Tag Archives: Box Sets

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!

New Releases – 24th March 2017

Time for me to rake through today’s new releases. Some great stuff out today!

Memoriam – For the Fallen

There’s a justifiable buzz about this one. The band’s pedigree (Memoriam feature former members of Bolt Thrower, Benediction and Sacrilege) and a couple of excellent demo singles mean the expectations are high for the band’s debut full-length. Old-school death metal with crusty attitude, weapon-grade riffing and a conscience. I’ll be surprised if anyone’s disappointed by this. 

Pallbearer – Heartless

And speaking of buzz… These Arkansas doom-mongers have been enjoying plenty of critical praise in recent years and, judging by the reviews so far, it looks like their critical cache is only going to increase with this, their third album. Fans of extra tracks will want to check out the Japanese edition as it has an extra disc with three bonus tunes on it.

Me and that Man – Songs of Love and Death

And another biggie! Fresh from blowing everyone away with The Satanist, Behemoth’s Nergal is back but, this time, he’s teaming up with guitarist John Porter for this new project. Dark, rootsy music along the lines of Johnny Cash and Nick Cave, I was prepared for this to just not be my cup of tea but I’ve really enjoyed the few songs I’ve heard so far. Intriguing.

Michael Schenker Group – Michael Schenker Fest Live CD/DVD

I was about to knock this into the “elsewhere” category but, on closer inspection, this looks like good fun. It’s a MSG reunion in Tokyo, the Schenk joined by the wonderful Chris Glen/Ted McKenna rhythm section and the trio of vocalists Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley and Gary Barden along coming along for the ride. Can’t argue with a roster like that! And it’s good to see Michael back on form and enjoying himself.

Samson – The Polydor Years

Samson are mostly known for featuring a pre-Maiden Bruce Bruce on vocals but the talented guitarist Paul Samson kept the band going after the Air Raid Siren’s departure. This new package features the two albums (Before the Storm and Don’t Get Even, Get Mad) they made with replacement vocalist Nicky Moore with tons of bonus tracks. Both albums have been hard, if not impossible, to find on CD so this is a very welcome set.

Blood Divisions – Cardinal One EP

This is an all-star digital-only EP led by Chris Jericho with all proceeds going to Rock and Rescue. They get kudos for choosing two Nasty Savage covers as well as UFO’s awesome Hot N’ Ready (and their single had Scorpions’ Top of the Bill on it too which is another brilliant choice) Two new tracks seal the deal. Fun for fans of Jericho/Fozzy… and it’s all for charidee.

Anthrax – For All Kings (7″ Vinyl Box) 

Yet another new edition of Anthrax’s new album, still getting milked to death before people move on. This box has the album divided up into ten singles for… reasons. Does look pretty cool, I suppose.

Elsewhere, Frontiers (who else?) bring out a couple of releases from veteran AOR acts. House of Lords with Saint of the Lost Souls and Night Ranger with Don’t Let Up. There’s another Metal Blade release: Cut Up with their Wherever They May Rot album. It might surprise you to find out that this is a death metal album. Throw in a deluxe, bonus track-strewn 20th Anniversary Edition of Today Is The Day’s Temple of the Morning Star and that’s quite enough for one day! Please note, this isn’t an exhaustive list: just the stuff that stands out for me as being interesting or notable. If there’s anything you are into that’s not covered here then let us all know in the comments. Until next week… happy hunting.

And now you must vote for your FAVOURITE ALBUM COVER OF THE WEEK.

New Releases – 27th January 2017

It’s Friday. Time for some new releases!

61s6nsr45kl

Kreator – Gods of Violence

I can’t believe its been nearly five years since Kreator’s last album Phantom Antichrist. That album is still one of the best thrash releases of the decade so far, and now the German veterans are back with the hotly-anticipated follow-up. As usual, there’s a mess of versions but the main draw seems to be an extra live DVD or Blu Ray depending on your preference. There are also big box sets for paraphernalia-lovers, people that can’t decide which format they prefer and people that find things like “certificates of authenticity” exciting.

71dwc7kamal-_sl1200_

Annihilator – Triple Threat

The obligatory CanCon of the week! The Canadian thrashers return with three new discs! And it’s called Triple Threat! See what they did there? So you get a disc of acoustic versions of their thrash classics (umm) and a live electric set. And then you get a DVD or a Blu Ray of both of those performances and some extras. Seems like a lot of bang for your Canuck bucks but, here’s the kicker… there is also a 2CD version. Should they not have called that, I dunno, Double Dip?

