Category Archives: Albums

New Releases – 28th April 2017

I’d like to calm the jets on the spending after my Record Store Day extravaganza but let’s take a look at today’s new releases and see if that’s likely to happen. The answer is: probably not.

Voivod – Rrröööaaarrr, Killing Technology and Dimension Hatross (Reissues)

Wouldn’t normally kick off with reissues but I’m pretty excited about these. And no need to worry about splashing the cash here because I’ve paid for them already via the Pledge campaign (now closed). Don’t worry if you missed out though, because these are now on general sale. Vinyl versions or hugely-expanded deluxe 2CD/DVD sets with bonus tracks and live footage aplenty. Prices look very reasonable for the deluxe versions and all of these have been out-of-print for donkeys so reissues are overdue and welcome.

(And Noise Records have just announced another pledge campaign too. This time for Kreator with reissues of their first four albums Endless Pain, Pleasure To Kill, Extreme Aggression and Terrible Certainty. They aren’t as extras-laden as the Voivod reissues and none of the albums are especially hard to find either but Extreme Aggression and Terrible Certainty come with bonus discs and there’s the obligatory liner notes, vinyl editions and signed copies etc…)

Skyclad – Forward Into The Past

These innovative folk metallers have been a huge, essential part of my musical upbringing but since the split with frontman Martin Walkyier I’ve not really paid much attention to their movements. I did check out their last album In The… All Together and found it was a bit mixed so I’m not hugely excited about this. But they’re still enough of a name for me to at least check it out online. And the return of classic-era guitarist Dave Pugh is appealing too.

Witchfynde – Divine Victims (Box Set)

The reissues keep on coming… There’s been a lot of welcome NWOBHM reissues lately (Samson, Holocaust, Savage all spring to mind) and here’s another. This time Witchfynde get the same box set treatment that Samson enjoyed from Hear No Evil Recordings. I don’t think any of these albums are as difficult to find as the Samson ones were but it’s still a great value set: three albums with bonus tracks and a booklet from NWOBHM expert John Tucker. I’ll be buying this at some point.

Cirith Ungol – King of the Dead (Ultimate Edition)

The guys at Metal Blade follow up last year’s tasty reissue of Paradise Lost with another Cirith Ungol deluxe. This time it’s the band’s second album King Of The Dead, here expanded with live tracks and a live DVD or you can get a vinyl edition if you prefer (although it was reissued on vinyl a while back already). The CD/DVD edition looks like a very cool set though. I approve.

Fates Warning – Awaken the Guardian Live

Prog-metallers Fates Warning release this weeks obligatory live set. Their performances celebrating the 30th anniversary of the classic album getting a release in various formats. The jewel in the crown being the 4CD/DVD/BR set that has their two festival appearances included.

Elsewhere, the River Runs Red line-up of Life Of Agony return with A Place Where There’s No More Pain. Sounds like decent, heavy alternative rock for people that like that kind of thing. There’s more NWOBHM from Cloven Hoof with Who Mourns For The Morning Star. They’re a band I don’t know anything about but the new songs I heard sounded fun! And last, but not least, we have American hardcore terrors Terror with their intriguing new EP The Walls Will Fall.

And that’s about the lot for me. This week is more about the reissues for me but there’s definitely some intrigue among the new albums too. Nothing I’d run out and buy but definitely stuff that I’ll check out online. Let me know what you think about this week’s offerings. Anything you’re excited about that isn’t here? Any startling omissions? Let me know and, until next time… happy hunting.

The Day After Record Store Day 2017

Yesterday I said that I was happy to come away from Record Store Day 2017 with a couple of mementos and not go overboard. I also expressed relief at not having to pay £37 for the Cheap Trick Epic Archive set.

Well, it turns out that was UTTER BULLSHIT. Yesterday I visited Glasgow’s Monorail Records and today it occurred to me that I might as well pop over to LoveMusic and see what they had left. I was specifically hoping for the Enslaved Roadburn Live double LP that Monorail didn’t get in stock…

Yippee! I managed to get the Enslaved album… and a very beautiful thing it is. I notice it has an intriguing cover of Zep’s Immigrant Song too. Nice. And then while I was at the counter I found myself saying out loud “you don’t have any of the Cheap Trick left do you?”

