Mittwoch, 14. März 2018

iron maiden - s/t

in my last iron maiden post i asked myself if i was ready for some non-bruce dickinson stuff. maiden's music and dickinson's voice are so deeply embedded for me, that i had doubts if i could get into the di'anno records. so when there was any maiden vinyl available i stood away from the first two records and rather reached for consequent full lengths. now with the most classic records of the dickinson era in my possession, i had no more excuses.
i visited blitz records store in kiel and my wife found a copy of the sel-titled iron maiden album in the cheapo bin. after a thorough look at the record we both decided that it had too much wear and with a heavy heart i put it back. fortunately the regular maiden section was well stocked and they had another copy in great condition waiting for me. musically i can hang with the record but it won't get me as excited as listening to a classic dickinson-maiden-record.
what i pulled from the racks is a re-press from 1985 on the emi fame series. these were mid-price re-presses to satisfy the demand on iron maiden vinyl. these were issued with a printed dust sleeve advertising other titles of the series. furthermore they come with simple stock centre labels instead of the custom labels of the earlier pressings. despite being over thirty years old, my copy looks fantastic. especially the cover is in pristine condition. emi records. 1980/1985.

Sonntag, 11. März 2018

benediction - subconscious terror

another gem for the early nineties death metal collection. the debut record of england's benediction on nuclear blast. vinyl copies of "subconscious terror" pop up quite regularly on ebay germany and sell for at least thirty five bucks, mostly upwards. coloured copies of the re-press from the same year for even more. discogs is also a pricey area for good condition copies. when i got a notification from discogs telling me there was a very reasonable priced copy from spain available, an idea began to take form.
i have a good friend who is coming from spain. so i asked him if i could get the record sent to his relatives for lower shipping and if he was picking it up when he would visit them. he agreed and a few preperations and weeks later i am now the proud owner of a record in great condition. the cover has seen better days but this fucker is almost thirty years old and it still has the hype sticker attached to it. that's all good in my book.
musically i prefer "the grand leveller" and "transcend the rubicon" but benediction's debut is beaten to second place only by a hair's breadth. grooving death metal with barney greenway's signature voice (he might be more known in combination with the band he joined after the release of this album - napalm death) is always a winner as long as i am concerned. the first album in a fruitful relation ship with nuclear blast records. do not know how many have been made. nuclear blast. 1990.

post scriptum: the cover artwork was used for other purposes as well. one of that purposes was a radio play i have on cassette. nice, little oddity.

Samstag, 10. März 2018

pestilence - spheres

the final chapter in the early pestilence album series is the band's fourth full length, going by the name "spheres". the album was released in 1993 and after the predecessor "testimony of the ancients" was pretty successful, the band set out to release their most ambitious album to that point. the guys ventured into more experimental and progressive spheres (no pun intended) here and it really feels like the next logical step in pestilence's development.
somehow the album wasn't received very fondly by the metal world back then. cannot see why actually because other experimental death metal records like stuff by death or atheist was successful at the time. whatever it was, the band was not stable enough to stand the commercial flop that was "speheres" and split up shortly afterwards. nowadays original copies of that record are pretty collectible and sell for quite a penny - the irony of time.
like with all the pestilence re-issues before, hammerheart did a splendid job here. again, the listener gets the original artwork of the roadrunner cover sleeve with the pestilence lettering and song titles in gold foil print. furthermore the label threw in a poster of the unused extended art of dan seagrave. the vinyl comes on nice clear with red splatter out of 300 copies. i really enjoyed those pestilence re-issues. another early nineties death metal catalogue for my collection. satisfied. hammerheart records. 2017.

Mittwoch, 7. März 2018

pestilence - testimony of the ancients

part three out of four. pestilence and their third full length called "testimony of the ancients" from 1991. this one is the make-it-or-break-it record and one can feel that the band wanted to make it with every fibre of their musical beings. they pushed things forward in terms of song-writing complexity, in terms of musical and lyrical conception, in terms of how to approach death metal in general. former vocalist martin van drunen was kicked out of the band and guitarist/main song writer patrick mameli took his place instead.
furthermore tony choy, bass player in cynic who were about to release the genre classic "focus" two years later, was gained to play the bass tracks. after each song pestilence placed a short interlude in between. all these ingredients made "testimony of the ancients" a novum  and a truly unique piece in the death metal world of 1991. they are always hard on the edge of forcing too much of a good thing but in the end it really works and i love the record. it is not called their crowning achievement for nothing, indeed.
the re-issue of hammerheart records pays righteous homage to this scene classic. they took the original cover art and graced it with a gold foil print for the "pestilence" lettering. the insert is a fold out affair with a collage on one side (taken from the original printed dust sleeve) and a cool collection of old flyers. the inside unveils the lyrics, band member pictures and production infos. the whole layout breathes the nineties. love it. for this pressing hammerheart changed the layout of the back cover. don't know why but it doesn't disturb the overall impression. clear with blue splatter out of 300 copies. hammerheart records. 2017.

