Buying Round-Up – December 2013

Happy New Year to everyone out there! Hope you all had a triumphantly good time over the holidays.

Before I go on with 2014’s blogging business there’s just the matter of wrapping up the HMO Challenge 2013! Usually in December I tend not to buy very much but this year there were a few exciting new releases late in the year and these put me in the mood to check out some of the new releases I had resisted earlier in 2013. With the challenge goal now spectacularly out of reach I found myself gleefully ignoring December’s £45 budget.

Saxon – Unplugged and Strung Up (2CD Edition)(£13 Amazon)

I love Saxon but this set is a mixed-bag: it’s more of a compilation of various re-recordings than an all-new set which makes it seem a bit superfluous. It’s not even entirely orchestral or acoustic which is also odd! On the other hand, it’s mostly made up of the band’s moodier epics and those are always Saxon’s standout tracks for me. So, overall, as a themed collection I find it hugely enjoyable… and did I tell you I love Saxon? I love Saxon.

Avatarium – Avatarium (£10 HMV Glasgow)

This superb album dominated my listening in December. A new project from Candlemass’ songwriting wizard Leif Edling, it’s a mix of Doom, Psychedelia, Folk and Pop with a strong Opeth flavour to it (some of the songs were initially intended for a project with Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt). Jennie-Ann Smith’s vocals are particularly stunning and this is a promising debut and a band to watch.

Inquisition – Obscure Verses for the Multiverse (Ltd. Edition) (£15 Amazon)

These US Black-Metallers have had a few albums out already but this is my introduction to them and I’m very impressed. It’s very similar to Immortal but has a woozy otherworldliness of its own. And it also comes with a patch. A PATCH.

Entombed – Clandestine (Vinyl) (£16 Monorail Glasgow)

I bought this to accompany the vinyl edition of Left Hand Path I bought earlier in the year but at the time of writing I’ve still not given either of these much listening time. Their third album Wolverine Blues will be getting a similar vinyl treatment in the New Year so I better get my arse in gear.

Accept – Stalingrad (CD/DVD Ltd. Edition) (£10 Amazon Marketplace)

When I wrote last month that I was enjoying Accept’s Blood of the Nations, many of you recommended I should pick this up too. Never let it be said that your recommendations fall on deaf ears! I’ve not listened to it yet. But I will.

Witch Cross – Axe to Grind (£10 Amazon)

These 80s Metallers have hit the comeback trail with this excellent 2013 album, which features stellar vocals from singer (and fellow blogger) Kevin Moore. The guitar work and songwriting is outstanding. It’s hook-laden and the variety of styles ensures that it’s no retro re-tread either. Along with Avatarium, this album was never far from my ears this month.

Ghost – Infestissumam (£6 HMV Glasgow)

Ghost – If You Have Ghost (£6 HMV Glasgow)

I enjoyed Ghost’s debut but I wasn’t entirely sure I needed to hear more from them. I’m glad I held off because here is an unexpected new edition of their second album Infestissumam with bonus tracks and a couple of quid off the price too! I’ve only had a couple of listens but it’s gone down well. Buoyed by the experience I also bought their covers EP but I have to say I prefer their original material to the covers. The downside of these purchases is that the HMO Vault is no longer Dave Grohl-free. I’m not happy about this.

Voices – From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain (£12 Amazon)

And the final purchase of the year is this WTF?-titled album. It’s an intense barrage of avant-garde Black Metal and features a couple of members of the highly-rated UK band Akercocke who I’ll need to investigate further because this is impressive stuff.


I’ve blown my budget as usual but this was a very satisfying month of music purchases with four exciting new bands added to my collection.

And so the HMO Challenge ends in defeat. However, all is not lost. It’s been a fantastic year of listening and I’ve learned a lot about my music buying habits which will hopefully help me become a more discerning listener and buyer in 2014. Thanks to everyone who followed the challenge! I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and recommendations and I hope you had as much fun with this as I did. I haven’t planned any challenges or budgets for 2014 but instead, I look forward to sharing another exciting year of music-buying with you.



