Buying Round Up – August 2012

 

Hirax – Not Dead Yet (Monorail Glasgow £16 and MetalHit £4) I had been eyeing up this CD on Amazon for a while and then stumbled upon this vinyl edition in good old Monorail, scourge of my bank account! Glad I held off because the larger that Pushead cover is the better. Comes with a cool insert of photos and lyrics too.

This is the band’s debut record Raging Violence from 1985 coupled with the EP Hate, Fear and Power. Really vintage blend of Metal, Punk and operatic high/low vocals from the awesomely cool Katon W. De Pena. I also bought the mp3 on MetalHit.com for about £4 which is pretty good going too if you don’t mind buying a bunch  of 1s and 0s.

Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage CD/DVD (Amazon £12) I’m well pleased with this one. Has a really layered mix of heavy and clean guitar so the melodies and riffs are well defined, even when the tracks are catastrophically heavy. It’s nowhere near as dense as, previous album, The Way of All Flesh. The live DVD that comes with this is also fantastic and the …Flesh material works so much better live than on the album.

Gojira – From Mars to Sirius (Amazon £10) I’m enjoying this band a lot so it makes sense to go back to what is touted as their breakthrough record. After a cursory listen this sounds ferociously heavy but with more warmth than …Flesh. I’ve got so much Gojira rampaging around at the moment it’s quite difficult to take it all in so I might put this on the backburner for a while and concentrate on the new one.

Nile – Black Seeds of Vengeance (Amazon Marketplace £5) and…

Hate Eternal – I, Monarch CD/DVD (Amazon Marketplace £10) Just trying to fill a few glaring gaps in my Death Metal collection with these two. Haven’t listened to either of them yet. Tut tut.

Queen – The Game 2CD (Amazon Marketplace £10) and…

Queen – Jazz 2CD (Amazon Marketplace £10) and…

Queen – News of the World 2CD (Amazon Marketplace £12) Ok, I went a bit mental here… I picked up the first 5 Queen Special Edition albums really cheap when they came out the other year but these ones seem to never end up being discounted. I basically got sick of waiting and I’m in a real Queen mood these days so I finally caved in. Don’t have much to say about the bonus EPs yet except that they seem a bit stingy! The remasters of these are great though and I’m tempted to carry on into the Hot Space/Flash Gordon/The Works era to see if there are any under-rated albums for me to discover. Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time.

Aerosmith – Permanent Vacation 2nd Hand LP (Missing Glasgow £4) Nice cheap copy of this in great condition. Really enjoyed listening to this on vinyl and it’s much better than I remember it (not as patchy as I remember) and it just turned 25!

Gwar – Scumdogs of the Universe (Amazon Marketplace £8) I’ve loved this album since I was a teenager. The gags really draw attention away from how good some of this is. There are some riffs here any Thrash band would be proud of, great hooks and it also has Horror of Yig which is one of the most glorious cacophonies of all time. That song alone makes it worth owning. I’ve had it on vinyl for ages but my LP is missing the superb Death Pod (basically the Gwar origin story in a song) so I bought this Russian edition.

Amount spent on purchase: £101

Amount spent in total so far: £261

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Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 13th August 2012

Ooh, bit of an odd week this one!

Cradle of Filth – Dusk and Her Embrace Nice to start the week with some Black Metal. Never been that familiar with this band and on a first listen this sounded pretty impressive. I was on the bus at the time, though, and it wasn’t quite cutting through the vehicle din so I ended up abandoning it so I could give it more attention later.

Gerry Rafferty – City to City I bought this 2CD reissue in January primarily for Baker Street and I’ve finally given it a proper listen a couple of times this week and I’m getting hooked into it one song at a time. Opening track The Ark is just beautiful. Nice to finally have a Scot in the Noise-some Notes!

W.A.S.P. – Live… in the Raw This again! Can’t really say much about this that I haven’t already. Blackie Lawless’  intro to The Manimal does get more ridiculous with each listen.

Little Richard – Here’s Little Richard The Rock N’ Roll originators great debut album. I was down at my Mums and thought she might like this. She did!

Richard and Linda Thompson – I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight I discovered this record about six years ago and it has became one of my very favourite albums. There is not a bad moment on this, it is an exceptionally colourful and moving record. Cavalry Cross and End of the Rainbow are just absolutely mesmeric. In this instance it was a bit of a bleak choice for commuting to work but… never mind.