612xn1xf-fl

Stephen Pearcy – Smash

Here’s the new solo outing from the current, or ex, Ratt vocalist (depending on who you talk to). I’m well out of the Ratt loop but I heard one track Ten Miles Wide and it was good fun. His voice sounded good and it didn’t sound like he was trying to move with the times, which is where a lot of classic rockers tend to trip up. Heard lots of good things about the last Ratt album too so maybe I should be catching up with this Ratt shit.

fresh_cream_deluxe

Cream – Fresh Cream: Deluxe Edition

Cream’s debut album has been re-released plenty of times over the years but never with any notable extras that I can think of. This set looks pretty neat: three CDs and a Blu Ray with alternate mixes/versions, BBC sessions, a nice hardback book, sexy packaging and it’s not too pricey as these things go either. No certificate of authenticity though. Boo.

81oetftxyrl-_sl1500_

Sepultura – The Roadrunner Albums: 1985 – 1996

Box set of the Brazilians’ classic run of albums, available in CD or vinyl sets. There is no bonus stuff on this but if you don’t have any of the band’s stuff, this is pretty much everything you need right here.

61j9lf7xwyl

The Great Old Ones – EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy

This is the third album of Lovecraft-inspired metal from this French outfit. Gambrel roofs, gibbous moons and fish-folk guaranteed! Looks like Season of Mist have done a really nice job on the packaging for this too.

Quite an interesting week, definitely some stuff here that I’ll want to check out. Anything I’ve missed? Anything you fancy here? Let me know and… happy hunting!

New Releases – 6th January 2017

Happy New Year! Understandably, there wasn’t a whole lot happening over the festive period but we’re getting back to normality now. Let’s see what the first new release day of the year has to offer.

61opewwus1l
When Jack Vettriano and futuristic fairgrounds collide

Magnum – Valley of Tears: the Ballads

Get your year off to a positive start with… err… Valley of Tears. Thanks Magnum! I do love a bit of Magnum but I’m not a huge fan of their recent stuff, which seems to be the focus here. And I gather the few older tracks are live or new versions. But if you like current Magnum and can’t get enough of ballads, fill yer boots.

Anvil, Angra and Freedom Call – 5 Original Albums in One Box

A trio of Original Albums boxes here. There’s some primo CanCon from Anvil: covering their career from Strength of Steel (1987) through to Absolutely No Alternative (1997). Don’t have any of those but I reckon the albums I’ve got are sufficient to scratch that itch. Angra are Brazilian power metallers who are probably most famous now for supplying Megadeth with guitarist Kiko Loureiro. Their set covers their first five albums, starting off with Angels Cry. And finally there’s Freedom Call. Their set covers the four albums that preceded their latest Master of Light. Now, one of those is the 2CD Live in Hellvetia so… that’s really just four albums right? Too pedantic? Pfftthbbtt.

The minimalist packaging of these sets is off-putting but they are pretty good selections from well-regarded bands so if you don’t mind that, and must have a physical copy, then these are good value collection-builders.

81n4iqkfnxl-_sl1200_
I call this piece “Anguish Caused by Pish Whitesnake Cover”

Halestorm – ReAnImate 3.0: The Covers EP

Can’t be arsed doing any research so I’m going to guess this is Halestorm’s third covers EP? This time round they take on Whitesnake, Sophie B. Hawkins, Soundgarden, Joan Jett and Metallica. Lzzy Hale does have a decent voice but I just don’t get the appeal of this band at all.

In other news, there are two good European black metal albums getting US releases today. You probably don’t know who Uprising are because… no-one does! Wow. Such mystique. Their 2016 debut album Uprising gets released via Tridroid. It’s good, nasty stuff whoever they are. And Derhead’s Via gets a US release too: accomplished and memorable avant-garde BM from Italy. It’s just an EP but the CD version has their entire demo discography on it as a neat added bonus. Both these are worth checking out if you like black metal.

Not a particularly noteworthy selection today but the year is only young. Onwards and upwards! Happy hunting and… see you next week.

New Releases – 16th December 2016

We’re getting to the final release dregs that 2016 has to offer now. There’s nothing particularly crucial today, all compilations or live stuff.

mayhemdemysteralive
MAYHEM EUNT DOMUS

Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas Alive

This new live album/video features a full performance of the totally seminal, essential black metal album. The band is still out there doing this tour but this release captures the debut show in Sweden. Unfortunately, only the audio download is available through the normal channels, if you want the physical CD/DVD or LP/DVD sets you’re going to have to buy it through the band’s own website which means either a hefty shipping charge or waiting to buy it at one of their gigs.

91f-8wumjl-_sl1500_
They’ve taken care of everything

Rush – 2112: 40th Anniversary Edition

I saw this listed on one site as “2112: 40th Re-Release”. Well, not quite, but there has been a few… not quite 40 but maybe 37? At any rate, I think it’s safe to say you have this already. So what does this 40th edition have to offer? Well there’s a CD that’s mostly cover versions (including Dave Grohl so they can fuck right off with that), there’s a few live tracks and a live DVD from 1976. The DVD looks decent but cover versions? Reeaally? Oh yeah, and there’s a super-unnecessary idiot edition for £150 too. Attention all planets of the solar federation, Rush have assumed you have more money than sense.

