Tag Archives: Compilations

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.

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New Releases – 10th March 2017

It’s Friday! Apologies for the slightly late posting (just back from holiday) so, without further ado, let’s check out my pick of the new releases… and play the “which album has the best cover” game.

Fen – Winter

Just as we start to feel spring in the air, along come Fen with their new album Winter. Typical, miserable black metallers! I’ll let them off though cause this is one of the more exciting new black metal albums in a wee while. It’s going to be a long one with some epic song lengths, rarely a good sign these days, but the advance word is good and what I’ve heard so far sounded fresh and impressive.

Temptation’s Wings – Skulthor Ebonblade

If that cover, album title and song titles like Lair of the Gorgon Queen don’t sell this to you then nothing will. And the music on this concept album is pretty good too. A sludgy take on true metal, this is one for fans of Grand Magus. And if, like me, you’re finding Grand Magus a bit too mild-mannered these days then this fantasy epic will be well up your cobbled street.

Darkest Hour – Godless Prophets & the Migrant Flora

Darkest Hour are getting a lot of rave coverage for their latest album and it hits the shelves today. I honestly just can’t stick this stuff myself though so can’t tell you if it’s better, worse or indifferent compared to their other albums or albums of its ilk. It’s just not my style. But if it’s yours then, by all accounts, you’re in for a big treat. Lucky you!

Havok – Conformicide

If the recent Nightmare Logic from Power Trip wasn’t enough to satisfy your retro-thrash lust, here’s Havok with their new album. I’m a hard-sell for this kinda stuff but the new song Intention to Deceive sounded decent and had good vocals. If you’ve wore out all your Death Angel albums you could do worse than look into this.

Chickenfoot – Best + Live

No prizes for guessing what’s on this album then? I’ve never been convinced by this “supergroup” and their new track Divine Termination isn’t winning me over. So I’ll pass. It’s all a bit too stodgy and smug for my liking. I’ll take The Waboritas over this lot any day.

In the elsewhere file there’s a new black metal from Cirith Gorgor who follow up their recent album Visions of Exalted Lucifer with a new EP Bi Den Dode Hant. Not a band that’s grabbed me one way or the other though. And there’s Evocation who I’m not that fussed about either, but I’ve quite liked some new songs of theirs so their latest album The Shadow Archetype might be a dark horse. And I wanted to mention the new Weigedood album De Doden Hebben Het Goed II. It looks to me like it’s out today but might also already be out in some places too… not sure… but I like the sound of it at any rate. Reminds me of why I got into black metal in the first place so, regardless of whether it’s out today or out already, it’s getting checked out.

**UPDATE** Thanks to Bop at Boppin’s Blog for the head’s up about this – Voivod have announced a PledgeMusic offer for the upcoming reissues of Killing Technology, Dimension Hatross & Rrröööaaarrr. There are vinyl versions available and you can also get 2CD/DVD editions which will have loads of extra live tracks, footage and demos. And there’s also a 2CD comp from this era as well as all the fancy stuff like test pressings etc… It’s all part of the exciting Noise Lebt! series I posted about a while back. The prices look very reasonable and include shipping too. Get pledging here.

Not a banner week like some we’ve had recently but still some decent and intriguing stuff for genre fans. As always let me know what I’ve missed and, until next week… happy hunting.

New Releases – 10th February 2017

Another Friday is upon us and that means… new stuff!

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Cynic – Uroboric Forms: The Complete Demo Collection

Cynic’s 1993 debut album Focus is the stuff of giddy prog tech wonderfulness. But there has always been grumblings of discontent among death metal fans who feel that the debut album was a disappointment compared to the band’s earlier demos. I’ll be able to make my own mind up now, as the pre-Focus demos get this official release. The CD version looks great but the vinyl edition is particularly snazzy, and has the CD and a 7″ with it too, so that’s the one I’ve pre-ordered.

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Overkill – The Grinding Wheel

Following the return of Kreator last week, the thrash good-times continue with the return of New Jersey veterans Overkill. Actually, of the classic thrash acts, Overkill are one of the few that just never caught on with me. So I’ll probably pass on this myself… I’d rather try some older albums again than hop on here. But if you’re up for buying this, the limited edition CD and vinyl versions have a bonus track, Emerald… I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that’s a Lizzy cover?

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Nidingr – The High Heat Licks Against Heaven

I’ve never heard these Norwegian black metallers but I know the name through (their guitarist) Teloch’s involvement with Mayhem and their last album Estoteric Warfare. He was the main writer for that impressive album so if you enjoyed his work with Mayhem, this should be worth looking into. And I love that title.

