the first thing that looked familiar was the cover artwork. it had a strong "the discovery" resemblance, which is my favourite record of born of osiris. by the way cameron gray was the artist responsible for both artworks. i didn't even bother to listen to some songs of the album, somehow i had the feeling that this was going to be a scorcher. together with another record i went through the payment procedure and waited for my stuff to arrive.
the last two weeks saw this baby on heavy rotation on my turntable. i played "the harvest wombs" almost every day and it just seems to get better by every spin. fallujah plays a lovely brand of modern technical death metal. what makes them special to me is the ambient share in their sound. usually ambient/black metal is not for me but fallujah found a way to include a few parts here and there to round out their relentless metal hybrid. although it is almost impossible for me to pick a favourite, i think you can't do no wrong with "ritual of godflesh" and the intrumental title track.
the presentation by unique leader records is awesome. the record comes in a gatefold sleeve. the left gate with cover artwork is glued together which gives the whole affair a sturdy feel. again i have to praise the futuristic yet spiritualistic art of cameron gray all throughout the gatefold - love it. the vinyl colour pattern is top notch as well. i am really happy to have been able to snag one of those oxblood and bone merge copies. it's really the icing on the cake to the listening experience. unfortunately i don't know how many of these have been pressed. the upcoming posts will feature more technical death metal stuff and more unique leader releases. stay tuned! unique leader records. 2011.

Samstag, 26. November 2016

sick of it all - when the smoke clears

thirty years of sick of it all. boy, what a statement of passion, defiance and strength of will. sick of it all is one of the very few bands which are around for that long and still maintain a flawless discography. their latest full length "last act of defiance" is to me as enjoyable as "blood, sweat and no tears" from the eighties or "scratch the surface" from the nineties or "death to tyrants" from the two thousands. i don't know any other band that stood true to their sound and roots for that long and still shows no sign of declining quality or wearout.
despite my adoration of these nyhc veterans, i wasn't all over the pre-orders when they went live. mostly because of the price. over fourty bucks is nothing for the faint of heart. in cause of my hestitation the clear vinyl limited to 100 copies sold out over at century media europe. when the release date came nearer and i saw the red vinyl edition still being available at emp mailorder, i knew that i would regret it,if i did not buy a copy. so i ordered it together with the cradle of filth record of the last post.
holding the product in hands now, i am sure it was worth the price of admission. the presentation is very lovely and does the occasion justice. "when the smoke clears" is basically a 60-page artbook wrapped in faux leather with gold foil print. the back of the hardcover has a printed ten-inch dust sleeve glued to the inside and houses this nice opaque red 10". there is also a cd containing the musical part of this release. it is to find on the inside of the front of the hardcover.
the artbook contains tons of photos from throughout the moved existence of the band, the lyrics to the five new songs and a few written words to each member from companions such as matt kelly from the dropkick murphys or dennis lyxzén from the refused. the five songs are just what i expected from sick of it all. punk induced new york hardcore with my absolute favourite being "fortress". this one definitely has the potential to become a live classic. i am really happy to have this baby. 200 copies made on opaque red vinyl. century media. 2016.

Freitag, 25. November 2016

cradle of filth - from the cradle to enslave e.p.

after peaceville records did me the favour of re-releasing the band's third e.p. "bitter suites to succubi", although it is often referred to as an album because of its length, another former label of cradle of filth came up with the intend to cash in on the band's past. music for nations records released the "from the cradle to enslave" e.p. in 1999 on cd only and corrected the error of never pressing it to vinyl this year. at first information was a little scarce. quite a few german vinyl distros carried the title but gave no info on packaging or colouring.
i almost forgot about it but when i was about to pre-order the latest sick of it all release at emp, which will be discussed in the up-coming post, i remembered that there was something nice to add to the order. by then it was announced the record would come on red coloured vinyl and so i was all in for it. when i recieved the record and dropped the needle on it for the first time, i was amazed again by how good the title track of the e.p. is. in my humble opinion "from the cradle to enslave" is one of the best songs they have ever written, b-movie video inclusive. a goddamn scorcher. the rest of the a-side including the anathema cover "sleepless" is awesome as well.
in my eyes the b-side can't live up to its counterpart but anyway, musically this release rips. what definitely does not rip is the packaging by music for nations. back in the day i had the cd digipak version and for the vinyl release the label simply dropped 99% of the whole artwork. no insert, not even the centre labels of the vinyl show some art. the only thing which is left is the cover artwork and even here they changed the colours of the lettering. oh come on music for nations! this is most probably one of the lamest jobs ever done in re-press history. music for nations records. 1999/2016.

