Category Archives: Buying Round Ups

CD Haul: Danzig, Avatarium, Sólstafir and more!

Friday was a big new release day with a few new albums I’ve been looking forward to… so I had a bit of a buying extravaganza!

First up was the new Danzig album Black Laden Crown. I’ve been reading quite a lot of people talking about how “surprisingly good” this one is. Well, given that Deth Red Sabaoth was excellent, I’m one of the few people that thought Skeletons was good fun and… it’s GLENN F. DANZIG(!) I can’t say I’m all that surprised that this is good. The only thing that was causing me any doubt was the rather shite artwork. And even then, I’ve grown mysteriously fond of the fiery John Travolta on the back. Anyway, this is dark, moody and doomy with some killer grooves and riffs. Surprisingly good!

Next up, the new Avatarium album Hurricanes And Halos. This band has become a modern favourite of mine and, although it’s not fully sunk in yet, this album sounds like an interesting progression of their style. They’ve now dropped pretty much all of the Dehumanizer heft of the debut and gone full Uriah Heep, with tons of driving Hammond, heavy psychedelia and eeeasy livin’. Loads of stellar playing topped off with Jennie-Ann Smith’s wonderful voice.

I headed back from the record store happy and then remembered that the new Sólstafir album Berdreyminn was out too. So, I immediately rushed back out to Fopp to pick that up! It’s a lovely box set with umm… trinkets… and (more importantly) bonus tracks. It sounds like it’s going to be another winner from them, although it’ll take a few listens to fully reveal itself. Seems a bit more rocking than Ótta but still sweeping and lush. Not totally grabbing me yet though, more listens required.

While we’re on the subject of new arrivals I had a couple of cool releases delivered just a couple of days ago too. Hear No Evil have put out this new expanded remaster of the last (for now anyway) Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow album Stranger In Us All. This has always been a big gap in the collection so it’s great to finally have a copy.

And I also got this very exciting new Tygers Of Pan Tang box set The MCA Years which features the band’s NWOBHM-era albums (two of which star Thin Lizzy/Whitesnake axe legend John Sykes) and a bonus disc/booklet too. I’ve got a few albums on vinyl already but it’s nice to get the rest of the bands old albums. And there’s plenty of extra tracks and BBC stuff here to sweeten the deal. Caroline and Cherry Red both seem to have had the same idea to box up old NWOBHM albums lately. I heartily approve. Here are all the ones I’ve bought so far (I think this is all of them so far but let me know if I’ve missed any. They seem to be coming thick and fast!)

NWOBHM Galore! All the box sets I’ve picked up so far.

Well, that’s the lot. This was a great week of buying for me with three albums here that could all realistically appear on my AOTY list. I’m off to do some listening!

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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.

Dead Congregation – Sombre Doom EP (Review)

Dead Congregation - Sombre Doom (2016)
Dead Congregation – Sombre Doom (2016)

Fans of 2014’s excellent Promulgation of the Fall would have been hoping for more than just two tracks from these Greek death metallers this year but their new EP Sombre Doom satisfies with quality over quantity. Opening with a howling dead wind of feedback, the first track Redemptive Immolation is grave and doom-laden with a thick, dark atmosphere. After the oppressive opener, the up-tempo battering of Wind’s Bane comes as a relief but is still rich in ghostly gloom and haunting guitar. The songs and riffs aren’t the most original but Sombre Doom is all about the vibe and the execution: this reeks of rain, death, evil and graveyards. Proper death metal if you ask me, and one of the best EPs of the year.

HMO Rating: 4 out of 5

2016-12-28-14-59-16

Blaze – Silicon Messiah (Review)

Blaze - Silicon Messiah (2000)
Blaze – Silicon Messiah (2000)

I loved Blaze Bayley in Wolfsbane but because I didn’t enjoy his stint in Maiden I never really thought of him as a “metal” guy. To me, he was at this best when he was painting the town red and lighting up the night with a little kiss. That was the Blaze I liked. So when his first post-Maiden outing Silicon Messiah proved to be a dark, very-metal affair I just passed on it. Not his forte.

I was wrong. Sixteen years later, spurred on by reading positive reviews and the return of Wolfsbane, I have added Silicon Messiah to my collection. It’s remarkably good. A proper underdog album if ever there was one. It’s downbeat, dystopian drop-D riffing is definitely of its time (think Brutal Planet, Magica etc…) and the opening tracks raise a worry that it’s all going to be a bit samey. But the album soon lightens up. Born as a Stranger, the galloping The Brave and Man on the Edge-esque The Launch are all extremely enjoyable, anthemic power metal tracks. The album just gets better and better as it rolls on and culminates wonderfully in Stare at the Sun: a gripping, goosebump-inducing epic. And, although tracks like The Hunger are chuggier and samier, their slower pace gives Blaze room to emote. He’s massively likeable throughout, delivering a vocal performance full of character and commitment.