He did! The last sealed copy. I couldn’t just leave it there. It was stupidly expensive for a double vinyl though, and I wasn’t lucky enough to get one of the signed inserts. Beh. Truthfully, it’s sets like this that give RSD a bad name but I’m still chuffed to have a copy. Some tracks I already have but also some choice ones that I don’t and the liner notes from Bun E. Carlos look like a good read. Overall, it’s a fine addition to the collection despite my grumblings.

And that is definitely my lot for this year! Definitely.

HMO at Record Store Day 2017

My old version of the Def Leppard EP. In need of an upgrade!

I’m usually more of a vulture when it comes to Record Store Day, waiting until the fuss dies down and then swooping in for whatever is left. I get to avoid queuing and the shop still gets the cash (not that the record shops in Glasgow have any complaints about me on that front.) But if there’s a release I’m particularly excited about then I can be tempted to join the queue and that was definitely the case today. And the weather was pretty splendid too so that didn’t hurt.

I had a lovely morning bus ride into town listening to the new “barbaric” remix of Virgin Steele’s Visions Of Eden album. It’s excellent. The previous album had a very dense sound but the new version lets the music and the songs breathe and the album is much better for it. That, and a suprisingly agreeable 70p coffee, set me up for the 1.5 hour queue that was to follow.

As I stated in Friday’s New Release post, the must-buy for me was the Def Leppard EP. The cover looks very cool and there’s a neat lyric insert that I wasn’t expecting either. Very nice edition and much better than my old plain-sleeved 7inch reissue.

Thanks to a heads-up from John at 2Loud2oldmusic I decided I also wanted the David Bowie Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74) live set. I had a feeling it might be one of the first to go but I was lucky enough to pick up a copy. Haven’t listened to it yet but the packaging is stunning and I’ve finally got some Luther Vandross in my collection. Bonus!

And that was my lot. Unfortunately, Monorail wasn’t able to get any copies of the Enslaved Roadburn Live and the Cheap Trick Epic Archive 2LP sold out before I reached the counter. Possibly just as well as they were charging a ridiculous £37 for it and it’s out next week on CD anyway. There were other items (Marc Bolan Live, Arthur Brown, Small Faces at the BBC) that I could have easily bought but I’m happy just to have a couple of mementos and not go overboard. I might do the vulture thing tomorrow though and see if any other shops have the Enslaved album!

And that’s us for another year. If you were out today, I hope you got what you were after. Let me know how you got on in the comments. And remember… RSD is just one day a year but Virgin Steele are for LIFE.

Rotting Christ – Thy Mighty Contract

Rotting Christ – Thy Mighty Contract (1993)

I’m not sure I could have picked a less Easter-y album to listen to tonight. Then again, I’m fairly sure that vast swathes of my music collection aren’t exactly appropriate for most religious holidays. There’s never a bad time to listen to Thy Mighty Contract though. It’s brilliant early black metal with remarkably restrained and melodic riffs, impassioned warrior shouts and dark force. It’s often pleasingly dreary and gothic in a Paradise Lost/My Dying Bride vein and it has that influential and unique sun-baked atmosphere that Greek black metal has become known for. It’s atmospheric, accessible and totally classic: a great entry point for anyone new to the genre and an eternal favourite for long-time devotees.

[Rotting Christ – The Fourth Knight Of Revelation]

Announcement: HMO Reviews in Zero Tolerance

2017-04-15 12.28.02-2
My copy!

I’m delighted to announce that I am now contributing reviews to Zero Tolerance magazine. I’ve been reading it avidly for years so it’s exciting to see my name in there! The latest issue #78 is on the newsstands so you can pick up a copy now.

I’ve written five reviews for the new issue: the upcoming Artificial Brain album Infrared Horizon, Necroblood’s The Collapse Of The Human Race, Ascended Dead’s Abhorrent Manifestation, Basement Torture Killings There’s Something About Beryl and the 7” self-titled EP from Sangue.

You can check out the magazine’s website here but you’ll have to buy the print edition if you want to read my reviews. Check out ZT’s stockist page if you’re not sure where to find a copy.

[Death – Zero Tolerance]

New Releases – 7th April 2017

Good news! It’s new release day… and there’s a metric shit-ton of amazing stuff out today.

