Category Archives: Genre

New Releases – 20th and 21st April 2018

With today’s new releases and all the Record Store Day stuff tomorrow, there are a gazillion and one albums to talk about today. So I’m going to ignore most of them! Yes, even Stryper!

Dokken – Return To The East Live 2016

A CD/DVD set capturing the classic lineup reunion in Japan. I’ve got a really good feeling about this and I’ve been looking forward to it a lot. I’m sure there will be flaws aplenty but I’m also sure it will be tons of fun. And the tracklisting looks like a slam dunk.

The Who – Live At The Fillmore East 1968

Pete Townshend – Who Came First [Expanded Edition]

I’m a big fan of The Who so both these releases are essential. The Fillmore set (2CD or 3LP) features a fabled pre-Tommy live set with a whopping 33min version of My Generation! Fuck yes. And Who Came First is a much-expanded version of Townshend’s Meher Baba tribute album, a treasure trove of The Who demos and alternate versions. Don’t chuck away your old reissues though as I don’t think all the previous bonus tracks have made it on to this reissue.

Vomitor – Pestilent Death

Australia’s Vomitor are back with their fourth album of ripping black thrash. The kind of stuff that takes you right back to Show No Mercy although not really quite as good. Definitely worth checking out though as the band’s riffing is pretty diabolical. In a good way.

Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed III

Well-regarded black metal from Belgium. Their second album was on my radar but fell through the cracks so now might be time for me to catch up. Not finding their new song Parool all that exciting though.

Ivar Bjørnson and Einar Selvik – Hugsjá

Nordic stone-agery from the Enslaved and Wardruna mainmen. Not exactly a priority with so much else going on but I found the title track pretty stirring and deserving of further investigation. Intriguing.

RECORD STORE DAY 2018

I’ll keep this brief cause I’m not feeling enticed by the RSD offerings this year. The Noise picture discs are very tempting but a bit too pricey for EPs. The Def Lep looks very collectible but the tracklisting is a bit meh. There is some tempting non-metal stuff like the live Bowie, Led Zep and some T-Rex stuff but nothing that I feel like queuing up for or really need. Here’s a list of the more HMO-friendly metal releases on the roster but you can get the full list at the UK and US RSD websites. If you’re taking part, hope you have fun!

Celtic Frost – Tragic Serenades, Def Leppard Live At Abbey Road, Europe – Walk The Earth, Kreator – Behind The Mirror, Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained, Motorhead – Heroes, Saxon – Princess Of The Night 7″, Voivod – Too Scared To Scream, Whitesnake – 1987 30th Anniversary Edition

STOP PRESS

Sleep are reportedly surprise-releasing a long-overdue new album The Sciences today (the 4/20 date being appropriate and all that). It’ll be out on Third Man Records… don’t have much details other than that but look out for it anyway cause that’s a must-buy for sure! Big news!

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Darkthrone – Dark Thrones And Black Flags (Review)

Superb artwork from Dennis Dread!

The Norwegian legends keep pumping out one amazing album after another but this 2008 release is my pick of their modern output. Black metal of the proto variety (my favourite kind): evil primitivism from the nurseries of real metal sound. Both Nocturno Culto and Fenriz are on top form throughout. Culto’s sideways, frosty riffing is at genius level on tracks like Death Of All Oaths (Oath Minus) and Fenriz blasts out crusty, howling Mercyful Fate-style traditional metal. His tracks Hanging Out In Haiger and The Winds They Called The Dungeon Shaker stand out as favourites but this whole album is top drawer fist-clenching fun with a dark intimidating atmosphere.

HMO Rating: 5 out of 5

[Darkthrone – The Winds They Called The Dungeon Shaker]

New Releases – 13th April 2018

Goddamn new releases! Coming round here trying to get ma tree fiddy.

Behemoth – Messe Noire

Exciting new live album from the exciting band that brought you 2013’s exciting The Satanist. Choose between CD/DVD, CD/BR and plain old vinyl. This looks like a pretty sexy package and I’m sure it’ll be a massively entertaining show with the exciting The Satanist album getting played in full. Exciting.

At The Gates – Gardens Of Grief

Here’s a CD and vinyl reissue of the renowned Swedes’ debut EP (originally a split with Grotesque) from Dissonance Productions. I never got into these guys so maybe this might be a good place to start for me… at the beginning. I think the more decayed death metal style they had here is possibly more up my street too. And I love the cover.