Mittwoch, 23. November 2016

xmomox - stop time and break out

boy, records are piling up again at my place. i have never been that much behind since the beginning of the year. ok, i am a bit dramatic right here. it's eight records on the line and a few coming in this week but still, i wanted to blog about new records a week after recieving them at latest. i will try to make a serious dent in my task to reduce the pile considerably until the end of the month. but now to the topic. xmomox's first vinyl release is one of the reasons records are piling up.
an impulse buy that i didn't really need but seemed like a good idea to add to the war from a harlots mouth and madball records i bought at backbite records. after all it simply was a good idea. xmomox is a german vegan straight edge band founded in 2010. after a self-released three-track cd demo in 2012, the band teamed up with defiant hearts records and anchored records, also both from germany, to release their first 7" called "stop time to break out".
i love how the band is in keeping with their name. momo is a book for young people written by michael ende. it plays in a fictional world where a little girl named momo fights against the sinister men in grey stealing people's time. xmomox play some solid euro-hardcore and for four bucks this was quite a no-brainer to me. check them out. there are 300 copies of "stop time and break out" pressed and all coming on black vinyl with blank labels. defiant hearts records. anchored records. 2013.

Montag, 21. November 2016

madball - set it off

"set it off" was and probably will always be my favourite madball album. once given to me on a dubbed cassette, next to another few nyhc classics, by my uncle; this album never bores me. from the start with that recorded street sounds from new york before the title song kicks in to the re-recorded "friend or foe" as hidden track, this album is absolutely flawless. what really stands out to me is the harshness of freddy's voice on "set it off". i think he never reached that quality of pure venom in his throat again. an absolute classic and i am always on fire when they play some songs of that record live.
given the popularity of "set it off" it was always a pain to get a hold on a physical copy on vinyl. original pressings from 1994 on roadrunner records always go for considerable money on ebay and discogs alike and so i missed out on several chances in the past. when music on vinyl re-issued "demonstrating my style" a few months ago, i was really hoping they would re-press "set it off" as well. little did i know in that moment that backbite records had already announced the re-issue of madball's debut on a few coloured vinyl options.
by the time i learned of what was happening, a very limited version with a screen-printed special cover out of only thirty copies was already gone but i snagged a copy on clear blue vinyl limited to 100 copies. actually i think that the grey marble colour-way out of 470 copies, of which willem has one, looks way better but i don't think i invest money in another re-press. i am very fine with my copy and finally being able to listen to this cracker on vinyl. when price is good, i'll probably make a run on an original copy like jake got one. we will see. backbite records. 2016.

Sonntag, 20. November 2016

war from a harlots mouth - falling upstairs

war from a harlots mouth is one of my favourite bands. they took me into the world of technical metal/hardcore craziness. they were the first band i listened to which had more complex song structures, some dissonance and even some jazz parts here and there. their first releases had been pretty wild and the band didn't take theirselves too serious. on further records the band evolved into a more dark and complex sound bastard. i love both stages of war from a harlots mouth and am happy that i caught them live with both of their vocalists.
very unfortunately the band called it quits three years ago but still there seems to be a loyal fan base and a demand for new releases. i think it was two months or so ago when i heard of the first vinyl pressing of wfahm's very first output called "falling upstairs". initially it was put to tape only in 2006 via yehonala tapes and was limited to fifty hand-numbered copies. it never even had been sold on discogs. the cassette tape was re-pressed three times and sold at the farewell tour and shortly afterwards. all in all only 300 copies exist.
backbite records from karlsruhe, germany, a young label around since 2014, realised the signs of time and gave "falling upstairs" the vinyl treatment on the occasion of its ten year anniversary. sadly i was too late for the most limited edition on turquoise vinyl but i got one of the equally as nice looking clear with red smoke colour-way. backbite went with the last yehonala tapes release and included the songs from the split shared with molotov solution from 2007 onto this 12" platter as well.
i am not quite sure but i think these "end-time message" songs got a bit mixed up. but hey, this can happen when there are three songs with the same name. out of six songs there are actually just two new to me. doesn't matter because "a grotesque relation-ship" and the third part of "the end-time message" are killer songs and honestly, i would have bought anyway, even if i knew all the stuff already. great presentation. slip-sleeve, insert with tons of pictures from the good ol' times and a sharp scree-print on the b-side. 200 copies made. backbite records. 2016.

