Buying Round-Up – May to July 2014

It’s time for a catch-up on my recent acquisitions. Attentive readers may have noticed there haven’t been any buying posts for the May to July period. I’ve been focusing on writing full reviews of my purchases instead but, given that I’m not the most prolific reviewer, I’ll continue doing these round-ups to cover the purchases I have gotten round to covering in detail.

Vallenfyre – Splinters (£12 Fopp Glasgow)

Vallenfyre’s 2011 debut album A Fragile King was one of the best debuts of recent years. With their superb, filthy second album this side-project (helmed my Paradise Lost’s Greg Mackintosh) is starting to sound like a legitimate supergroup and a real threat. An album of the year contender. Even if I’m still a bit disappointed that they didn’t call the album Skelfs.

Led Zeppelin – I, II and III (2CD Editions) (£14ea HMV Glasgow)

Having tired of Led Zeppelin’s music over the years, I wasn’t sure how appealing these reissues were to me. After much umming and ahhing… I bought them anyway. Ultimately I wasn’t happy with my current CD copies and these have proved to be satisfying upgrades. They look and sound fantastic. They’ve even managed to renew my enjoyment of the music a little but not enough for me have bothered with the alternative mixes etc… on the bonus discs yet. I got right into the Paris Olympia show that comes with the debut though and I wish they had included more live tracks with the other CDs. I’m looking forward to the next batch of Zep reissues, which will be bought with less hesitation.

Anathema – Distant Satellites (CD/DVD Edition) (£13 Love Music Glasgow)

Anathema have been a favourite band of mine for many years but this new release has been a little disappointing. I’ve still enjoyed it and it may still grow on me but it seems to me like the band has maybe exhausted their current direction. The album gets refreshingly experimental in its second half and I hope the band continue this tinkering with their next album. I suspect this will prove to be a transitional album in their career.

Accept – Balls to the Wall and Metal Heart (2CD Editions) (£8ea Amazon Marketplace)

Having finally clicked with Restless and Wild I decided to work through Accept’s other albums. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover the joys of Balls to the Wall. It’s like not having Heaven in Hell in your collection or something like that. A complete oversight! It’s captured my imagination so thoroughly I’ve not spent much time with the follow-up Metal Heart, although my initial listens have been equally promising. These superb value reissues come with a live album (Staying a Life) and a live EP (Kaizoku-Ban) as bonuses but I’m going to leave those until I’m more familiar with the studio output.

Ian Hunter – The Artful Dodger (£10 Amazon Marketplace)

I’m delighted to finally get this out-of-print Ian Hunter album. It’s pretty strong too, apart from one song Skeletons (In Your Closet) which I disliked, and it contains the original version of Michael Picasso which is one of my all-time favourites of Ian’s and the highlight of the album. I’ve only heard it live before and I’m surprised by how uncomfortably intimate it is in this original incarnation. And there’s a rare bonus track too. Nice.

Richard Thompson – Acoustic Classics (£10 Fopp Glasgow)

This is a set of newly-recorded acoustic versions of some of Richard’s most-loved songs. The familiarity of the track choices makes this a little underwhelming for devotees but it’s a still a masterfully performed set by a genuine genius. I expect this has been intended more as an introductory “Greatest Hits” and in that respect it works well. I’ve already heard this playing on the radio and in cafes so hopefully it will spread the word of RT to new listeners.

My Dying Bride – The Vaulted Shadows (£10 Fopp Glasgow)

My Dying Bride – A Map of All Our Failures (CD/DVD Edition) (£15 Amazon)

I’m working back a bit here, not having bought any of MDB’s releases since 2009’s For Lies I Sire. The Vaulted Shadows is a particularly welcome release as it compiles two EP releases, one of which is The Barghest O’ Whitby EP: released in 2011 but now prohibitively expensive to buy in a physical format. Buoyed by finally having it in my collection I decided to buy the special edition of their last full album A Map of All Our Failures before that went out-of-print too. Both releases are excellent and find the band at the top of their game. All cheery stuff like you might expect, the Metal equivalent of a decadent opium haze. Wilt thou bring me but one cup of the browned juicings of that naughty bean we call “coffee”, ere I die…

Candlemass – Psalms For the Dead (£4 Monorail Glasgow)

Pentagram – Last Rites (£4 Monorail Glasgow)

We end on couple of unexpected bargains courtesy of an equally unexpected sale at Glasgow’s Monorail. Doom overload! I’ve not listened to Pentagram yet but I’m delighted with the Candlemass album. It’s supposedly going to be their final studio album and they went out on a high, fleshing out their Epic Doom with some retro-horror keyboard sounds. The only downside is the stupid narration on Black as Time. Why they thought anyone would want to listen to that annoying voice more than once beats me. But otherwise it’s a strong effort and a fine follow-up to their previous winner Death Magic Doom.