Lizzy Borden – Love You To Pieces and Menace To Society

A couple of lovely vinyl reissues here. Another band I never really explored although I do have Master Of Disguise and rate it very highly. These are intriguing but if I’m going to dig into this band’s discography I’ll probably opt for the CDs cause they’re a good bit cheaper and have bonus demos and stuff.

I reckon that’s quite enough for me to be getting on with. There’s the reissue of Metallica’s $5.98 EP… too but I’ve already got two versions of that so behhh. But it would be remiss of me not to at least mention it and I wouldn’t want to be accused of being remiss. No way!

As always let me know what new releases are most like to part you with your tree fiddy.

Buying Round-Up: February/March 2018

I’ve been back into doing the weekly New Release posts for a while now so I thought it was time to catch up with some of the stuff I’ve actually been buying. Here’s the music I’ve picked up over the last couple of months.

Primordial – Exile Amongst The Ruins

Napalm Death – Coded Smears And More Uncommon Slurs

I’ll start with this week’s new releases. As predicted a couple of day’s ago, I bought the new Primordial and Napalm Death albums. Both sets look cool, the Primordial CD is a big thick mediabook with bonus rehearsal, demo type stuff and the two songs they did for the One And All, Together, For Home compilation from a few years back. The Napalm Death one is a comp with minging artwork. Just bought them yesterday while I was through in Stirling, so haven’t had a chance to listen yet.

Drudkh – A Furrow Cut Short and They Often See Dreams About The Spring

The new Drudkh album proved to be difficult to find in my usual haunts but EvaOverload kept me amused by kindly buying me their previous album A Furrow Cut Short. Excellent, sweeping black metal. And happily, I finally managed to find a copy of the newest album when I was in Stirling.

Judas Priest – Firepower

This was an inevitable purchase and a surprisingly enjoyable one. I went for the digibook edition with the embossed cover. It’s a way better album than I was expecting from them, a definite end-of-year contender with lot of truly excellent tunes and a fantastic production. If it turns out to be their last hurrah then they’re going out all guns blazing.

Autopsy – Puncturing The Grotesque

This is the newest mini-album from death metal giants Autopsy. I thought their last mini-album Skull Grinder was brilliant so I’ve wanted to get this one since it was released. Like the previous release, this is ace, basement-dwelling filth. No one does mini-albums/EPs like these guys.

Sleep – Dopesmoker

I’ve been wanting to pick up the Southern Lord reissue of Sleep’s Dopesmoker for a while but it’s always been too bloody expensive. For while HMV were pricing the CD at £25! Haha fuck off! And the vinyl has been even more expensive than that. But a few weeks back I saw it in Fopp for £15 and took the bait. I’ve been listening to it ever since… and I’m still waiting for it to finish.

Sacrilege – Within The Prophecy

I’ve been after this since buying the Relapse reissue of their debut album and then reading Darkthrone’s Fenriz recommending this, their second album. Handily, it’s now been reissued by Hammerheart Records with some bonus tracks added. It’s good stuff: weighty, crusty thrash with a big helping of doom and Tam Simpson’s brilliant voice. Anyone that’s been enjoying the recent Memoriam albums should be looking into this.

Skyclad – Reissues

The classic Skyclad albums, newly reissued by Noise Records. No tracks here I don’t have already but fandom, remastering and liner notes were enough for me to want these. But the exciting story is that these albums have been very hard to find for too long and now people have a chance to discover this superb, important and underrated band.

Kreator – Coma Of Souls

Another Noise Records reissue. I bought this a couple of weeks ago. One of Kreator’s classic albums reissued with bonus tracks, remaster and liner notes. There are three later albums that have just received the same treatment too but I decided to just stick with this one and update my old CD copy.

W.A.S.P. – Live Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)

Well, this is the dog’s bollocks. 12″ single with a rare live version of the classic tune taken from the same Long Beach Arena recordings that spawned Live… In The Raw (but not used in the final album). Totally fucking awesome. Wanted this forever so having it in my collection now makes me feel complete.

Bert Jansch – A Man I’d Rather Be (Part 1)

Shirley Collins – The Ballad Of Shirley Collins

Folk overload! Two new(ish) releases from Earth Recordings. The Jansch box set compiles his first three studio albums and the Bert And John album he made with John Renbourn. Got about half of the music here already but it’s phenomenal, seminal stuff and a pleasing sonic upgrade on my old CDs. Would have liked the original album covers in the booklet somewhere though, that seems like a big omission. The Ballad Of Shirley Collins is a joint soundtrack/documentary CD/DVD set with a beautiful booklet. The film is very interesting and moving but I wanted a bit more of Shirley’s story outside of the current album and her adventures in the US with Alan Lomax. But it’s a great doc and highly recommended. Not listened to the soundtrack yet but I’ve read great things and I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into it.

