Tag Archives: Compilations

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!

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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.

The HMO Top 10 Reissues & Compilations of 2014

2014

I’ve already agonised over my favourite new music of the past year but regular readers will know I’m a big fan of reissues and archive releases. And, as usual (or increasingly?) 2014 found plenty of old music being repackaged and resold with the usual bells, whistles and (hopefully) some unheard or rare tracks added.

So I would like to present my Top 10 archive/reissue/compilation releases of 2014. Naturally my personal listening moods and enjoyment played a huge part in my choices but I’ve also weighed up some other crucial factors in deciding these:

  • Bonus tracks – A big factor, especially if I’m re-purchasing albums I’ve bought in the past, so reasonably worthwhile reissues like Hear No Evil’s reissues of Motorhead’s 1916 and Deep Purple’s Slaves and Masters didn’t quite make the cut.
  • Curation and selection – I can forgive a lack of bonus material if the reissued material is relatively rare or interesting in the first place. So, despite me absolutely adoring it, Mayhem’s Grand Declaration of War reissue missed the cut as it was already readily available and not in particular need of a reissue.
  • Sound quality – This is always arguable and I’m no hi-fi purist but extra points are awarded if I feel reissues are sonic improvements on previous versions. Although they narrowly failed the cut its worth mentioning Earache’s “Full Dynamic Range” releases here. They sound excellent and I hope other labels will follow their example.
  • Value for money and packaging – Generally I tend to shy away from expensive “super-deluxe” affairs but I do appreciate it when a particularly plush or expansive release manages to avoid breaking the bank. Bon Jovi’s New Jersey box and the Super Duper Alice Cooper set are good examples of expansive and luxurious, but still affordable, sets that didn’t quite make the cut.

So now that I’ve got all that off my chest…

THE HMO TOP REISSUES AND COMPILATIONS OF 2014

71Gkks5PFPL._SL1181_NUMBER TEN: KISS – Love Gun (Deluxe Edition)

Classic album bolstered with nice packaging, liner notes and an extra disc of bonus tracks. I’ve always banged on about how KISS should be doing more archive releases so I had to include this solid reissue here. If they had pushed the bonus track boat out a bit more it might have placed higher but I still hope there’s more where this came from and if their other albums get this treatment I’ll be a happy bunny.

HT RLOLLAIHNUMBER NINE: Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance – Ooh La La: an Island Harvest

Quality 2CD anthology from the ex-Small Faces/The Faces legend. Many of his solo albums are hard to come by now so this was a welcome release for me. And the inclusion of a BBC session makes it a worthwhile buy for fans of longer standing. This was my first exposure to his post-Faces output and it is charming and heart-warming stuff.

2014-04-06 14.58.15-1NUMBER EIGHT: Pantera – Far Beyond Driven (20th Anniversary Edition)

I’ve been enjoying the previous Pantera reissues and looked forward to this immensely. It’s missing B-Sides from the album’s era which is a shame but it’s still a great sounding reissue with a fantastic live show as a bonus disc. This caught me in the right mood and got heavy rotation.

2014-05-11 14.06.50-1NUMBER SEVEN: Coroner – Death Cult

I’m very excited that this Swiss band’s incredible demo has been given an official band-approved release by the No Remorse label. A couple of bonus tracks sweeten the deal but it’s fantastic to have such a great sounding copy of this that plays at the right speed! Not enough people know how incredible Coroner are and on this demo they are also fronted by no less than Hellhammer/Celtic Frost/Triptykon legend Tom G. Warrior himself.

A1SiG3X7H8L._SL1500_NUMBER SIX: The Allman Brothers Band – The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings (6CD Box Set)

I wavered about this but I’m glad I bought it. It’s absolutely fascinating to hear the many shows and alternate takes that were whittled down to the perfect At Fillmore East album. I wouldn’t replace the original but this is well worth hearing if you’re a fan of it. It’s a very thorough and plush package for the agreeable price. A great follow-up to 2013’s excellent Brothers and Sisters reissue.

