I spent most of January looking for bargains and catching up on some of last year’s releases that I hadn’t got round to yet. Unshackled from any pesky challenges, I bought a lot this month but I’ll be saving up in February and March for a trip to Berlin so I’m telling myself that this month’s large haul is meant to keep me amused for the next couple of months. We’ll see how that works out! January’s release schedules are never particularly exciting and 2014 has been no exception (especially as the vinyl reissue of Entombed’s Wolverine Blues got put back to February.) So it seemed like a good month to plug some gaps in the collection.
Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen (Ltd. Edition CD) (£13 HMV Glasgow)
I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t interested in the Emperor front-man’s latest solo outing but its high placing on many “Best of 2013” lists and Metal Mellowdee’s excellent review changed my mind. I’m glad I picked it up. It’s a welcome shift in direction from his last album, Eremita and possibly the best of his solo work so far. No mean feat.
KISS – The Ritz on Fire (£8 Fopp Glasgow)
This is an unofficial CD but any KISS release is welcome news at HMO Mission Control. Especially when it features the Heavy Metal Overlord’s favourite line-up: the one with Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr! This is a good quality live recording made for radio and the performance is absolutely scorching. This show has been floating around on t’Internet for a while but it’s good to have a physical copy: mp3s don’t come with hilarious photos of Paul Stanley’s chest rug! If I seem to have neglected to listen to any of January’s other purchases, this album is to blame. Check out LeBrain for a thorough review of this excellent set.
Death Angel – The Dream Calls for Blood (CD/DVD Ltd. Edition) (£11 HMV Glasgow)
I’ve not paid any attention to these Bay Area Thrashers since their reunion in 2001 which meant this 2013 album passed me by. The same thing happened with Ihashn: the end-of-year lists had me hunting it down. I’ve only listened to it once (blame KISS) but it sounds great and the guitar-playing is stunning. This edition also has an impressive cover of Heaven and Hell as a bonus track.
Assassin – Chronicles of Resistance (2CD Edition) (£8 Monorail Glasgow)
Another bunch of Thrashers but this time of the Teutonic variety! I really love German Thrash and was really pleased to find this for such a cheap price. It’s the band’s first two albums with a whole slew of bonus tracks. I’ve not listened to it yet… KISS happened.
I – Between Two Worlds (£5 Amazon)
Another bargain I couldn’t refuse. I was a short-lived project that featured Abbath (Immortal) and Ice Dale (Enslaved). Thanks to Abbath’s unmistakable croak and riffing-style it doesn’t sound very far removed from Immortal’s blizzardy Black Metal but has a more accessible and straightforward hard rockin’ approach. Some of the songs and riffs are hugely enjoyable but there’s a fatigue-inducing lack of variety which stops the album being entirely convincing.
Not a bad way to kick off the year’s shopping but there’s more! I’ve bought so much great stuff this month that I’ve decided to split my Buying Round-Up into two further parts: Box Sets and Second-Hand. Watch this space for some great bargains and a couple of real rarities.