Freitag, 18. November 2016

doughnuts - the age of the circle

one of my best friends lives in elmshorn, a town in between my hometown and hamburg. elmshorn has a small second hand record store called von gestern which my friend and me usually visit when we are in town. a few times in the past i walked out empty handed but the last two visits had been quite successful. it started with an u.s. first press copy of cro-mags' "best wishes" album from two months ago and, next to the classic genesis prog-rock era record "wind and wuthering", went on with this interesting find here.
when i was flicking through the "punk and wave" section, i came across a familiar looking cover artwork. i knew that i had seen it before but couldn't quite put the finger on it. when i took a closer look, i recognised the victory records bulldog on the back. well, i was thinking to buy it but actually i didn't know what the band would sound like. then i checked the vinyl. coloured vinyl was gazing back at me. ok, that and the eight bucks price tag were all i needed to convince me and i took the gamble.
after i took it home and looked at the insert, i saw the band pic. an all girl band. first doubts began to creep up if this even could have the typical victory sound of the nineties. i feared it could be some pop punk like baby gopal, which were also on victory during the nineties. when i dropped the needle on "the age of the circle" for the first time, all my worries had been washed away and inwardly i apologised for my prejudices. this band sounds so heavy and so friggin' nineties hardcore - awesome. the girls come from sweden - yeah, world wide vegetarian/vegan straight edge, one simply got to love them. clear blue vinyl out of 514 copies. victory records. 1995

Mittwoch, 16. November 2016

suffocation - effigy of the forgotten

the last record of the haul which included the meshuggah and crowbar record of the last two posts. suffocation's debut full length in form of a fancy re-press by listenable records from france. as the interested reader might have noticed from my related posts, listenable re-pressed the three classic suffocation albums with "effigy of the forgotten" from 1991 being the most recent at the present time. there are a lot of roadrunner records re-issues in circulation in the moment and i am there to willingly open my wallet.
i missed the first run of coloured vinyl from the beginning of the year. so when i saw nuclear blast restocking the album, this time on green vinyl, i had no excuse anymore. musically the first album is pretty raw as far as technical death metal goes. the whole record feels like a coherent block. most of the times this an advantage because it leaves one completely destroyed, but at times it feels a bit hard to digest. nevertheless i think the album is essential for any suffocation collection and death metal collection in general.
as far as re-pressings are concerned, i am definitely a fan of original artwork and layout. listenable records did go for the original cover artwork but altered the layout of the back of the cover a bit and completely re-designed the insert, which was actually a printed dust sleeve at the original pressing. frank mullen is wearing a trump plaza shirt on the back pic, which is a now closed hotel in atlantic city basically owned by donald trump back in the day. i don't know if that means anything but it seems trump is everywhere these days, even in metal re-pressings. 500 copies made. listenable records. 2016.

Sonntag, 13. November 2016

crowbar - the serpent only lies

new crowbar tunes are always welcomed from my side. may it be some re-press or a new record of these louisiana based sludge lords. something like two months ago i read about the announcement of the band's eleventh full length recording "the serpent only lies". pre-order information was pretty scarce and so i stumbled upon a pre-order option at nuclear blast for a clear green version. as i didn't mean to sleep on this, i placed my order immediately.
in the coming weeks more options popped up. a clear red version from emp and a gold version from napalm records. i wasn't that overwhelmed by the colour options but i was ok with clear green, as i thought it would be the least boring colour-way of the lot. a little more time went by and at one of my regular searchs in the nuclear blast new vinyl section, i came across a clear version exclusive to the shop. now clear vinyl isn't my favourite as well but definitely the coolest among them all. so i hit up nb asking them to alter the order and here we are.
crowbar is a phenomenon to me. this band managed to stay true to their sound for over a quarter of a century and still their stuff doesn't bore me. i have this problem with heaven shall burn for example. this band is repeating itself with every album by now and i don't feel the desire to get their new releases anymore. not so with crowbar. basically they repeat theirselves as well but i enjoy it. just listen to the killer title song, a masterpiece.
for the last two records, "sever the wicked hand" and "symmetry in black", e-one entertainment was teaming up with century media records for an european vinyl version. this time e-one joined forces with steamhammer records, a division of spv. steamhammer released "the serpent only lies" in a gatefold sleeve with printed dust sleeve and a cd of the whole album. as i already said, i have the clear vinyl version of 180gr quality and limited to 150 copies. e-one. steamhammer. 2016.