2014-05-11 13.55.16-1NUMBER FIVE: Various Artists – Wayfaring Strangers: The Darkscorch Canticles (2LP Set)

This superbly curated labour of love from The Numero Group is the only vinyl release to make my list. It’s a charming and fun set of underground US Zep and Sabbath worship from the 70s. It’s very rare stuff and a must-have for fans of Stoner Rock and proto-Metal. The appeal of the music is further enhanced by the Dungeons and Dragons-inspired greatness of the packaging which you can see and read more about it here… with added Lego!

51P6CB1WE7LNUMBER FOUR: Demilich – 20th Adversary of Emptiness (2CD Deluxe)

Demilich’s only studio album Nespithe is a stunning Death Metal masterpiece and receives a well-deserved reissue here. It comes with a brilliantly designed and entertaining booklet and absolutely tons of bonus tracks. It’s a truly thorough and well-researched release but special mention has to made of the stunning sound quality too. Congratulations to Svart Records for this: it should be the benchmark for all future Metal reissues.

Christ noooo!
Christ noooo!

NUMBER THREE: Various Artists – One and All, Together for Home (2CD Deluxe)

A fascinating compilation with an interesting theme: Metal bands playing their native country’s Folk music. A lot of thought and attention went into this one and it’s a mix of old and new. Some new offerings from the likes of Winterfylleth and Primordial made this a must-buy but it also introduced me to some great bands like Ava Inferi and Haive that I may not have discovered otherwise.

712mqCedbLL._SL1500_NUMBER TWO: Queen – Live at the Rainbow ’74 (2CD Deluxe)

Not one, but two powerful live recordings from Queen’s early years. I love Queen so any live release of theirs is going to be up my street but it’s especially inspiring to hear them at this early stage playing the heavy, epic tracks like Father to Son and Ogre Battle. I love it when the classic bands I love release archive live material and this release enjoyed repeated listens and kicked off a period of full-on Queen worship.

71-rKQCjI3L._SL1500_NUMBER ONE: Ulver – Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-97 (5CD Box Set)

Ulver’s first three studios are classics of provocative and adventurous Black Metal and they have been done full justice with this stunning box set by Century Media. The three albums alone are must-haves and personal favourites but there are also some tantalising rarities here too and it’s all wrapped up in a stunning box set with a fantastic hardback book with essays, photos and translated lyrics. One of my more expensive standalone purchases of the year but still great value for five superb discs and a seriously luxurious package. It’s a release that effortlessly satisfies all my criteria for a top-drawer reissue. Buy it while you can.

Buying Round-Up – Black Metal Special

Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make! There have been a few Black Metal releases finding their way into my shopping basket lately so I’ve decided to dedicate a whole post to the BM releases I’ve bought over the May to June period. There’s something here for everyone… um… provided you like Black Metal.

Mayhem – Grand Declaration of War (2CD Edition) (£11 HMV Glasgow)

In a previous post I confessed to being out of the loop when it comes to Mayhem’s post-Euronymous output. Rather than buy their latest Esoteric Warfare I decided to dive in further back. I was sure I remembered Mayhem’s Necrobutcher bigging this album up in interviews as being his favourite so I thought it would be a good place to start. And so it proved as this is right up my street: a cold, steely Black Metal concept album with an avant-garde edge. There are great changes in pace, style and atmosphere and it’s one of those albums that is a total experience from start to finish. I’m a bit surprised to find out that many Mayhem fans consider this their worst album. If that is the case then I can’t wait to hear the rest… (this also has the live/demo set European Legions as a bonus disc but I’ve not got round to it yet.)

