Tag Archives: Deluxe Editions

How Tempting: Paradise Lost – The Plague Within

This Heavy Metal stuff always gives me a splitting head.
This Heavy Metal stuff always gives me a splitting head.

The excellent releases from Bloodbath and Vallenfyre in 2014 meant that there was plenty of excitement for Paradise Lost fans last year even if the main band was out of action. But now Paradise Lost are back, their new album The Plague Within due for release in the UK on 1st June 2015.

Tantalisingly, we’re promised the reintroduction of Death Metal elements back into the band’s style. But, as you can hear from the opening track No Hope in Sight, there’s a growly edge to it but still plenty of the gothic melody and atmosphere that they are so great at. It’s a strong introduction to the album.

The Plague Within is now available to pre-order. Of course there is the obligatory array of formats. There’s a normal CD and double-vinyl as well as a mediabook CD with an extra track but the must-have edition has got to be the deluxe box set available at their merch site. It has three extra tracks, two of which are totally new and unavailable anywhere else. The deluxe set comes with two CDs and green double-vinyl with both the vinyl and the CD featuring the bonus tracks. And, if the album cover is anything to go by, it promises to be a very beautiful thing indeed.

Normally I prefer being able to choose between vinyl and CD but the deluxe set isn’t as over-priced as these things can often be so I’ve got my pre-order in now. And you should get yours in too. As soon as you can if you want to snap up that tasty deluxe set. If you miss out you’ll end up feeling as miserable as the band sound.

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How Tempting – Ulver – Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997 (5CD)

Translated as "Bewitching Black Metal" if Google Translate is to be believed!
Translated as “Bewitching Black Metal” if Google Translate is to be believed!

Looks like this was announced back in April but I’m only finding out about it now. Century Media are releasing Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997, a box set of Ulver’s early Black Metal albums on the 17th November (UK Release date). Available as a 5CD or 4LP set containing the Vargnatt demo, Bergtatt, Kveldssanger, the infamously necro Nattens Madrigal album and previously unreleased 4-Track rehearsal recordings from the Nattens Madrigal sessions which make up the fifth CD (or a bonus cassette if you buy the vinyl box). The boxes come packaged with a hardcover book featuring memorabilia, lyrics (with translation) and liner notes from various contributors, most notably Jon “Metalion” Kristiansen: the man behind Slayer Mag and the founder of the Head Not Found label that originally issued these albums. Until now I’ve only owned these albums on mp3 but I’ve wanted them on CD for years now. This box set is a must buy for me.

US pre-orders are available now at the CM Distro site. The Europe site doesn’t seem to have a pre-order option up yet but I have pre-ordered a copy at Amazon. A fantastic release for anyone out there that doesn’t already own these essential Black Metal classics.

Buying Round-Up – May to July 2014

It’s time for a catch-up on my recent acquisitions. Attentive readers may have noticed there haven’t been any buying posts for the May to July period. I’ve been focusing on writing full reviews of my purchases instead but, given that I’m not the most prolific reviewer, I’ll continue doing these round-ups to cover the purchases I have gotten round to covering in detail.

Vallenfyre – Splinters (£12 Fopp Glasgow)

Vallenfyre’s 2011 debut album A Fragile King was one of the best debuts of recent years. With their superb, filthy second album this side-project (helmed my Paradise Lost’s Greg Mackintosh) is starting to sound like a legitimate supergroup and a real threat. An album of the year contender. Even if I’m still a bit disappointed that they didn’t call the album Skelfs.

Led Zeppelin – I, II and III (2CD Editions) (£14ea HMV Glasgow)

Having tired of Led Zeppelin’s music over the years, I wasn’t sure how appealing these reissues were to me. After much umming and ahhing… I bought them anyway. Ultimately I wasn’t happy with my current CD copies and these have proved to be satisfying upgrades. They look and sound fantastic. They’ve even managed to renew my enjoyment of the music a little but not enough for me have bothered with the alternative mixes etc… on the bonus discs yet. I got right into the Paris Olympia show that comes with the debut though and I wish they had included more live tracks with the other CDs. I’m looking forward to the next batch of Zep reissues, which will be bought with less hesitation.

Anathema – Distant Satellites (CD/DVD Edition) (£13 Love Music Glasgow)

Anathema have been a favourite band of mine for many years but this new release has been a little disappointing. I’ve still enjoyed it and it may still grow on me but it seems to me like the band has maybe exhausted their current direction. The album gets refreshingly experimental in its second half and I hope the band continue this tinkering with their next album. I suspect this will prove to be a transitional album in their career.

