Samstag, 31. Dezember 2016

star wars - german radio plays of "a new hope" and "return of the jedi"

two years ago my wife gave me the soundtrack to the first star wars movie on vinyl for christmas and i posted the record the record on this blog, even though it has nothing to do with hardcore or metal. to keep up with this young tradition, i thought i will give these two a go as well. when i unwrapped my presents i felt like jumping all around the room because these two radio plays are that cool on vinyl. i have or had both of them on tape cassette but the vinyl versions are really lovely because of the great covers and all the pictures in the booklets.
i tried to get "a new hope" from 1978 and "return of the jedi" from 1983 myself in the past but there is always the problem of the condition. most copies offered on second hand market places are pretty beaten concerning cover or vinyl and some are missing the booklets. the copies which are in good condition are pretty pricey and so i never made a move towards buying one. i don't know how my wife pulled it off but she found a toy seller on the internet who had both in stock for reasonable prices, she said.
the records are in absolute top condition. especially the "a new hope" record. no bend of the cover, sharp edges, booklet like new and the vinyl in pristine shape. "return of the jedi" has some wear on the cover edges but that's it, the rest is in prime condition as well. real fun to listen to the stories with the original german dubbed dialogues, brings back fond memories. i can almost speak along because i watch the original triology at least once per year. what a great gift of the wife! a shame they never made a "the empire strikes back" radio play record back in the day. anyway, see you in 2017.

in the face of recent events, i bid farewell to carrie fisher. rest in peace.

Freitag, 30. Dezember 2016

incendiary - crusade

i was wondering if incendiary got some fresh tunes in the works, otherwise it seems odd that closed casket activities was re-issuing both of their albums successively in such short time. maybe i am just underestimating the demand of incendiary material. whatever the reasons may have been, i was happy to open my wallet and add the band's debut to my collection.
taking "the cost of living" into consideration, "the crusade" is no surprise to the listener. the band plays their straight forward, metallic hardcore with no frills. they create a dark and aggressive atmosphere that reminds me quite often of nineties hardcore á la earth crisis or morning again, only the energy level feels higher. check out the whole almost twenty five minutes of relentless long island hardcore for yourself.
"crusade" was originally released in 2009 by a label called eternal hope records. said label released a vinyl edition of 500 copies total. out of these 500 came 250 copies on black vinyl, 150 copies on white vinyl and 100 copies on some white/black mix vinyl with fifty as record release version. closed casket activities decided to re-press even a thousand copies and to alter the artwork a bit. in my humble opinion i think the eternal hope version looks a bit nicer.
check out the original here. i think it had more depth to it. a pretty cool alteration though is the change from slip sleeve to gatefold sleeve. the inner gatefold shows a collage of old band pictures and flyers from back in the day. the break down is as follows: silver and clear split out of 200 copies, silver with oxblood splatter out of 300 copies and my silver out of 500 copies. closed casket activities. 2016.

Dienstag, 27. Dezember 2016

converge - jane doe (gold w/ black smoke re-press)

back from the christmas dead finally covering my latest "jane doe" re-press. since i jumped on the converge band wagon something like three years ago, this boston based outfit quickly became one of my top five favourite bands, probably even the favourite band. i religiously bought their new stuff, doesn't matter if live 7", split 7", redux versions, new pressings of shit i already have or live albums. if the converge label is on it, count me in.
so when deathwish announced a new "jane doe" pressing i was interested, to say the least. i was never really satisfied with my clear blue copy i bought almost three years ago. i mean, it looks nice in combination with the artwork but isn't really in keeping with its colours plus i am not a big clear colours fan. ok, the re-press colours all come on clear vinyl variants but the deathwish exclusive looked really tempting in the mock-ups.
a gold with black smoke colour configuration seemed like the perfect match for the iconic artwork. i wasn't convinced right from the start because ordering from deathwish meant ordering from the states and that meant exorbitant shipping rates. but when i saw all the other variants - clear red and clear blue both with black smoke and clear with white smoke - i knew that if i was going for a new copy there was just one possible option.
i bit the bullet and ordered from deathwish. the package came in two weeks after release date, which is a good time frame for oversea shipments. the records arrived in great condition as well, although not packed as requested. man, what is the problem of packing the vinyl outside of the sleeves? i expierenced that a lot of labels and mailorders refuse to do so. probably some warranty issue? i don't know.
the actual outcome of this colour variant is slightly darker than in the mock-ups. at least my copy is. i have seen another one on the net which is as dark as mine but probably there are some lighter shades in the pressing. anyway, hold up to the light it looks really nice. we'll see, maybe deathwish comes up with an opaque colour variant at some point which i'll probably pick up. 500 copies pressed as deathwish mailorder exclusive. 2016.