Sonntag, 4. März 2018

pestilence - consuming impulse

the second effort of pestilence called "consuming impulse" was the band's breakthrough album. it was initially released in 1989 and is one of the very first real death metal records. the music became more complex, more tempo changes and vocalist martin van drunen (he sang for asphyx and bolt thrower later on) perfected his signature growling. this is truly a milestone for european death metal and with all due caution, i think i can state "consuming impulse" as my favourite pestilence record.
this is the second hammerheart records pressing for this scorcher and for the limited colour variation they cleverly combined the two first press colour-ways. clear and mint green morphed into this lovely clear with mint green splatter vinyl. they did this with all the second press colour copies for the four albums and i think this is a pretty cool idea.
the presentation is top notch again. the record comes in a sturdy slip sleeve with lovely spot gloss print. again the whole centre piece of the cover and the single pictures of the band members on the back are spot gloss printed. an insert with all lyrics on one and a collage on the other side is also included. hammerheart stood very close to the original design, they just altered the printed dust sleeve of the original press to an insert. very good work. 300 copies made. hammerheart records. 2017.

Freitag, 2. März 2018

pestilence - malleus maleficarum

pestilence from the netherlands were one of europe's most renowned death metal acts in the late eighties/early nineties. their name was mentioned in one breath with heavyweights like morbid angel, sepultura or almighty death. their first four records were all released on roadrunner records and original copies in good condition sell for quite a penny. this is the case with most of the classic death metal records from that time and therefore re-issue business is booming nowadays. so it seems like no surprise that hammerheart records from the netherlands re-issued the classic four of pestilence.
they started with their re-issue series at some point in spring last years, i believe. at the time i wasn't really interested. my old school death metal obsession was kickstarted a bit later on that year plus i wasn't really into the band's post reunion stuff. so i let the first re-issue of "malleus maleficarum" pass me by. when the second came out - "consuming impulse" - i was more interested but missed out on the colour vinyl. so other stuff gained my focus. i gave up on "testimony of the ancients" and "spheres" right from the start. when hammerheart announced a second colour press for all four records at the end of 2017, i began to entertain the idea of getting them all in one fell swoop.
now i was knee deep into all classic death metal and thus it was pretty much clear that i was buying all four re-issues. hammerheart did a splendid job here. they stood true to the original roadrunner artwork and layout but graced the cover and back cover with some lavish spot gloss print. it doesn't show too well in the pictures but the whole centre piece on the front and the band shot on the back are printed in this fancy way. musically this a great slab of early death metal. the album was released in 1988 and it can't deny its thrash roots but one can feel where it leads. nice clear with swamp green splatter. 300 copies made. hammerheart records. 2017.

Dienstag, 27. Februar 2018

toundra - IV

toundra is one of a few fantastic instrumental bands that found their way into my heart. pelican, terraformer, clouds taste satanic or bongripper are constant returning guests on my turntable. toundra even was the first instrumental band i have bought some vinyl of. the band from madrid, spain released four records by now with the fifth coming this spring. i have the first three full lengths but the fourth, aptly called "IV", eluded me. the first pressing was put forth by superball music which is a division of century media.
the label produced a first pressing for the release in 2015 with a limited run of 200 copies on clear green vinyl. those sold out quickly and are now highly sought after collectibles. once a copy sold for round about one hundred euros on discogs. way too much for me. fortunately superball music liscenced the rights for a vinyl re-press to german d.i.y. label alerta antifascista. they came up with a new pressing to commemorate the upcoming new full length, i believe. if the new album is going to be as near as good as "IV", it will be an absolute smasher.
i was actually not in the know about this new pressing. luckily discogs has this certain feed on the dashboard page. the interested reader learns about new releases which does also include re-pressings and re-issues. via this link i was informed about the new "IV" edition and i didn't hesitate to order a copy from the labels own mailorder doomrock. this alerta antifascista version looks sharp, to say the least. valuable matte cardboard for the cover sleeve, a lovely etching on the d-side (which was difficult to photograph) and very nice dual clear green with green splatter vinyl. 300 copies made. alerta antifascista. 2017.