Mayhem – Esoteric Warfare (£12 HMV Glasgow)

Bolstered by my enjoyment of their older work, I decided to dive straight in to their new album. After the boundary-pushing Grand Declaration of War, I wasn’t expecting the relatively conventional approach of their latest work. It’s the thrilling sound of a genre giant laying down the gauntlet. The production is warm and natural, the band truly play like they mean it and Atilla Csihar puts in an exceptionally deranged vocal performance. The passion and vitality of the band’s delivery sets this album apart, I can’t get enough of it. Expect more Mayhem in future Buying Round-Ups.

Emperor – In the Nightside Eclipse: 20th Anniversary Edition (2CD Deluxe) (£12 Fopp Glasgow)

Alongside Mayhem, Emperor is another giant of the Norwegian Second Wave. Their classic full-length debut gets a reissue with bonus tracks aplenty. Despite its symphonic leanings, it’s one of the stormiest Black Metal albums I’ve heard. At times it’s like an impenetrable whirlwind. This release has struggled to compete for my attention with all the newer music I’ve bought but it’s a worthy reissue: great sound and liner notes. The second disc’s unreleased alternative mix of the album doesn’t strike me as hugely different from the album version but it offers a welcome chance to pick out new details from the din and enjoy the album in a fresh light.

Emperor – Scattered Ashes: A Decade of Emperial Wrath (£10 HMV Glasgow)

I bought this “Greatest Hits” for the second disc of rarities (mainly cover versions and songs from split releases) but I’ve found myself enjoying the main disc even more. I actually already had the tab book for the main compilation so it’s been great to be able to finally follow along without having to keep changing discs.

Various Artists – One and All Together For Home (£7 Amazon Marketplace)

I’m being a bit cheeky including this one here as it’s not really a Black Metal release but since I bought it mainly for the Winterfylleth tracks I thought it fit well here. This is an intriguing concept for a compilation: a batch of folk-leaning Metal bands from throughout Europe performing their takes on the traditional music of their home countries. Some, like England’s Winterfylleth and Ireland’s Primordial, play it straight and faithful while some, like Finland’s Haive and The Netherland’s Molvolland, play darker and heavier takes on the source material. It’s pretty atmospheric stuff, in a Wicker Man sort of way. Of the bands here that are new to me, Haive and Ava Inferi both warrant further investigation.

Cradle of Filth – Total Fucking Darkness (£10 Fopp Glasgow)

Cradle of Filth’s Total Fucking Darkness demo gets a reissue with extra rehearsal tracks and a track from their lost Goetia album. I’m not hugely familiar with this band so I was very surprised to discover that these demos are stylistically worlds apart from the sound the band is famous for. It’s more in a Death Metal/Grindcore vein, the vocals guttural rather than shrieked. At times it brings to mind early Napalm Death or Carcass. An enjoyable curio, I always enjoy hearing bands at these innocent demo stages.

Watain – Rabid Death’s Curse (£7 Monorail Glasgow)

This is a reissue of the debut full-length from the stinky Swedes, the only full album of theirs I was missing. It’s a foul and ugly assault and I’m impressed at how formidable they were straight out of the gate and with more listens I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this becomes my favourite of theirs. Love the packaging too.

The Meads of Asphodel – The Early Years (£7 Amazon Marketplace)

And the Black Metal special ends on a more jovial note with HMO favourites The Meads of Asphodel. While I was impressed with how formidable Watain proved to be in their earliest stages, it’s also an unparalleled joy to hear that The Meads were thoroughly bonkers from the word go. The first songs from their first demo veer from chirpy Classical pieces to Venom to Techno to clappy medieval jigs and back to Venom again. But playful experimentation aside, the band also delivers on the Metal front. The opening to Pale Dread Hunger has some riffing to die for and the band prove adept at cover versions too. In short, this band continues to impress. Have at ye! I’m invincible!

*****

Hope you enjoyed my trawl through my recent Black Metal discoveries. I’ll be back soon with a round-up of some recent vinyl purchases. In the meantime, say hello to the two Devil Goats that have just moved in down the road from HMO Mission Control. Mehhh.