Hirax – Raging Violence I’ll cover this during an upcoming Buying Round-Up but this is from a gorgeous gatefold vinyl album I picked up recently. It’s actually called Not Dead Yet and is essentially a compilation featuring the albums Raging Violence and Hate, Fear and Power. It’s a lovely object with a bonkers Pushead cover so I’ll get some photos taken. Pacy, chunky Thrash with Katon W. De Pena’s operatic vocals resulting in a sound a bit like sped-up Candlemass. Quality stuff.

Dissection – Storm of the Light’s Bane Powerful Black Metal with a strong grounding in classic Thrash and Heavy Metal. Icy, melodic and often spellbinding. The track Where Dead Angels Lie is a particular favourite.

How Tempting! 26th Aug 2012

Here’s a wee round-up of things that might be burning a hole in my wallet sometime soon!

Blue Oyster Cult –  The Complete Columbia Albums Collection

Just had a wee swatch around Amazon, for the first time in ages, and noticed this little beauty!

Fourteen albums of BOC(how do you actually do umlauts on your PC?) from their debut to Imaginos. It also includes the Some Enchanted Evening bonus DVD and two albums of Rarities and Radio broadcasts. Apparently initial copies come with a download voucher for four live concert broadcasts too!

The first question I always want to know with these kind of sets is whether all the albums are remastered because often they are packaged with only the existing editions of CDs with no new work done which means they can be a mixed bag sonically. After a root around online I’m delighted to see that the later albums have all been remastered for this release and that makes it phenomenally tempting for £50. It’s out in the tail end of October. BOC are an essential and cruelly underrated band. I have most of this stuff already but mostly on vinyl so this is a MUST!

Temptation Rating: 10 out of 10 A Fire of Unknown Origin took my money away.

*****

Black Flag – The First Four Years LP

There’s been a lot of Henry Rollins chat here and over at My Left Thumb so I’ve been on the lookout for any Rollins/Black Flag stuff in the shops. There wasn’t much doing as most of the stuff is import-only over here but, I’m happy to report, good old Monorail in Glasgow has saved the day with a nice stock of Black Flag vinyl and CDs so it’s just deciding where to start really! This is the early EPs and singles before Rollins joined the band but I’m told it’s essential so I’ll probably start here as it looks like a bit of a steal at £13 for the vinyl.

Temptation Rating: 9 out of 10 Only financial considerations are getting in the way here but this is definitely on my wish-list.

*****

Enslaved – Riitiir

I really enjoy these Progressive Black Metal legends. But, really, I’ve not listened to their older stuff nearly as much as I should have so I’m going to do my best to hold off on this. At least until I’ve given the rest of their stuff a decent whirl. It’s been getting phenomenal reviews though so it might be hard to fight off the temptation.

Temptation Rating:  6 out of 10 If I’m serious about cutting down the buying, I can do without this… at least for now.

*****

Testament – Dark Roots of the Earth CD/DVD

Pretty much the same story as with Enslaved. Too much music and too little time so I need to make more of what I’ve already got!

Temptation Rating: 5 out of 10 Not had the rave reviews that Enslaved have enjoyed so I’ve docked a point.

*****

KISS – Destroyer: Resurrected

I’ve been staying out of Amazon as much as I can lately to fight off temptation. But I had a wee peek today and noticed this is already out. Aaaarrrgghhhh!!!! WTF?!

Temptation Rating: 10 out of 10 I’m going to get up and get down to the shops right now.

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 6th August 2012

Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier There’s just no stopping Iron Maiden any more. I didn’t find this as immediately enjoyable as their previous album, A Matter of Life and Death, but I think it’s proven more enjoyable over time. Highlights of the En Vivo DVD were on telly recently which put me in the mood for hearing this again.

Anathema – We’re Here Because We’re Here This is a dreamy slice of summer bliss and one of the best albums of recent years. I’m still enjoying it so much I haven’t been able to completely give my full attention on to this year’s Weather Systems. I’ll get there…

Megadeth – Endgame Bought this on its release and I only really liked the track 44 Minutes and the rest went over my head. Admittedly, when it was released it was up against some other big competition for my attention like Porcupine Tree’s The Incident and Mastodon’s Crack the Skye. 44 Minutes had reappeared in my head lately so I had to give this another spin and , happily, it went down really well. I’ve been listening to this fairly regularly ever since so it’ll be popping up here for a while I should think. Their best since… hmm… Youthanasia.