*****

That’s us for this post but I’m not done with May-July’s buying yet. I’ll be back soon with a Black Metal special and, following that, I’ll be posting a vinyl special too. See you then.

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19 thoughts on “Buying Round-Up – May to July 2014”

  1. First!

    DUDE! This is an incredible line-up! I wanna see if I can hear some Vallenfyre, if you say it’s a 2014 contender! Um, but what’s a Skelf?

    I have all the Zeps on 180g vinyl with companion audio and I am inordinately happy with them. Agreed on the more live stuff BIG TIME. I like alt versions, but a live concert with each one would have owned so hard.

    I still need to hear Anathema. There goes all my cred…

    Accept = musts.

    Ian Hunter = no surprises there, for you. Nice you got it when it’s OOP.

    Richard Thompson = also no surprises at all. Cool for new versions of old classics. It’s like all your old friends have had a shower and a shave. I’m a RT noob, sounds like a must for me.

    My Dying Bride is a great band name. And Candlemass is one I’ve read about in these pages before. And Pentagram is another you’ve rattled on about. Hooray for surprise sales!!!

    Dude, seriously. Great month. GREAT!

    I really need to come to your town and go to Fopp and Monorail. Seriously. NEED.

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    1. Thanks dude. It’s been a pretty good time for buying. And remember there was the Alice Cooper box set, Cheap Trick and Judas Priest too. Whew!

      The Led Zep vinyl looked gorgeous, you must be stoked. I was tempted by those but I wanted good CD copies first.

      I’ll hit you up with a track each from the bands here that you haven’t heard and see what you think.

      And skelf is just another (Scottish maybe?) word for a splinter like you would get from touching wood. Oo-er missus.

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      1. Yeah man, this has recently been a Heavy Metal OVERLOAD for our Heavy Metal OVERLORD!

        The Zep Deluxe vinyls are indeed gorgeous.

        BRING ON THE TUNES WOOOOO!

        Oo-er missus makes my day. Haha!

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    1. I wouldn’t say it wasn’t up to scratch exactly. It’s still good stuff and I like it more with each listen. It’s just a bit too “more of the same” if you know what I mean. I’d like them to stir things up a bit.

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      1. Allow me to express my love of the new Anathema. It hit me immediately & I think it’s every bit as good as the last few. I’m not an expert on their history but based on their releases over the last 5 years or so this is as good as any of them.

        Agreed about the Richard Thompson. I have everything he’s officially released (and a few unofficial titles) and the new one is good but inessential. I would have preferred if they were live acoustic recordings since the excitement that’s present at his concerts is lacking in these performances.

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      2. I’m glad you’re enjoying the Anathema. Weather Systems took a while to fully click so I hope that’s the case with this one. It’s just not quite reaching the heights of the previous albums and classics like Alternative 4. A sub par Anathema album is still better than most.

        I think the new RT is aimed more at newbies than die hards like yourself. I think if they were live versions I’d have preferred it too but that might have put off casual fans perhaps? I agree there is a sense of excitement that’s missing.

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  2. Metal Heart is an underrated album! It is awesome. A little over produced and a bit poppy but some great riffs and guitar work!

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  3. A very good selection I, too, felt the same about the latest Anathema release…however I’ve only given it a few listens.

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    1. Oh cool, I’m glad it’s not just me! I’m probably being a bit harsh on it. I’ve only given it a few listens as well so I really hope it’ll just grow on me. I listened to it again today and enjoyed it a lot more than ever. I think I need to just live with it for a while.

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      1. I am, yeah. Can’t say I stop in that often … despiye dropping in on thw Record Fayre just round the corner quite a lot. Can’t mind the last time I was in. Always found it a bit too indie experimental hipster like … if that’s a thing.

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      2. Yes I know what you mean. I go in occasionally just to check the Metal section really. They often have good stuff in that. Sometimes get some good second hand stuff there too. It’s quite handy being so close to Record Fayre.

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      3. I think I’ve only ever bought 2 CDs in there. Both in the second hand section, actually. Haven’t been in for a while, so may need to have a wee look around next time I’m in the Record Fayre.

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