Tag Archives: Compilations

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)

New Releases – July 2016

The HMO Pick of the Month!
The HMO Pick of the Month!

Let’s have a look at the new releases July has in store for us. Not an exhaustive list – only the best stuff sets off the HMO Mission Control New Release Klaxon. This month is heavy on reissues but it’s all great stuff. (All release dates are for the UK)

Der Rote Milan – Aus Der Asche (CD/Download – Out 1st July 2016)

I got an advance copy of this and it’s fantastic. An incredibly accomplished debut album: punishing and vitriolic black metal with some gripping, beautiful passages. It’s only getting a limited run of 200 CDs but you will be able to buy the digital version on their Bandcamp page too. It’s one of the best releases of the year so far. Even likely to be a contender for my end-of-year list shenanigans.

Piledriver – Stay Ugly (CD – 8th July)

Here’s a reissue of Piledriver’s second, and final, album. This one is of great interest for Virgin Steele fans. It’s from the post-Noble Savage period in 1986 where Virgin Steele mainman David DeFeis busied himself, under aliases, with a bunch of side-projects in order to pay off Virgin Steele’s mounting debts. He produces and writes all the songs on this and Edward Pursino also writes and plays guitar. David doesn’t sing on this though, that task is taken up by Piledriver himself. Real name: Gordon.

Bulldozer – The Day of Wrath and The Final Separation (Vinyl – 8th July)

Vinyl reissue of the first two albums from the Venom/Motorhead-like Italian band. I’ve been after their stuff for a while but it’s usually out of print or expensive. These reissues will do nicely and the FOAD label always does wonderful bang-up jobs of their reissues.

Girl – Sheer Greed and Wasted Youth (CD – 15th July)

Piledriver! Bulldozer! … er… Girl! These UK rockers were glammy contrarians of the NWOBHM era and featured future Def Lep guitarist Phil Collen and future L.A. Guns singer Phil Lewis. Their first two albums get the Rock Candy reissue treatment. I’m tempted by these but I’ve maybe got all the Girl I need on the My Number compilation so I won’t be rushing out to get them.

Agalloch – Pale Folklore, The Mantle, and Ashes Against The Grain (CD/Vinyl – 15th July)

Plush reissues of the progressive black metal band’s first three albums. Wouldn’t be priorities for me but these are some well-regarded albums so they’ll be getting added to my increasingly unwieldy wish list.

Cradle of Filth – Dusk and Her Embrace… the Original Sin (CD/Vinyl – 15th July)

Totally unreleased Filth! This is the original version of their classic album Dusk and Her Embrace that has never been heard until now. It was abandoned due to a band split and a legal fracas but it’s finally here. Not every month you get to hear a mythical “lost” album, let alone one that’s an alternative version of a black metal staple. I’d say that makes this essential.

Twisted Sister – Rock N’ Roll Saviours: The Early Years (CD Box Set – 22nd July)

Here’s a potentially enticing box set covering live stuff from the band’s early daze. I say “potentially” cause if it’s going to be £40 for three discs they can bugger right off. “But it’s got a pop-up mirror.” Oooh… that makes all the difference. I do love looking at my own face.

Carcass – Choice Cuts Vinyl (22nd July)

Reissue of an old Carcass compilation. Always thought the title and the cover were a bit… shit. But if you don’t have any Carcass this wouldn’t be a bad place to start. Album tracks, EP tracks and some Peel Sessions for good measure. Nothing I don’t have already though. Extra temptation comes in the form of coloured vinyl. Plus a nifty T-Shirt if you buy it direct from Earache too.

Dio – Decade of Dio 1983 – 1993 (CD/Vinyl Box Set – 22nd July)

Last, and certainly not least, the new Dio box set. I initally pooh-poohed this due to the lack of bonus tracks/rarities but then I remembered I’m missing Lock Up the Wolves and Strange Highways. So I might as well bloody get it then, eh? I feel like it’s what Ronnie would have wanted.

*****

And that’s the lot! Let me know what you think of the selection and whether there’s anything righteous that I’ve missed. Happy shopping!

News: Noise Records to Relaunch in 2016. Noise Lebt!

Noise Records... lives?
Noise… lives!

The legendary Noise Records label is set to return in 2016. The German label was home to many classic and influential metal acts and released some fantastic albums in the 80s and 90s from the likes of Kreator, Celtic Frost, Helloween and recent HMO stars Skyclad. Sanctuary bought the label in 2001 but it has lain dormant since Sanctuary’s bankruptcy in 2007. Now, with BMG’s purchase of the Sanctuary roster, Noise lives!

The relaunch kicks off with the release of eight double-disc anthologies in May. Coincidentally, one of those is going to be an anthology of Skyclad’s years with the label (their best stuff). It will be called A Bellyful Of Emptiness – The Very Best Of The Noise Years 1991 – 1995 and will include their cover of Thin Lizzy’s Emerald that I posted about last week. So anyone that enjoyed that and wants to hear more has a great (and affordable) place to start! The other seven anthologies released will be from Kreator, Helloween, Kamelot, Sinner, Running Wild, Tankard, and Grave Digger.

And there’s even better news: the label is lining up 30 expanded and remastered reissues from the likes of Helloween, Kreator, Celtic Frost, Sabbat and, you guessed it, Skyclad! I’m going to level with you here… I’m pretty excited about this. I’ll post any news on the reissues as I get it but you can find out more about the relaunch here.

It occurs to me that Sanctuary also had the rights to a lot of awesome NWOBHM stuff too. Might BMG can turn their attention to that as well?

I'll have a pocketful of nothing if Noise Records has their way.
I’ll have a pocketful of nothing if Noise Records has their way.