Category Archives: Hard Rock

New Releases – 14th September 2018

It’s time for more new releases. In today’s special themed post I’ll be overusing the word “legends”.

Deicide – Overtures Of Blasphemy

The satanic, squirrel-shooting death metal legends are back with another new album. Not heard the whole thing but songs like Seal The Tomb Below sound great. Got me thinking this might be an old-school victory along the lines of last year’s Immolation album. And Overtures Of Blasphemy also comes hot on the heels of news that Hammerheart Records are lining up reissues of the band’s back cat too… good times! Praise Jesus!

Abhorrence – Megalohydrothalassophobic EP

The legends of filthy Finnish death return with a surprise new EP. It’s their first new music since 1991 and seems to be a subterranean, Lovecraftian affair about the catastophic ecological end of the human race. Typical. You wait years for a new Abhorrence release and then the catastrophic ecological end of the human race happens just as you get your hands on it.

Virgin Steele – Virgin Steele and Guardians Of The Flame

Cool new reissues on CD and vinyl of the first two Virgin Steele albums with Jack Starr on guitarr. Not the best stuff these legends ever put out but still well worth a listen and they’ve been out of print for a while too so if you don’t have them already, now’s your chance! Lots of bonus tracks but I think I’ve got it all on previous editions already. But it’s neither here nor there cause these are getting bought again anyway.

Twisted Sister – You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll

Legends legends legends. Deluxe reissue of the band’s second album with some bonus tracks added and a live bonus disc of the 1983 Marquee show too. The Marquee show has been released in the past so I don’t think there’s anything new here for diehards but I don’t have the Marquee show so I’ll bite. The album and the Marquee show disc are getting separate LP releases too for all you vinyl-loving legends out there.

Elsewhere, Blasphemy’s 1989 demo Blood Upon The Altar gets spruced up and reissued by those legends over at Nuclear War Now! Conan’s Existential Void Guardian should satisfy anyone that can’t go a whole week without some new doom metal. And there’s even a new Uriah Heep album! Legends all.

But that’s really about the lot for this week. Happy hunting and hope you all have an awesome weekend full of exciting new music.

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New Releases – 31st August 2018

There’s only a couple of new release that I’m interested in today.

Thou – Magus

Thou released three EPs this year in the lead up to this new album. I like all three but haven’t had time to take them all in as much as I’d like so I don’t feel as ready for this new album as I’d like to be. But no big deal, one listen to new song The Changeling Prince was enough to get me thoroughly excited for Magus. And Thou’s digital back catalogue is “name your price” over at Bandcamp too so I’m going to get stuck into that as well.

Alice Cooper – A Paranormal Evening At The Olympia Paris

Only mild interest in this one. Not been a big fan of Coop’s stuff since Brutal Planet and this is mostly all songs that have been done and heard a million times already. That said… Coop is always great live and those songs are still those songs so I might just end up treating myself to this anyway.

Righto. I think that’ll do me for this week. See you next time for more new release bollocks.

Now Playing: Wolfsbane – Live Fast, Die Fast

Wolfsbane – Live Fast, Die Fast (1989)

Last week’s “wee break for some Wolfsbane” has turned into this week’s “listening almost exclusively to Wolfsbane and not much else”. In fact, the last three albums I’ve listened to have been this one, Live Fast, Die Fast. There’s quite a lot wrong with these wicked tales of booze, birds and bad language. The slightly over-smoochy pop metal track I Like It Hot, the bizarre ballad Tears From A Fool, the frankly fuck-witted production job from Rick Rubin and the worst drum sound of all time on Killing Machine. But the happy story is that this album is 100% magnificent despite all those things. Even the over-smoochy and bizarre songs! Even the one with the shit drums! It’s brilliant. Bastards. Glory booouuunnnddd…

[Wolfsbane – Greasy]

It’s going to be a bumpy night
I bought it on CD too…

 

New Releases – 24th August 2018

Time for some more new releases chat.

Alice In Chains – Rainier Fog

Third album for the post-Staley lineup of AIC. I did enjoy the first outing Black Gives Way To Blue but it didn’t get me hankering for more exactly. Quite liked the new song Never Fade but not that fussed about some of the other stuff I’ve heard. Still haven’t bought their last album so I can’t see myself rushing out to get this.

Mantar – The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze

I never bothered with this German punk sludge duo because… punk sludge! But I gave their new song Taurus an arms-folded “impress me” kinda listen and I actually got quite into it. Top quality punk sludge. I love that stuff. I’m gonna just call it pudge though cause I’m super efficient.

Solitary – Nothing Changes (20th Anniversary Edition)

The UK thrashers (recently featured on the Contract In Blood box set) caught my attention with 2017’s rather good The Diseased Heart Of Society and keep the momentum going by reissuing their 1998 debut album with extra demos. Definitely want to hear more of this band’s stuff and, if you like thrash, you should too.

Skull – No Bones About It

Double helping of boaby here! Skull’s 1991 debut album, their only album, gets an absolutely bonus-laden 2CD reissue. Features Boaby Kulick (ex-just about everybody) and Boaby Rock (ex-Vinnie Vincent Invasion). Don’t know about these guys at all but you can’t beat a bit of boaby.