61nvsisb-yl-_ss500
Big in Japan

Uli Jon Roth – Tokyo Tapes Revisited: Live In Japan

Fact: the Scorpions albums with Uli Jon Roth are completely awesome. So good on Uli for revisiting the tremendous songs from that era on this live 2CD/DVD set. Recorded at the same venue as the classic Tokyo Tapes album too and featuring most of the same tracks. Or you could just go and listen to Tokyo Tapes… which is what I’m going to do. There’s also a £100+ version of this too which beggars belief really.

61ypa1rpfdl-_sx425_
Don’t know why the wasted all that money on Joe Petagno to be honest

Motörhead – Wake the Dead

This is a three disc set housing the final brace of Motörhead albums. I don’t have any of these albums as I got fed up with this band when Motörizer came out. At just under £30 it’s not exactly “budget” for three albums though. I’m sure the individual albums could be got pretty cheap and those would come with the bonus tracks, DVDs etc… unlike this. But if you’re happy with just the vanilla albums (and Lemmy sketches!) then this is the set for you.

81buaef107l-_sl1500_
“See, so there’s definitely a link to the hand size” explained Jon to an appalled audience

Bon Jovi – This House is Not for Sale: Live at the London Palladium

Looks like this is just going to do what it says on the tin. All new songs but live! I’ve been boycotting the Jovi since a few albums back so I’ll just pass on this. Bring back Alec, that’s what I say.

And that’s us this week. Amazingly, no Darkthrone or Fenriz-related releases this week. What’s that all about?

New Releases – 18th November 2016

I thought this week would be a bit light on new releases with everyone trying to stay clear of Metallica’s mutant-boogie (?) juggernaut. But I hadn’t really taken the time of year into account… there’s shitloads of stuff coming out today! And from some big bands too. So, take that Metallica! Anyway, there’s tons to get through today so enough of my yakkin’! Let’s mutant-boogie!

"Hit the one in the middle, Rock!" - it's the caption that keeps on giving!
“Hit the one in the middle, Rock!” – it’s the caption that keeps on giving!

Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct

Did I mention Metallica have an album out today? I dare say you know about this already, you’ve listened to some (or all) of it and you’ve made up your mind whether you’re going to buy this or not. Based on the tracks I’ve heard, I’m not overly fussed. Some good moments but not totally convincing. I’ll check more tracks out online before making any decisions. If you’re going to buy this, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t go for a version with the bonus disc: plenty of covers, live tracks and Lords of Summer too.

810uussan6l-_sl1417_
Even with the supermoon this close, they still couldn’t get a decent picture of it.

Lamb of God – The Duke EP

Randy Blythe and co. return with new EP featuring two new tracks and three live ditties. The EP is dedicated to a big fan of theirs that died of cancer and I believe there’s going to be bunch of special items being sold (check their website for info) to raise money for charity. Never been a fan of the band but this is all pretty cool. Kudos.

Amazingly, considering their age, Geddy and Alex still preferred to deal with stage invaders themselves
Amazingly, considering their age, Geddy and Alex still preferred to deal with stage invaders themselves

Rush – Time Stand Still

Doesn’t seem that long since the last Rush doc Beyond the Lighted Stage and now here’s another. This one does have the added emotional impact of covering the band’s (presumably) final days but I dunno if I really feel the need for this, I’ll probably just wait and see if it shows up on Netflix. Decent extras might maybe provoke a purchase though.

It was easily the most exciting episode of Countdown since "wankers"
It was easily the most exciting episode of Countdown since “wankers”

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – Memories in Rock: Live in Germany

The world’s greatest guitarist put down his crumhorn and returned to heavy rock duties earlier this year, performing a batch of live shows under the Rainbow banner. And here’s the inevitable live release documenting one of the shows. Loads of options here: DVD, Blu Ray, Vinyl, CD or combos of those. Not been all that impressed by what I’ve seen so far but I love Blackmore enough that I might buy this by accident.

Sammy Hagar’s post VH work gets compiled in This is Sammy Hagar Volume 1 – When the Party Started. His stuff with The Waboritas was often magnificent but I’ve got those albums already so I can do without this. His live album All Night Long also gets a reissue today from Rock Candy, who have now launched in the US. And they are also reissuing Salty Dog’s Every Dog Has Its Day, Nymphs‘ self-titled album and Tyketto’s Don’t Come Easy today too. Rock Candy does good work with well-chosen albums so this launch should prove to be good news for Stateside classic rockers.