W.A.S.P. – Live… in the Raw Not a lot of the LA bands bothered putting out live albums. Thankfully W.A.S.P. did cause theirs is a beast! I can think of one other “Hair” band that put one out and I’ll be covering that at some point. Any ideas? Theirs is a beast too.

Opeth – Damnation I tend to categories a lot music into seasons! This album is especially wintery! So bugger knows why I was listening to it in August. Never mind, it went down well as always. A very King Crimson-esque mellow album from Opeth (the drummer is definitely doing his best Michael Giles) but, influences aside, it’s a really gorgeous album. A good place to start for people that don’t like the shouty stuff although I personally think the skillful mix of extreme and mellow is Opeth’s strength.

Megadeth – Th1rt3en Not sure if I spelled that title right. Picked this up for a £5 after enjoying Endgame so much. It’s sounding promising so far although, on a first listen, some of the production choices sound a bit odd. Just me?

Richard Thompson – Walking on a Wire (1968 – 2009) Great 4CD box set of Richard’s finest moments. I had a run through of the 3rd and 4th discs. Just brimming with great stuff. Great Folk Rock, inspired guitar playing, rich warm vocals and some excellent songwriting with a dark seam running through it all. I was first exposed to Richard as he plays on some tracks from Robert Plant’s excellent Fate of Nations album and his guitar playing is just stunning. Highly recommended.

W.A.S.P. – Live… in the Raw (Review)

 

Live… in the Raw 1997 Reissue

Many of the great live albums functioned as “end of an era” releases. They documented a period of a band’s career and placed a full-stop on it before evolving into something new.

Ever since the release of their debut single (Animal) Fuck Like a Beast, controversy had dogged W.A.S.P. and they soon became a prime target for the PMRC, while also experiencing death threats and even assassination attempts. The stress had tired the band, causing tensions in the ranks but also galvanising band leader Blackie Lawless who felt that the focus on the band’s image and antics had meant their musical merits were under-estimated.

Live… in the Raw was recorded over three dates on their successful world tour promoting their third album, Inside The Electric Circus. Opener Inside The Electric Circus is thrilling and has some great sawing guitar riffs. The band proceeds to tear through a taut, muscular set that mixes classics and new tracks alike. In fact there are three tracks on here that would have previously been unavailable: two excellent live tracks Harder Faster and The Manimal and one studio track Scream Until You Like It recorded to promote the Horror sequel Ghoulies II.

2011 reissue of Inside the Electric Circus relegates Live… in the Raw to mere bonus disc.

Like many of the best live albums, some of the songs here enjoy their definitive performances on this album. Inside The Electric Circus, L.O.V.E Machine, Wild Child and 9.5.-N.A.S.T.Y. are all superb. The only thing that stops Live… in the Raw being all the W.A.S.P. you’ll ever need is the notable omission of (Animal) Fuck Like a Beast (although they would atone for this with the release, in 1988, of the Live Animal EP).

Live… in the Raw would prove pivotal to the band’s career. It boosted the profile and legitimacy of their catalogue and functioned as a historically important “end of an era” release. The album would provide a full-stop on the sex, parties and gore period of their career. From now on, W.A.S.P. were going to get serious!

HMO Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 30th July 2012

In addition to the live album “research” I’ve been doing, here’s what’s been assaulting my ears lately.

UFO – No Place to Run Not one of their best but a grower and a refreshing listen when you’ve worn out the classics.

The Stranglers – La Folie Can’t think of much to say about this other than I enjoyed it! A set of tight, angular pop songs with an ongoing lyrical theme of love. Taking in nuns, the Mafia and heroin.

Toto – The Essential (Disc 1) Not usually a big fan of compilation albums but this is a fantastic set of essential Toto. I was enjoying this immensely until my girlfriend announced that she thought I was trying to seduce her back to the 1980s! Maybe I was… she’d love it there.

Paul Stanley – Live To Win KISS man-crush Paul Stanley entered dangerous X-Factor-friendly territory with his long awaited second solo album. Generally, as on Wake Up Screaming, Bulletproof and the title track, there is enough of the great man’s bombastic heroism to make this enjoyable but there are a few too many sub-Forever ballads on this. I like hearing him apply his talents outside of the heavier rock sphere though so this is a bit of a guilty treat. Hilariously, a run of UK magazine adverts stated that the album featured the track Bulletpoof. True story.