And, throw in the Tribulation album and that’s about my lot for Feb/Mar. Very pleased with this lot and liking how 2018 is shaping up so far. Let me know what you think and tell me what you’ve been buying.

New Releases – 30th March 2018

My new release sense is tingling…

Primordial – Exile Amongst The Ruins

One of the most exciting releases of the year so far and a big fat must-buy except… I’m hearing that it’s not all that great. Some reviews really laying into it. But then I’ve also heard some folk say it’s a bit of a grower. Guess I’ll just buy it anyway and make my own mind up.

Napalm Death – Coded Smears And More Uncommon Slurs

Here’s a generous bumper collection of rarities from the Brummie legends. Two discs of B-Sides, bonus tracks, split tracks, unreleased stuff. Looks like an awesome set and I’ve not got any of this stuff… get in mah shopping basket.

Deathrow – Reissues

The reactivated Noise Records keep pumping out interesting reissues. This time it’s some albums that I’ve wanted to check out for ages but have been hard to find. The first three albums from German thrashers Deathrow: Riders Of Doom (aka Satan’s Gift), Raging Steel and Deception Ignored. Definitely from the more obscure end of the label’s roster so kudos to them from bringing these albums back. I do love me some German thrash so these will do nicely. Thanks!

And, in case you’re in Europe and wondering where the new Pestilence album Hadeon got to, it’s out today! Get involved.

That’s the lot for today. Hope you all have an awesome Easter weekend and let me know in the comments what good music you’re after today.

Gamma Ray – Land Of The Free (Review)

Gamma Ray – Land Of The Free (1995)

With vocalist Ralf Scheepers out the band, hell bent on joining Judas Priest, Gamma Ray guitarist (and former Helloween guitarist/lead vocalist) Kai Hansen decided to make a surprise, and welcome, return to the mic. The re-jigged German band found a renewed sense of vitality and their fourth album, 1995’s Land Of The Free, proved to be their best yet. It’s a definitive power metal classic: humungous, anthemic heavy metal goods properly delivered by a band on a mission.

2017 Anniversary Edition with 7 bonus tracks

The opening track Rebellion In Dreamland is metal at its gloriously epic best and tracks like Man On A Mission and All Of The Damned feature precision hooks. The band’s earlier albums often stumbled into silliness but this is a more serious and consistent effort. The only overly jolly moment comes when, yet another former Helloween vocalist, Michael Kiske joins the band for Time To Break Free. But it’s a very minor grumble and, for the most part, this has all the stately riffage, wild soloing, singalong choruses, fairy feller interludes and last-ale balladry you could possibly want. Gamma Ray achieve hero status for persevering with bombastic trad metal at a time when it was totally out of fashion and their musical bravado found the perfect home in Land Of The Free.

HMO Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5

[Gamma Ray – Man On A Mission]

New Releases – 23rd March 2018

Today’s new releases are brought to you by the letter ‘M’.

Memoriam – The Silent Vigil

Remember how cool it was when your favourite bands used to bang out albums every year? The old dudes in Memoriam certainly do, which is why they’re back already with the follow-up to their 2017 debut album For The Fallen. That was one of last year’s best releases so I’m well excited about this one and from what I’ve heard so far it sounds like they are pumping some extra aggression into their grooving, crusty, doom-laden death metal. And the time-capsule 90s production confirms that this is a band just does everything the way it needs to be done.

Mournful Congregation – The Incubus Of Karma

With very few exceptions I tend to skip on extremely slow doom bands with big long songs. But after hearing great things about these funereal Australians, I checked out one of their new tunes and it was total class. A beautiful wall of morose guitars and way more immediate than any 15 minute song has any right to be.

There are some other fairly notable things out today. Satanic space lords Monster Magnet return with their new album Mindfucker, Led Zep hit the reissue trail again with a new edition of their live album How The West Was Won and Kip Winger treats his fans with The Solo Collection, a sexy package with four solo albums and rarities galore. But there’s no point in me blathering on: Memoriam and Mournful Congregation are the bands I’ll be splashing my cash on today.