Deep Purple – InFinite

The legendary rockers return with the follow-up to the well-received Now What?! The Purps are one of my favourite bands, but I can’t say I’ve had much use for any of their albums since Purpendicular. That said, I’ve still bought them all so I might as well just keep going. The bonus documentary does look pretty enlightening though so that’s a temptation. There’s also a big box version with the second volume of the Now What Live Tapes and the usual deluxe bits and bobs too. But I reckon I’ll just hold my horses until I can get a cheap copy.

The Obsessed – Sacred

Here’s another legendary band, the Wino-led doom metallers hitting the comeback trail with this exciting new album. This is such a slam-dunk that I didn’t even want to hear any of the songs in advance, just wait till I have the whole album. But then curiosity got the better of me and I had a wee listen to Punk Crusher. I say “wee” because, after 30 seconds I just thought “fuck yes, that’ll do” and switched it off. Looks like the deluxe 2LP vinyl edition is the one to go for, featuring three bonus tunes.

The Doomsday Kingdom – The Doomsday Kingdom

More doom as Candlemass main-dude Leif Edling releases the debut album from his latest project. I was pretty impressed by the previous demo EP so this is another no-brainer. Again, I’ve avoided listening to any advance tracks. I know I’m going to buy this so why spoil the surprise? I’m hoping that this album is going to tickle the epic doom parts that the last few Candlemass releases failed to reach.

Bernie Tormé – Dublin Cowboy

I posted about the pledge of this a while back. If you pledged you’ll already been treated to the full triple album but the tardy among you can now buy the 3CD set the normal way! And you really should. Stonesy, punky, bluesy goodness with Bernie’s inimitable guitar lashing on the first disc, evocative fireside folkiness on the acoustic disc and a live disc too! Should be available at his Bandcamp page too.

Possession – Exorkizein

Here’s this week’s top tip for lovers of proper infernal extreme metal. This Belgian band has already released a demo and a mini-album and both releases were truly exciting, if frustratingly short. There’s been a bit of a personnel shuffle since those earlier releases but, based on what I’ve heard so far, this sounds like it’s going to be a malevolent mix of black, death and doom from a band to watch.

Demon Head – Thunder On The Fields

This band has been a recent discovery for me. I’ve been enjoying their last album Ride The Wilderness a lot and looking forward to this follow-up. Demon Head play humongously catchy occult rock with awesome Danzig-y vocals and a refreshingly clean, vintage sound. Not sure what the distribution is going to be like though so the best bet might be to check out the band’s Bandcamp page.

Royal Thunder – Wick

A lot of fuss was made over this band’s last release Crooked Doors but I wasn’t really feeling it. I really liked one song but when I tried the whole album it just didn’t grab me. Now I’ve checked out their new song April Showers and liked it a lot, brilliant melodies, sound and vocals, so I’m going to give them another go and I hope they click with me this time. I’ll try before I buy though, just in case.

Elsewhere, Ulver release The Assassination Of Julius Caesar. I know lots of folk love this band but I’ve not been all that enamoured with their latter-day stuff. I’m sure this release will be very welcome news to lots of you though. Instrumental post-whatever band Russian Circles release Live at Dunk! Fest 2016. I heard their last studio album playing in Fopp a few times and it sounded pretty decent. I keep meaning to check them out but I doubt I’d start here though. Trad-metallers Trial release Motherless on Metal Blade. Their last album got lots of praise but I don’t really hear the appeal myself, can’t get on with the vocals at all. UK death-metallers Basement Torture Killings’ second album There’s Something About Beryl should definitely appeal to fans of gore, death, grind and serial killers. That’s most people, right? And last, but certainly not least, Ghost Horizon release their new EP The Erotics Of Disgust. Bit wary of post-black metal but this looks fairly intriguing. And as an added bonus it’s got a cool title and an awesome Gustav Dore cover. Well played.

And that’s all the releases that stand out for me. Very varied selection today, there’s surely something here for everyone! Let me know if there’s anything I’ve not mentioned that you have your evil eye on. Until next week… happy hunting.

(I’m not going to be continuing with the weekly album cover polls anymore but, if you were enjoying that, please don’t be alarmed! Just shoot the shit about your favourites in the comments and at the end of the month I’m going to compile the covers that have got the most attention and do a “Best Album Cover of the Month” instead.)