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Mayhem – Live in Zeitz

Speaking of Mayhem! This old live recording was recently featured as a bonus disc with the Live in Leipzig reissue. But then a version taken from a better source was released very soon afterwards as a standalone vinyl edition with new liner notes and packaging. I was more than a little annoyed at this so I didn’t buy the vinyl. But now this cheaper CD version is hitting the shops so I think I might finally upgrade. No doubt, they’ll find an even better version down the back of the couch next week.

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Sleep – The Clarity

Not strictly a “new” Sleep song as it was available as a free download a couple of years ago on the Adult Swim site. But here it is on 12″ vinyl. I’ve never been a big Sleep fan but this is a great track and it’s well worth getting if you don’t have the song already and/or love vinyl. Just the one side of music here but the B-Side will have a, no doubt suitably cosmic, etching.

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Def Leppard – And There Will Be a Next Time: Live from Detroit

And finally, we’ve got Def Leppard’s new live DVD/BR/CD combo And There Will Be a Next Time: Live from Detroit. I’d normally be a sucker for some live Lep but after Mirrorball and Viva! Hysteria made little impact, not to mention their dicey self-titled album, I can’t work up any enthusiasm for this. Arm no geddon it.

And that’s quite enough for one week, thank you very much! Happy hunting.

New Releases – 2nd December 2016

Well, this won’t take long. It’s pretty slim pickings today but there are a still a couple of releases worth getting into a big flap about.

Various Artists – Speed Kills VII

Not content with coming back from the dead, the re-animated Music for Nations label has also decided to resurrect the classic compilation series Speed Kills with this long-overdue seventh instalment. The devils! This is going to be an absolute rager. The highlights for me are the first official releases of new songs from The King is Blind, Akercocke and Voices. Fucking YES. And then there’s a track from the very promising Formicarius, a recent Acid Reign track… and if the other stuff here is considered equal in quality to that lot then this is sure to be totally essential. Liner notes from Malcolm Dome too! What’s not to like about all of this?

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Trivium – Ember To Inferno: Ab Initio

Was never a massive fan of Matt Heafy and co. but, as the shouty verse/catchy chorus genre goes, they’ve definitely had their moments. Here’s a new reissue of their now hard-to-find debut album Embers to Inferno, which I’ve never heard. There are vanilla versions on CD and vinyl but the smart money should go on the deluxe versions (also on CD and vinyl and sub-titled Ab Initio) which will come with 13 pre-album demo tracks. I’ve not followed Trivium’s recent career since 2008’s Shogun but this look at their early days is intriguing.

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KISS – Buenos Aires 1994: The Argentinian Broadcast

There’s quite a few of these radio broadcast CDs out today. Unofficial releases featuring the usual suspects like Rush, Cheap Trick and this one from KISS: a 2CD set of an excellent Revenge-era show. The band headlining a Monsters of Rock festival and pulling out a crowd-pleasing 70s-heavy set. Great sound quality and some absolutely storming renditions of tracks like I Stole Your Love and Parasite. Bootleg-hunters will have this already but I’m late to that game so I’m quite happy to get this on CD.

And that’s us! Not a great deal happening but the Speed Kills VII and Trivium reissue are both strong releases. And there’s the new Stones album but, if that’s your thing, you don’t need me to tell you about it.

As always, let me know what I’ve missed (there must have been something this week, surely?) and happy hunting!

New Releases – 28th October 2016

Mighty HMOverlord, we summon thee. Tell us what’s oot the day. Oh, alright then.

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Rejected album titles: Team Cobra, The Asp Squad and Mamba Men.

Testament – Brotherhood of the Snake

It’s hard to believe it’s been four whole years since Testament’s last album Dark Roots of the Earth. Remember when taking four years to make an album was big news? Anyway, the Bay Area thrashers are back, with one of 2016’s most hotly-anticipated albums and a froth of rave reviews. I have to confess I blow a bit hot and cold with Testament: not a huge fan. But I thought the last album was pretty decent so I’ll definitely give this a listen at least. See what the fuss is about.

The Strictly judges had never seen anything like it
The Strictly judges had never seen anything like it

Anaal Nathrakh – The Whole of the Law

Birmingham’s industrial/black/grind aggro merchants return with their new album The Whole of the Law. I’m very excited to hear this, I was listening to a new track Hold Your Children Close and Pray for Oblivion this week and it was absolutely outstanding. Corrosive white noise that could strip paint but absurdly memorable with it. Not just angry buggers then, but talented angry buggers. If they can keep that quality up for a whole album then this should be well worth shouting about.

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Turned out that touching, and eating, people’s cookies was a hanging offence in some states.