Freitag, 16. Dezember 2016

integrity - seasons in the size of days

it has become an embosomed tradition that organized crime recordings re-issues one integrity record after the other in occasion of the annual record store day, or black friday record store day, ...or halloween and what not. this time it was for black friday rsd and it was basically the only record i really wanted for this event. as my favourite local store burnout records in hamburg closed its gate for good after this year's april rsd, i won't go out to hunt these special releases anymore. there is simply no store in my grasp anymore which carries a good selection of hardcore vinyl.
so thankfully i can trust my favourite mailorder per koro in such cases. markus, the owner of per koro, had a few black friday rsd titles in stock and among them was my desired integrity record. ordering process was smooth as always. i really love integrity's old stuff. i mean, i can hang with "suicide black snake" or "the blackest curse" but they don't excite me like their nineties stuff does. "seasons in the size of days" is a great slab of this dark metallic hardcore which integrity shaped. not one weak song on this plastic platter.
i am always surprised that victory records doesn't re-release these classics by themselves as most of the early to mid integrity titles have been originally released on victory. well, for the consumer there might be no difference. probably it is even better to see organized crime handle the job because there always goes much thought into the packaging of any integrity re-issue of the label. in this case i am happy that marcus from the endless quest didn't want to remove the shrink from his copy. it makes my post not completely useless.
the 20th anniversary release of "seasons..." comes in a gatefold sleeve with loads of invisible ink printing on all four panels. in combination with the great artwork by dwid this one looks real nice. furthermore there is an folded insert with band pics on the outside and all the lyrics on the inside. then you get another insert with more art and some liner notes by frank novinec, who was the second guitarist on this record and is now part of hatebreed. to top it all off the music is pressed to some nice heavy white vinyl. lovely all around. 800 copies pressed. organized crime records. 2016.

Dienstag, 13. Dezember 2016

converge - axe to fall (electric blue baby blue merge re-press)

when i saw deathwish repressing the seventh converge studio album, especially on this very nice colour-way, i thought it was time to add it to the collection. i was a little hesitant because i already have a copy of "axe to fall" on white vinyl but when i saw "jane doe" going up for pre-orders at deathwish store, i had the excuse i needed. i mean, we all know how senseless it is only ordering one record, especially from overseas. so there was actually no other way but making shipping costs worthwhile by throwing a second record into my cart.
"axe to fall" was always the weakest post-"jane doe" era album to me, which doesn't mean that this album is weak by any means. it just pales a bit in comparison to the other records, until now that is. sometimes all it takes is to focus. i think with this new re-press it was the first time i really sat down and just listened to the music. nothing else. no writing for this blog, no comic book reading along, no internet surfing, no nothing. just me, "axe to fall" and its lyric-sheet.
it really opened new perspectives and i can appreciate this bad boy of an album in a way i did not do before. what really struck me was how lovely balanced this record is. the short venomous shots like the opener "dark horse" and "cutter", the frantic, doomier pieces like "worms will feed / rats will feast" and "damages" or the ambient stuff like "cruel bloom" or the outstanding "wretched world" - this album delivers the whole spectrum of what this band is able to. "axe to fall" will definitely get more regular spins on my turntable in the future.
the presentation is the same as on all previous pressings. a lovely gatefold cover and insert graced with another typical piece of artwork from jacob bannon's mind and hands. but the real star of the package is the absolutely cracking electric blue and baby blue merge vinyl. great match with the cover colours. 1.000 copies pressed. i actually wanted to start with the gold with black smoke "jane doe" re-press but it's a pain in the ass to get good pictures these days. bad light is the problem. when i get home from work it's already dark so i have to wait for the weekend. will fix that soon. so long. deathwish inc. 2009/2016.

Sonntag, 11. Dezember 2016

madball - set it off (original pressing)

one for the hardcore part of this blog, which has become somewhat small in the recent past. more and more metal dominating my daily spins. so when there is some hardcore it got to be some killer stuff and an original "set it off" pressing is something i would call just that - killer record. strange how things come to be sometimes. i searched for a copy of this record for round about four years now. all the times i saw it come and go on ebay or on discogs, always out of my price range. understandably i was quite happy when backbite records from germany announced the re-press for this year.
after two months of waiting for the pre-order to arrive and actually possessing the re-issue for a week, a discogs e-mail came my way telling me that there was an original pressing for twenty bucks up for grabs. despite the fact the record wasn't in best condition i took it anyway because i knew that such a chance wouldn't come often. so with an original copy in hands it feels like i don't really need the re-press anymore. ah well, maybe i sell off the re-press at somepoint but for now two copies of this classic do no harm, right?
furthermore i can now compare the two releases and can emphasise the differences. the first thing i noticed was that the og pressing looks sharper when it comes to the quality of the pictures. the picture of the two covers doesn't show it properly but i think the pic of the two back covers side by side with the right one being the original, makes it clear. the re-press is lower in contrast and the front and back image seem to be zoomed in a bit. looks like backbite didn't have the original vinyl layout and worked the cd-layout into vinyl measures instead.
indicative for this hypothesis is the parental advisory label on the cover of the re-issue, which were only on further cd pressings. another hint is the layout of the insert of the re-issue. the white letters on black background is a layout design only the cd booklet has, the original vinyl pressing comes with a black on white printed dust sleeve. taking all the differences into consideration, the og pressing definitely wins. i go and spin it again. roadrunner records. 1994.