Also on the reissue front we’ve got the latest in Jethro Tull’s ongoing reissue program, Stand Up: The Elevated Edition. Their excellent second album as a 2CD/DVD with remixes, 5.1, live tracks etc…HMO-favourites The Who are up to the Super Deluxe shenanigans with their debut album My Generation. Can’t remember what extra stuff was included but it didn’t look all that exciting. And Soundgarden celebrate the 25th anniversary of Badmotorfinger with a variety of reissue editions. Super Deluxe, not so Super Deluxe, Kinda Deluxe, Not Very Deluxe and… uh… vinyl? I’ve not done my research here, sorry.

Elsewhere, Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell carries on rocking with a new band and new EP Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons. Scottish sludgy, psych doom troupe Headless Kross kick off a trilogy of albums with the first part, Projections I, available from At War With False Noise. Anyone that likes their death metal primitive and thrashy (think Sodom or Possessed) should check out the self-titled, self-released debut from Dead Conspiracy. Primitive and thrashy death metal is the best kind I reckon. Fans of trad and power metal might want to check out (former Accept guitarist) Herman Frank’s new solo album The Devil Rides Out and Freedom Call’s ridiculously happy Master of Light. Almost tooo happy.

And if I was going to be extra thorough I’d mention the new albums from Disturbed, Devilment and Sixx A.M. but let’s not bother eh?

Tons of stuff out this week after all then! But there isn’t a single release here that I’m in a rush to buy. I’ll listen to the new Metallica and see what happens. And I might panic-buy the Rainbow set.

It’s Black Friday next week so, in addition to painting the devil on the wall, it’ll probably be a bit vinyltastic. Lots of coloured-this,  limited-that and overpriced-the-other. Until then, happy hunting!

New Releases – 11th November 2016

It’s a good day for black metal fans. A cacophonous shitstorm of evil for everyone else. Read on if you dare.

81wiaaycl4l-_sl1500_
Tetris. More fun when you’re on drugs.

Enslaved – The Sleeping Gods/Thorn

This might be an “old rope” release but it’s an interesting one from an ever-reliable band. Enslaved’s two EPs The Sleeping Gods and Thorn, both from 2011, packaged together here as part of the band’s ongoing 25th Anniversary festivities. Both were rare as physical releases so collectors will enjoy this chance to own both on CD or vinyl.

71421swkvl-_sl1500_
The best defence against the “surprise attack?” The “WTF? attack” – pictured here.

Deathspell Omega – The Synarchy of Molten Bones

The mysterious and revered avant-garde black metallers return with a new EP, their first release in four years. It’s definitely one of the most anticipated and talked-about releases of the last few weeks. It’s been streaming for a while so you’ve probably heard it by now if you’re a fan. I feel like I should like this but it’s not doing much for me.

61rywthg3yl
You summoned me foolish mortal!? Oh, you didn’t? Sorry, my mistake. Catch you later.

Ravencult – Force of Profanation

I had a listen to some tracks from this already. I was tempted to write it off as unremarkable: heard it before. But the power of the riff is pretty compelling here. Some really nifty writing that keeps your attention. So I’ve got a right notion this could be a keeper. Given more listens, this might be one of this year’s sleeper hits.

71bxi-mtwul-_sl1200_
Bob Ross’ “Blue” period. Still wowing art lovers to this day.

Saor – Guardians

I’d always say that GWAR’s Horror of Yig is still the ultimate instance of bagpipes in metal. But here comes Andy Marshall’s Saor with their third album of folky, atmospheric black metal. It’s scenic stuff, layered with all sorts of pipes, fiddles, bodhráns and the like. Like a diablolical tourist centre. Fans of Panopticon, Winterfylleth and Agalloch should check this out.

"Hit the one in the middle Rock!" - let's see if I can use that caption every week!
“Just hit the one in the middle, Rock!” – let’s see if I can use that caption every week!

Black Sabbath – Paranoid (Super Deluxe Edition)

The must-have metal classic with added quad mix (bumped down to a stereo CD for surround-sound luddites) and live discs and book and all that stuff. Looks like a nice set and not as stupidly expensive as these things tend to be. Wish they just released the live stuff on its own rather than tacking it on to an album everyone has already.

Elsewhere we have In Flames’ new album Battles. I was never a fan but the hype is that this is their best for a while so, enjoy! At just under £400 Pink Floyd’s The Early Years 1965-1972 is surely the impulse buy of the week. And there’s a more affordable two disc CRE/ATION version for people that don’t mind feeling like they’re missing out. CanCon regulations force me to mention Rik Emmett and RESolution9’s RES9. Beauty, eh? And to round things off Phil Anslemo is back with Superjoint and Caught Up in the Gears of Application.

Some good stuff. I’ve already got my copy of Enslaved. And I’ll spend more time with the Ravencult and Saor and see if they stick.

So that’s it for another week, join me next Friday for Metallica and a bunch of other bands daft/brave enough to release an album on the same day as Metallica. Until then, happy hunting!