Love/Hate – Before the Blackout

Love/Hate’s debut album Blackout in the Red Room was easily one of the best albums to come out of the whole LA glam scene: big balls, genuine sleaze and a glorious mix of stupid and clever. If you don’t have it, you really should get it. And if you do have it, you’ll be intrigued by this collection of their pre-debut demos. Don’t recognise most of the song titles here so it’s hard to say if these are songs that were subsequently ditched or if they’re familiar songs that were just retooled for the album. Probably a bit of both. Buy Japanese for extra tunes.

Where did they come from, these vinyl hoards?
Where did they come from, these vinyl hoards?

Saxon – The Vinyl Hoard

Saxon (via Demon Music Group) follow up their recent Eagles and Dragons vinyl set with this set of live albums. The new disc titles like Dogs of War Tour 1995 are a little misleading: what you’re getting here is the complete Eagle Has Landed II and III albums and the audio of the Rocksound Festival show from 2006 (taken from the To Hell and Back Again DVD). So it’s not all quite as new as it might initially appear but all these recordings are making their vinyl debuts here so it’s still an enticing set for vinyl collectors.

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Literally the most metal release this week

Public Image Ltd – Metal Box and Album (Deluxe Editions)

Two fancy deluxe editions of the classic PiL albums in CD or vinyl sets. These look wonderful and are chock full of extras and bonus tracks. The packaging is very attractive but… £40-50 each is just a little bit prohibitive for a casual fan like me. About £130 each if you want the vinyl! If I was more into them, I’d probably be all over these. As it stands I’ll just gaze on in wonder. Hopefully they’ll just appear in the New Year sales. I’m sure the shiny Metal Box will shift fast though, but I could be wrong… I could be right.

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IKEA’s new shelving unit GÖTH proved less than popular

My Dying Bride – Meisterwerk III

My Dying Bride’s compilation series expanded and brought up to date. Curiously, although there are lots of listings for this, I couldn’t find any mention of it on the official sites. Hmmm… It looks like a decent introductory affair with a selection of rarities but die-hards might prefer the rarity-filled 5CD set A Harvest of Dread which is due out in December.

In other news, we’ve got incredibly evil vinyl reissues from Mercyful Fate (Dead Again and Into the Unknown) and Cradle of Filth (From the Cradle to Enslave EP on spooky blood red vinyl). Just in time for Halloween! Elsewhere, Quartz follow up some well-received comeback gigs with a new album Fear No Evil, out on High Roller Records on CD and vinyl. One for NWOBHM fans that. New Orleans sludge gods Crowbar release The Serpent Only Lies and last, but certainly not least, Black Sabbath release The Ultimate Collection. Not just the latest in a long line of Sabbath comps: it’s the ULTIMATE wan. Oooh.

That’s all the highlights this week. Hope there’s stuff here that’ll float your boat. If there’s anything else you fancy, let me know and… happy hunting!

New Releases – 7th October 2016

Welcome to the first of my weekly new release posts. There are approximately a squillion albums coming out today but here are the most interesting and exciting ones. As chosen by me. First off, we’ve got a band that I don’t talk about all that often…

Part with your cash 'til you puke!
Part with your cash till you puke!

Saxon – Let Me Feel Your Power

I’m currently reviewing my way through the Saxon catalogue. It’s a mighty challenge that just got mightier with this, their 10th official live album. Let Me Feel Your Power captures their recent (and ongoing) Battering Ram tour with a couple of shows and plenty of new tracks making their live album debuts. Available in the usual combinations of CD/DVD/BR/vinyl etc… At my current rate of Saxon coverage, expect a review of this in late 2023.

Cherries on bananas!
Cherries on bananas!

Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep of Reason

The big new metal album of the week but a band that I’ve never really bothered with. I couldn’t really remember why that was though so I gave their new song Born in Dissonance a listen on Spotify. It’s OK, there’s some pretty impressive riff moments but… nah. I can see the appeal but I’m just not feeling it personally. It doesn’t put cream in my coffee. Or butter on my biscuit! And when I’m up for breakfast that’s what I need… especially after a violent sleep of reason.

Shouldn't it be "maths" though?
Pure raunch.

Watchtower – Concepts of Math: Book One

Twisty-turny thrashers Watchtower were one of the pioneering techy 80s bands (along with the likes of Coroner and Voivod) that paved the way for bands like Meshuggah. But, for all their influence, they didn’t last long: their last studio album was 1989’s Control and Resistance. But now they’re back with this compilation of some recent digital singles. In the 80s there weren’t too many bands doing the math metal thing but now it’s more prevalent. Interesting to hear how these originators will fare these days. Out on CD and vinyl, it’s not a rush-out-and-buy for me but it’s definitely going on my wishlist.

Give yourself a pat on the back... like this guy!
Give yourself a pat on the back… like this guy!