Queen – Jazz and The Game I think Jazz is a hugely underrated effort from Queen. The general wisdom is that their Heavy Rock credentials ended at their previous album News of the World but Jazz is full of mighty riffing and Fat Bottomed Girls is a euphoric pub-rock classic. Brian May has a guitar tone to die for on this. I’m less fond of The Game but really got into it this time. It was all I could do to not dance around my flat like a twat when this was on. As Alan Partridge would say… Classic Queen!

Testament – The Formation of Damnation Aha, some actual Heavy Metal to end off an admittedly rather odd week of listening. I always want to like Testament more than I actually do. As they have a new record out I thought I’d give their previous effort another spin. This has been raved about since its release but it never really did the job for me. It went down well this week though and seemed to catch me in a receptive mood. Good melding of old and new styles here and Chuck Billy’s voice is always a joy!

Noise-some Notes – A Week in Listening 24th July 2012

Another wee update of what I’ve been listening to before moving on to more pressing thoughts…

Sammy Hagar – Essential Red Collection Pretty cool compilation of the Red Rocker’s solo career. Accompanied my reading of his Autobiography which was… ok. Some quality bitching about Eddie Van Halen and Ronnie Montrose! The always raging Van Halen vs. Van Hagar debate is one thing but who’s the better author? Sammy or Dave? It’s Dave. Sorry Sammy.

The Darkness – Permission to Land A great debut. If you’ve never heard this on vinyl though, remedy that immediately! I love that they keep their albums short too, quality not quantity. And, if you’ve heard any of the B-Sides of the period, you’ll know they had great songs to spare. Check out Planning Permission, How Dare You Call This Love and the excellently named Curse of the Tollund Man if you’ve never heard them. It’s exciting to see them back and their upcoming Hot Cakes is one of my most anticipated releases of the year.

Cheap Trick – Cheap Trick (1997) This is a brilliant Cheap Trick record and marks a new beginning for the band. Unfortunately, their label went bust so it probably hasn’t been given the shake of the stick that it deserves. The album has a great live sound and the band tap into the more eclectic, alternative feel that the 80s beat out of them. It would take a long time for them to follow this up but the rebirth continued and new Cheap Trick albums have stayed exciting ever since.

The Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream Not a huge fan of this band but this is a good album and the Cheap Trick CD put me in the mood for this (Cheap Trick being a big influence on Billy Corgan). There are some brilliant tracks like Cherub Rock and Disarm is a stunning song. Think they could learn a thing or two about running lengths from CT and The Darkness though!

Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol A real favourite band of mine and I’m still not sure whether this is just average or if I’m just not in the mood. I’m going to reserve judgement because I love them so much. A bit of a let-down because their previous album was stellar.

The Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed I have so much love for this album. Proto-Progressive Rock with a charmingly naive concept, pioneering mellotron and breathtaking orchestral accompaniment. It’s so lovely and innocent it makes you glad to be alive. The Classic Albums series should get in on this because it has a great back-story too and the multi-tracks are bound to be a revelation!

Aerosmith – Permanent Vacation Another band on the verge of a studio album comeback (although I can’t say their new song is doing much for me). Managed to pick this up on vinyl and it sounds great. I always though this album was a bit patchy but I enjoyed it hugely the whole way through. A surprisingly enjoyable re-discovery!

Burzum – Filosofem A Black Metal classic and a great place to start if your interested in the genre and can separate the musician from the music. Say what you like about him, Varg Vikernes is a talented guy and this is a very innovative album. Atmospheric, lo-fi and ambient but still extreme and ominous. A game of two-halves, though, as the last two tracks are lengthy electronic affairs. One of the few BM albums I can put on without annoying my girlfriend.

Mantas – Death By Metal Reviewed this here.

Urchin – High Roller Adrian Smith before he was poached for stardom by Iron Maiden. I always thought he was their secret-weapon, an extremely talented songwriter and exquisitely melodic guitar player. Great to hear him early in his career and this is more in a UFO, Thin Lizzy classy Rock vein. Adrian has a great soulful voice and there is an interesting track here (Life In The City) that would go on to become the jokey Sheriff of Huddersfield in the hands of Maiden. Got this through the excellent German label High Roller who bring out some spectacular NWOBHM vinyl resissues. Although, if you fancy this and are near Glasgow, there’s a great shop there called Monorail Music that has these in stock!

Manowar – Triumph of Steel One of my picks of the 90s and it should be pretty clear how much I love this band by now so I’ll leave it at that! So, until my next post – Hail and Kill!

Admit it. You want this!

… and classic rock too!