Accept – Balls to the Wall and Metal Heart (2CD Editions) (£8ea Amazon Marketplace)

Having finally clicked with Restless and Wild I decided to work through Accept’s other albums. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover the joys of Balls to the Wall. It’s like not having Heaven in Hell in your collection or something like that. A complete oversight! It’s captured my imagination so thoroughly I’ve not spent much time with the follow-up Metal Heart, although my initial listens have been equally promising. These superb value reissues come with a live album (Staying a Life) and a live EP (Kaizoku-Ban) as bonuses but I’m going to leave those until I’m more familiar with the studio output.

Ian Hunter – The Artful Dodger (£10 Amazon Marketplace)

I’m delighted to finally get this out-of-print Ian Hunter album. It’s pretty strong too, apart from one song Skeletons (In Your Closet) which I disliked, and it contains the original version of Michael Picasso which is one of my all-time favourites of Ian’s and the highlight of the album. I’ve only heard it live before and I’m surprised by how uncomfortably intimate it is in this original incarnation. And there’s a rare bonus track too. Nice.

Richard Thompson – Acoustic Classics (£10 Fopp Glasgow)

This is a set of newly-recorded acoustic versions of some of Richard’s most-loved songs. The familiarity of the track choices makes this a little underwhelming for devotees but it’s a still a masterfully performed set by a genuine genius. I expect this has been intended more as an introductory “Greatest Hits” and in that respect it works well. I’ve already heard this playing on the radio and in cafes so hopefully it will spread the word of RT to new listeners.

My Dying Bride – The Vaulted Shadows (£10 Fopp Glasgow)

My Dying Bride – A Map of All Our Failures (CD/DVD Edition) (£15 Amazon)

I’m working back a bit here, not having bought any of MDB’s releases since 2009’s For Lies I Sire. The Vaulted Shadows is a particularly welcome release as it compiles two EP releases, one of which is The Barghest O’ Whitby EP: released in 2011 but now prohibitively expensive to buy in a physical format. Buoyed by finally having it in my collection I decided to buy the special edition of their last full album A Map of All Our Failures before that went out-of-print too. Both releases are excellent and find the band at the top of their game. All cheery stuff like you might expect, the Metal equivalent of a decadent opium haze. Wilt thou bring me but one cup of the browned juicings of that naughty bean we call “coffee”, ere I die…

Candlemass – Psalms For the Dead (£4 Monorail Glasgow)

Pentagram – Last Rites (£4 Monorail Glasgow)

We end on couple of unexpected bargains courtesy of an equally unexpected sale at Glasgow’s Monorail. Doom overload! I’ve not listened to Pentagram yet but I’m delighted with the Candlemass album. It’s supposedly going to be their final studio album and they went out on a high, fleshing out their Epic Doom with some retro-horror keyboard sounds. The only downside is the stupid narration on Black as Time. Why they thought anyone would want to listen to that annoying voice more than once beats me. But otherwise it’s a strong effort and a fine follow-up to their previous winner Death Magic Doom.

*****

That’s us for this post but I’m not done with May-July’s buying yet. I’ll be back soon with a Black Metal special and, following that, I’ll be posting a vinyl special too. See you then.

How Tempting – August 2014

There’s not a great deal happening in the release schedules in August and, to make matters worse, a lot of what is happening just isn’t up my street. Since I prefer to focus on albums that I have a likelihood of buying, I’ll keep this one short.

There are only two big-hitters this month. First up, Accept continue their recent mean streak with Blind Rage (out 18th August.) The limited edition comes with a bonus DVD which seems to be a full 2013 concert in Chile. I’d say it would be worth buying just for that. Next up are US Doom Metallers Pallbearer. I’ve been meaning to buy their 2012 album Sorrow & Extinction since it’s release. What little I’ve heard so far has been excellent but now they are back with the follow-up Foundations of Burden (25th August) so I may have to buy both.

The remaining releases are a mixed bag. Opeth are a tricky one. They have rarely put a foot wrong but their last album Heritage just didn’t connect with me so I’m finding it hard to work up any enthusiasm for their latest Pale Communion (25th August). The one song I’ve heard sounded OK though so I might give it a go. Mastodon reissue their remixed and remastered debut album Remission (4th August) and while I can’t see myself rushing out to buy it, I reckon I’ll pick it up at some point.

Apart from the odd album here and there, I never really followed Ace Frehley’s solo career much. I gather that his last album Anomaly was bit hit-and-miss so I will probably treat Space Invader (18th August) with caution unless I hear some serious praise.

And that’s about the lot for August. It’s probably a good month for me to catch up on my listening pile and there are still releases I’d like to buy from previous months too; Agalloch Serpent and Sphere, Dread Sovereign All Hell’s Martyrs, The Nuge – Shut Up & Jam and Winger – Better Days Comin’. Plenty to be getting on with then!

Happy hunting in August and I’ll back soon with a Buying Round-Up.