Gojira – Terra Incognita

Gojira’s early albums have been out of print for quite a while now with copies being offered for eye-watering sums. So if, like me, you could smell the inevitable reissues a mile off and held off, then give yourself a pat on the back! Listenable Records have now reissued the band’s debut album on CD and vinyl. And they’ll be reissuing The Link and The Link Alive in November too… but that’s a story for another week.

Success, excess and Hindu texts. Yes!
Success, excess and Hindu texts. Yes!

Yes – Tales from Topographic Oceans

A lot of love out there for Steven Wilson’s 5.1 mixing jobbies. And here he is again, taking on Yes’ notorious doubler. I reckon there were better Yes albums before and after this but there is great stuff on this. That said, I’m sure most people would agree it was padded out a bit too much, a spot of bloat that provided Rick Wakeman valuable time to snarf down a curry during their gigs. I’ll pass on this cause I’m happy enough with my current copy but it does look like a good value release. Available as 2CD/2DVDA or a 3CD/1BR set. Completists ought to go for the latter as it has extra third disc of bonus tracks including some previously unreleased stuff.

Probably just the rigor mortis
Probably just the rigor mortis

Sarcofago – Die… Hard!

It’s all gone a bit proggy this week so here’s Brazil’s legendary Sarcofago to ruin everything! Greyhaze Records released this excellent demo collection on CD last year and now it finally receives a vinyl pressing. It’s an absolutely smashing archive release and Greyhaze have done a great job with it . I’ll pass cause I’m happy with my CD copy but fans of extreme metal on vinyl should snap this up. The liner notes (from Wagner Antichrist!) are worth the price of entry alone. But if you’re a false… don’t entry.

On the less tempting side we’ve got a remaster of Dave Lee Roth’s Your Filthy Little Mouth. Think this Friday Music remaster has been available before though. But I do like a bit of DLR at this time of the year. And Osmose are reissuing Exciter’s The Dark Command and Blood of Tyrants. Canadian metal! Not terribly exciting but CanCon regulations require me to include them.

And that’s plenty for one week. Some pretty good stuff out there. Quite a few things I’ll probably just pass on though, or at least just put on the backburner. The Saxon is essential, Watchtower is pretty tempting and I’ll probably grab the Gojira cause if it goes out of print again and ends up on eBay for £376 I’ll feel like a right fanny. Happy hunting and I hope you can join me next Friday when the rundown will include one of THE metal releases of the year.

Next Friday: Arctic Thunder!
Next Friday: Arctic Thunder!

The HMO Guide to Akercocke

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Akercocke is out of the cage! The reunited satanic extreme metallers’ UK tour is underway at last, with the mighty The King is Blind in support. It’s easily the must-see gig of the year. I can’t wait to see them next week and, because I’m taking EvaOverload along, I decided to put together a beginner’s guide to the Ak on Spotify for her. And now I’ve decided to share it with you. Praise Beelzebub!

Although Spotify playlists have no limits I decided to keep my selection within a CD running time, coming in at 69mins. Akercocke’s debut album The Rape of the Bastard Nazarene is unavailable on Spotify so, sadly, I couldn’t include any of those early tracks. But the upside to that was that it made things a bit easier: even though I was only left with four studio albums to pick from, it was still a pretty tricky endeavour. Some crucial tracks like Horns of Baphomet, Praise the Name of Satan, My Apterous Angel and Seduced couldn’t make the grade. And the often lengthy nature of their songs made it tricky to stick within the time limit too.

So calling this the Best of Akercocke is a little bit of a stretch but I reckon it’s a great introduction for newbies. Even those normally reluctant to dive into such extreme waters will find much to enjoy here. There are flaying shredders like Of Menstrual Blood and Semen and Becoming the Adversary but there is also plenty of melody in tracks like A Skin for Dancing In and Axiom.  The epic, proggy side of Ak is given an airing in the classic Leviathan and the sublime Shelter From the Sand (Rush fans should check that one out). The Dark Inside and Son of the Morning show off the band’s euphoric stylistic range, the power of the riff compels you in Verdelet and Enraptured By Evil is just a flat-out battering. It’s all brilliant, essential stuff.

Here’s the track listing for those without Spotify. Hope you enjoy and please let me know what you think. You’ll be wearing a suit and summoning the Antichrist before you know it. And if you become a convert there’s still time to catch the band on their UK tour. Tell them HMO sent you.

  1. Of Mentrual Blood and Semen
  2. A Skin for Dancing In (from The Goat of Mendes)
  3. Leviathan
  4. Enraptured By Evil
  5. Son of the Morning
  6. Becoming the Adversary (from Choronzon)
  7. Verdelet
  8. Shelter from the Sand
  9. The Penance (from Words That Go Unspoken)
  10. Axiom
  11. The Dark Inside (from Antichrist)