Freitag, 11. November 2016

meshuggah - the violent sleep of reason

meshuggah. a name that promises great deeds. i am on a little djent metal trip recently. animals as leaders' "weightless" record set the ball rolling. i always had a soft spot for this metal sub-genre and bands like born of osiris, cynic or veil of maya are constantly recurring guests on my turntable. as a sympathiser of such progressive sounds, it was almost inevitable to not hear of the band meshuggah. may it be via some comparisons in reviews or references in ebay search results. so when nuclear blast announced the release of the new meshuggah album two months ago, i got curious.
frankly, i didn't know just one song of the band but after i watched the lyric video to "born in dissonance", i knew i had a new addition to the collection. the only question was, what record version should i pre-order? nuclear blast offered a few but the only really interesting colour configurations to me were the turquoise and the bi-coloured version. the turquoise one was a bit more limited but deep down in my heart, i knew there could only be one valid answer to that question. i simply love split colour vinyl and everytime i pull this baby out of the sleeve, i wouldn't have it any other way.
musically this is challenging stuff. meshuggah doesn't give a damn about catchy arrangements. if it is not tricky to play, it is not their business. i didn't understand "the violent sleep of reason" by the first listen, not even by the second or third but the attraction never let off. after repeated spins i pierced through the complexity and can now see the whole beauty of each song. check out the videos to "clockworks" and "nostrum". can't wait to see them live in early december in hamburg together with high on fire. killing two birds with one stone.
what did nuclear blast do to the physical appearance? just the right thing. the double record is housed in a beautiful gatefold sleeve coming with spot gloss print on front and back. the artwork is pretty sinister and fits the mood the music transports to one hundred percent. i love the choice of the two vinyl colours. not only because they look sharp in combination but if you look closely, you will see that these are the colours subtly used in the artwork. very nice. all thumbs up for nb returning to 180gr vinyl! 500 copies made. nuclear blast. 2016.

Mittwoch, 9. November 2016

pelican - what we all come to need

after i bought my first pelican record "city of echoes" last month and listened to it a few times, i knew they would be one of those bands where pre-listening to other records before purchase wasn't necessary anymore. they have the status of impeccability to me now and "what we all come to need" proved the righteousness of that status, an unbelievably well balanced album from start to finish. beautiful soundscapes in mid-tempo with a dark tinge here and there.
they really surprised me with the last song "final breath". it is for an instrumental band undeniably rich in sung words. but none of the band members was responsible for vocal duties. they let allen eply do the job. that eply was a former member of now defunct post-hardcore band shiner. never heard of both of them but the band had some releases on well known sub pop label. now eply is part of the life and times, an indie rock band i don't know either. anyway, his vocals are great, just like the rest of "what we all come to need".
the album is spread across three sides of vinyl and side four is graced with two album songs in their live incarnation and a demo recording. it is the first time that i almost prefer the live versions because the guitar sound is much rawer. lovely, i won't skip this last side, like i do so often with otherwise useless bonus songs. this record marks the band's first release for southern lord, and is the follow-up to "city of echoes". the presentation is very nice here.
it starts with the heavy stoughton tip-on gatefold sleeve. love the solid feel to it. the band name and album title, as well as the tracklist on the back are printed in glossy silver ink. the records are housed in black dust sleeves and the sharp vinyl colour rounds out the packaging. it is a black with wine red merge pattern. a- and c-side are pretty subtle but b- and d-side look awesome. great job by southern lord. bought this in the labels european e-store. actually it was a burning world rec. purchase but they had delivery problems and so southern lord stepped in. re-press from 2015. southern lord. 2009.