Amount spent on purchases: £98

Amount budgeted: £45

Amount over/under budget: £53 Over!


Amount spent on purchases: £881

Amount budgeted: £640

Amount over/under budget: £241 Over

23 thoughts on “Buying Round-Up – December 2013”

      1. You’re a brave soul to tackle Voices HMO! After hearing the album, i was really excited to get to see them live in November and it was something akin to pure aural chaos! Completely incomprehensible!


  1. Holy mackerel, that is an awesome pile of new musics! What a way to end the year! I usually comment on each one individually, but to save time I’ll say for all of them: that’s fantastic! Also, for some reason I was unaware that that Ghost album had a deluxe version with more tracks…

    As for the budget, I’m pretty sure it was always in danger of collapse. There’s just too much good new music out there. I do applaud your valiant attempt, though. It’s been fun to follow along (and comment ad nauseum) So is that it for the budget comepletely? Or will you still just keep track and see how you did versus 2013 at the end of this year?

    Also, if the budget isn’t in the picture, perhaps this will free you up to, oh, I dunno, maybe WRITE MORE REVIEWS?

    An excellent 2013. Thanks to our mighty HMO for a year of good reads!


    1. The Ghost album never had any bonus tracks here at all. This version just seems to have been released in December. The Abba cover is on the covers EP anyway so it’s really only one extra song. But better one than none!

      I didn’t have very high hopes for the budget either but aiming for it was pretty useful! I don’t have any plans for budgets etc… But I might change my mind, who knows?

      The plan is definitely more reviews… Maybe a return of the Noise – some Notes? I’ve missed doing them…


  2. Hey Scott, welcome to 2014! And that’s a nice Accept purchase there. I did not know that existed, nor that deluxe reissue of the Ghost album. Thanks for helping to guide my 2014 purchases! If I find the Accept used I’ll get it, but it’s not a priority re-buy. The Ghost CD is one I will track down, and I’ll hold off on the EP for a bit.

    Thanks man and keep on rockin’ in the new year. As we say in Canada, Keep your stick on the ice.


    1. This edition of the Accept album has a bonus DVD. It’s excepts from 2 live shows and a couple of promo videos (7 videos altogether). The CD has an extra track (Never Forget) so it might be worth getting for that if you don’t have it on your version.

      I didn’t know about this edition of Ghost either. Just pure luck I saw it in a shop. I thought the US version already had some bonus tracks though. It’s one of the reasons I never bought it before cause I was annoyed at the UK version being vanilla! I could have probably done without the EP. Its ok but not as good as the albums.
      Here’s to more overspending on awesome music in 2014!


    1. It’s a funny one really. I wouldn’t say Saxon is not up to snuff cause the songs are great and I enjoy listening to it. It just seems a bit pointless is all… Like it’s a bit of a cash grab.

      More Accept! Ok. In fact I listened to Restless and Wild the other day and it is really growing on me now.


  3. Yeah the Saxon deal is almost Spinal Tapish if u ask me.
    Now I dug these guys back In high school esp the Power And Glory album and The Eagle Has Landed even some points of Crusader but than I dunno what happened but I always see there touring and releasing product so props to that but this??
    Cash grab is the correct call..just not my cash,


    1. Well if you’ve not been following Saxon since Crusader I wouldn’t start with this but they have brought out a ton of fantastic albums. I think they always get overlooked cause of the few duds they brought out in the 80s but they have had a lot of great stuff out since. Albums like Call to Arms and Inner Sanctum are absolutely priceless!


  4. A very good selection of music here. Many of them I know about (Avatarium, Ghost, Accept) and then some others I don’t know about.

    I’m very much the same in December – every penny goes towards Christmas! However, I sneaked in just the one purchase. Just the one.

    However, with my recent buying round up post I’m sure that will be filled with purchases left, right and centre.


  5. Hey if you’re going to go over budget, gleefully is the way to go! I think you may be the first person I’ve heard say he’s not a Grohl fan – I thought he was drifting into critically immune territory, interesting to hear he’s far from the selling point of that purchase.


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