And that’s about the lot, a week dominated by pudge and boaby. Let me know what you’re tempted by today and let me know if you’ve heard of Skull! Were they as good as Blackthorne, that’s what I want to know.

Virgin Steele – Nocturnes Of Hellfire & Damnation (Review)

Virgin Steele – Nocturnes Of Hellfire & Damnation (2015)

I’m not a big fan of the most recent Virgin Steele album Nocturnes Of Hellfire & Damnation but I still occasionally hanker for it. The opener Lucifer’s Hammer is classic chest-beating metal and Persephone is a grand retelling of the Greek myth that ranks up with the band’s best material. And do any of you remember the mysteriously anonymous 80s speed metal band Exorcist? Well, it turns out they were Virgin Steele all along and on this album they finally own up to it, reworking two Exorcist songs Queen Of The Dead and Black Mass in power metal fashion. It’s great stuff and a lot more rifftastic than the preceding VS album The Black Light Bacchanalia. But that album had a romantic, overblown grandiosity that proved fascinating and rewarding and Nocturnes Of Hellfire & Damnation has none of that richness or consistency. The shifts from the Exorcist tracks to piano balladry like Hymns To Damnation to bizarre raunch metal like Demolition Queen and Glamour make for a disjointed listen and the overlong arrangements and dark, moody atmosphere means promising tracks like Delirium and Devilhead come across as dreary. If you’re a Virgin Steele acolyte like me there are just enough bright spots here to make it worth your time but everyone else will find Nocturnes a long, colourless night that will most likely send them to sleep.

HMO Rating: 2 out of 5

[Virgin Steele – Devilhead]

Deluxe Edition with bonus CD

Blue Öyster Cult – Mirrors (Review)

Blue Öyster Cult – Mirrors (1979)

Blue Öyster Cult had hit it big with 1976’s Agents Of Fortune but they were starting to sound like they were going through the motions by the time of 1979’s Mirrors. The slick Tom Werman production and generic songwriting displays little of the band’s usual esoteric adventurousness. The pastiche Moon Crazy should never have seen the light of day and the title-track has some woeful lyrics: “Pretty girls have a love affair/with their eyes and their shining hair”. The AOR approach mostly results in decent but forgettable tracks like Lonely Teardrops but does at least manage to offer up one Cult classic in the wistfully pretty single In Thee. The album is on stronger footing when the band finally starts to sound like the BÖC of old on The Vigil and I Am The Storm, a great cosmic pairing that livens up the second half. Definitely a lesser effort compared to its predecessors but Mirrors has just enough going for it to be worth a look.

HMO Rating: 3 Out Of 5

[Blue Öyster Cult – The Vigil]

Pretty boys have a love affair, with their eyes and their shining… hands?

Buying Round-Up: Jun/Jul 2018

I’d normally do a New Release post today but there’s nothing out this week that I can be bothered buying or writing about! So instead, I thought I’d have a quick catch up on some new additions. Been a quiet few weeks so I’ve not been buying a whole lot. Still some good stuff here though, and a couple of AOTY contenders too!

Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods

Blashyrkh’s finest impress mightily with their first Abbath-less album: raging, epic and cold black metal of the most classic variety. At first I thought it was a bit meh but it’s really growing on me with each listen. Reckon this will be a keeper. All black covers are a bummer to photograph though so apologies for the shite photies!

Solstice – White Horse Hill

This is a very nicely done digipak. Looks great! It’s the US version so it’s got a bonus track on it too. This is a immensely stirring epic doom album with brilliant vocals and tons of Bathory/Manowar-style Viking manfeels. Love this kind of stuff.

Rotting Christ – Under Our Black Cult

A superb box set from Peaceville, who are getting jolly good at these things (hoping for a My Dying Bride one next). Five whole discs of albums, demos, live stuff and more! And it also has a signed certificate from RC main-man Sakis Tolis and an excellent photo-packed book.

Autopsy – Critical Madness: The Demo Years

And here’s another excellent Peaceville release. Autopsy’s seminal demos get reissued. Have a lot of this stuff already but this is a brilliant compilation of fat, filthy death metal done right. Love the cover, liner notes and obi-strip… and it was only £8!

Batushka – Litourgiya

A godly black metal album from 2015. This is a new digipak edition. Blabbed a bit about it and posted a track here.

Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction

Went easy on my wallet and plumped for the 2CD version and bought some other tracks as downloads. Nice to have, remaster sounds great and it’s got good packaging for the price but I’ve not really been getting much out of this reissue. One of those albums I’m kinda done with (Rocket Queen aside… I always get a kick out of that). Thought this might rekindle my interest but it hasn’t yet.

Yes – Yessongs

An unexpected charity shop find. Got this album already but my current vinyl copy is beyond tatty! This is a later repress but it’s in great nick and has the booklet, which my other copy was missing too. Still going to keep the older copy cause it sounds great but this is a lovely copy of an all-time classic live album.

Bought the new Antichrist Imperium vinyl but it’s not turned up yet, and I bought the new Imperial Triumphant album and the three Thou EPs as downloads on Bandcamp. And that’s about the lot! Some really superb music here and plenty to keep me busy during this fallow patch of new releases. I’ll hopefully get back to those next Friday though… if there are any!