Montag, 7. November 2016

rise & fall - clawing

the same seller who had the debut lp of seven sisters of sleep on offer, also had a bunch of other records for the taking. among them was this rise and fall 7" from 2007. this came in between "into oblivion" (2005) and "our circle is vicious" (2009) and marks their first release on deathwish records. this one came for a good starting bid of six bucks and since nobody else wanted to take it, i embraced it with open arms. it was something like just a bonus to the seven sisters of sleep record, but i love to add a cool seven inch here and there.
musically this is more of the great stuff this belgium band is able to produce. to me, they play this dark, sometimes bulky, sometimes beautifully melancholic and a little chaotic kind of hardcore best. right behind converge indeed. just listen to the title song and know the score. the second song "bottom feeder" isa re-recorded version from their debut "hellmouth" and "them bones" is a good alice in chains cover. so, all in all not essential but cool to have.
as i already said this was their first deathwish records release. all together there were 2.000 copies pressed of "clawing". quite a lot and therefore not really difficult to get a grip on via several second hand markets. the presentation is very basic. a fold out piece serving as sleeve and plain white dust sleeve. my pink copy is next to a blue vinyl version out of the most common press. 850 copies made. jake and willem have, aside from a special gig version, a copy of the most limited press. check them. deathwish inc. 2007.

Sonntag, 6. November 2016

seven sisters of sleep - s/t

here is an quite odd one. the first album of seven sisters of sleep was on my agenda since i bought their third album and relapse debut "ezekiel's hag". a coloured copy comes via discogs almost every time from the states and i didn't want to pay oversea shipping, so i waited for a ebay chance to come. when it came i was at first a bit disappointed because it was a clear green one. in my opinion the second press comes in cooler looking colour-ways (opaque blue purple split and a purple splatter version), but then i saw the trick to it.
the seller described it as an one out of one copy. what was supposed to make it unique was not the vinyl colour itself but the custom stamped dust sleeve. it shows the "whore's nose is getting longer" artwork and a 1/1 numbering. it was part of the pre-order version and randomly spread amomgst the pre-orders. unfortunately the whole information is based on that ebay auction, so i don't really know if it's genuine. the only other information i came up with is from roots vinyl guide, an ebay auction tracker similar to popsike.
the only knowledge i gain here, is that this copy, which seems to be the one i have in my possession now, had at least two pre-owners. if anyone from a389 records happens to read this or anone else who has a clue about the authenticity of this copy, please leave a comment. anyway, the music is great. dark mix of crust, sludge and hardcore. the album creates a hefty and intense atmosphere and the great artwork ties right in. very nice. so, 250 copies pressed on clear green vinyl and cut at 45rpm. probably even a 1/1 copy. a389 records. 2011.

Mittwoch, 2. November 2016

korn - the serenity of suffering

i have a soft spot in my heart for korn. the first album i bought on my own when i was eleven years old, was "follow the leader". over the times i lost track about what the band was doing. i stll don't know much of the stuff in between "take a look in the mirror" from 2003 and this new album and we will see if i will spend some time with it anyway, but when music on vinyl re-issued the first six classic korn records on vinyl last year, i was on a huge korn kick again. so when i saw the video to "rotting in vain" i felt thrown back to those glory days.
the song sounds a bit like "falling away from me" to me and it was the spark needed to light my passion for this band anew. the next single "insane" made me confident that "the serenity of suffering" would be cool again and when i saw a light blue vinyl version going up for pre-order at emp, i didn't need a second thought to secure myself a copy. listening to the whole record, i am pretty satisfied. the band managed to show their strengths in such a focused way that this album easily stands among "issues" or "untouchables" (which i have listened to again for a couple of times and am now beginning to love as well).
of course, korn doesn't sound like fifteen to twenty years ago. how could they without being a bad copy of theirselves? they took their trademarks and made it work within the context of today. a great modern metal album, which i am happy to call my own. i am really looking forward to see them live next year in march in hamburg with some friends. the presentation is pretty simple. slip sleeve with insert, black dust sleeve and nice opaque light blue vinyl. it is an exclusive emp edition out of 500 copies. roadrunner records. 2016.