So double dumb-ass on me for writing the man off. Turns out he is very-metal after all. He even manages to show Iron Maiden a thing or two with this anthemic and addictive album. It’s thoughtful and well-executed, topped off with a great vocal performance of considerable charm and charisma. That’s the Blaze I like.

HMO Rating: 4 out of 5

[Blaze – Born as a Stranger]

15th Ann. Edition (w/ 3 bonus tracks) from blazebayley.net
15th Anniversary Edition (w/ 3 bonus tracks) from Blaze’s site

Scorpions Haul… and More!

Here they are...
Here they are…

Had some time to kill on Monday (missed my bus) so I popped into Glasgow’s Monorail Music for a nosy… and struck gold. Five of the new(ish) Scorpions deluxe editions for just £6 each. Second hand but in mint condition. These have been nagging at me since they came out so I’m thrilled to get them this cheap. They had Animal Magnetism, Blackout, Love at First Sting, World Wide Live and Savage Amusement. That’s about 6 CDs and 4 DVDs worth of metal madness for about £30. Not too shabby at all.

As I’ve only just picked them up I don’t have a whole lot to say about them. But the concert footage on the Blackout DVD is superb. Total spandex energy! And the live album that comes with Love at First Sting is dynamite (groan) too. A bit like that Long Beach stuff that came with Priest’s Defenders of the Faith reissue: it’s a bonus disc that’s better than most bands main albums. Can’t wait to get dug in to the rest of this stuff and I’ll probably have to pick up the three I’m missing sooner rather than later (Taken By Force, Tokyo Tapes and Lovedrive). Shame the series couldn’t have stretched back to the earlier albums though, In Trance and Virgin Killer are the absolute Scorps of choice for me.

There goes Tokyo...
There goes Tokyo…

And while I’m on the shopping topic, I also picked up these at the weekend. I got the new Gojira album Magma. This is the bundle that you can buy from their website. The album comes with an extra DVD of their Rock in Rio show (from 2015) and a nice hardback book with photies and stuff.

There's lovely
There’s lovely

And last, but not least, the new Budgie box set. Three albums of primo Budgie! I have all these albums already but this is a nice set and it was only £8. I’m hoping that there’ll be more sets with their other albums as there just aren’t enough Budgie albums in the HMO Vault. Want more.

Happy hunting everyone!

Music Haul – Fopp, Monorail and Peaceville Records

The HMOverlord has been doing excellent shopping once again! Without even really meaning to… it just happened.

It started when I popped in to Fopp on my lunch break (as is often my wont). Turns out they have a new Peaceville Records promo on with a whole bunch of the label’s albums for just £5 each. I managed to not go totally wild and came away with just three CDs. I got two My Dying Bride albums: their debut album As the Flower Withers and Trinity which is an EP collection. I also added in Nocturno Culto’s Gift of Gods album Receive. Very pleased with my purchases and there’s other stuff in the sale I could have easily picked up. Future lunch breaks will require restraint(s).

Thanks Fopp! Thopp.
Thanks Fopp! Thopp.

And that would have been a pretty good haul for the day but after work I decided to pop in to Monorail to see if they had any good stuff. And, as is usually the case in Monorail, they sure did. I came away with three cheap and classic Satyricon albums: Dark Medieval Times, The Shadowthrone and Rebel Extravaganza. I already had a couple of these as downloads but I’m happy to finally have them on CD and Rebel Extravaganza is totally new to the HMO Vault. But the total icing on the cake (and possibly the find of the year so far) was the limited edition 2CD version of Primordial’s To the Nameless Dead, a lovely digipack with an extra disc of live stuff. It’s quite hard to get now and I’ve been after a copy for pure ages! So I’m totally chuffed.

Thanks Monorail! Thonorail.
Thanks Monorail! Thonorail.

But it didn’t stop there. I arrived home to discover post! So to cap off an amazing day of shopping I also now have the new Candlemass box set Behind the Wall of Doom. I’d pre-ordered it from Peaceville Records (them again) a while back and now here it is, all 3CDs and 2DVDs of it. Packaged in a gorgeous coffee-table book with the entire Candlemass story documented within! Massively excited about this and looking forward to getting some serious doom dancing done. Got one of the DVDs on as I type this (their 1988 Dynamo Festival set) and it’s totally awesome.

Thanks Peaceville! Theaceville.
Thanks Peaceville! Theaceville.

I’m sure you’ll all agree I did stupendous shopping today. A great haul.