Freitag, 9. Dezember 2016

invoking the abstract - aural kaleidoscopes

after i ordered two unique leader records releases via the german distro, i was quite on a prog/tech death metal kick. since the label has a few bands in their roster that tick all the right boxes when it comes to this musical mood of mine, i checked what else might be worth to add to the collection. so i stumbled upon a band called invoking the abstract. i listened to the first tunes of their debut full length "aural kaleidoscopes" via bandcamp and noticed a strong animals as leaders vibe going on.
this little reminiscence was enough for me to order a copy. some ebay sellers located in switzerland seem to have some sort of distribution deal with a few oversea labels or a wholesaler, in any case i was able to order a copy of "aural kaleidoscopes" for seventeen bucks postage paid. real fair in my eyes. when my copy arrived unharmed and after i listened to it a couple of times i couldn't quite shake off the animals as leaders similarities but ultimately this isn't even an issue. i friggin' love animals as leaders plus i don't have the feeling the invoking the abstract were copying.
quite on the contrary in fact. this four-piece is bursting with ideas and creativity. the band serves the technical side a bit more but still has enough atmospherical parts to catch a breath in between. "aural kaleidoscopes" is a wild, jazz-influenced instrumental journey through the wide fields of progressive metal. a journey you should join as long as copies are available. the presentation is quite basic but not like this would be a bad thing. slip sleeve cover and printed dust sleeve. comes on a nice black with cyan blue splatter vinyl. don't know about any pressing information. unique leader records. 2016.

Dienstag, 6. Dezember 2016

after the burial - dig deep

after the burial is one of those numerous sumerian records prog/tech death metal bands. along with born of osiris or veil of maya they have been washed up in the early to mid 00's and have since then a pretty loyal fan base, myself included. a lot of sumerian vinyl titles seem pretty collectible, so it was always a pain to get a copy of "wolves within" from 2013. anyway, i slept on the release of "dig deep" earlier this year and so didn't pre-order it. in the end it wasn't even a mistake because there are still a few copies on ebay germany for good prices without high oversea shipping costs.
i ordered from an u.k. seller because he offered that lovely split colour edition, the final price was very reasonable and so it was an easy choice. "dig deep" is the band's ten year anniversary release and the first after founding member justin lowe's suicide in 2015. naturally this loss shaped the album and lyrically a lot of the songs are inspired by it. music-wise you get an up-tempo on-off riff festival, a good chunk of technical finesse and spine-chilling melodies. even a horn is part of the instrumentation (check "laurentian ghosts").
as i don't know the complete work of the band, i cannot make profound judgement but the album is definitely one of the best releases by this minnesota based group, if not the best to date (further research will reveal the truth). the presentation by sumerian is as simply as it is nice. a simple cover slip sleeve and a printed dust sleeve with warm artwork and the matching vinyl colour round out the package. don't know how many copies have been pressed. sumerian records. 2016.

Freitag, 2. Dezember 2016

death - the sound of perseverance

since i bought some death classics with "scream bloody gore" and "leprosy", i was really glad to see relapse records re-pressing some stuff from the band's more sophisticated and technical phase. relapse decided for their fourth death re-press to issue "the sound of perseverance" from 1998, the last album in their discopgraphy originally released through nuclear blast. when the pre-order went live, i was right there to invest some money into a nice limited relapse exclusive version.
i really fancied to order the deluxe box set edition which looks real lovely. the price of admission was fair but the shipping costs even exceeded the actual price and so i had to step back. a real shame but i couldn't reconcile this purchase with my monetary conscience. instead i ordered the most limited shop exclusive version which was the red and gold merge vinyl edition. ordering with relapse is always a pleasure, especially when it comes to the packaging of the goods. sturdy mailer with strengthened edges to protect the cover from bends and records always outside the sleeve to prevent seam-splits.
the musical part of "the sound of perseverance" is remarkable. such a strong multi-layered album from start to finish - a real cracker. after the great experiences with "scream bloody gore" and "leprosy" and the lovely "flesh and the power it holds" cover song from obscura on their "illegimitation" release, i don't listen to any death stuff via digital channels anymore. i'll wait for the re-presses or ebay hits and listen to the records like new releases. what striked me immediately when i listened to "the sound of perseverance" for the first time, was the rather high pitched voice of chuck schuldiner in comparison to the albums i know.
i think it matches the sound quite well. what is really outstanding to me on this album is the sheer quantity of great, classic metal melodies. in the context with the progressive death metal of this album, it makes this final full length easily my favourite death record for now. in my eyes the best example for the sound of the whole of this work is "to forgive is to suffer". lovely presentation here. gatefold sleeve with liner notes of guitarist shannon hamm, an insert with lyrics and tons of pics, gold-foil print on the front and this beautiful colour-way. the red almost glows among the gold. 300 copies made. relapse records. 2016.