Montag, 26. Februar 2018

mastodon - emperor of sand pink vinyl

after christmas i used a bit of my annual bonus to treat myself to a record which i had my eyes on for quite some time. when the ten bands, one cause edition of mastodon's "emperor of sand" was released in mid 2017 i was torn as what to do. there was no initial colour vinyl pressing of the record plus it would come on the best vinyl colour of all - pink. the temptation was hard to resist but a hefty overall price of over fifty bucks for an u.s. import put me off. i rather wanted to play the waiting game and maybe come across a cheaper option at some later point.
this tactic seemed to pay off because a few months later the price of the record dropped to reasonable amounts on discogs. as only u.s. sellers offered the record, i still payed a considerable chunk of cash because of the high shipping rates. nevertheless i am really happy with my purchase from a nice u.s. independent record store. this pink u.s. version doesn't differ from the euro edition but in the fine print only. and in the vinyl colour of course.
i actuallly found it difficult to take pictures of the vinyl and get the colour across in the right way. when taken a closer look, one can see that the vinyl colour is a mix of white and red pvc with a slight marble effect. my shitty cam seems to emphasise the white in the mix. the last photo shows the actual colour best. musically "emperor of sand" is a masterpiece. such a strong effort that has it all. the progressivity, the hooks, the melodies, the lyrical concept - everything. glad to have one out of 3000 copies. reprise records. 2017.

Samstag, 24. Februar 2018

yob - the great cessation

since i bought my first yob record in 2014 released on 20 buck spin records ("atma"), i made quite some progress in getting the full lengths together. four out of six (they actually released seven full lengths but "elaborations of carbon" from 2002 was never pressed to vinyl) is a good average in my book. to improve it i was on the look out for the band's only southern lord records release "the great cessation" from 2009. somehow not one single copy for a price i was willed to pay crossed my path in the following years. therefore i was happy to see relapse records re-issuing the record.
i already wrote in the last post that i ordered four records at the relapse eu store. i also already stated that relapse cancelled the red fang record. ok, i wanted a refund. when the yob record was released a few days later, there was no shipping of the parcel and no refund as well. ok, i fired off a mail politely asking where vinyl and money may be. no answer. instead, i got another mail with the cancellation of the skinless record. boy, this started to really fuck me up. again a few days later still no vinyl and money for both of the cancelled records. i sent another mail just with the same result.
at some point in january 2018 i got a shipping notification and the refund for the two withdrawn albums. that was it. no answer to my mails, no explanation, no apology. i mean, i can understand if they had problems with the new eu store or something else but it's a question of good style to fucking communicate with your customers. and relapse showed no fucking class here. anyway, "the great cessation" sounds and looks great on this re-issue. the new art is stunning. unfortunately i was too late for the rarest colour-way but i think my electric blue with yellow and silver splatter looks sharp as well. 500 copies made. relapse records. 2017.

Montag, 19. Februar 2018

integrity - howling, for the nightmare shall consume

finally, my post for the new integrity record entitled "howling, for the nightmare shall consume". there are a few reasons why this baby was such a long time in the making. first were the high prices for coloured first press copies. they came with an additional 12" and this increased the price to thirty five bucks plus high shipping rates from the states. no way i was paying that much cash for a single record. as there was no colour retail version, there was no chance to get a copy from a domestic distro.
so i waited in hope for a second pressing. when the time was finally there, relapse opened an european store in the meanwhile which made an order even more worthwhile. luckily relapse dropped the bonus 12" for the second press. only three songs which i wasn't overly interested in seemed like something i could do without quite well. i ordered the record together with the latest yob re-press, so this meant i had to wait for the whole order until early december. so far, so good.
next to the two mentioned records, i had another two in the package - a skinless and a red fang record. before the release date of the yob re-press i got a mail by relapse telling me, that the red fang wasn't available anymore. well, something like this can happen. it was a bit annoying but ok. i wrote them to refund me the money paid for the record. this was when the hassle really started. but more of it in the upcoming yob post. now to the actual record this post is about. integrity explored their course adopted with "suicide black snake" further.
more bluesy solo's, melodies and spoken words by dwid along to the bands trademark metallic hardcore. a fantastic record. if i got it before the end of 2017, it would definitely have been one of my favourite records of the year. we'll see if 2018 can kick it out of my top ten. frankly, i doubt it. the packaging is brilliant. apocalyptic artwork with loads of invisible spot gloss print, fold out insert and dual silver vinyl cut at 45rpm. 800 copies made. relapse records. 2017.